News » Whistler

school plan

With less than three weeks until school is to resume, and no resolution to the Pemberton sewage situation in sight, Whistler has begun looking at alternative class rooms for its high school students. Mayor Ted Nebbeling says the community has to jump in "to make sure the kids don’t suffer." "I think we would be remiss if we didn’t have a contingency plan," Nebbeling says. "I think Whistler has enough space. The community centre next to the Myrtle Philip School could be available to some of the 200 Whistler students." Nebbeling says he hopes the plan is not needed but "we are so close to the school year and nobody is budging." The new Pemberton Secondary School should be completed in time for the first day of school, on Sept. 5, but the Village of Pemberton is refusing to issue an occupancy permit because the increased sewage produced by the school would exceed the village’s permitted discharge. There is no funding to upgrade the sewage treatment system. The school is apparently hooked up to the village sewer system but a plug or valve is blocking the line. An attempt to use the system backed up into the school causing some damage. The school board has moved equipment and portables from the old school to the new one, eliminating the old school as a possible interim solution until the sewage issue is resolved. The board is now threatening to sue the village if it doesn’t allow the school to open. School board chair Don Wilson said Tuesday no alternative plans have been discussed. Told of Whistler’s plans he replied: "That’s the first time I’ve heard about that." School board members were to have met with provincial representatives in Vancouver Aug. 17. Concerned Pemberton parents were planning to meet next week to discuss alternative education plans if no progress was made at the Aug. 17 meeting. A number of parents in Whistler and Pemberton are concerned about their children missing valuable class time because of the deadlock. "The senior kids in particular really suffer. They need every credit, every minute they can get in a classroom," one parent said.