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Pemberton recreation needs queried

Master plan update turned into workshop on community centre



Pemberton and Electoral Area C residents were surprised by the change of format for the May 31 meeting to discuss the community’s recreation needs. The meeting, billed as the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s Recreation Master Plan (RMP) Update, turned into a facilitator-led workshop focusing on establishing a new community centre. Neither a review of the RMP occurred at the meeting nor were copies of the document available for participants to examine.

More than 65 members of the public joined members of the SLRD and Village of Pemberton – partners on the project – to discuss the community’s recreation needs. However, it soon became apparent that what was advertised as a forum was actually a project launch session.

The facilitators, Surrey’s Professional Environmental Recreation Consultants, made a brief presentation to the crowd outlining the evening’s objectives and PERC’s methodology in acquiring data for a final report due in July.

One of those people disappointed with the format of the meeting was valley resident Cam McIvor.

"I was expecting that the RMP created in September 1999 would have been discussed to see if the information inside was still relevant," said McIvor. "The meeting essentially only contemplated the community centre aspect which is only one part of the RMP."

The Pemberton businessman also had some concerns about the worksheets that were handed out at the meeting.

"I feel the questions were there to validate the previous plan that was shot down."

McIvor is referring to a plan to build a community centre that was shelved in April after a counter petition was presented to the VOP and the SLRD.

Although not part of the counter petition project, McIvor did attend some meetings and questioned the value of what was being offered in respect to the cost of building the new centre.

"This is about a community putting all its options on the table and putting down a phased action plan to implement that," he said. "I feel we need to get the Recreation Master Plan updated properly, adopt it, prioritize the community needs and see what tools are able to deliver as many options as possible."

Paul Edgington, administrator for the SLRD, acknowledges that the focus of the meeting was a reaction to community concerns about a community centre. He also believes that an evaluation of the existing Recreation Master Plan may not have been the most valuable use of meeting time.

"The document is a set of standards and terminology and the results of the 1999 prospective survey rather than a document that says, ‘OK, this is our vision, this is how we are going to deliver these particular facilities," explained Edgington.