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Pemberton Spirit chair resigns

Reasons for Murray's resignation remain a mystery



The spirit of Pemberton needs a new figurehead after the resignation of its Spirit of B.C. chair last Wednesday.

In a letter to the editor of Pique Newsmagazine, former Spirit of B.C. committee chair Michelle Murray writes that she's had a "deflated spirit recently" and that she's resigning her position with the "heaviest of heart."

"Being a part of this committee was one of my greatest and most fun accomplishments," she wrote. "I worked with dedicated volunteers and a committee of unbelievably talented individuals who wished for nothing but the greatest experiences for Pemberton."

Murray's letter is vague on the reasons why she's leaving.
At one point she writes that "wanting nothing but the best for your community should not be a stressful endeavour," while at another she writes that "wishing to create fun festivals and engage the place you live" shouldn't provide an opportunity for "criticism or underhanded attempts at slowing change."

"This is a time to embrace all our Province has to offer surrounding the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games," Murray wrote. "And believe me - if you look, there are so many opportunities for arts and culture, sports, literature and promoting volunteerism; you don't need to look far."

When contacted for an interview last Thursday, Murray agreed to speak to Pique on Friday afternoon. She later retracted that agreement on Friday morning, saying after a meeting with the Spirit of B.C. committee that she signed a confidentiality agreement and is not free to discuss anything about the resignation.

Spirit of B.C. is a program administered through a partnership between the provincial government and 2010 Legacies Now, a non-profit organization that helps build legacy programs throughout British Columbia as a result of hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
There are more than 95 Spirit of B.C. community committees throughout the province that help British Columbians capitalize on opportunities that come out of hosting the 2010 Games.

In Pemberton's case, that has included hosting Pemberton Winterfest, an annual event that since 2004 has showcased mountain culture in the west, according to its website. For two weeks in February, Pemberton is flush with residents and visitors taking part in free, ticketed and pay-as-you-can events such as street hockey, art exhibits and a major street party on Pemberton's main thoroughfare.

Paul Selina will be taking over as interim chair, said Pemberton Winterfest Marketing Director Lizz Kelly in an e-mail. A former president of the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce, he'll oversee a committee that's responsible for Winterfest as well as numerous other events and initiatives leading up to the 2010 Games.

Among other things, the committee is encouraging Pembertonians to apply to be Olympic torchbearers when the flame traverses the valley on Feb. 6, 2010. Anyone interested in participating is encouraged to apply at