Frequently Asked Questions about Nkwúkwma Pemberton

General/Planning Questions

What specific benefits will be provided to the community of Pemberton?

Infrastructure Improvements – Significant improvements will be required to off-site infrastructure to accommodate Nkwúkwma including upgrades to municipal sanitary and water and stormwater systems. The Village has recently completed servicing modelling, through proportionate contributions from Skénkenam.

Clean-Up of Contaminated Sites – A condition of the land purchase is the clean-up of the former gun and rifle range. There is currently significant lead and copper contamination, with clean-up project to be several million dollars. The contamination must be remediated before the lands affected are re-zoned to permit residential uses.

Long Term Housing Supply – Nkwúkwma provides a long-term supply of diverse housing forms for the local community which is located both out of the flood plain and outside the Agricultural Land Reserve. The housing will be provided to respond to local needs.

Economic Development – The initial phases of the project anticipate a long-term build-out (15-20 years) providing a range of housing types, as well providing ongoing employment for the Lil’wat Nation and other local construction trades, with spin-offs to both the retail and service sector.

Archaeological Sites – Lil’wat Nation’s traditional use of the lands has been further established by recent archaeological investigations of the site whereby there was the identification of Areas of Concern (requiring further investigations) and a confirmed rock shelter and pictograph panels (now a registered archaeological site).

Lil’wat Nation Land Stewards – Nkwúkwma is within the unceded Traditional Territory of the Lil’wat Nation. The Lil’wat Nation are considering whether the neighbourhood may include an interpretation component recognizing the Nation’s cultural heritage and language through their Traditional Territory.

Tax Base – The new development will increase the property tax base for both the Village of Pemberton and the Pemberton Valley Dyking District.

Community Amenity Contributions – The project will be required to contribute to the Village’s community amenity fund for each residential unit, responding the Village’s community amenity contribution policy. The applicant is awaiting input from the Village on the preferred amenities which could include affordable housing, recreation facilities, parks and other trail improvements.

Reconciliation – The project is consistent with the intent of the Village of Pemberton’s and Líl̓wat Nation’s Protocol Agreement (2010) to “recognize and acknowledge that the Líl̓wat Nation asserts aboriginal title to all lands within its traditional territory” and is further reinforced by the following OCP policy: 

“The Líl̓wat People’s approach to governance is to be collaborative consultative, whereby the Land and the People are one… It is therefore imperative that Pemberton integrate this philosophy into its principles, policies and actions of its OCP”

Why was the Líl̓wat Nation able to purchase the lands?

The lands subject to the Nkwúkwma development application had formerly been managed by the province. In 2017, the Líl̓wat Nation submitted a crown land application to acquire the lands, following the required due diligence + consultation (i.e., archaeology, environment, absorption study, appraisal, etc.)

The land acquisition and the development partnership both align with Section 92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

“We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources.”

Is this development being considered in the upcoming OCP review?

The Nkwúkwma lands have been identified for a future growth at the time of the Squamish Lillooet Regional Districts Pemberton and Area Land Use Study. Following the identifications of the future growth areas, the Village of Pemberton subsequently initiated a public planning process for the provincially managed lands known as the “Pemberton Benchlands”. The planning process was was completed in 2008 with the Village approval of the Benchlands Neighbourhood Concept Plan (NCP). The Nkwúkwma project in entirety considers Phases 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8 of the NCP’s eight phases. The current rezoning application only considers Phases 3, 4 and 7 as Phases 6 and 8 are within the contaminated lands.

