Management of the Pemberton and District Recreation Service is set to transfer from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) to the Village of Pemberton.
"It seemed like now is a good time to look at the management of the service," said Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman, citing Village population growth and the fact that the bulk of the area's recreational facilities are situated on Village property as reasons he supports the transfer.
The recreation department— which operates programs at the Pemberton & District Community Centre, the Youth and Senior Centre, Pemberton Meadows and Signal Hill fields—will continue to be funded and governed by SLRD Electoral Area C and the Village, without any real changes to taxes or services for area residents.
"It doesn't change anything to taxpayers in terms of access to services or costs," explained Richman.
The department operates out of the Pemberton & District Community Centre and will continue to do so going into the future.
Richman stressed that the SLRD has been an effective manager and partner over the years.
"What it isn't about is a lack of performance or anything like that," said Richman.
"The SLRD has done an amazing job administering recreation, and the recreation staff has done an equally amazing job delivering recreation to our community."
Going forward, he said the Village will look to carry out its vision for its recreation lands, a parcel of land that was donated by the Den Duyf family that sits off Pemberton Farm Road East, along the forthcoming Friendship Trail.
So far, the site has been filled in preparation for two new soccer fields.
Richman said the plan is to get started on one of two fields this summer.
"We're looking at trying to get one soccer field built this year and have a second one built next year."
In a press release, SLRD Area C Director Russell Mack indicated he is supportive of the transfer, saying that the SLRD looks forward "to working with the Village to ensure that this important shared service continues to deliver excellent recreation programming and amenities to valley residents."
"We've come a long way since the Recreation Service was first established, and we're proud of what we've accomplished," said Mack.
The next step is for SLRD and Village staff to draft a management agreement that will set out the terms and conditions of the transfer.
According to the release, both the Village and the SLRD have agreed that its terms will "provide employment certainty for Recreation Service employees, and all recreation assets currently within the Recreation Service will remain unchanged."
Day of the Devils
The third annual Day of the Devils fundraiser was held on Saturday, April 28, bringing in over $22,000 for Pemberton Secondary School athletes.
Organized by the Pemberton Red Devils Alumni Association, a golf tournament at Big Sky Golf Club was followed by a dinner and dance at the high school, where there was a silent and live auction.
"Our kids kind of depend on (fundraising) to be able to play," said Krista Walden, athletics director at Pemberton Secondary School.
"We really appreciate the support."
The money goes towards paying tournament costs, which can rack up quickly.
Pemberton Secondary School has 15 various teams, and athletes are often forced to travel to play other schools.
"It's tough for us in Pemberton, because the way the zones are set up, we're lumped in with the Lower Mainland," said Walden, who stressed the need for student athletes to play other teams.
"The kids can't get better unless they play. You can practice all you want. It's the game experience that really counts."
Last year's Day of the Devils event raised $25,000. Of that, $10,000 went to tournament entry fees, and another $8,000 to travel-related costs; $7,000 was set aside for a bus fund.
Mayor Mike Richman, who has coached basketball in the community for the past 12 years, agreed that tournament costs can add up quickly.
Currently he coaches the high school's junior basketball team in addition to its senior girls basketball team.
"Last year, (for) our senior girls, I think we had one home game," he said.
"We travelled for everything—from Agassiz to Chilliwack. You name it."
This year, the senior girls thrived, making provincials, where they eventually finished eighth in their division.
The team spent several days at the tournament, said Richman.
Thankfully, funds from the Day of the Devils event—along with contributions from Area C and Pemberton Women's Institute—covered expenses.
"The whole trip was basically covered—travel, hotel, food, tournament cost. It was mind blowing," he said.
The Day of the Devils fundraiser was "another great example of Pemberton stepping up," said Richman. "Having $22,000 going to our sports program is huge."