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Letters to the editor

I have not heard much support for Chretien through the whole Iraq war but here is what Bruce A. Gorcyca, a U.S.

I have not heard much support for Chretien through the whole Iraq war but here is what Bruce A. Gorcyca, a U.S. citizen and military veteran living in Mississauga, Ontario, who should know what is going on, has to say:

"For months preceding the Iraq invasion and all through the conflict, the Bush administration claimed that oil was not their motive for deposing the Hussein regime.

"Instead, we were fed manure about dangerous ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that posed an ‘imminent threat.’

"Yet the first thing coalition forces did upon landing in Iraq was secure the Basra and northern oil fields.

"Their second priority was securing the oil ministry building, while hospitals and museums were being looted.

"Now, as we watch the Bush administration pressure the United Nations Security Council for control of Iraq's oil profits, are we still to believe that Iraq's trillion-dollar oil reserves were not the real reason that thousands of people were killed and maimed over the last two months?

"Good old Jean Chretien wasn't fooled. He withstood incredible pressure and did the right and moral thing.

"The Canadian prime minister has more integrity than U.S. President George W. Bush will ever know in his lifetime."

Phil Chew

Whistler

Re: The simple "Hello"

What happened to it? It was a refreshing attitude/tradition amongst Whistlerites, and it seems to be lost. I don't want to live in the past but it was nice to pass someone on a trail, any trail, and have them say "Hello", "Hey", "G-Day" or just "eh".

In the last couple of years this tradition has gone by the way side and I think it needs to be resurrected. Maybe we just need to teach the new locals to say hello to everyone they meet, because we live in the best place in the world. Whistler.

Chris Susko

Whistler

It is not often that I am moved to write an editor. But then it is not often that I am moved by another's letter.

I did not witness Adam Protter's self-described outburst and I have not even spoken to him for over a year. However, I did have the pleasure and privilege to work with Adam for several years and I believe he is a good man, with a good heart.

We all face challenges and sometimes lose our temper and make mistakes. But most of us don't carry the burden that Adam carries. I certainly hope that Adam finds the forgiveness that he seeks – including his own.

And I further hope that Adam will reconsider his potential role in helping ensure local services, accessibility and understanding for the disabled. I believe that he would add tremendous value to such an important issue.

Drew Stotesbury

West Vancouver

A Rotarian thank you

For the past year I have had the honour and privilege of being the president of a very remarkable and dedicated Rotary club. The club in which I speak of is the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium.

I would like to thank everyone for a wonderful and memorable year, especially the board of directors for their support, direction and patience. Hopefully you’ve all had as much fun as I have had and your hard work has not gone unnoticed by the endless thank you cards and appreciation we have received. Our club has grown this past year to include many colourful people that have added sparkle to an already vibrant group and I know we all look forward to another exciting year.

We are sad to see the departure of Gordon and Eileen Tomalty to Vancouver. We will definitely miss the endless jokes and wittiness displayed to the roaring pleasure of all. Good luck and don’t forget about us, as we will never forget you.

A special thank you to Peter Ackhurst the current and soon to be past president of the Rotary Club of Whistler. Thank you for keeping the lines of communication open between the two clubs and for listening when I needed you to.

One last acknowledgment needs to be said or written to the countless number of volunteers in many non-profit organizations here in Whistler. A majority of the time, these folks give without recognition or need to be recognized. Their energy is spent volunteering time or giving support to those who need it. A sincere thank you to all who make Whistler a better place to live and work, for without you, this surely wouldn’t be one of the best places to be.

Matthew S. Souza

President

Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium

After several meetings by various soccer and ultimate frisbee representatives, pleading for a little more TLC and general maintenance of the Myrtle Phillip playing fields, we are now at the beginning of the league seasons, and already large patches of dead grass and ankle-wrenching holes are appearing everywhere.

Why has this been allowed to happen again, after the fields were closed prematurely last season for a major overhaul?

Apparently there isn’t a problem in keeping the Spruce Grove baseball fields looking like a lush oasis, where every blade of grass is just the right height, width and colour. I'm sure any major league baseball player would relish the chance to throw himself full length and land a catch in the wonderfully fertile outfield. Try saving a goal in the barren tumbleweed goalmouths, or a sliding tackle in the gravel strewn outfield at Myrtle Phillip, and chances are that the good people at the healthcare centre will be giving your arms and legs an extensive skin graft.

