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Province grants Pemberton planning money

Will allow for comprehensive sewer, water capacity studies

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The Village of Pemberton (V0P) has received $20,000 from the province’s Infrastructure Planning Grant Program. The total represents two $10,000 designated grants to address the future needs of the community’s sewer system and water supply.

"There is little doubt Pemberton is experiencing growth, anticipated to continue well into the future," said Joan McIntyre, MLA for the riding of West Vancouver-Garibaldi. "In order for the village to meet the needs of tomorrow, it is imperative to prepare today. By prudently investing in water planning studies, Pemberton will have potential to offer future residents the sewer and water systems they require at a reasonable cost while being responsible to the environment."

The first grant will study the sanitary sewer collection system's capacity. The timing of this grant is very positive, as the VOP has just entered an agreement to provide sewer service to the Pemberton Industrial Park. The study will examine the current collection system's capacity and will look at ways to ensure the system has the capacity to meet future developmental requirements. As well, the study can produce technical and costing information on potential upgrades.

With the fate of the community’s second well up in the air, the second grant, to study water capacity, is also a welcome source of funding. At the VOP’s last council meeting, David Allen, director of development services, gave the unfortunate news that secondary drilling efforts had proven fruitless and hyrdogeologists are advising the VOP to consider rehabilitating a previous well site. Allen further said the project would require additional study before it could be decided whether or not to proceed in that direction.

Allen, who is currently on vacation, was not available to comment on whether or not the grant will be used for this purpose.

The grant provides for a range of study similar to that of the sewer capacity study grant, allowing for cost analysis and technical information to be researched in addition to the development of a long-range planning strategy.

Currently, the VOP’s population is approximately 2,500. Boundary expansion, a mandate of many of the members of the current municipal government, could see that number escalate dramatically. To date, there has been no formal request for boundary expansion, but the Pemberton Valley, which is home to Mt. Currie and much of Electoral Area C, has a combined population nearing 7,000.

While not specifically tied to other monies, the grant will likely help the VOP in its quest for additional funds to improve the community’s infrastructure.

"It can only assist future upgrades," said Sheen Fraser, deputy clerk for the VOP.

Fraser said that the planning reports will prove the need and help make the case for future infrastructure funding.

That funding could come as early as this fall. The provincial government recently entered an agreement with the federal government to create the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund. The fund will make $102 million in combined funding available to B.C.’s cash-strapped, rural communities.

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