The NCP policy directions have since been incorporated into the current OCP, recognizing this growth area as fundamental in the planning for the community’s mid and long term housing needs. Phase 1 parcels of the NCP were approved for development and built-out during the past decade. The OCP requires a minor amended permit a more diverse range of housing types and to remove the school site, although the unit count remains similar (reduced density as the unit sizes have been reduced). As noted, the development application was submitted in March 2021 yet has been before the Village, as follows:


  • Council (June 2017)
  • Staff with planners and engineers many times between 2017-late 2019 (fees paid by the applicant for pre-application review)

Post Application

  • Ongoing weekly meetings with the planning staff since 2020.
  • July 2021 presentation to Committee of the Whole
  • January 18, 2022 application update to Committee of the While
  • December 13, 2022 presentation of referral comments by staff to Committee of the Whole
  • March 14, 2023 – Introduction of the Nkwúkwma Sub Area Plan

None of these meetings indicated that the proposed update of the OCP would delay this development application. It is also recognized that more recent Village initiatives related to: active transportation, community amenities such as affordable housing and daycare, community energy action, and other policy priorities will be considered in the proposed Nkwúkwma OCP amendment/Sub Area Plan. Any new policy directions considered in the OCP Update (work plan has not yet been approved by Council) can be integrated into the Sub Area Plan, upon direction of the Village.

The applicants have kept the Village aware of the plans for the project, and for the most part the delays in moving forward were the result of the pandemic (early lockdown), the need to better understand the contaminants from the gun and rifle range and the remediation responsibility, and finalizing a complex land purchase. To date the site investigations (contamination, traffic, planning, servicing, environment, etc) to get the application ready for a development application submission have exceeded a million dollars.

How will the new development and increase in Pemberton’s population address the needs of the town’s medical services?

The Village is required to refer all development applications to senior government ministries and other agencies. On September 9, 2021 the Village referred the development application to Vancouver Coastal Health.

Vancouver Coastal Health was would also have been notified of this new neighbourhood with the corresponding OCP amendments in 2007 and 2011.

Will sidewalks be included in the development and if so, how will they link into the existing neighborhoods/streets on Dogwood and down Eagle Drive?

Currently the development proposal includes sidewalks, however, active transportation elements within the road cross sections are still under review and will be subject to approval by the Village. The appropriate connections into the existing neighbourhood’s infrastructure will be considered during detailed design development but commitments secured prior to rezoning adoption.

The existing Eagle Drive is quite narrow? Will there be a plan to upgrade this road for pedestrian and cycle traffic?

The Eagle Drive access should be considered both from the geotechnical limitations and the existing (municipally approved) road design. The construction of Eagle Drive was the responsibility of the Phase 1 Benchlands subdivision. The road was accepted by the Village as a public road (2009).

In January 2014, however, Eagle Drive had a significant rock slide which originated from a bedrock cut slope. In July 2014, the Village retained EXP. Services (geotechnical engineers) to provide an assessment of potential instabilities within the bedrock slopes and soil slope. The report recommended certain mitigative works, which the Village has undertaken which allowed the road to safely reopen. It is understood that additional mitigation may be required to further reduce the potential hazard and to remove the no post barriers to provide a greater road width (full shoulder).

As far as the design of the road, it has been engineered meets municipal requirements for the Phase 1 subdivision and although the design speed is lower due to the switchback, the road grades are less than 10%. Nkwúkwma awaits additional direction from the Village related to any further road improvements.

Will there be another entrance/exit into the development? Original studies and plans show a second entrance.

At this time, Nkwúkwma only considers Phases 3, 4 and 7 of the NCP. The NCP indicates a second access to the north, through the properties fronting Collins Road which are incredibly steep and either owned by third parties or within the SLRD (DL 8820). Nkwúkwma, however, will ensure that the potential access to this future route is retained through the proposed development. A looping road is also proposed for Phase 3 of Nkwúkwma, subject to a Village boundary extension and remediation of the contaminated gun and rifle range.

Isn’t there a need for another exit for emergencies, wildfires, etc.?

There are many residential developments throughout the Pemberton and the Sea to Sky region that have single access points, due to challenging terrain, land ownership and/or environmental constraints. Consideration will be given to determine if an emergency access can be provided for alternative egress.

The applicant is further reviewing the dual use of multi-use trails and servicing right of ways that could be designed to provide an access, in case of an emergency.

The traffic study was conducted during 2021 when volumes may have been less due to Covid pandemic. Also, the traffic changes at different times of year. Is this study accurate?

The traffic data collection was undertaken in September 2019 before the pandemic by a qualified professional and in accordance with terms set down by the Village. The timing of the traffic counts was discussed with the Village, including when schools were in session. Available historical data was reviewed as well.

