Village of Pemberton (VOP) council directed staff to move forward with a grant application that would see the construction of a multi-use bike lane on Pemberton Farm Road East.
The section of path would be used as a connector for the Friendship Trail, which connects the VOP with Lil'wat Nation.
The path would also run past the VOP's new recreation ground.
"Of high importance for us is to make sure—as we develop this recreational area for communities—that there is a safe, non-vehicular route [available]," said VOP Mayor Mike Richman, following the meeting.
Staff presented two options for consideration—without lighting, for a total cost of $294, 276, and with lighting, for a cost of $537,000.
Council also heard about an option for the VOP to build a more modest bike path as part of needed roadwork repair project. But council ultimately saw this option as prohibitively expensive.
The area in question was identified during development of the VOP's draft Cycling Network Plan, which was informed by community consultation. As part of the grant application requirements, there would be a barrier seperating the path and the road.
The grant in question—known as the BC Active Transportation Infrastructure Grant—cost shares up to a maximum of $500,000 per project.
It covers 70 per cent of project costs for communities with a population of 15,000 or less, and 80 per cent of project costs for those working in partnership with an Indigenous community.
Richman said that the VOP discussed putting in a joint application with the Lil'wat Nation, but the nation was unable to, as it is requesting funding from the fund for a different project. And entitities are unable to apply to the fund multiple times in the same cycle.
"It was actually staff at Lil'wat Nation that brought [this grant opportunity] to our attention," said Richman.
VOP also passed a resolution to allocate its matching contribution (of $92,000) via the VOP's Gas Tax Community Works Funds, as well as send a correspondence to the SLRD to request it to contribute.
Also, given the fact that the connector in question connects the Friendship Trail, council passed an additional resolution to send a letter to the SLRD to see if funds could be accessed via the Sea to Sky Trails fund.
Wellness Almanac funding
While noting its appreciation of the work it produces, council effectively decided not to increase its funding to the Wellness Almanac. "I think the Wellness Almanac is great and I really support it continuing on," said Councillor Amica Antonelli. "[But] I can't help but think of all the other needs in the community."
The daily blog, which highlights events and issues in the Pemberton valley, is seeking to expand its coverage and hire an Indigenous content creator. It was requesting the VOP—along with the SLRD and Lil'wat Nation—to increase its contribution from $4,000 each to $7,500 each
This would result in a total budget of $22,500 for the organization, up from its current $12,000 budget.
The Wellness Almanac is a project of the Winds of Change Steering Committee, an initiative designed to build healthy relationships and respect between the people of the Lil'wat Nation, N'Quatqua, Pemberton and the SLRD.
Council ultimately passed a resolution referring the item to the Pemberton Valley Utilities and Services Committee for funding consideration along with council's feedback, recommending that the funding increase not be granted.
Natural hazards resolutions
VOP council also gave staff direction on two resolutions for the forthcoming Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) annual meeting, which will be held in Whistler from May 6 to 8.
Staff is seeking council's direction with respect to a draft resolution on provincial funding for dyke upgrades, as well as a draft resolution regarding funding related to regional geohazards.
Council supported a resolution to advocate for "proactive measures for risk management of regional geohazards through the establishment of consistent and regular monitoring" as is, but work-shopped the language around resolution that regards access to money for dyking infrastructure.
Currently, funding opportunities for dyke upgrades through the province require that all upgrades meet specific seismic standards, which bear significant costs and require specific structural fill.
Following the meeting, Richman explained the VOP has run into issues on one dyking project that doesn't meet currently required seismic specifications.
"We sit outside of the high-risk seismic area that Vancouver sits in [and] the funds that are available would not pay for rebuilding that dyke to [the required] seismic rate," he explained.
"So it kind of feels like we're getting stuck in a situation where we're being told to do nothing rather than do something that could protect us for the majority, if not all, of the local small- to medium-size high-water events that we have here."
During his mayor's report, Richman noted that he had two successful meetings with West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country MP Patrick Weiler on Monday, Feb. 10.
Richman said the leaders discussed various issues facing the community, from the lack of available daycare to emergency management and preparation.
Following the meeting, Richman joined Weiler and others at an event organized by the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce in which many of the same themes came up.