Letters to the Editor for the week of August 20th 

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Top 10 anti-Max

Stop Max — serial abuser of freedom of speech and expression: the evidence exposed!

How much is enough, G.D. Maxwell asks.  Well, his last article was the last straw that broke the Conservative camel's back.

Max's latest acid rant in his column in last week's Pique was, quite simply, pathetic and crass.

Freedom of speech — yes! Freedom of expression — yes! But overtly attacking our prime minister, using petty language and amateur psycho-analysis shows poor penmanship and horrible taste. In fact, Max may do well to return to Journalism 101.

Express your opinion about politicians and politics, certainly Max, but to so blatantly insult our Prime Minister's Office is subversive and embarrassing for journalists who are in control of their egos and idiom.

Prime Minister Harper is a public servant, agreed. However, what delusional idea leads you to believe you can actually write "screw you" to the prime minister of Canada ? That the Pique would so easily print this peasant logic is equally surprising and an insult to global community journalism.  I shall contact the lupus in fabula, TheTyee, in due course.

Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice, Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin, is a public servant, yet I doubt that you, a former officer of the court, would dare write, "screw you," to her ladyship in public media. You know she would tear you another one and your days of ad-lib journalism would be over.

So, to balance the scales of public opinion, as is required by the law of karma, here is a "best of compilation" of 10 reasons why we want to rid ourselves of the ego maniac otherwise known as G.D. Maxwell:

1. Giving our local and international readers the idea that Canada is a weak nation with poor leadership, when, in fact, Stephen Harper is the first PM in a very long time who possesses the testicular fortitude to lead Canada into a new age of global collaboration and prosperity.

2. Infusing his opinion with histrionic drama that detracts from the many brilliant achievements in our community and country.

3. Leaving readers with nausea and a dire sense of despair instead of enlightening and educating them about our magnificent country and the host of heroes who keep us safe every day.

4. Attacking and maligning authority instead of celebrating the victories won daily by our military, law enforcement, search and rescue, the medical, legal and industrial arenas.

5. Doing injustice to community journalism by hogging the last page of the Pique with his constant drivel.

6. Insulting the intelligence of Conservatives, Liberals, NDPs and Green Party members who benefit on a daily basis from a prosperous economy.

7. Inciting our youth to disrespect authority.

8. Threatening national security by publicly defaming Canada's primary political office with impunity.

9. Misleading and mistreating the public by stating that our PM is taking a kick at Canada when in fact Maxwell is projecting his own hostility onto his readership.

10. Destroying any opportunity to leave readers feeling good, inspired or enlightened on the last page of an otherwise educational and pleasant publication.

Stop G.D. Maxwell!

Lisa Haeck


Sewer plan stinks

I read Alison Taylor's article with great interest and was amused by the quote from the mayor "that it is bit of an embarrassment" to have homes on septic systems.  She is, however, prepared to spend up to $3.5 million to avoid the perceived embarrassment?  To my mind it would be a greater embarrassment if the council were to spend $3.5 million on 32 homes to fix a problem that does not yet exist (but might some day in the future.) That's almost $110,000 per home, plus the owners have to pay additional for hook ups and landscaping, etc.

Elsewhere, governments are pushing for on-site wastewater treatment, as there is little money or appetite for large infrastructure projects, especially ones that are not necessary. Should Whistler be so different?

I fully appreciate that septic fields can fail and there is a possibility that there could be some environmental issues down the road that must be examined and be well protected against.

Therefore, rather than make this large infrastructure project, I suggest council look to advanced wastewater treatment systems that can be installed on each site at a fraction of the cost.  Such systems provide assurance that all effluent will be 100-per-cent bacteria-free and safe for the immediate and wider environments.  In fact, given the water shortages experienced this year, it's worth noting that such new systems make it possible to recycle treated septic water for watering lawns, gardens, car washing and more.  In the future, as water inevitably becomes more expensive, this would provide a savings to the homeowners and the community.

