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Pemby Fest deemed a success by SLRD

Regional district news: PILT funding reallocated, medical marijuana zoning delayed



Squamish-Lillooet Regional District board members were happy with how things went at the Pemberton Music Festival, which ran July 16-20.

"I heard tremendous things about the organization, about the event itself, and kudos to the organizers and everyone involved," board chair Patricia Heintzman said at the board's regular meeting on July 28.

All the issues that arose from the festival in 2008 — long lines, traffic jams, dust and overflowing porta potties — were taken care of this year.

"I think it was a classy event," said Village of Pemberton director Ted Craddock. "Well run (and) they looked after all the issues.

"I'm looking forward to next year with a bigger and better event."

One of the few complaints organizers heard was concerning the long walk from parking to the campground. Board members also said it would be nice to see a shuttle into Pemberton from the festival, so businesses might see some economic spin-off.

While Squamish saw noticeable spin-off on the Thursday and Friday of the event, Craddock said he would like to see more of that in Pemberton next year.

"I would like a sign (put) up next year: Just continue on to Pemberton. Don't shop here," Craddock joked.

PILT funding reallocated

The annual increases in Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) funding received by the SLRD from BC Hydro will be allocated to northern areas of the region, the board decided Monday.

"The board determined quite a while ago that it wanted to figure out a way to reallocate some of the PILT monies," Heintzman said.

The incremental increase received annually by the board — on average about four per cent — will be allocated to areas most affected by BC Hydro projects, "because essentially that's sort of what PILT is supposed to do," Heintzman said.

The reallocated funds will be split amongst electoral areas A, B and Lillooet until the increases reach a certain threshold.

"I think it really was precipitated by trying to help the northern communities that are a little more challenged economically," Heintzman said, adding that the funds will go towards things like special projects and infrastructure.

"(We're) trying to just reallocate some of that without dramatically impacting our budgets and the tax base throughout the region."

Medical marijuana zoning delayed

Bylaws concerning the zoning of medical marijuana facilities in SLRD electoral areas are returning to first reading following discussions about the parcel sizes of such facilities.

Some board members wondered if the 100-hectare minimum parcel size for medical marijuana facilities was too big. There were also concerns with the public hearing process.

"The idea is that all elected officials get all the information by certain dates (so) they can deliberate fairly on all the information," Heintzman said.

"People came to board members and presented different information and new information, so that actually jeopardized the legitimacy of our public hearings."

New public hearings could be held sometime in September.

The need for new zoning bylaws comes on the heels of proposed changes to federal law restricting people from growing marijuana in their homes or in smaller buildings.

"They've gone to a much more warehouse style." Heintzman said.

"They've basically taken several thousand small licenses and they're boiling it down to a couple hundred massive licenses."

Waldorf rezoning gets second look

A decision on the rezoning application of the Whistler Waldorf School Society has been further delayed following a debate on whether the amendment to the SLRD's Regional Growth Strategy associated with the application should be deemed major or minor.

The school's application involves a complete relocation from its current location on Kirkpatrick Way in Whistler to a parcel of land in the WedgeWoods area.

"You're taking everybody... and moving them to WedgeWoods for school and back. That's major in my opinion," said Area D director Moe Freitag.

The vote on whether to make the amendment major or minor will come at the next regular board meeting on Aug. 25.

"And then (Waldorf) would have to go through that RGS amendment process," Heintzman said.

"A major amendment is a much more onerous process."

Pool fence bylaw passed

After hearing delegations for and against, the SLRD board passed a bylaw requiring all outdoor pools in unincorporated areas within the region to have a fence at least 1.2 metres in height. The phase-in period for existing non-fenced pools to comply with the new bylaw ends October 31, 2015.

SLRD staff doesn't have an exact number of pools affected by the bylaw, but estimates it to be about 20 to 30.

"So it's not like it's applying to hundreds and hundreds of properties, but it would apply to future pools," Heintzman said.