Letters to the editor for the week of April 16th 

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Towing etiquette missing?

Being part of a large strata here in Whistler, I appreciate the job the tow truck drivers do in our complex. We have, in the past, had people parking in our lot, who had no right to be on private property, and in one situation, an inebriated person came from off property, got into the vehicle and drove off before the tow truck could get here (which could easily have turned into a hit and run). 

As we have posted permit-only signs, the tow drivers are just doing the job they have been contracted to do.

Many of us have been towed, and we all seem to get in a tizzy and cast blame when we actually know why we were towed — yet we still feel a sense of entitlement. (In a "Letter to the Editor" in Pique April 9, a letter writer said he) thought that (his) truck had been stolen with (his) dog, then realized it had been towed. I will assume that's because (he) knew (he was) in a posted "turn around area."

(He) and a contractor were at this complex to review a damaged unit, so why did (he): 1) have no identification in (the) vehicle and 2) ask the owner who had hired (him) where it was all right to park?

Payless (Towing) would have no idea how long (the driver had) left the dog in the vehicle. How many times do we see dogs in vehicles while their humans go for coffee/a meal/movie, etc.?

While it's very unfortunate that both (the letter writer) and the (tow-truck) driver got into a verbal dust-up as emotions were high, the fact remains, (the letter writer was) parked in an area where (he) shouldn't have been, be it (for) five minutes or 55 minutes — signs are here, and everywhere, for a reason.

When we are in the wrong, let's give these fellows who may come to our rescue one day (hopefully not), a break. They are hired to do a job, which at times is tough. Let's also all of us heed handicap/fire lane and loading areas.

Everyone has a job no matter what it is, and everyone has to play nice.

C. Mclellan


Put a lid on it

Although bike season technically started in February this year, helmet-free biking is just starting to get underway on our roads and trails. While I love seeing people on bikes, the lack of helmets on over half of the riders I've seen on the highway in recent weeks is alarming.

I know some people don't like hearing it, but study after study shows that bike helmets reduce the risk of serious injury and death. There are some critics out there (e.g. cyclehelmets.org) who refute the stats in the name of personal freedom, but the agencies we should be trusting on this issue — Health Canada, the Canadian Medical Association, the Brain Injury Association of Canada, etc. — are unanimous.

They're not out to make money from helmet sales, and don't have any vested interest in stripping us of our freedoms. The only stake they have in this matter is our health and wellbeing, and maybe putting the brakes on our rising health care costs at the same time.

Obviously you need to put any numbers into context — no piece of safety gear is 100-per-cent effective, and yes, it is a possibility that wearing helmets might encourage some people to take more risks.

If bicycle injury rates are level or increasing despite helmet laws, however, then it's likely because the number of bike parks and cross-country trails is increasing, road riding is increasing, and the way people ride their bikes is changing as well.

Still, that's not really the helmet's fault. Helmets help protect our brains when accidents happen, but everything else leading up to the accident has always been up to us.

Accidents can and will happen. Some may be your fault, some may be the fault of others, but eventually everyone crashes on their bike.

Like everything in life, it's a numbers game, and the best numbers we have clearly demonstrate that wearing a helmet lowers the odds of sustaining a brain injury while increasing your chance of survival.

To me, the helmet debate has a lot of similarities to the so-called vaccination debate.

On the one side you have overwhelming medical consensus and research in support of one reasonable and thoroughly tested course of action; on the other you have junk science, bad rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and anecdotal evidence. The two sides are not equal — not even close — and even treating it like a reasonable, rational, two-sided argument is dangerous, and puts people at risk.

You either trust doctors and the larger medical community — and all of the agencies out there that track and analyze statistics — or you don't. If you're pro vaccination, then you can't possibly be against wearing a helmet because the source of the advice is exactly the same. You can't cherry pick.

If you have any doubts, I recommend talking to any of our local doctors and nurses before you go scour the Internet in search of sources that refute anything I've written, and all of the data that's out there. It's far easier for everyone if you just to follow the advice of the recognized authorities on the matter, and buy a helmet.

And if nothing I've said will convince you, then there's always the law.

They're not enforced as often as they should be, but helmets have been required to cycle on all provincial roads since 1996.

Unlike a lot of issues out there, there are no grey areas here — only grey matter. 

Andrew Mitchell


LNG projects face cancellation

It has always been my concern that B.C. has put its eggs into one basket with the LNG business proposals.

Last week's merger between Royal Dutch and BG certainly makes the possibility of cancellation of LNG projects look like it might occur, and Moody's Investors Service Inc. said on Tuesday that the "vast majority" of North American LNG projects face cancellation.

