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Pemberton SOFI report released

Council briefs: SLRD amendment backed; water system upgrade; Pemby fest money allocated

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Seven VOP employees took home over $75,000 in salary in 2016 according to the Statement of Financial Information (SOFI) received by council on June 20.

Chief administrative officer Nikki Gilmore led the way with $125,805 and was joined by manager of corporate services Sheena Fraser ($99,493), manager of operations and development Timothy Harris ($90,274), fire chief Robert Grossman ($89,534), lead hand and fire officer Cameron Adams ($88,084), manager of finance and administration Lena Martin ($85,614) and public works supervisor Jeff Westlake ($75,166). The group also incurred $10,194 in expenses for benfits, travel and group training, with $4,268 coming from Gilmore.

Council accounted for $78,041 as a whole, with Mayor Mike Richman earning $25,913 and each councillor taking home $13,032 apiece. Council also incurred $10,373 in expenses.

The VOP also released its list of suppliers receiving aggregate payments of over $25,000 in the last year, with 30 such payments being made to 29 different suppliers.

The complete report is available at www.pemberton.ca.

Council backs SLRD amendment change to growth strategy

VOP council approved the SLRD changing a proposed minor amendment to its growth strategy bylaw into a major amendment.

Gilmore said the SLRD opted to make the amendment a major one after receiving letters from Garibaldi at Squamish (GAS) developers and the Squamish Nation. Major amendments require a public hearing to be held.

The proposed amendment, which would limit community growth, is being made with an eye to halting the proposed GAS project.

"Let's do this thoroughly and completely and have the public hearing to make sure the amendment sticks," Richman said.

Soda ash system currently being installed

The Village of Pemberton is currently installing a soda ash system to treat the alkalinity and low pH of its drinking water at a cost of roughly $560,000.

The VOP has received a grant from the provincial Water Reserves and Community Works Gas Tax Funds and the work is not expected to result in a rise in utility rates.

The system is expected to cost $45,000 to run annually and will be included in future water service budgets.

The VOP will add soda ash to the water, circulate it through the system, and test the water until pH levels settle between 8.5 and 9.5. The system will then need to run for one to two weeks to properly distribute the soda ash through the system.

"It's going to take about a year to fully optimize it all," Gilmore said. "We'll continue to provide updates as we get through each phase."

Even with the system, Vancouver Coastal Health still recommends residents flush their drinking water as individual households' fixtures may have already corroded and result in increased lead levels on first draw.

Pemberton Festival agricultural funding to be distributed

The cancellation of the 2017 Pemberton Music Festival was a disappointment for many music fans, but one positive legacy of the festival will go on for one more year.

Beginning in 2015, organizer HUKA Entertainment collected $3 from each ticket sold to redistribute to groups in the community through the Pemberton Music Festival Community Fund Committee. As a result of the 2015 festival, 21 groups were able to divvy up roughly $100,000. Fifteen groups received funding after the 2016 festival.

The VOP and HUKA initially determined the fund granting policy, and representatives from the VOP, Squamish Lillooet Regional District Area C, Lil'wat Nation, Stewardship Pemberton Society and Pemberton Farmers Institute make up the committee. Forty per cent of the proceeds were set aside for "agricultural enhancement priorities," with a new Pemberton Music Festival-Agricultural Enhancement Fund set to be established this year to distribute those funds.

Richman said the hope was to build up the amount with future festivals before beginning to distribute those funds.

New fire truck arrived in October

Pemberton Fire Rescue (PFR) received a brand-new piece of equipment last year.

A new triple-combination pumper truck arrived and was put into action last October.

The truck replaced Engine 1 as the lead vehicle and put PFR into compliance with Fire Underwriters Survey recommendations made in 2008.

According to PFR, the truck "allows for improved safety on emergency scenes, the transportation of a larger water supply and allows for up to six firefighters to respond in one vehicle."

If trends continue, the truck will be kept busy. PFR responded to 267 calls, up four per cent from 2015. The service devoted over 1,300 man hours responding to calls and over 11,700 to training, and attending public events and information sessions.

VOP to post request for quote regarding new soccer field

As the VOP has started its information-gathering process regarding a new soccer field in the community, it has received a wide range of numbers.

In its early stages, VOP staff received estimates from $330,000 to $1.6 million depending on the various traits of the field, such as grass or artificial turf. Gilmore recommended posting a request for quote (RFQ), which council voted to allow.

"Staff are stuck at this point and we feel that that would be the next best approach to see if this is a project we can explore for our rec site," she said. "We would leave (the RFQ) open for about a month and see what we get."

VOP documents to add Lil'wat acknowledgement

There will be a new addition to VOP documents and the municipal government website in the near future.

Council voted to acknowledge the village's location on unceded Lil'wat Nation territory and to honour the group's history, language and culture.

"It's long overdue and a great gesture," Coun. James Linklater said.

Lil'wat Nation chief Dean Nelson was in attendance for the vote.

Council supports harvest share box

The Pemberton Creek Community Garden Society (PCCGS) will help feed people in the community.

Council voted to grant the organization $850 from the Community Enhancement Fund to build a harvest share box and shade pergola project.

"We do often have extra produce but we have many individuals that come in and harvest from the gardens that aren't actually members," Molli Reynolds of the PCCGS said. "If we have extra harvest, we'll put it out there and inform people that these are gardens that are maintained by individuals."

Members of the Men's Shed have offered to build the box while community garden members will build the pergola.

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