Letters to the editor for the week of April 9th 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRAD KASSELMAN / COASTPHOTO.COM

Whistler Cup congratulations

It was difficult to miss the large number of excited young ski racers around town this past weekend. With representation from around the globe, this was another world-class event for Whistler.

I would like to say thanks to the organizing committee, volunteers and the sponsors for allowing us the privilege of witnessing a truly world-class event.

From the organization on the mountains, the army of long-term volunteers and sponsors, it is an event that must be the envy of most ski-race organizing committees.

Watching some of the best junior racers from around the world arrive and walk through the village in awe makes me realize that we are part of something huge. These are the best junior racers in the world at an age where they are enthusiastic, as well as appreciative of the support their families and race clubs provide.

Witnessing the athletes' parade featuring bagpipers and participants marching proudly, while people applaud their effort, is another special moment of this event and something that most participants will remember for the rest of their lives.

We were invited to the award ceremonies and had the pleasure of sitting with a great young ambassador for the sport, Olympic gold medallist Marielle Thompson. Watching Marielle interact with the young racers was inspiring, as they approached one of their heroes to find out that she is supportive and a very nice, disciplined and talented individual.

I would encourage every business in town/the corridor to find ways to help this event. Not only does it build on the strength of the Whistler brand, but the lessons these young individuals learn now pave their way to success in the future. The camaraderie and support the participants convey is palpable throughout this event, which may be as close to the Olympics as many racers will experience.

You could hear the applause congratulating the winners of the races because these kids were paying attention to what was going on around them not what was on social media. We all win with people participating in healthy choices.

We are so lucky to have this phenomenon in our home.

Rick Clare

On behalf of Coast Mountain Photography

Still skiing for Alzheimer's

First, I would like to invite everyone to the Longhorn Pub on Monday, April 13 from 6 p.m. until late. The Gibbons Group is generously organizing a special evening to make sure that I can keep going with my project "Remember, I ski for Alzheimer's."

I have spent the last seven months working to raise awareness and money for the Alzheimer society of BC. I have raised $17,500 so far. Being a third-party event, I am paying for all costs associated with this. I cannot stop at this point, and I need some support, so that I can see this project go until the end of November.

A documentary is being produced about this special journey, with the generous contribution of cinematographer Mike Gamble. This short documentary will be presented during the ski-film festival next fall (Whistler, Banff, Vancouver, Calgary). That alone will be a great promotional tool for the Alzheimer Society, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb.

I also need to keep skiing this summer, so that I can make this record last and keep it in Whistler for a long time.

Now, regarding the silent auction that took place on March 16 at Creekbread restaurant I need to first applaud Cara McKay for going the extra mile to help me make that evening a success — $3,800.00 was raised that evening.

Skiis and Bikes, Toad Hall studio (Sean Bondaroff), and Nesters Market have been supporting me right from the start and for that I am forever grateful to you.

And to everyone else who supported me that evening, thank you: Whistler Blackcomb, Escape Route, the RMOW, Tyax Lodge, Fairmont Chateau, Scandinave Spa, Nita Lake lodge, Nalini Binet, Alta Bistro, Pasta Lupino, Crepe Montagne, Peaked Pies, Quantum Vitamins, Whistler Foto Source, Helly Hansen, Alpine Market, Blackcomb Liquor Store, Whistler Village Sports, Nagomi Sushi, Nona Pia's, Evolution, Underground Tuning, Jim Lever, Quentin Emeriau, Francois Moisan, Uschi Sherer, Jimmy Bee, Mark Beaven, Cheryl and Binty Massey, Cate Webster, EMOF Dave Scheffley and Dave Moore, and last but not least Stephen Vogler for entertaining the crowd with great music from Some Assembly Required.

I cannot forget the generous support from the Gibbons Group, and the donation made by the Longhorn Pub, the day I broke the record.

Remember — show up Monday, April 13 and help me keep skiing for Alzheimer's.

Pierre Marc Jette

Whistler

Towing etiquette missing

(Recently), a contractor and I parked in a spot we thought was guest parking (at a Whistler townhouse project) — one of the units had received water damage.

We were there to review the scope of work to repair the unit. I may have been reviewing the damaged unit for 15 minutes.

When I returned to my truck it was gone with my dog inside. Thinking the truck had been stolen I was frantic about my dog. (Then I realized it had likely been towed.)

Due to the very short visit, we felt Whistler/Payless towing (had probably) followed us into the complex, expecting us to park in that location. The driver stated (to us), "we get a lot of vehicles every day."

While retrieving my vehicle and dog, the situation got a little ugly (on both sides). My contractor stayed with me. The driver for Payless stated that he is hired by the Whistler municipality, fire department, and property management companies. The driver stated I was parked in a (sign-posted) "turn around area," therefore no parking, period. But, the driver then stated, that he would not have towed us (immediately) if we had a permit from the management company, or if we had a company logo on the side of our vehicles.

Payless towing did not take into account that I would not be staying long due to my dog (being inside) the vehicle — that to me was a no brainer.

