Letters to the editor for the week of April 30th 

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Proactive planning key to solving trail-use issues

In regards to the push to have our multi-use trails Riverside and Farside become hiking only, prompted by a letter written to council by Bill Moore, I feel it important to communicate Whistler Off Road Cycling Association's (WORCA) stance (Pique, April 23).

These trails are dear to us; they are some of the few that have an easier level of technical difficulty for beginner and intermediate mountain bikers to enjoy. For decades WORCA has invested time in maintaining and clearing these trails in the early season.

We have spent countless volunteer hours to ensure the trails are clear of deadfall and open for all users to enjoy. The municipal trail crew has also been working on these trails to improve sight lines and trail conditions.

We understand that there is potential for user conflict on these trails, especially during busy times when the trails see increased traffic flow. There are locations along both the Riverside and Farside trails that may be cause for concern, especially at trail intersections and in spots with very narrow pathways. WORCA members have begun to identify the areas of concern and are addressing these where we can. We have begun discussions with our partners at the municipal trail crew to address these concerns.

WORCA does not agree, or support, any drastic changes to the area's trails without having a chance to identify, review, and correct the root of the problem.

For a few years now we have been discussing and pushing for a detailed signage program to be introduced in the Whistler valley. We know our resort community has been surpassed by others in this regard, including by our direct neighbours to the north and south.

An improved signage program is a must to manage the increased traffic on our recreational trails. Last year, a sign standard was agreed upon between our partners at the municipality and with Crown land managers for our valley. In the fall we started to place 4x4 posts at trail heads and intersections.

This program is moving into its second phase with trail signage being added this spring, making our trails easier to navigate for all users.

More importantly, WORCA has identified the need to educate and inform all trail users of proper trail etiquette. We have presented our trail etiquette signage to the Trail Planning Working Group (TPWG), along with our communication plan.

Our belief is that by promoting proper trail etiquette, we will harbour a greater respect among all users. Our signage will remind recreationalists of the hierarchy when encountering others on the trail and help promote a positive encounter.

Signage outlining the trail etiquette will appear soon on WORCA managed trails, as well as on our website (worca.com). We are working with municipal planners to have our policy included within the new and improved signage program (wayfinding) currently underway.

WORCA does not support closing the Riverside and Farside trails to biking. Having already identified the potential conflict issues, we believe that moving forward with our outlined steps will help solve the user conflict in this area. The river valley trails offer a unique experience to all user groups and should not be made to segregate trail users.

There are too many multi-use trails in the area that rely on Riverside and Farside as a key link to access and exit this network. A decision to close these trails to biking would displace many cyclists and push these users onto the East and Westside Main roads, causing further issues and increased vehicle conflicts as a result of higher use.

Mountain biking has a positive impact on our summer visits, as highlighted in the Sea to Sky Mountain Biking Economic Impact Study conducted by Mountain Bike Tourism Association in 2006.

A Whistler-led economic impact study is currently underway and planned to take shape this summer, focusing on our activity. I suggest that we wait for the results of the study to help us address the user conflict in this area.

We suspect the study will highlight the need for beginner and intermediate cycling trails, and the lack of signage prohibiting trail users from exploring our trail system.

WORCA will support a proactive and logical process to manage the concerns addressed with the Cheakamus Canyon trails and looks forward to working with the community to ensure a reasonable plan to resolve the user conflict in the area is adopted.

Jerome David
WORCA President

Pick up the trash

I have been trying to craft this as constructively as possible, so it is taken as a note of concern rather than a giant whinge or a rant.

I'm not sure how successful I will be with this, but if it gets a couple more people taking action all will be well.

The litter/trash situation in this area is disgraceful.

I went up to the spring park today on Whistler (Mountain). As I rolled in wondering if I could still do Back Ones and switch Front Lips I noticed a can on the ground.

What a bummer I thought. This man-made crap on snow is not meant to be here. I stooped to pick it up and saw one, two, three... six more cans at least, three old slurpee or something cups, a wrapper...

What the hell people! You can't squash (your garbage) and put it in your pocket? You brought it here full! And you can't carry it away empty?


People sitting near it or riding past, pick it up. Not hard to do.

The lift and gondola lines are scattered with discarded empties, not to mention the broken poles, lost gloves, goggles, tissues and lip stuff.

I'm sure there are willing receptacles waiting at the top, or bottom, of most of these conveyances.

The parking lots, the village, the verges of the Valley Trail are all full of discarded items.

Not only is it disappointing in the extreme that we live in such a beautiful area of the world, but we seem content to treat it with disdain — we are disrespecting and endangering the creatures we share this environment with.

We are, in fact, encroaching on their territory and not doing a very good job of being appreciative guests.

I know there a lot of people who care and do a great job. A woman I met in Lot 5 the other day was picking up cans and bottles and other crap.Well played you.

But let's get a bit more of that going on. Even if you didn't drop it just grab it and put it in a bin. Or take it to the folks at the recycling centre in Function or Nesters. They have a fantastic set up (and you get the cash back for your returns). As someone who has lived in this area on and off since 2002 and (now) back after a long hiatus I feel it's important to say this because things change, of course, but with an expanded population, and increased activity, and ranges of travel we need to really look after this special place and treat it like a valued friend.

Max Walker

This senior draws a line in the sand at 75

Two great columns on seniors. ( Pique, April 23)To the Mature Action Community, as a 73 year old, I won't consider myself a senior until I qualify for my super-senior pass in two years time.

Gary McDonnell

Federal voting must be strategic

There is a gross error in the thinking displayed by last week's letters responding to Max's advocacy of strategic voting (Pique, April 23). Interestingly, they are generally displaying the same emotional magical thinking usually reserved for their opponents, the "conservative base." There are some cold, hard realities that must be accepted if we really don't want to see another Harper government, majority or minority.