Traffic seems to be a key problem. The railway crossing is a pinch point and downtown traffic can be plugged up quite often. What will be done to alleviate these problems?

The overall planning for access to the Village is part of the Village’s overall transportation planning. The delay at the crossing caused by train usage is a larger issue that need to be discussed further with the Village. Similar concerns will be raised with the infill development in downtown (which will add a significant number of new residential units).

Has critical habitat for species at risk been identified.

Cascade has indicated that no “critical habitat for species at risk” have been identified on the subject site.

Sharp tailed snake habitat has been identified. Who will do the survey?

Potential sharp-tailed snake habitat was identified. In 2022, Cascade’s herpetologist installed cover objects to attract the sharp tailed snake (Sunstone observed these snakes with a similar approach). A snake skin was found but both the cover objects and the skin negative in eDNA testing for asharp-tailed snake.

Has a Stormwater management plan been approved by the Village? How will the development manage runoff downstream towards the residents below Benchlands (Elmwood Dr area)?

The Village of Pemberton has recently initiated a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) model for the catchment area (currently funded by Skénkenam Developments’) that includes Nkwúkwma. The study will evaluate existing infrastructure, flow routes, peak runoff rates, and potential deficiencies in the existing system. In addition, the SWMP will evaluate the proposed development and its impact on existing systems, with the goal of minimizing the impact on existing downstream infrastructure and means of matching pre-development flow rates in the post-development scenario.

The stormwater detention ponds at Staehli Park don’t seem to function. Will the development address this?

The Village of Pemberton has recently initiated a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) study for the catchment area that includes the Nkwúkwma which will address the existing and future use of Staehli Park as a detention basin for the uphill lands. If found inadequate for future development, improvements will be made at the discretion of the Village and at a cost to Nkwúkwma.

The watercourse at the end of Eagle Drive has significant flows during high water events. Has this stream been studied and accounted for in the development?

This stream did not exist at the time of the environmental site visit. In response to neighbourhood concerns this potential watercourse has been re-considered on site and Cascade has confirmed and the appropriate setbacks incorporated into the site plan.

A 15m setback for Pemberton Creek seems minimal.

The Riparian Area Protection Regulation (RAPR) Assessment Method was used to determine the setback. The Detailed Assessment methodology was employed to determine the setback and resulting 15m SPEA (Streamside Protection and Enhancement Area) for Pemberton Creek.

What is involved in the contaminated site remediation? Will residential development occur there in the future?

To date, the applicant has completed extensive testing and prepared three reports by SLR Consulting (environmental professionals) on the extent of the contamination and approach to remediation. If residential development is to be permitted in or near the contamination, extensive permitting, soil removal and other remediation will be required. Any future use of these lands is subject to extensive review and approval in accordance with provincial legislation. A rezoning application cannot be submitted until there is an approved remediation plan.

Are there any “Night Sky” specific bylaws in place for this development to help reduce “light pollution”.

A Village of Pemberton OCP policy recognizes that the municipality will introduce lighting standards to preserve Pemberton’s dark sky. These requirements will also be considered in the Nkwúkwma Development Permit Guidelines and Statutory Building Schemes.

Will this be a certified fire smart community?

It is understood the Village has a Wildfire Management Plan. The applicant will rely on direction from Village professionals with regard to any additional investigations or requirements during site development and/or protection of the neighbourhood. Wildfire Management may also be addressed through Development Permit Area guidelines and approval.

Topography and Site Constraint Questions

What is the ratio of the building size to lot size (coverage and floor space ratio)? Will there be space for trees?

The proposed building coverage ranges from 20-35% of the lot. The floor area ratios have an upward range of 0.5 to 0.6 depending on the type of homes and ancillary units (garages). It is the intent that all development lots allow for ample space for setbacks, open areas and landscaping. The landscape treatment of both the public spaces, streets and private lots will be controlled through site specific Design Guidelines to ensure landscaping is a key characteristic of the new neighbourhood.

Will the power line that runs to the radio towers be decommissioned?