The driver noticed some flowers on the seat of my truck, which were for my wife. The driver blurts out, "I don't know who you are, for all I know you could be up here screwing some broad and then take the flowers home to your wife." (I've been married for thirty-five years) — that was a very rude comment.

Common sense should (have) prevailed with this situation.

Roy Brown

Whistler

Bumping into Grizzlies 101

While not the thrust of his "Letter to the Editor" last week ("On the Origin of Species' Feelings" Pique, April 2), Victor Lezu provides the opportunity to correct a misconception about grizzly bears.

His letter stated: "So trust me when I say this — if you bump into a hungry grizzly while hiking in the woods... (t)he only thought going through its head will be, 'Oh rad, I'm having human for lunch.'"  

But in reality, by far most common grizzly bear response would be something more along the lines of, "Yikes! Humans! Danger!" before it quickly leaves the scene — usually before the humans are even aware of its presence.

Most grizzly bears, particularly in threatened populations like we have in Sea to Sky, have learned that humans are dangerous (hence the "threatened" part!) and are very good at avoiding people.

Occasionally we hear that a grizzly bear has injured a person (for example if it perceived a threat to its cubs), but it is exceedingly rare that a grizzly eats anyone.

Many people have questions or concerns about safety and grizzly bears and I would encourage backcountry enthusiasts — hikers, mountain bikers, hunters — to attend the Pemberton Wildlife Association's bear awareness session with bear expert Dr. Sue Senger at the Pemberton Community Centre at 7 p.m. on April 22.

The session will focus entirely on wilderness encounters with bears — particularly grizzly bears — so that both people and bears stay safe in the course of their backcountry activities.

To the surprise of some, there are grizzly bears not far from us in Whistler, Pemberton and up in the South Chilcotin, so thanks to the PWA for putting on this bear awareness session. It's a great opportunity to learn more about travelling safely in grizzly country, and sharing our wilderness backyard with these amazing animals.

Johnny Mikes

Field Director, Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative

Whistler

Thankful for care

John and I had the wonderful opportunity to go skiing this past week with (some friends) at Whistler! It was truly and completely spell binding.

We have never observed the magnitude and beauty that we had the privilege to be part of in this beautiful place!

On Tuesday, as a group, we decided to enjoy a "mountain tour," where extremely knowledgeable hosts offer to take groups through some of the scenic ski areas.

John joined another group not labelled as "slow-speed intermediate," so we were not part of the same group.

Our host guide shared her enthusiasm for this beautiful mountain, and we had the chance to see many beautiful areas through her eyes.

While on this tour, I caught an edge/slipped on an icy bit of snow and fell. The resulting fall included a tumble down an embankment. I was observed by a co-tourer to go over the edge of the embankment and our host guide was alerted. She also alerted ski patrol and came down the hill to be with me.

Between our host guide, the ski patrol, and friends, the ski-patrol toboggan was brought up the nasty little incline (me in it!). When I fell I must have lost consciousness, as I don't have any recall of the going-over incident at all.

There was a long toboggan ride to the ambulance and a ride to the health clinic in Whistler village, where I was very thoroughly assessed. John and I were very impressed with the quality of care that we encountered here. "Remember these words: green, hope, taxi!" I was told.

Part of the cognitive test was memory acquisition and recall — these were the words of the day!

I have been assessed as having a concussion, and have been resting a lot as a result (will continue to for awhile longer!). I was aware as soon as I rallied that I didn't have any other major issues, just lots of bruising. So I'm sore and tired!

I'm sending this message to you to let you know of the incident first hand, in a sense. It will always be a pivotal moment in my life; I am aware, because those around me at the time informed me, that I was really very fortunate to come out of this with minor injuries only.

I'm so grateful for all the help that I've had from the host guide, the ski patrol, the emergency doctor on the hill, friends and family.

I have a sense of the sacredness of life for very sure!

Eleanor Morris

Elora, Ontario.

More answers needed from Woodfibre

Woodfibre LNG's recent assurances in a "Letter to the Editor" in last week's Pique, about its "good stewardship" raise more questions than answers.

Remediation of the old Woodfibre site might be beneficial if they weren't planning to site a large industrial plant on a site that's recovering and is the preferred migration route of juvenile salmon, as we learned at our last SFAC meeting from Randall Lewis of the Squamish River Watershed Society.

Woodfibre LNG's own Environmental Assessment application details the myriad impacts the plant will have.

Why are they planning to short change Howe Sound with a cooling system that will use up to 17,000 metric tonnes of ocean water per hour, when a proposed LNG plant in the Skeena Estuary will use an air-cooling system? Air-cooling would avoid a marine-water intake and side step risks to wild fish. Why should Howe Sound pay this cost in dead fish?

Unfortunately, the Fisheries and Oceans guidelines for minimizing harm to fish at marine intakes is from 1991 and omits significant research on vertical migrations of herring — hardly reassuring.

Much of the work done on vertical migrations of herring has been done on the Atlantic species of herring, a very close relative to our Pacific herring, including work that shows larvae frequently migrate to depths of 40 metres.

We also know larval herring are very susceptible to being sucked up by intakes, because they're weak swimmers.

