Four out of five Spud Valley residents agree — the Pemberton Music Festival was a good thing for the community.
That's according to the Village of Pemberton's Locals Survey, the results of which were presented to council during its meeting on Tuesday night, Sept. 2.
The survey, which was hosted online between July 23 and Aug. 29, garnered more than 220 responses, and 83 per cent of the surveys returned indicated an "excellent" or "good" overall perception of the revived festival. Although dozens of responses came from individuals living in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and Lil'wat Nation, nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents identified as Village of Pemberton residents, enough to be considered a representative sample, according to a staff report.
"After reading all of the comments, it looks as though the community sees its potential and are keen to work with (event producers HUKA Entertainment) to realize success for Pemberton residents, businesses and the festival," communications coordinator Jill Brooksbank said while presenting the results.
Council members said the survey results weren't far off what they've been hearing anecdotally around town since the festival.
"I'd say that's pretty accurate. I think the general feeling has been quite positive," said acting mayor Mike Richman. "Overall, the community was pleased with the way the event went off."
Among some other highlights from the survey results, 79 per cent of those responding said there was adequate outreach and pre-event information available about the festival, while 94 per cent said they had no issues accessing municipal services when the event was taking place July 17 to 20. Other comments received through the surveys suggested that residents were much more satisfied with traffic management and site clean-up compared to the previous festival in 2008.
However, not all feedback was positive. Some business owners have commented that they did not receive much in the way of increased business during the festival weekend as hoped. A report from the Pemberton Chamber of Commerce detailing its members' feedback surrounding the event is expected to be finalized by the end of the month and shared with the village.
Brooksbank noted that a common theme amongst complaints received through the village's survey came from Pemberton Plateau, with overcrowded parking and noise issues being the main issues. Plateau resident Margaret Riley, whose letter detailing her displeasure with noise levels before, during and after the festival was part of Tuesday's agenda package, also appeared at the meeting to voice her concerns to council directly.
"I could see the festival from my back deck. I didn't have to attend it; it attended me," said Riley. "The noise was horrendous... I don't know how you expect people to live like that."
All feedback received by the village will be forwarded to HUKA Entertainment for review.
Members of village staff indicated that they have remained in contact with HUKA officials almost daily since the end of the festival, and added that a debriefing with company representatives and other stakeholder agencies will hopefully take place before the end of the month.
Tuesday's meeting, the first since July, saw some notable changes among senior staff members at the council table.
Former chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland left his position last month to take on a similar role in Qualicum Beach. Manager of administrative services Sheena Fraser will remain as acting CAO until Sailland's replacement is hired.
Tuesday's meeting was also the last one with Caroline Lamont as manager of development services. She has accepted a new Squamish-based position in the private sector.
Richman noted that the search for candidates to replace Sailland and Lamont remains ongoing, though he could not provide any further details.