I am aware of one company in Vancouver, Sanzfield Technologies, has a system that would be a perfect add-on to the existing septic systems to provide the assurance of safe reusable water at a fraction of the cost of the currently tabled solution. We can predict that the growing acceptance of on-site water treatment will soon render municipal sewage infrastructure an equally outdated solution as the mayor feels that septic systems are today. Should we therefore not be looking at leading-edge solutions rather than pushing an infrastructure strategy that is clearly off-base in this situation?

I believe council owes it to the community to explore these modern solutions before committing its taxpayers to a substantial investment to solve a relatively petty and otherwise addressable issue.

Rupert Whiting

Richmond, B.C.

SAR delivers again

A friend of mine went down hard off his bike while participating in the Slow Food Cycle due to an unexpected mechanical malfunction.  Moments earlier I had been talking to a member of search and rescue (David, who had been manning a SAR vehicle) who quickly arrived on scene to assist the three of us (a firefighter, a dentist, and myself) that were providing the initial first aid.  While we managed my friend, who was initially fully unconscious for several minutes after the impact with the road had destroyed his helmet, David and another Pemberton SAR member arrived to assist with traffic control and to offer additional medical assistance. 

Volunteer St. John's Ambulance members arrived shortly thereafter as well as a B.C. Ambulance crew that eventually packaged and delivered our friend to Pemberton emergency, where he was well managed by the medical staff including Dr. (Nick), a new neighbour of mine in Pemberton.  During his ambulance transport, Pemberton SAR was asked to and helped out by delivering the damaged bicycle back to our home in Pemberton.

Every incident, large or small, is why we in the community appreciate all of our volunteers, Pemberton SAR in this case, for the unselfish offer of their personal time and commitment to helping others.  Personally, I spent about eight years and was a part of hundreds of tasks with another B.C. SAR team, so I know the details of "the job" intimately.  I wanted to express my personal thank you to the men and women of the Pemberton SAR team that now serves my friends and family in our great community of Pemberton.

Mike Gigliotti


Please share the road with bikers

While road biking early this morning on Whistler's West Side Road (Alta Lake Road), and while doing almost 50 km/hr on a downhill section, a car came up behind me and honked loudly. To the person driving, I do hope you saw how startled I was and that you almost caused me to crash. Please be aware that I do have as much right to the road as you and that when riding a road bike I do aim for a smooth patch of road without potholes or gravel that could also cause me to crash.

I also shoulder check about every minute and if you had waited a few seconds I would have checked, slowed and carefully moved toward the side of the road, although there was no oncoming traffic and you could easily have passed me without any aggression.

Please think about this next time and share the road!

Catherine Power-Chartrand


Cycling in the Pemberton area

Enough is enough! I do not want to be a recipient of a phone call, or to find out that my husband or friends have been involved in an accident anywhere in the Sea to Sky region, just because they happened to be using two wheels instead of four.

Cyclists are allowed on highways, but the shoulder is not a bike lane, and so courtesy should be given to them. If it is not safe to go past someone as it would cause you to go into oncoming traffic then use your common sense and wait until it is safe to do so. And, yes, cyclists should not ride two or three abreast and they should not ride towards oncoming traffic but, if they do, it is not okay to drive so close to them, or to swerve in front of them, so as to potentially cause an accident or make them feel unsafe.

Cycling is a growing tourism industry and, as such, puts money into the local economy, which helps provide jobs. Being aggressive towards cyclists puts everyone in jeopardy.

It is time for us to have an open debate about the best way to move forward so that everyone can feel safe on our roads. It would be extremely useful if all councils, from Whistler to D'Arcy [and even beyond], MLAs, MPs and the highways authority could come together with local residents to find a solution before someone else is fatally injured.

Until then, please could everyone respect all road users so that my phone never has to ring.