First and foremost is that always and forevermore approximately 25 to 30 per cent of any population anywhere in the world are authoritarian personalities, who will vote Harper, or similar, no matter what.

This is a fact born out by all evidence and historical record and if you have any doubts start with Wikipedia on "Right Wing authoritarian Personality" then "Conservatives without Conscience" by the reformed Nixon henchman, John Dean.

Next is the fact that the vast middle ground of fence sitters is generally conservative in values, myself included. We all like family values, individual liberty, work ethic and dislike criminals and freeloaders, so we are all inclined to fall for the same emotional idiocies that Harper tools his Ford Nation base with.

These two solid facts mean that Harper, Sea to Sky MP John Weston, Joe Oliver, Rona Ambrose, Peter MacKay, Steven Blaney and all the other right wing authoritarians can pull it off again, to a quite reasonable degree of probability.

We must be realistic that when it comes to voting day, physical appearance, style, mythology and emotional gut impulses trump any degree of sober critical policy analysis.

In other words, all it takes is one low IQ shoe bomber, or someone's buddy losing their job in the oil patch, and it's four more years of Harper.

Anything else is better, contrary to the Conservatives' hilariously cynical campaign slogan of "Better off with Harper."

I personally know, appreciate and admire Ken Melamed and I would vote for him on a dime if I actually thought he'd get in, but I don't.

In terms of voter turnout our riding is dominated by wealth, and wealth knows how to circle the wagons better than anybody else. The simple fact of the matter is that if we split the vote Mr. Weston wins again and Harper gets another bench-warming yes man.

I might change my mind only if there was some clear indication that a coalition government would form to eviscerate, emasculate, fold, spindle and otherwise totally crush any chance of Harper doing anymore damage.

Even then, the odds of a Green riding are pretty slim, so if booting out Mr. Weston is our goal, any green vote would be not just a wasted one, but also a defacto vote for Harper. That's how they did it before, that's how they will do it again.

Last election Weston received 28,614 votes, and the other two players split the rest at about 14,400 a piece with the Greens getting squat. NOT - EVEN - CLOSE.

Anyone with a six-year-old's math skills, and a sober understanding of how people really don't change much, can see that unless a miracle happens Weston is back in as a loyal back bencher.

Take a lesson from last election and for the love of family, friends, God and Sea to Sky country vote strategic!

Bruce Kay

Anyone but harper

We in Whistler are very fortunate that we have somebody like Max writing his column "Maxed Out" in Pique. Quite often he stirs the pot and that initiates lively discussion and criticism. That is positive and we need more of that.

Some time ago he advocated voting strategically in the next federal election to send our Supreme Leader into retirement. This upset supporters of the Green party and its candidate our ex-Mayor Ken Melamed.

Let me state right up front, I did not like Ken as a mayor. But that was in the past. I think he is an excellent candidate for the Greens. I would vote for him if Greens could prove with the opinion poll that he has the best chance of all candidates to win.

But I do not think that is the case. So, it comes down to the best way of ensuring that we do not end up with another four years of Harper's dark ages, it comes down to choosing Canada or your party.

Sadly, the party leadership of the NDP, Liberals and Greens has all chosen their individual parties over Canada. They should cooperate first, fix democracy and elections and then slug it out in the next election. But no, Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair both want to be Prime Ministers, Elizabeth May wants to grow her party.

This election is turning into an election like no other before. There are massive grass-roots movements to stop Harper. Traffic STOP signs around the country are being "enhanced" into "STOP HARPER."

Interestingly, this "vandalism" actually enhances sign effectiveness, as you stop and read it. Since political parties are not putting Canada first, Internet movements like Leadnow.ca are organizing people to sign pledges to vote for the candidate who may have the best chance to defeat their Conservative opponent.

They are crowd-sourcing initiatives for opinion polls in crucial swing ridings where the election will be won or lost.

Our riding is not such a swing riding, any party wishing to defeat the current Conservative incumbent will need all the help they can get including strategic voting. In our riding "Vote ABH" (Anybody But Harper) really means vote Liberal or NDP.

Would it not be extremely tragic if after the election we had Green party to thank for putting Harper back in power?

One can trace the start of the Conservatives' ascendance to power to two main factors: Harper's uniting of the right, and the emergence of Greens as a political party, which split more votes on the centre-left.

Drago Arh

Gallery success

The second Youth Gallery at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival's (WSSF) State of the ART show was a huge success. The student art was a hit with visitors, and several of the photographic prints sold to the thousands who had a chance to see the art of Whistler Secondary School students.

The show would not have been possible without the great support I got from Sue Eckersley and Ace Mackay-Smith of Watermark, Harvey Lim, who donated the framing from his Art Junction studio, Rick Clare of One Hour Foto Source and, of course, the students who were brave enough to put their art on display.

Whistler has a strong creative community and it's great to see youth as part of it.

Kayley Ogilvie-Turner
Grade 11 WSS, curator of the Youth Gallery

Thank you from Myrtle Philip

The staff and students of Myrtle Philip would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who made our first Run N' Roll event such a success.

After practising running and transition skills over the past few weeks, the intermediate students participated in an event held at Myrtle Philip on April 23, thanks to the support of the Whistler Tri Club, Tri BC, and the fantastic organization and coaching from Karen Blaylock and Emma Bishop.

The event could not have been possible without the parent and tri club volunteers, Kyle and Fabienne from the Whistler Secondary School, and officer Paula Haider.

A special thank you as well to Nesters Market for donating the food and drinks for the finish line. The kids all put forth a great effort and had a really fun day.

We look forward to a second annual event next year!

Lisa Smart


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