I wouldn't usually share a personal story like this in a public venue, but it's important to know how well-served we are by the medical community here, at least from my recent experience.
Ignore for a moment the campaign to replace (retiring orthopedic surgeon) Dr. Pat McConkey and how the medical professionals gave their time to enlist support and ensure that the quality of care in the corridor would not be eroded. And how that seems to be turning out for the best for all of us.
This story is personal.
Our eldest daughter lives in Vancouver. She developed back pain a couple of weeks ago, which progressed in severity as the hours marched on. She attended the emergency department of a hospital twice, but was patted on the head, given some meds and sent on her way.
We knew there was more going on so we brought her up to Whistler. We know the doctors here, they know our daughter, and more importantly, they have the experience of all kinds of unexpected conditions and disorders. I was confident they would get to the bottom of the problem.
Sarah had emergency surgery on Thursday in Vancouver. It is no exaggeration to say that had she not had the surgery when she did she would have courted paraplegia or worse.
From the minute we stepped in the door at the Whistler Health Care Centre that Monday morning until Sarah was on her way to Vancouver General Hospital three days later, all of the staff were professional, attentive, caring and thorough. Other medical (practitioners) in town were involved along the way and they too did what they could. And from my observations in the clinic over the course of those three days, this was business as usual — no "special treatment."
Special is the standard of care.
Whistler is a town of 10,000. We have the medical capabilities and skills of a city many times that size.
Sarah's not out of the woods yet, but she's legions in front of where she would have been but for the Whistler medical community.
Bill 38 Wack-A-Mole
I'm flabbergasted that MP John Weston can claim Bill C-38 will protect habitat (Pique June 14, 2012).
If that is so, why are the existing habitat protection measures being specifically targetted for removal by the proposed legislation?
It shouldn't take a lawyer to figure that out!
Like synchronized Wack-A-Moles, government MPs were quick to jump up from their seats in the House to vote for the Omnibus Bill.
Sadly though, not a single Conservative member (including self-proclaimed "conservationists" like Weston) has been able to stand up in support of our environment.
Even Canada's environment minister himself is mute on protecting the earth we all live on.
Silence is golden and I guess they are going for the dirty gold — not the clean and more ethical green.
Clarification needed on consultation
(The following is in response to a letter from John Weston MP for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country published on June 14th in the Pique)
We appreciate your continued dialogue with the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable. As discussed, a significant level of concern remains within our group regarding many of the proposed legislative changes to the Fisheries Act and other environmental legislation within Bill C-38, the pace at which these changes are moving forward and the lack of meaningful consultation Canadians are receiving on these issues.
In your "letter to the editor," rather than consulting on the legislation, you emphasized the government was committed to future consultations on regulations that it would enact in relation to the Fisheries Act. However, we note that s.35(4) of the proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act appears to exempt ministerial regulations from the normal process of regulatory review. Therefore, while the government's repeated assurances that it will consult are noted and appreciated, the amendments in fact reveal a much less rigorous regulatory process. Could you advise what form consultations will take? What is the government's consultation plan for developing the upcoming regulations?
We understand that through order of cabinet, the prohibition against harm to habitat will be significantly narrowed (see Bill C-38, s. 136) to "serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery," where "serious harm to fish" is defined as "death of fish or any permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat." Technically speaking, nothing in our world is "permanent", given enough time.
The intended legislative meaning of these words is unfortunately unclear and may be due to the lack of meaningful debate in parliament. While the government's intent is not the same as parliament's intent, we would nonetheless welcome your clarification of what the government means by "permanent alteration"?
In your letter you state: "We will also be able to provide enhanced protection to ecologically sensitive areas and enforce conditions associated with Fisheries Act authorizations which, at present, is not being done." Recently DFO announced the closing of five Enforcement Offices in Comox, Madeira Park, Quesnel, New Hazelton and Clearwater. How is enforcement going to take place protecting fish and fish habitat if these offices are closed?
We note that in your website www.johnweston.ca you state that, "I am sure that other British Columbians will join me in looking forward to the upcoming consultation process, involving the Minister of Fisheries, who will consider such input in fleshing out regulations needed to complete the framework established by Bill C-38." Your representations on our behalf may have resulted in this commitment. Where will this consultation take place? Who will be able to attend? Will current and past DFO officials be available for presentation and questioning?
