Pemberton is one of the fastest growing towns in the province, but that’s not entirely why the Village of Pemberton is pursuing a boundary extension. Although Mayor Jordan Sturdy would welcome new developments planned for the hillside area, the VOP has various reasons why different parcels of land were included in the map presented at the April 15 council meeting.
“We’re at the very beginning of a multistage process and this map is where we started,” said Sturdy.
According to Sturdy, they started on Pemberton’s south side with the concrete batch plant in the Rutherford area, and an application to turn that area into an industrial park.
“We’d like to see that in our boundaries, to make sure the park is complementary to the existing one in Pemberton as opposed to competitive, and that can only happen if it’s within our jurisdiction,” he said.
He also said there was a benefit to including the Rutherford power plant in municipal boundaries, as the town would receive tax revenues. Currently those revenues go to the province, Sturdy said, and are redistributed throughout the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, rather than to Electoral Area C where the power plant resides.
But as Pemberton’s tax assessments increase, so has Pemberton’s contribution to the SLRD and Sturdy believes in the end there will be no impact on the regional district. “That’s my preliminary assessment of the issues, but we’ll know more as the process moves forward and we refer to the regional district to identify taxation issues and other issues.”
Another area included in the extension is the lands along Airport Road to the southeast of Pemberton. According to Sturdy, the airport and road are both municipal responsibilities, but taxes from adjoining properties go to the regional district rather than Village of Pemberton.
“That road is maintained by the Village of Pemberton, the water and sewage services along the road and connecting all those properties are maintained by the Village of Pemberton. If we supply those services, then we feel the properties adjacent should contribute to the community, and that would include the Big Sky Golf and Country Club.”
Another parcel of land the VOP would like to add is the Pemberton Creek Watershed, which contributes to Pemberton’s water supply. “It just makes sense to have our water supply in our jurisdiction,” said Sturdy.
The remainder of the boundary extension includes parcels of land owned by various property owners in the hillside area, including Ravens Crest and Lil’wat First Nation. Sturdy believes significant development will occur in the area over the next 10 to 20 years, with Pemberton’s population expected to double in 30 years.