What do we know about vertical migrations of larval Pacific herring? Not much. Hence, sticking a large suction at a depth of about 25 metres in Howe Sound is pretty much an experiment that likely won't be robustly monitored.

How many fish, crabs and other animals will this thing kill on an annual basis? People need substantiated answers from Woodfibre LNG.

Dave Brown

Squamish to Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee Vice-Chair

Cultural Hub?

So where is the local, cultural entertainment found in Whistler?  

I'm curious because as someone with a cultured and diverse background in music, I am constantly judged by Whistler venues for offering ideas that aren't your typical pub-anthem fare that has dominated this town.  

I was told recently by a venue that no one cares about music — they don't care about art and all (customers) want is to sing along to something they know. So there's the definition of culture as communicated by a venue in Whistler.

It's not the first time I've heard this. Coming from someone who got fired for playing reggae, because Bob Marley is apparently not welcomed here, nor is Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, forget country music, too because that's not welcomed, I am starting to wonder about why Whistler thinks it is becoming a cultural hub?  

I made a public statement recently about Whistler venues needing to nurture and cultivate diverse experiences with music for this town to actually be a cultural hub. It has to come from within or we're just offering a superficial sense of culture.  Any great cultural hub has dynamic local offerings that are supported from within.  

It's fantastic that organizations like the VSO (Vancouver Symphony Orchestra) want to come and spend time here. It's great that promoters such as CIA Entertainment bring in touring acts that offer originals. It's great that clubs will set aside a large budget for a DJ out of Europe. That definitely brings some culture to this town.  

So why are those of us living in town not allowed to be a part of that kind of experience? Why are we marginalized for offering another take on entertainment?

Forget being an original band, forget offering anything that goes beyond being a cover band, and if you are a cover band forget reinventing those covers. Don't offer anything other than rock either, because apparently nobody cares, as stated by the venues.

Sure, you'll get a lot of people coming up to you and thanking you for offering something unique, but the venues won't appreciate it.  In my experience, even when you pack a bar, or dance floor, they still don't appreciate it because in the subjective ears of a booking person, you either are what that one person likes, or you aren't, and most times they don't even care to witness the experience from the eyes of those who are enjoying it.   

Even one of Whistler's most recognized cover bands said to me, "If you don't like how it is, then leave town."

There's not even support from the musicians within the community, because the venues have local groups all at odds trying to get and keep gigs.

All I am hoping (here) is to spark conversation. I've had to develop and define my career in music, on the road, away from Whistler.

I've been marginalized a lot because I am doing covers, but giving them a swing and rockabilly feel. Sometimes I flip into funk and reggae, and apparently all of that isn't cultural enough to fit into the mould of venues in Whistler.

I need to just be another carbon copy of what exists in this town, for decades, to be taken seriously?

If anyone ever cared to ask, to research, I have a body of work of original music, I am on the radio, I have music videos, and I work every day toward my career.

I can't get a break in Whistler venues, but I go to Pemberton, Squamish, Vancouver, and I am welcomed and respected.

It's never an issue of patrons; they are always respectful and kind.  This is about venues, the perception of music vs. art, and the fact that venues in Whistler actually believe in statements like, "No one cares about music."

I'm constantly feeling this turmoil and publicly speaking my mind as I do, because I am striving for new forms of entertainment in Whistler.  I am on board with the concept of Whistler being a cultural hub, but that requires a focus on diversity found within the community, as much as it requires outside organizations to come to Whistler.    

It takes the community, the venues, and some keen desire to want music. It takes venues wanting to be a live-music venue to actually achieve this. If you're a venue that thinks no one cares about music, and you are trying to offer some cheap option of something once or twice a week, then maybe you should just not try and have music there.

You aren't doing anything for anybody, and if it's only the bottom line you care about, then go hire your DJ for canned Top-40 tunes, and keep the culture out of Whistler.  

I'd like to know why, as one of the hardest-working musicians living in this town, a career musician at that, do I have to look outside of Whistler to be accepted as the musician I am?

I have invested over $100,000 in my abilities with music, I have achieved measurable goals, I have music on the radio, I hold national standings in jazz performance, am royal conservatory trained on classical piano. I have a body of original work; yet, as the venue stated: "No one cares about music."

Well I do, and shame on anyone who wants to marginalize the efforts people like me put in.

I chose Whistler based on a dream that this village is built for a music town, a cultural hub. It just needs people in place to bring it to life. Think about what we offer nightly to people visiting from all over the world.  This is the best we can offer the world?

This village is going to scare away others like me, the multi-instrumental, creative and devoted types who want to offer so much more, but are held back by people who don't recognize their worth. I was told, years ago, that if you wanted to be respected for music, go to Vancouver.

Silly me, I thought that maybe I could be a part of a changing thought around it all.

When the cultural plan came out, I read it and thought maybe things would change. It takes people working toward change, which is why I am vocal and care about it.

I see the potential — maybe 20 years from now Whistler will be the community that has enriched cultural offerings, nurtured from within.

As it sits now, I'm just another local musician that nobody cares about (as stated by venues, not fans and patrons) ready to leave this ridiculous village behind and actually find a cultural hub to be a part of.  

Prove me wrong Whistler.

Monty Biggins

Whistler

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