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Pemberton takes former councilor, mayoral candidate to court



The Village of Pemberton is taking a former councillor and a mayoral candidate to court, alleging violations of local and provincial laws on their property near the Pemberton Industrial Park.

A petition to the B.C. Supreme Court alleges that Martin Dahinden and Michelle Beauregard, residents of 7335 Industrial Way, are violating the Local Government Act by constructing a structure on the property without a development permit.

The village also alleges that the owners have not obtained a building permit and are acting in contravention of Bylaw 476, known better as the "Unsightly Premises Bylaw."

The petition, filed in court on Sept. 30, does not specify what's being built there illegally and officials with the Village of Pemberton refused to comment.

A listing on the RE/MAX website for Whistler and Pemberton describes the property as housing a three-bedroom chalet that's 1,100 square feet in size. The home was built in 2003 and listed on the market on Jan. 1, 2008, but it was never sold and it has since become inactive.

The website advertises it as an "affordable live/work opportunity" in the Pemberton Industrial Park, which is widely known as the Business Park. It offered an "ideal" home for a family or tradesperson who needed a workshop, business location or an opportunity to make money from a rental suite.

The village is ordering Dahinden and Beauregard to remove "unsightly material" from the land and to immediately comply with the Building Bylaw as well as requirements for a development permit.

Section 6.5 of the Unsightly Premises Bylaw states that properties can become unsightly if any of the following are found around it in an untidy manner, outside a closed structure or building.

There can be broken fences; materials of any sort strewn, rather than piled on the property in a neat and orderly manner; storage of a vehicle that is not registered and that can no longer operate; furniture stored outside the premises; unused landscaping materials such as dirt piles, discarded planting pots, or even rubbish and trash.

Beauregard was elected to Pemberton council in 2002 and served under Mayor Elinor Warner, who was then serving out her last term. She was an early member of the Winds of Change committee, a partnership between Pemberton and Mount Currie that sought to examine drug- and alcohol-related issues in the area after the alcohol-fuelled beating death of a Mount Currie youth.

While on council Beauregard took a strong stand alongside other Pemberton politicians such as Susie Gimse in preventing the Weyerhauser and CRB Logging companies from logging a hill behind Signal Hill Elementary School. Beauregard now works as an Aboriginal Literacy and Cultural Support Worker at Pemberton Secondary School.

Dahinden, meanwhile, was a candidate for Pemberton Mayor in 2005 but he decided not to actively campaign, instead asking voters to support the three remaining candidates: Jordan Sturdy, Bruce van Mook and Mark Hunter. Dahinden, a sculptor, nevertheless received 13 votes.

Neither could be reached for comment.