Zoe Martin


Hats off to the awesome trail crews

I'd like to give a big hats off to the Whistler trail crews, be it WORCA, the muni or volunteers, for constantly maintaining and adding to the extensive biking and hiking trails in and around Whistler. The level of resources both financial and physical are impressive and testament to a passionate community.

Thanks from me (and my dog).

Sarah Bourne


Are you thirsty?

I have lived in the Sea to Sky since 1985 and I have never seen a drier year. Little snow last winter and virtually no rain this summer. Watering and fire restrictions are in effect for good reason. My small lawn has been straw since May; the upside is that I don't have to mow it. If this keeps up a serious conversation is brewing about the value of water.

I am a homeowner and my water and sewer bill is not trivial, as I have a suite and that adds another 80 per cent, but I understand that it reflects the cost of infrastructure to deliver water safely and dispose of it when it is used. My question is: are the corporations that pump water from local aquifers into tanker trucks subject to the same watering restrictions that I am?

Trying to limit water use by foreign corporations will wind you up in court because of the treaties signed by the current and past governments, so they pump all week long while households get one day a week to keep their cedar hedges from becoming a fire hazard.

In return, the corporations profit by providing bottled water. I will challenge anyone to bring me a 750ml bottle of water that costs less than the current price of a litre of gasoline.

Hopefully, next winter we will be navel-deep in powder and by August we will be complaining about the lack of sunlight and inappropriate places moss has grown. If not, I foresee hedge fires desperately trying to be extinguished with bottled water, at a cost.

I am thirsty for a change.

Rob Neaga


New parking rules, new danger

Sometimes things just don't work as intended. This is the case with the recent RMOW engineering departments decision to allow street parking the entire length of Backcomb Way.

I understand the need for additional parking capacity, and at first glance, allowing parking in a formerly no-parking zone seems a simple, cheap, and no-cost solution!

But all is not what it seems... The shoulder on Blackcomb Way is increasingly narrow as you go up (west) on Blackcomb Way and isn't sufficiently wide to safely accommodate parked cars without significant encroachment into traffic lanes. The shoulder goes from 15 feet (3.6 metres), to seven feet (2.1 metres), to 3.5 feet (one metre) toward the terminus of this road. The road profile toward the end of the road where parking is now permitted is gravel shoulder, then traffic lanes with no fog lines. This is especially the situation west of Lost Lake Road on Blackcomb Way where the very narrow shoulder of 1 metre is now fully occupied by parked cars. This forces pedestrians to walk into the car lanes. And it gets worse! The Benchlands No. 5 bus uses this now increasingly narrow road and U-turns at the end of Blackcomb Way. This takes space... lots of it.

The dangerous result: buses, parked cars, pedestrians — all fighting for a share of the road, at times simultaneously... a dangerous cocktail for a human/car/bus accident!

It's when, not if, something bad happens.  And all for the gain of approximately 25 parking spaces for a road that's served by two free shuttles (No. 5 Benchlands Upper Village, No. 8 Lost Lake).

The danger is critically acute from Lost Lake Road up (west), where the shoulder is the most narrow.  And this is only for a gain of maybe eight to 10 spaces. At times, half the parked vehicles trespass into the road and then the pedestrians are forced even further out. I suppose pedestrians could bushwhack through private property to stay off the road or more dangerously, walk on the other side of the road, back towards oncoming traffic on a shoulder two-feet (0.6-metres) wide!  Intuitively, they are all bad choices to a reasonable person. But perhaps that is what RMOW engineering was hoping for?

Furthermore, heavy users of this new parking capacity are hotel occupants that are escaping the daily/nightly parking toll. Clearly not the intended benefactors.

What may have seemed an "OK" idea around the RMOW board table obviously wasn't fully thought out. We now know this introduces real danger to cars, bikers and pedestrians.

Thankfully, there is a simple solution at hand: reverse this policy now. To allow this to condition to persist is nothing short of complicit when something does happen. Tick, tick, tick.

RMOW — do what's right. Reverse this now. Before there is a human cost to it.

Matthew Cicci


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