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Pemberton frustrated by SLRD ‘obfuscation’ over Sunstone Ridge



Pemberton council's exasperation was clear this week as it wrangled with issues related to the Sunstone Ridge development planned for the Pemberton Hillside.

Council entertained a delegation from Andrew Beaird and Brian Young of Ravens Crest Developments Ltd. at its April 20 meeting. Ravens Crest is one of three partners in Sunstone Ridge, a consortium that seeks to place a major neighbourhood on the Hillside, an area about three kilometres east of the Village of Pemberton. The preliminary plan forsees 1,352 units on a 270-hectare parcel of the Hillside.

Beaird and Young spoke to council because Ravens Crest is asking the village to consider servicing the lands with sewer and water works, according to a report from EABB Planning Solutions.

Sunstone Ridge submitted a preliminary Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP) to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District for its Dec. 14 meeting. It has since submitted two more, and the board has rejected all three, Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy said.

Sturdy made his frustration palpable at the council meeting.

"I'm very disappointed that at the (regional board) table, we have not been able to advance the terms of reference for a Neighbourhood Concept Plan," he said. "I haven't seen any concern particularly about the terms of reference themselves at the regional district table, none of that has been part of the discussion when asked if there's any changes proposed or suggested.

"There just seems to be obfuscation, no ability to move this process forward, but it needs to be a community discussion."

Without a Neighbourhood Concept Plan in place, Sturdy worried that Pemberton would be putting the "cart before the horse" in deciding on whether to service the Sunstone lands.

Councillor Lisa Ames agreed with Sturdy's frustration over the NCP but said the village ought to have a discussion over whether it should service the Sunstone property.

Council ultimately decided to send the issue back to staff to assess the impacts and costs of sewage treatment and water service, and have the developer billed for staff time spent on the file.

Other items covered at the meeting included Slow Food Cycle Sunday, an annual event that aims to raise awareness of the importance of agriculture in the Pemberton Valley.

Planned for Aug. 15, it's a bike ride through Pemberton farmland that gives riders opportunities to see and taste the bounty of the valley's soil.

Pemberton council discussed whether it's possible to extend the ride outside the Pemberton Meadows area and into town. Sturdy suggested the possibility of putting the registration booth in town and perhaps starting the ride at the park 'n' ride location near the village offices, instead of its usual start point at the old Pemberton Community Centre.

"I'd personally like to see it in town so we're not just getting everybody driving through and then looking at what is involved in creating a registration area and having an official start and parking," he said.

Sturdy went on to say that staff could look at arranging a partner to oversee registration for the Slow Food Cycle, perhaps the Rotary Club or BC Rail Properties, in an effort to "bring a little more of an atmosphere to town itself."