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VOP strikes new airport committee

Business and political stakeholders from across the region to determine facility’s future



Long the subject of conjecture and speculation, the Pemberton Airport is due to become the topic of thoughtful discussion.

The Village of Pemberton has announced that it will establish an Airport Consultative Committee. The role of the committee will be to review all relevant airport issues and provide advice to the VOP council.

The VOP has extended invitations to sit on the committee to a variety of stakeholders including MLA Joan McIntyre, MP Chuck Strahl, representatives from the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Mount Currie Band council. Non-politicians invited to sit at the table include representatives form both Tourism Whistler and Tourism Pemberton. David Brownlie, executive vice-president and COO of Whistler-Blackcomb, rounds out the group. Local governments and business organizations have until Aug. 25 to forward their appointments to the VOP.

The RMOW appointed deputy administrator Bill Barratt as its representative on the committee at its Aug. 15 council meeting.

"This is the beginning of the committee. (The structure) will allow for people to join in. Eventually it could expand to include user groups," said Sheena Fraser, deputy clerk for the VOP.

"The first thing that needs to be decided will be governance," said Fraser. "Once you’ve decided how to govern it then you can market it."

Fraser points out the management of the airport could take many forms, including from an airport authority to contracting out to YVR. The preferred option may end up being a combination of options, but that will depend on the will of the committee.

According to the terms of reference, the committee will be responsible to review the role and function the airport now provides and to assess a longer term vision for the airport taking into account infrastructure, financial and community requirements. In addition to this type of strategic planning the committee will be responsible to assessing development issues, such as environmental impact, in future planning.

Under the guidance of two co-chairs – yet unnamed – serving terms of one-year, the ACC will meet at least quarterly.

"We hope the first meeting will be in early September," said Fraser. "But of course, that will depend on availability of the committee members."

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