In short, our collective remains deeply troubled by the proposed changes to environmental legislation via Bill C-38. We whole-heartedly reaffirm our interest in an explanatory public meeting very soon with you, Minister Ashfield and knowledgeable staff that can answer detailed questions regarding the proposed changes and future steps forward. We look forward to your response.
Honorable John Fraser, Randall Lewis, Squamish First Nation, Dave Brown, vice-chair Squamish to Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee — on behalf of the Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable
From the surfer's mouth
There are two things in life that would get me to leave town, the love of a good woman, and surfing. Seeing as I've found one of these things here in Whistler, only the latter would give me cause to leave.
I first started keeping a close eye on artificial waves a few municipal elections ago, when Ken Achenbach suggested converting the driving range into a SurfPark. Needless to say he got my vote. Unfortunately, the technology, much like my vote, couldn't deliver.
When I recently heard that someone was seriously looking into bringing surfing to Whistler I was ecstatic (Pique June 14, 2012). When I read it was going to be a flowrider my heart kind of sank. While Flowing looks like its own sort of fun, it's been compared more to snowboarding and skateboarding than surfing. So, if we are in fact looking for another means of practicing halfpipe tricks and kickflips in a low consequence environment, it seems the perfect choice, it could work out great for the summer campers. The surfers, however, most likely won't go out of their way to come here for it. Tofino isn't all that far away.
But is it better than nothing? Are there any other options?
The artificial wave race has never been more exciting than it has been in the last year. The frontrunners in the race submit to two main concepts. The first concept is a circular pool with a boat hull type device that pushes swell inwards — that is being worked on by two companies, The Kelly Slater Wave Company and Webber Wave Pools. While perfect, barrelling, double-overhead waves sound great one only has to look at the recently closed down Oceandome in Japan to see how hard the books must be to balance. Another company, The Wavegarden by the Instant Engineering Company in Spain, caused a huge buzz on the Internet last year with its perfectly shaped wave, manageable bottom line and detailed business plan. Of the companies setting up traditional moving waves, they seem to be the closest to making it happen.
However, the wave race isn't simply moving forward, some companies are standing still – another concept in wave production. Enter American Wave Machine and their Surfstream machine, a gravity fed river wave. If you haven't discovered the magic of the standing river wave due to a hydraulic jump, take a look at where all the inspiration came from and the waves of the Eisbach, in Munich, Germany and Waimea Bay, Hawaii. These are man-made circumstances producing surfable waves using traditional surfboards with fins to pump and set deep rails, basically the defining feature of surfing after all the swimming it took to catch the wave in the first place. River surfing, it seems, could be a perfect combination of riding endless pow and surfing an endless wave.
Now, while AWM is in the middle of a legal battle over patents with Flowrider's WaveLoch they continue to sell well, and are making quite an impact on the inland surfing scene. Murphy's Waves, a company that has recently built one of the best artificial pools, Siam Park, also seems to be selling similar technology.
But who wants to get involved in a legal battle? And what kind of surfer wants to pay hourly to go surfing? Not when the legal battle is about flowing water, which flows somewhat freely around these parts.
I've never been more proud of my prairie roots than when I discovered riversurfing.ca. River surfing has been gaining popularity around Calgary, so much so that the city is working on community surfing initiatives much like they have skateparks. In the coming years, you will be able to surf in downtown Calgary on the newly revamped Harvie Passage. Also, the Alberta Pipeline Project will be making customizable waves somewhere on the Kananaskis River.
So while the thought of being able to pay admission so that I can work on my kickflips without getting any raspberries is nice, the thought of using a modest amount of community dollars to transform Whistler into the West Coast's river surfing Mecca is much more enticing.
We have an abundance of free moving water that could easily be shaped into a pipeline worth supporting. Just think of what a surfing festival could do for your June-uary blues.
Perhaps it's time Whistler's surfers stop migrating and start congregating, I have ideas to share and passion to burn, join me on Facebook and the Whistler Surfing Club and let's start setting up some real waves.
Embrace the Wrinkles
I want to thank Stephen Smysnuik for the heartfelt article in last week's Pique. Having been a Whistler resident for only five short years, this issue is one that is very close to my heart.
