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Pemberton residents angry over Ravens Crest decision

Priorities questioned after council announces it won't process project



Pemberton residents' frustration with the pace of change and what many see as a lost opportunity boiled over during a council meeting Tuesday.

Packed in a space the size of a bedroom away from the council's usual chambers, 43 residents peppered council members during a heated question time that went for an hour.

At the heart of their frustration was a recommendation from interim administrator Bob Wilson that Pemberton council not proceed any further with the Ravens Crest development application, at least for the time being. The development would add to Pemberton's tax base and residents took the Ravens Crest rejection as an indication council was insensitive to their housing and recreational needs.

Bo Jarvis, Nathan McLeod and several other speakers spoke about the fact that they were thinking of leaving with their young families.

"I'm telling you I'm going to have to leave Pemberton— my wife has had enough— and I don't want to leave," said Jarvis.

McLeod kept asking if the council had heard what the community was telling them and then briefly confronted Mayor Warner after the meeting.

"Have you heard that the community is not happy and we want some action?"

The Ravens Crest proposal is for 351 residential units, cash and 32 acres for the development of a recreational facility. However, the land is outside the Village of Pemberton boundaries, in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. The plans call for the residential development to hook up to Pemberton's water and sewer systems and for the village boundaries to be expanded to include Ravens Crest.

But Wilson's recommendation was that council not proceed with a boundary expansion and development approval at the same time and that consideration of the development wait until a review of the official community plan is completed.

As well, Pemberton is already dealing with a substantial residential development on the Pemberton Benchlands.

In response to questions about council's priorities Councillor Mark Blundell tried to explain that they had been occupied with projects, like the new the sewer system (which comes online March 1) and a day care facility, which are services the community has to have.

Mayor Warner also talked about how difficult it was to generate money for the kinds of facilities everyone wants when the tax base is still only 2,000 people.

Mayor Elinor Warner encouraged the crowd to be just as vigilant in their actions with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, particularly Area C director Susan Gimse, because it is just as much a part of the Ravens Crest decision and boundary extension negotiations as the council.

Warner also referred several times to a letter she has from the provincial government instructing her not to pursue piecemeal boundary extensions. Several speakers rebutted this claim by pointing out that the council had already made several exceptions and taken land from the SLRD Area C and included it inside Pemberton without addressing the OCP.

But the council collectively indicated that Ravens Crest was too big to be another piecemeal addition to Pemberton.