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Village of Pemberton council attendance records go public

Council briefs: Another recreational cannabis shop application; second quarter update; Pemberton Barn Dance funding

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Village of Pemberton (VOP) council received a full account of council attendance at its July 30 regular council meeting.

The report—which is the first of its kind for the VOP and was requested by Councillor Ted Craddock earlier this summer—shows that Coun. Amica Antonelli has missed the most meetings so far.

Since this council began its term in November 2018, Antonelli has missed 10 meetings in total (three regular council meetings, four in-camera meetings, and three Committee of the Whole meetings).

The report also states that VOP Mayor Mike Richman has attended all such meetings and public hearings to date.

But in an email to Pique, Antonelli disputed the tally, saying that the "report staff has written is inaccurate."

"The mayor has been absent several times since last October, which is not reported for some reason," wrote Antonelli, adding that she and Coun. Leah Noble were recently the only council attendees at an elected officials forum on emergency management that was not counted in the reckoning.

"A more accurate depiction of attendance is that I have missed one more day than the others," wrote Antonelli. "I think it is really unfortunate that staff have released a report to the public which is inaccurate."

Typically, Committee of the Whole, regular council meetings, and in camera meetings take place on the same day, meaning that if you miss one day, you effectively miss three meetings.

Antonelli, who works as a planner with the Resort Municipality of Whistler, said she has only missed one meeting due to work obligations.

Whistler council often holds its regular council meetings on the same days as the VOP.

"There is actually very little overlap between the two organizations," said Antonelli.

"My reasons for missing the other meetings are personal and I don't care to share."

Antonelli added that she has still attended the majority of meetings.

"I am 100 [per cent] certain that when the residents of Pemberton voted in a woman with a young family and a career, they expected me to attend the majority of meetings, but would understand should I miss a few," she wrote.

Reached by Pique after the regular council meeting, Mayor Mike Richman said that he has, in fact, attended all of the meetings, but clarified that he attended one electronically rather than in person, as is indicated in the report.

"[The report] was accurate in the sense that I have not missed any meetings, but I flagged the fact that that one should be noted as an electronic presence as opposed to being in house," said Richman.

The report also states that Coun. Noble has missed three meetings (one regular council meeting, one in camera meeting, and one committee of the whole); Coun. Ted Craddock missed two (one regular council meeting and one special meeting); and Coun. Ryan Zant missed three (one regular meeting, one in-camera meeting, and one Committee of the Whole).

RECREATIONAL CANNABIS SHOP APPLICATION

VOP council also voted to support the issuance of a cannabis retail licence for Hemptation Cannabis during its July 30 meeting.

The proponent has applied for a licence from the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB), and support of the municipality is necessary for the application to move forward.

The potential business would be located at 109-7433 Frontier Street.

However, the business might never see the light of day, as council has already supported two LCRB applications, and the VOP's retail cannabis bylaw states there can be no more than two pot shops in the community at a given time.

In November 2018, council voted to support the owners of the Pemberton Hotel's application to open a shop in their building. And in March 2019, it supported an application from Mark Mendonca and Todd Mumford to open an outlet at 3-1366 Aster Street.

"If either of the [first two] do not get approval provincially—or for whatever reason do not go through—then this third application is in queue for one of the two spots," said Richman.

SECOND QUARTER UPDATES

VOP council also received second-quarter updates from its various departments at the meeting.

The reports to council show that development services had a busy quarter (April 1 to June 30), issuing building permits for seven single-family dwellings, eight single-family dwellings with suites, and three industrial buildings.

In total, the value of construction represented $18,365,836, with $166,257 in permit fees.

The VOP's operations department was also busy with regular maintenance projects and some small projects over the quarter.

The recreation department—which was officially transferred from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District to the VOP this year—saw an uptick in total registrations (from 473 to 663) in the second quarter of 2019, compared to the same period last year.

The VOP's volunteer fire department responded to 148 incidents in the quarter, an increase of 56 incidents over 2018. Members also engaged in a total of 19 training sessions, representing a total of 53 hours of work.

"The two most striking reports were from development and fire rescue," said Richman. "Fire rescue is showing a significant increase in calls, so that definitely stood out. As well, development services has got a lot of activity."

FUNDING REQUEST

VOP Council also considered a funding request for the Pemberton Barn Dance during its July 30 meeting.

It decided to support the organizers of the Pemberton Barn Dance—the Pemberton Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Pemberton—with a $2,500 grant, up from $1,500 in 2017 and 2018.

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