"Moody's warns that the prospects appear bleak for the bulk of B.C. projects and most of the ventures elsewhere in North America, notably nearly 30 proposals in the United States and a handful in Central and Eastern Canada.

"We expect that global liquefaction capacity will be well in excess of demand for the remainder of this decade, as demand will grow more slowly than supply," according to the report, titled "Lower oil prices cause suppliers of LNG to nix projects."

Our government has touted LNG as being an intrinsic part of our future economy. I wonder what will be the government's option, or Plan B, should the LNG projects fall through.

Patrick Smyth


Notes on a strange winter

Unusual winters call for unusual measures.

The Cypress Point Winter Carnival in late February at The Point featured beach volleyball instead of ice curling, and a polar bear swim instead of shinny.

Spring-like temperatures made the live outdoor painting, fireside sing-along and children's crafts a little easier to weather, and had no effect whatsoever on the incredible theatre and music performances in the evening.

Thanks to Denise Hughes for the great dinner, Michele Bush and her band of over-actors for the laughs, Lisa Geddes and Shelagh Thiessen for capturing the event on canvas, Susan Holden for the fireside jam, and CR Avery and the Special Interest Group for another memorable music performance.

Thanks also to all of the volunteers for making it happen and to the community for coming out to support and enjoy the festivities. Finally, thanks to our sponsors Gibbons Life, Nesters Market, Whistler Brewing Company, Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers, BC Wine Studio and Whistler Roasting Company — their outstanding support allows these community arts events to flourish.

Speaking of unusual winters, the barrel for the Alta Lake Ice-Break Raffle spent only a few short weeks on the ice this year. While most of the lake ice broke on February 22, allowing the brave polar bear swimmers to plunge into the lake on the 23rd, the barrel remained on a southern ice flow until March 7, finally crossing the mid-point of the lake at 8:30 p.m.

Congratulations to Craig Koszman for his winning guess of 7:15 p.m., Sarah Sladen for her second place guess of 6:15 p.m., and Jim Wharin for his third place guess of 6 p.m.

Thanks again to Whistler Brewing Company, Scandinave Spa and Whistler Backroads for generously providing the prizes for this historic fundraiser.

Stephen Vogler

The Point Artist-Run Centre

Samurai Sushi thanks

Thank you very much for all of your sincere support and donations. I am greatly appreciative and amazed by everything that friends and the people of Whistler have kindly contributed and organized, in order to help my wife, Miki.

I would like to send my sincerest appreciation to all the people who kindly participated in the fundraising, friends who have visited Miki at Vancouver General Hospital numerous times and all the people from different corners of the world who have generously sent us donations and kind-hearted messages through the fundraising website.

Without your kindness and assistance, Miki and I wouldn't have been able to come this far and go through this tough time.

Miki is still in a coma, and at this moment it is difficult to predict how much she is going to recover and how long it will take to see her progress. However, I believe that every message and all the support you send to her will reach her heart, aid her recovery and make a difference in her future.

The donated money we received will definitely help us in our time of need and will be used for her future nursing care.

On behalf of our families and myself, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks for your extremely generous donations. We appreciate your kindness and ongoing support during this most difficult time.

Takumi Kudo


Still skiing

It behooves me to take umbrage with G.D. Maxwell's opinion that "skiing sucks" this season (Pique, April 9).

One might suggest the noble scribe get off those fatties he twirls around on, buy a real pair of skis, go up first thing in the morning, and carve the snot out of Fisheye — Franz's. That should wake him up.

James "Mogul" Monahan


Thank you for Raven's Nest

When I heard that Raven's Nest was going to be a vegetarian restaurant this year I was over the moon.  What an incredibly progressive strategy taken by Whistler Blackcomb to bring us what is possibly the first-ever, on-mountain vegetarian restaurant.

From tasty sandwiches (that Gardein meatball sub was so good), to hearty soups and stews, nutritious salads and a heavenly vegan chocolate brownie — it served us food that was delicious and filling to fuel our day on the mountain.

Always greeting guests with huge smiles, the staff was friendly and enthusiastic, no doubt thrilled to be working for such a caring and passionate manager as Kristine Leise. Together they created a wonderfully welcoming place to eat.

But that wasn't all; Raven's Nest helped to share a very important message.  

It is becoming well known that our food choices have an impact on our environment. Just this week a U.S. federal report recommended that a vegan diet is best for the planet, as well as our health. See  thehill.com/regulation/237767-vegan-diet-best-for-planet-federal-report-says.  

