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Pemberton to get 'web portal' with vital stats

One-stop shop website launched by Chamber

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The Pemberton & District Chamber of Commerce is set to build a web portal that will serve as one-stop shop for the area's vital stats.

"Our goal is to pull in as much information as we can for the whole area," explained Graham Turner, president of the chamber.

The information is out there, but it can be challenging to find given the numerous governmental entities in the area, he said.

The web portal will present information — like population statistics and trends, employment and income data, and tourism numbers — in an easy-to-access, appealing way. The hope is that it will add to Pemberton and its surrounding area's appeal — as both a place to set up a business or to move to.

"Real estate agents might say, 'hey, here's a great resource. If you want to learn more about Pemberton you can start here,'" said Turner.

The portal's content was chosen by an advisory board made up of representatives from the Lil'wat Nation, the Village of Pemberton, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, and the real estate sector.

The first phase of the project is already underway and is expected to be unveiled this summer. It was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the province's BC Rural Dividend Fund.

Open to rural governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations, the fund offers grants of up to $10,000 for rural communities to "develop projects to stabilize their economies and create long-term local employment."

With Pemberton seeing growth and interest (property value rose by over 20 per cent this year), Turner feels that its time for the chamber to take a more active role in economic development.

"Our goal is to have this live on the chamber website," said Turner. "It will have value for all our members as the chamber steps into economic development."

Turner also envisions the web portal as a place where local governments will update the public on important statistics and information.

"We want to make this a living, breathing thing," he said.

On Feb. 27, the Rural Dividend Fund awarded the chamber a second $10,000 grant to build a second phase of the portal.

This phase will incorporate weather cams, social-media feeds, and "quirky facts," and seek to balance out the census style data "with local personality and colour."

The second phase is set to be completed Dec. 31.

This could include fun facts, said Turner, like how many stoplights are in Pemberton (one), or estimations of how many potatoes are grown in the Pemberton Valley.

It will be designed to showcase what makes the area unique.

"It would bring in some more fun facts and life (to the site)... We want to engage community members in the facts... things that give the flavour of Pemberton," said Turner.

Pemberton's Custom Fit Online has been selected to develop the web portal, one of six development and design agencies that applied for the contract.

"(Custom Fit Online) has done some great work in the area and are very data focused. It was a really tight race," said Turner.

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