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Pemberton to get late night bus service

Village council approves $2,000 for transit pilot project



The Village of Pemberton approved $2,000 at its Tuesday council meeting to go toward a transit pilot project that will permit late night service to Whistler.

In a late item added to the agenda, council received a request for decision from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) that would see it put the money toward a service that would run from August 12 to September 11 and pick up service workers from Whistler at 11 p.m.

The regional district is expected to contribute $1,000 to the project. The estimated cost to BC Transit is $3,250.

"The purpose of the pilot project is to gauge actual uptake on the long requested late night Commuter service and connecting Local service," Peter DeJong, the SLRD's transportation and risk manager, said in a report to Pemberton council.

"The timing of these trips is intended to serve shift workers getting off in Whistler at 11 p.m. and Pemberton/Mount Currie area residents wanting to take advantage of entertainment options in Whistler.

"It would also enable Whistler residents to spend an evening in Pemberton at local dining and entertainment establishments and for local restaurant and bar patrons to get home by midnight."

As it stands, there is no option for Pemberton residents to get back and forth for a night in Whistler or to get home after a late shift except for driving. That leaves many people in the community having to hitchhike along the highway just to get home.

Councillor Susie Gimse initially moved a motion to support the pilot project so long as there was money available in an existing six-month operating agreement that the Village has entered into with BC Transit. Councillor Ted Craddock, the head of the Village's finance committee, said he thinks the money is already available in the agreement. Council subsequently voted to support the project.


Agricultural Land Commission agrees to change MOU for independent school


It may not have worked for the Pemberton Festival, but the Agricultural Land Commission showed a little more flexibility when it came to putting an independent private school in Pemberton.

The ALC, which regulates agricultural land throughout the province, has agreed that the Village can name another applicant, other than the GEMS school, on a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

For council, it was a curious decision, given that the commission only recently refused to alter a MOU around the Pemberton Music Festival to allow a promoter other than Live Nation to hold an annual event.

Caroline Lamont, the Village's manager of development services, said that the commission does not follow precedent when making its decisions. Craddock said it was "ironic" that the commission was more flexible for the independent school than it was for the Pemberton Festival.

That the Village approached the commission for this change after it became clear that the GEMS corporation, which operates private schools in places as varied as London and Dubai, does not currently have the resources to build a new school in Pemberton.

Ravens Crest Developments, the business acting on behalf of property owners on a Hillside tract about four-kilometres from Pemberton's town centre, is nevertheless pushing for zoning that will allow a 250,000 square foot school that would house approximately 600 to 1,000 students at capacity, with a permanent staff of 165 people.