It is estimated that animal agriculture is responsible for 18 to 51 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all transportation. This includes methane, which has a global warming power 86 times that of carbon dioxide, and includes 65 per cent of all emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 296 times more destructive than carbon dioxide. A vegan diet produces 50 per cent less carbon dioxide, and is also a far more efficient use of resources. A person who follows a vegan diet uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-eater for their food.

So I wanted to share how grateful I am to Whistler Blackcomb for bringing us Raven's Nest and to all of you who supported it.

As an international resort we have the power to spread the word far and wide.

Raven's Nest did an incredible job of bringing awareness to such an important issue and showing people that it can be delicious and satisfying to eat in a way that reduces our impact on the environment.

A big thank you to the Raven's Nest team for all your hard work and dedication. You did us proud!

Hayley Ingman

Earthsave Whistler

The kind and helpful people in Whistler

I would like to send a heartfelt "thank you so very much" to a number of people who were so helpful and kind after a skiing incident April 5.

The day was one of these fantastic Whistler days with blue skies, some new snow and light winds. I skied Seventh Heaven on Blackcomb in the morning. Fantastic, fast and great carving.

My favourite run is Cloud Nine and I skied it a few times. Last run I took the left side instead of the right side midway. Coming down pretty fast I suddenly see moguls behind the ridge. Oops, I am definitely not a mogul skier.

Trying to maneuver, and also not drive into somebody else coming down, I go straight — one bump, two bumps and as I was told afterwards, after the third bump I was airborne.

Must have been for a split second, and then I flew straight into the hard packed snow on my chest. Skies and poles flying everywhere. A hard fall!

As I was sitting there trying to collect my breath, two ladies came and asked if I was OK. Very nice indeed.

I felt OK, but sitting up more, there were all kind of stars around me — not used to that. And I felt pretty exhausted. One lady (sorry, forgot her name) went to call the ski patrol. The other one, Pam from North Vancouver, and to my luck, a retired nurse, stayed with me, coached me to lie down and that got rid of my stars.

She was so considerate and kind and was taking time out of her ski day for me.

Then Bob, the other lady's husband, hiked up to me — they had called the ski patrol and stayed with me.

I felt shaky, but (didn't have) any broken bones.

Alvin from the ski patrol hiked up and checked me out. No concussion, no spinal injury, most probably a heavy chest blow. He advised me to take the lift to the ski patrol building by Horstman Hut to be checked out. Pam, Bob and his nice wife skied down with me, followed me up to the ski patrol hut. How could I thank them enough? They were true Samaritans! Thanks so much!

In the ski patrol building, Corey checked me out, followed me to the download, came with me on the download and had ordered a car, and drove me to the hospital in Whistler. Thank you so much Corey! So caring!

And the hospital staff was so friendly. X-rays showed that I seem to have gotten a huge chest/rib cage injury, but that it should go away after lots of Ibuprofen and rest.

Theresa, the nurse, was so kind, All staff including Dr. Bruce were really so helpful!

What a great experience despite the accident.

So I had a fantastic end of my ski season before the fall, but all the kindness from the people who cared for me, takes away the painful end.

So again, many thanks to all the kind and caring people I encountered. And next week is my birthday, and I still feel that I can continue skiing many more years, as I am only turning 65!

I am buying the Edge card for next season!

Mats Gerschman

West Vancouver

Stronger connection to Canada

CIC would like to make a few points regarding your "Pique'n" article published April 2 regarding Canada's naturalization rates.

The government of Canada is committed to upholding the high value of Canadian citizenship. We have strengthened the rules around access to citizenship to ensure that they reflect its true value.

Canada has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world, as 86 per cent of eligible permanent residents for Canadian citizenship decide to acquire it.

Canada is also welcoming more new citizens than ever before. We are proud that more than 262,000 new citizens joined the Canadian family in 2014. This is more new Canadians than in any year in Canada's history and more than double the number from 2013.

The allegations that the percentage of permanent residents becoming citizens has dropped from 79 per cent to 26 per cent are deeply flawed. This does not match reality, as it fails to take into account that many qualified permanent residents do not immediately apply for citizenship upon qualifying; some choose to wait before making an application.

Statistics Canada already offers credible statistics that shows that in 2011, 85.6 per cent of eligible people in Canada reported that they had acquired Canadian citizenship.

The citizenship test is the same for everyone and applicants are given three opportunities to pass it. Since November 2010, the overall pass rate on citizenship tests has averaged 86 per cent, proving that the overwhelming majority of new Canadians have a comprehensive understanding of Canada's history, identity and values. 

Overall, our changes mean that new citizens have a stronger connection to Canada and are better prepared to assume the responsibilities of citizenship and become active members of Canadian society. 

Bill Brown

Media relations, Citizenship and Immigration Canada


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