Village of Pemberton launches comprehensive planning study for Hillside neighbourhood

July 2, 2023 – Coordinated consideration of three separate development proposals should paint clearer picture of ‘how this whole area is going to come together,’ says VOP staff

Long-awaited plans to expand Pemberton’s Hillside neighbourhood are gaining traction, but three separate residential developments proposed for the area still face a long, winding road before developers can break ground.

At a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting on June 20, Village of Pemberton (VOP) mayor and council directed municipal staff to proceed with an accelerated, comprehensive and holistic neighbourhood planning process for the parcels of land surrounding Spud Valley’s existing Sunstone development, adjacent to Den Duyf Park.

In a presentation to the committee, VOP manager of development services Scott McRae identified three “substantial” development applications currently in the works for Hillside.

The municipality has already received applications for the Parkside development, which proposes a new subdivision of 34 single-family residential lots and one commercial lot at 7362 Pemberton Farm Road East; and for Redwoods, where developers are seeking council’s approval to build 134 townhouse units at 7374 Pemberton Farm Road East. The Village also expects to see an application for Sunstone Phase 4 “imminently,” McRae said.

Despite the fact all three developers are at different stages of the application process, it makes sense to review their proposals in a coordinated manner, McRae explained, especially considering all three require amendments to Pemberton’s Official Community Plan (OCP) in order to move forward. “Some of the applications have been with us for some time and other applications we’re still waiting for, but we see an opportunity in moving them all together at the same time, and … addressing these issues all at once rather than three times individually,” he said.

Surveying of the Hillside lands began in the mid-2000s, shortly before the south-facing terrain five kilometres east of downtown Pemberton became the subject of an agreement between private developers and the Lil’wat Nation, on whose unceded territory the land sits. A boundary expansion brought Hillside into the VOP’s fold—and its newly-adopted OCP—in 2011, earmarking the site for future community growth.

That was years before Pemberton’s population started skyrocketing. A recent housing needs report projected the VOP could count 5,295 residents by 2028, if the trend that saw Pemberton’s population rise 32 per cent in just five years—reaching 3,407 as of 2021 from 2,574 in 2016—continues. To accommodate all of those new residents, the report found Pemberton would require 847 new dwellings within the next five years.

But despite well-established demand for housing across the Sea to Sky corridor and extensive studies into Hillside’s development potential over the last two decades, a brief mention of Hillside land use designations in Pemberton’s OCP fails to lay out the specific policies or guidelines municipal officials typically consult when regulating development.

“The general approach of this Hillside Planning Study, which is what we’re calling it tentatively, essentially is going to build on the history that has been presented and is available, take that history and consolidate it into one place, and then look through it and identify areas where [the information] needs to be updated,” McRae explained.

The study aims to inform a policy framework, development permit area guidelines, and, ultimately, a draft neighbourhood plan that would be subject to community consultation before the VOP proceeds with any OCP or rezoning bylaw amendments for Hillside. Meanwhile, the VOP is currently in the midst of a two-year-long OCP Review slated to wrap up in January.

“Staff feel that this is an opportunity to really get a good sense of what is happening on Hillside; looking at each of these applications and then looking at how they will interact as a whole on the Hillside,” McRae explained. “By undertaking this planning study, we’ll have the opportunity to give council a better sense of how this whole area is going to come together.”

The impetus for a comprehensive Hillside Planning Study was a discussion at Pemberton’s April 25 COW meeting, following staff’s report about the proposed Parkside subdivision.

“What I’m concerned about is that if we [build] a bit here, a bit here, and a bit there, the importance of greenspace and community gardens and all of those things, aren’t—as a whole entire concept and vision—being incorporated,” Coun. Katrina Nightingale expressed at the time.

She added: “I’m pulling back and I’m looking to the future and I’m imagining that whole space, and I feel uncomfortable looking at a tiny piece, not knowing what the entire vision is.”

Planner Colin Brown acknowledged the importance of “getting it right,” as Nightingale phrased it, but said widening the scope to focus on the entire Hillside neighbourhood rather than individual developments would create a significantly larger project.

“To bring in a new framework for everyone is something that, if council chose to go that route, is certainly something we can explore, but it’s by no means a small or simple process,” he explained in April.

Last month, VOP councillors directed staff at municipal hall to review possible non-residential land uses for the entire Hillside area, and return to the council table with a clearer picture of how proposed developments could integrate greenspace, commercial developments, recreation assets and other community amenities.

“[The] committee expressed some thoughts around this in the last couple of meetings and I appreciate staff’s response to those concerns in bringing this report forward,” noted Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman following McRae’s June 20 presentation. “I think it reflects what council was grappling with.”

View original article.


The developer reserves the right to make changes and modifications to the project design, specifications and features without notice. E&O.E.
This advertisement/document does not constitute offers of sale capable of acceptance without a Disclosure Statement.


Keith McIvor
Personal Real Estate Corporation
1 (604) 935-2650
1 (800) 667-2993