This article perfectly highlights one of the most important issues in our beautiful village. As much as we all hate to admit it, we are an aging population. Like many of the seniors mentioned in the article we hope that our active lifestyles and healthy life choices keep us in our bubble. But there may be a point where we don't have this option. Acknowledgement and action is not just a small group effort, but also a community wide movement.
There are many people that work hard at ensuring that our seniors have a quality of life. Something that we young folk‚ all take for granted each day as young people. Sue Lawther, Christine Suter, Melissa Deller — you are amazing individuals. I am sorry to those that I haven't named personally, but without these people our seniors may have been forgotten. You touch the lives of our seniors more than you will ever know. I know that my mother though not quite a senior yet has been touched by the wonderful hearts of Melissa Deller who takes our seniors walking every Wednesday. You have made an Aussie-born retiree feel so at home that she has made a life change to retire in our wonderful town, and I dearly thank you for this.
Most of us are imports to Whistler; we come from far and wide — Australia, England, India, eastern and central Canada. Our community is our family. A family that we love and care for, and with each day this grows the longer we get the privilege of residing in our special place between heaven and earth. We don't have the normal life expectations of being able to visit our grandmas, nannas, granddads, grammys, nonnas and pops. But these people live amongst us every day. They are in Whistler, while their families are living in the big smoke — a place far away.
Nanna G (Shirley Thompson) has been an influential part of my life since I arrived in Whistler. Nanna G visits my team at the front desk of the Westin at least once a week with a beautiful smile ear-to-ear, dressed in her best with cookies and scones. She can't wait to wish us a good morning and we can't wait to hear what wonderful story she has for us, whether it be a story about her husband, or news that the pesky doctor gave her a hearing aid.
Nanna G and many other seniors in Whistler have truly touched my heart and are a part of why I now call Whistler my home.
I don't know what I would do if I couldn't see Tom Thomson and Gary Baker every Monday evening at the WORCA rides. What would I do when I needed a big hug, an energetic smile and a friend to go kayaking on Alta Lake with if Doug Garnet wasn't my neighbour. There are so many of these kind-hearted, life-loving people in our spectacular village town. Each of you have one person in your Whistler life who will be one day impacted by this lack of facilities, and access to care — let's come together and recognize the importance of growing old together in this paradise we live in.
To those seniors I mentioned — I'm sorry, but you are not a senior to me — you are a sprightly, "not a day over 30" friend.
Up to Some Good
The Get Bear Smart Society (GBS) has been taking advantage of the rainy June weather to move plants around the local eco-scape to help bears, people, and the environment stay happy and healthy.
With the cooperation of local residents, strata members and Whistler Resort Management, GBS replaced highly productive blueberry bushes located next to homes in Cheakamus Crossing with non-fruit bearing native species. The bushes found a new home in a rural location near Pemberton, behind electric fencing so as to not create conflict with bears.
GBS also worked with the amazing Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team (HIT) to plant 200 native mountain-ash species in suitable bear habitat on Blackcomb Mountain. Mountain-ash is highly attractive to bears as the clump forming berries ripen in the late fall once most other berries have been depleted, and the bears are undergoing hyperphagia, a time of intense feeding, to fatten up for the long winter months ahead. This is a multi-year project that has been underway for some time.
GBS also actively works with property owners to remove enticing berry-producing species, including mountain-ash, from busy developed areas where there is potential for human-bear conflict and transplants them, when possible, to suitable areas. Additional mountain-ash plants are also purchased and planted, with the hopes of drawing bears out of developed areas and into remote locations to feed undisturbed in the fall when conflict can be high.
Projects like these help to connect people to the landscape where they live and the people in their community through participatory and experiential learning — instilling a sense of place and belonging.
Planting native species aids in preserving local biodiversity, provides valuable habitat for a host of species and helps to combat climate change.
Plus, bears get to feed in peace with reduced human-bear conflict. So, a big thank you to all that were involved!
Special thanks to the Whistler Blackcomb Enviro Fund for funding the cost of the plants.
I can't believe the curtain has come down on "Ordinary Miracles," yet another amazing dance show by The Vibe Dance Centre. I am still on an emotional high from laughing, crying and gasping with awe at the accomplished dance technique and performance skills of the young dancers, the strength and pure grit that carried even the youngest through four sold-out shows, and not least, the creative genius of Heather and Jeremy Thom who year after year pull another original production out of their magic hat.
