With less than two months to go before an election in
Pemberton, it’s beginning to look like a vote on expansion.
The Village of Pemberton has undergone a period of massive
change under the current council, which includes two members who have confirmed
their candidacy in the upcoming election.
Incumbent Mayor Jordan Sturdy has committed to running for a
second term and he has a challenger in Councilor David MacKenzie, who also
serves as chairman of Tourism Pemberton.
Together they have overseen events and developments such as the
arrival of the Pemberton Festival, arguably the biggest event in the town’s
history, which brought 40,000 people to Pemberton.
Though they have overseen this period together, the race for
mayor has nevertheless set two priorities against one another — Sturdy
feels it’s important to revisit the community’s identity in his next term,
while MacKenzie has made it a priority to increase the village’s population.
They aren’t, however, the only ones who’ve committed to
Pemberton resident Ted Craddock, who previously served on the
councils of Squamish and Fort Nelson when he lived in those communities,
intends to seek election in November, but he has not yet decided whether to run
for mayor or council.
“I’m considering my options right now,” he said in an interview
. “I’m basically looking to
see if the community is looking for somebody new on council or mayor, and if
I’ve got support for either position.”
Craddock moved to Pemberton four years ago when his wife took a
position as principal of Signal Hill Elementary School. For his own part, he’s
a retired real estate developer who spent two terms on the school board in Fort
Nelson, one term on its council and one term as a regional district director.
He also spent five years on Squamish council.
“I think we had a number of issues that are similar to what’s
come up in Pemberton,” he said. “We have some land use requirements, building
of the industrial park…. We want to make sure that our downtown core grows and
looks like a new age area, but still keep in mind that we’re a nice, easygoing
community where you can walk to all communities.”
If elected, he feels it’s time to revisit Pemberton’s Official
”I really believe that people in the community need to get together in public
meetings and set a clear picture of what they want to see the community develop
into,” Craddock said.
Beyond these three, there is not a clear picture of who will be
seeking election in November. Councillor Jennie Helmer has confirmed she will
not seek re-election, while two-term Councilor Mark Blundell has deferred his
decision to a later date.
Dave Walden, currently the representative for Pemberton and
chairman on the Howe Sound Board of Education, confirmed in an interview that
he will be running again.
The nomination period officially runs from Sept. 30
Oct. 10 at 4 p.m.
All candidates, mayor or otherwise, will be running at the same
time as a referendum that will decide an important part of Pemberton’s future.
For months, the Village of Pemberton has been looking into a
proposal to expand its boundaries. The current proposal could see the VOP
incorporate 20 new areas that lie within Electoral Area C of the
Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. They include the Rutherford Creek Power
Plant along Highway 99; residential properties located along Airport Road
between Highway 99 and the Pemberton Airport; and the Pemberton Creek
watershed, an area the VOP is considering for a new power plant.
It’s estimated that the boundary expansion could bring around
$200,000 in yearly tax revenue to a “tax poor” community.
Some, however, have criticized the boundary expansion, saying
that the process is being moved along too fast.
Pemberton resident Dave Hobson, for example, said in a letter
to council that the Sub-Regional Planning Study made flawed predictions when it
said Pemberton will swell to 11,700 inhabitants in 2026.
He said those projections are a “stab in the dark” and based on
a time when there was little progress in creating employee-restricted housing
The boundary expansion proposal will go to a vote on Nov. 15, the same day as the civic elections.