The truth is the fields are better than anything I ever dreamt of playing on, growing up as a kid in Olde Blighty, where you would be lucky to find a quiet corner in the local parking lot to kick an old tin can around. That having been said, I have become accustomed to living in a world class resort and pay world class taxes, so all I request is a level playing field for all.

Harvey Lim

On behalf of the adult soccer league

Whistler

The Nita Lake Lodge development team set the gold standard in public consultation and community mobilization, finally winning support from a quorm of Council. A long process where the bar was continuously raised to the point where those empowered to make law did so. In last week’s perceptive Opening Remarks the editor noted that everybody loses when a private land owner seeks to litigate against community will. Whistler can still be the winner by throwing its ubridled suport behind the next draft of this application allowing our Council to demonstrate that they, acting on behalf of the community, are in charge of Whistler's future.

Brent Leigh

Whistler

Nita Lake Development Back to Drawing Boards

Thank heavens the Nita Lake development approval process has been forced back to "square one" on the drawing boards.

RMOW now has the chance to review again and this time properly consider the development of a 96,000-square-foot, four-storey, 80-room hotel plunked down on the shores of Nita Lake, one of our small and precious lakes.

But, in my view, RMOW is already heading down the wrong track. Indeed the very donations ($585,000 to Whistler Health Care Foundation and $500,000 to the Community Foundation, among others) that, on balance, enticed RMOW to approve the huge 96,000 square foot building on a small three acre site in the first place – something that they would never otherwise do – have been thrown out and the proposal submitted again unchanged. This makes no sense at all and may well only encounter further legal roadblocks.

The donations have been thrown out because it has been flagged as unlawful for RMOW to buy and sell zoning.

Plain and simply, RMOW must now judge the proposal development on its own merits. No incentives to RMOW can be used to obtain very considerable zoning changes needed by the developer for this project to go ahead.

But to throw out the donations and take this proposal back to public hearing unchanged is hardly the answer. There is nothing unlawful about making donations and they should proceed, provided it is clear they have not been a factor in planning judgement. That would be made abundantly clear at this late stage by RMOW requiring the hotel size be reduced.

The win-win solution is to do the right thing and scale back the project to a size and context that the community and visitors can live with and let the donations proceed along with the rest of the project.

How many times have you in another situation sighted an out of context building somewhere and asked yourself how could that ever been allowed to go through or been approved? Surely this hotel – remember it is to be 15 times the size of any other building on Nita Lake, apart from being well outside the planning guidelines for Lake Placid Road – is one of those legacies in the making. This is the chance for RMOW to take planning action with the developer and get it right.

Having been forced back to the drawing boards, the lose-lose result for all members of the community is that this project goes ahead without the donations. If properly handled this is avoidable and unnecessary.

Any threats by a developer to take his bat and ball and go home could only be idle. Others would love to stand in for this opportunity.

Keith Lambert

Nita Lake

As an active community resident and businessman in Whistler, I am distressed to learn that the Nita Lake project now has to go back to square one. No other developer has consulted the community as much as they have. The proposal is first class and will benefit Whistler in many ways.

While we all support and encourage free speech and the right to express dissenting opinions, I am disturbed that an individual's self interest can be used to block the public process when the vote doesn't go their way. All of us are losers in such circumstances.

I am personally satisfied that the Nita Lake group acted in an open and fair manner. I continue to support their project and encourage my fellow citizens to do so as well. I ask that council move this forward without further delay.

Barry Johnson

Whistler

The Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Assoc. would like extend a big "Thank you" to all of the folks at the Puppy Zone for their continued support of our organization. The Puppy Zone organizes various fundraisers each year on our behalf, most recently last Sunday's Dog Cookie Sale. As a volunteer non-profit charitable society with no direct provincial or federal financial support, we rely solely on private donations as well as a variety of fundraisers, to offset the cost of maintaining our 35 operational SAR Dog teams in Western Canada.

Hat's off to the good folks at the Puppy Zone!