As a "dance mom" of many years, I know how much hard work it takes behind the scenes, to create and produce a show of this scale and calibre. I also know that such a show, a treat for the whole community and not just the dancers' families, is very costly to stage and produce — a cost that cannot be borne alone by The Vibe; so, we parents endeavour to help with costs by organizing a silent auction at the show.
This year especially, we were overwhelmed by the kindness and open-hearted willingness to help, of all the donors who responded. This is indeed an amazing community. Please allow me to offer our thanks to the following businesses and individuals, who were so very generous: Whoola Toys, Celebrate, Neoalpine Yoga — Janet Corvino, Whistler Healing Arts, Colleen Fraser RMT, Alpine Esthetics, Jen Tarbet, Vida Spa, Jackie Van Bourgondien, Nonna Pia's, Fruv, Catherine Trueman, IGA, Teppan Village, Dr. Shea Colpitts — Whistler Eye Clinic, Wildflower Restaurant, Bear Necessities, Rocky Mountain Soap Company, Donna Wilson, Kaze Sushi, Whistler Baskets, Joern Rohde Photography, Boathouse Restaurants, Elements, Melissa Perizzolo, SMD Automotive — Jim Longden, Whistler Sports Academy, Jamie Grant. Scandinave Spa, Whistler Happy Pets, Whistler Coffee Roasting Company, Ziptrek, Bearfoot Bistro, Taka Sudo, Whistler Traveller Magazine, Listel Hotel, Crepe Montagne, Local Automotive — Steve Turner and Whitespot Restaurant.
Thank you for helping.
You have danced into our hearts!
A community bouquet of thanks
I have been a resident of Whistler for two years, but now I have to move. Before I do I want to thank the people in the community who have helped my boys and I immensely.
I want to start by thanking Mark, Tanya — without your help I would have been lost. I'd like to thank Jody, Patricia, and Catherine as well.
Whistler has amazing people here who work in the community that I need to (acknowledge). I'd like to thank Clair, Jacqui, Devin and Luis from the Community Centre — thank-you, thank-you, and thank-you.
I would like to recognize the Food Bank staff as well.
I also want to mention the coaches who have coached my two sons in baseball and hockey. I admire your commitment.
I want to thank Dr. James MacKenzie and his staff at Whistler Dental —truly great people.
I want to acknowledge the staff at Spring Creek School. I'm so happy my sons got two years there.
Last, but not least, I want so say how much I appreciated the opportunity to work at Whistler Cooks — amazing owners and the best staff I have ever worked with. Without people like you in the world it wouldn't go around. Thanks for making Whistler a memorable place to have lived for my kids and I, and I hope you are all blessed, as you have blessed us.
Darcy McCann and boys
In honour of Corey
Well a year has passed us by already since Corey left us. It has been a challenging year for Justin, Paige and I. There were a lot of special occasions that we tried to make the best of, but there were other days that were really difficult to get through. I remember Corey as if he is still here, still laughing, smiling, and working hard.
I am not sure a day goes by that he is not in all your thoughts as well.
I feel very blessed to have those in the Pemberton community who have been there for my family and I. All the encouraging thoughts, the smiles, the hugs and the memories of a special boy who I know touched all your lives.
To all you kids who have grown to be strong men and beautiful women, I want you to know that my door is always open. Come and share some stories, some laughs, and your special memories.
You are a great bunch of Corey's special friends and I want us all to keep his memory alive every single day.
When some days seem full of sadness, just remember a really funny story that came about when just you and he had a moment. Keep smiling in your heart, keep an open mind when things get tough, and let's never forget that beautiful boy named Corey who we loved with all we have, and who we should never have had to say goodbye to.
Nick, you did a great job at the 4X4 rally, and JoJo, you really stood up and made Paige's prom a new and everlasting memory – thank-you.
Thank-you to each of you who helped in some way and made the road a bit easier to travel.
There are no words to describe our loss in life, but every day we never forget how fortunate we were to have Corey with us.
Keep him alive in your heart. Look out for each other and keep your ears open for that next baseball game.
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