The existing electricity line that runs from Eagle Drive to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) site will be retained until alternative electrical lines (as required for the subdivision) are in place. There is currently a statutory right of way in favour of the CBC securing a electrical line/source. Similar rights of ways also exist in favour of the Village and the SLRD for their service installations.

Will there be new water towers and/or relocated?

The two existing water reservoirs will remain in place to service existing residential development. Nkwúkwma will require a new water reservoir at a higher elevation to feed new development that cannot be serviced by the existing two reservoirs (refer to the Master Water Distribution Plan in the Nkwúkwma Development Rezoning Servicing Report by InterCAD Services Ltd.).

The parks seem small and a lot of green spaces” seems quite steep. Are these areas usable space for community access and recreation?

The Local Government Act requires new subdivisions provide, without compensation, a 5% park land dedication of either land or equal value of land. The Village’s subdivision bylaw indicates that parkland dedications shall provide lands that the Village recognizes as being usable and consistent with the Parks and Open Spaces Master Plan.

The current development application provides the following parks and open spaces, and have recognized that the community embraces active recreation such as mountain biking and hiking trails within natural areas and trailhead improvements. It will also be important to protect archaeological sites.
Neighbourhood Park: 1.06 ha/2.62 acres – 3%
Nature Park: 10.75 ha /26.56 acres – 34%
Natural Area: 2.99 ha/17.39 acres – 10%
Total: 14.8 ha/45.57 acres – 47%

As well, each of the multifamily developments will have required park space, which will likely cater to younger children. It is the intent to work with both Lil’wat Nation (archaeological sites and cultural recognition), and recreation interests to develop a parks and trail plan.

What is the status of the existing mountain bike and hiking trails in terms of the development?

The public may continue to use the trails as there is a statutory right of way that permits community trail use, this may be re-rerouted once development approvals are in place. The existing trails of Banjo, Shots Fired and Chaos are for the most part outside of the development pods, however, may be re-routed to accommodate the archaeological site buffers. The access to Fat Tug and lower bermed trails on the Nkwúkwma property will need to be rerouted at the time of the Phase 3 development. It is understood through early consultation with trail users, that there is an opportunity to develop a trail system that best reflects the needs of the community and traditional use of the trails. The Pemberton Waterfall Trail could also be improved as a community amenity.

Housing Diversity and Use Questions

Will commercial space be included? If so, how much? Type?

It has been suggested that retail and/or service space (i.e. daycare, community space) could be planned with the apartment building. It has been suggested that a flexible zoning could be used until such uses could be viable.

It is important, however, to ensure that any retail or service space service only the immediate area as not to introduce additional traffic into the neighbourhood.

How will this be affordable?

The project includes a wide range of housing types and tenures, which have different affordability levels. The focus has been on smaller units, that will match the needs of the local community. The 2007 NCP (which was adopted before the Community Amenity Contribution policy was implemented) indicated that 5% of the units will be dedicated for community housing (special housing) as defined by factors such as age, disability, or income.

Affordable housing is considered a Community Amenity that is earmarked in the Official Community Plan. The Village has also identified that the implementation of the Affordable Housing Plan as a top strategic action. In March 2020 Council endorsed the 2020-2021 Affordable Housing Work Program, which identifies policy development and other opportunities for the delivery of needed housing.

The applicant is looking for direction from Council on how affordable housing should be addressed within Nkwúkwma, consistent with the Community Amenity Contribution policy.

Will there be a housing program for Pemberton residents?

The municipality is starting to update the OCP, based on affordable housing needs. Nkwúkwma is seeking the Village’s input on how the affordable and/or community housing can best be addressed through community amenity contributions.

What are the types of housing available?

The design proposes the following housing types:

  • Large, Medium and Compact Single Family Homes;
  • Duplex Homes;
  • Townhomes, and;
  • Apartments.

The Village completed a housing options study in 2021 and also identified other forms that could be accommodated in the proposed Comprehensive Development zoning for Nkwukwma.

• accessory dwelling units/carriage,
• lock off suites in townhomes,
• tiny homes
• duplexes,
• suites in duplexes,
• 3-4 plexes and
• low rise apartments.