Anton Horvath

President

CARDA

I was somewhat dismayed following your lead article in Last week’s Pique. After a brief discussion with you I realized however you had written it based on the information you had at the time and with no knowledge of the identity or other side of the story concerning the Nita Lake Development.

To my mind this all started several years ago when council allowed the Houghton brothers to re-zone their plots to allow 5,000 square foot homes as opposed to 3,000 square foot homes, by donating a gift of $300,000 to a new day care centre, a gift that had no association with the amendment and therefore to my mind was a bribe. Councilor Kirsti Wells voiced her concern at the time that this was the start of a slippery road.

Many people agreed with her comments, including myself, concerned that it was sending a message to developers and home/land owners that planning and zoning could be bought. None of us had the clout or recourses to call the decision into question.

Now, three years later, we have a development being given the go ahead, that is way beyond the scope of the original zoning. It would appear from the way it has been presented, that the developer has been allowed to build this huge hotel – which is far too big for the site – because of the donations/sweeteners he is offering in terms of the health care donation and the wetlands. These as they stand, because they are again not related to the development, are therefore not donations but nothing short of bribes, and in my book bribery leads to corruption.

Then we have Mr. Lambert, a Canadian born and bred, and an international businessman of great repute, whose family own property and have had a long association with Whistler. He and his wife have, now that they are in a position to do so, decided to make Whistler their full-time home. Far from being NIMBYs, they are totally committed to many of the values that true locals hold dear to them, and one of those is that the RMOW has to be accountable to the community of Whistler and uphold the planning, zoning and all other laws of this community.

Nita Lake is a very small lake with a natural cadence from north to south, with substantial development on two sides that is in keeping with the lake and surrounding area. The lands in question at the south end of the Lake represent some of the last buildable land in Whistler and give the RMOW a chance to create something lasting and memorable that will protect the natural environment as laid down in the CSP, and make a statement about future development.

The zoning for the area is for a small boutique hotel, in keeping with the size of the lake and the other development in the area. The whole Creekside area was, I thought, also slated to be developed in a much more low key way with an original Whistler look, unlike the main village. Whistler already has numerous huge hotels and more on the way, and these as I understand have had terrible occupancy rates this year. What we do not have is a nice small homely hotel.

Bearing all this in mind, I think that Mr. Lambert is quite right in holding the RMOW to task over essentially accepting a bribe to allow for a larger building that will destroy the essence of the Nita Lake area once and for all.

As I understand it Mr. Lambert is not at all against the donations and indeed he would be as devastated as anyone if these do not go ahead.

What I think he is saying is that if persons wish to give gifts or donations that is fine but that they should not be tied to planning and zoning issues or indeed any RMOW rules. The RMOW should decide and judge these issues on their own merit, regardless of any donations which may influence and cloud even the best of judgements, leading to a loss of sight as to what will best suite the area and best serve the interests of the local people of Whistler. The present accepted, rather unusual route, seems to be that the RMOW is being bribed to acquiesce to developers needs in return for handouts that are unrelated to the development or proposal.

I am sure if the developer reduces the size of the hotel to what it should be and tables his donations as just that, then this will all be sorted and we will have a lot to thank Mr. Lambert for, in finally showing people and developers that the RMOW and the community of Whistler are not for sale.

Susie Goodall

Whistler

The 1 st Annual Preschool and Kindergarten Health Fair on May 29 th was a great success. Thank-you to all of the parents and children who attended and to all of the participants who provided them with great information and resources.

Coast Garibaldi Health and the Putting Children First Initiative would also like to thank the following businesses for their generous donations: Nesters Market, McDonald’s, Great Games and Toys, Great Glass Elevator, Sabre Rentals, Triton Steel, and Sea to Sky Insurance.

We would also like to thank the following volunteers for their help in showing the families where to go, fabulous face-painting, and popcorn popping: Brian, Christy, Marie, Mona, Wanda, Julie, Morgan, Justin, Brianna, Shannon, Lucy, Ariel, Megan, Christiana, and Mariah! We couldn’t have done it without you! Hope to see you at next year’s Fair!

Kristine Good, RN, BSN

Vancouver Coastal Health

Whistler



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