Letters to the Editor for the week of December 17th 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MIKE CRANE / TOURISM WHISTLER - Skiing Whistler Blackcomb on a Powder Day.
  • Photo by Mike Crane / Tourism Whistler
  • Skiing Whistler Blackcomb on a Powder Day.

Whistler's winter wonderland

There are few things that I enjoy more then watching the faces of those that have travelled from far-away places to experience Whistler in all of its winter beauty.

It's something very special that none of us really own, but all of us share that have worked and played upon the mountains who at one time or another. It's the truest of joys! 

From the many years ago, when summiting Whistler was a one-hour plus hike with skis on your shoulders in knee-deep snow — the reward being deep, champagne powder and untracked slopes on the far West Bowl — to now when there is a steady stream of both locals and visitors that summit Whistler via the Peak chairlift, it is all equally enjoyable, just in a different way.

The reward is that Whistler's economy continues to thrive, and the spirit is shared by all. 

For locals and those visiting this holiday season, I hope you enjoy your days of skiing as much as I did recently, that your nights are filled with snowfall and your days with sunshine, that you will have many hours with friends and family celebrating those mountain runs, drinking some of the finer spirits of après and sampling the great foods prepared in the Whistler Valley, and that you will have time to stroll the village and shop, take in a spa and dance your nights away.

Season's greetings and happy holidays Whistler, and to all who visit.  

Brian W. Becker
North Vancouver

To WFF-lovers everywhere 

As we wind down the 15th anniversary Whistler Film Festival, we proudly acknowledge the 89 films, 10 events, 30 interactive industry sessions that were part of our celebration, and the 450 filmmaker and industry guests who graced us with their presence.

Connections were forged and deals were done, and the press coverage for Whistler was prolific with stories featured around the world. We are delighted to announce that total attendance for this year's fest was 13,233 attendees representing an 18-per-cent increase over 2014.

In five action-packed days, we honoured Kiefer Sutherland, Robert Carlyle and Bruce Greenwood and had Mary Walsh deliver the keynote to remember.

We celebrated our four Rising Stars — Lauren Lee Smith, Jakob Davies, Taylor Russell and Rustin Gresiuk — who all had films premiering in the fest and have promising careers ahead.

Forty-two Canadian artists, including producers, directors, writers and musicians, participated in our seven project development programs. We even held the L'Oreal Men Expert Bobsled Race and WFF Celebrity Challenge Ski Race in between films. And we awarded $158,500 in cash prizes and commissions.

Congratulations to all of our award winners and especially to Jamie Daag's River, which won three of our five Borsos Awards for Best Canadian Feature, and to Todd Haynes' Carol, which won our Pandora Audience Award and is sweeping the awards season race so far.

WFF has had many friends that have been with us over the years — thank you to our supporters, donors, sponsors, resort and government partners. In particular we would like to acknowledge the Province of British Columbia, Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, the American Friends of Whistler, Tourism Whistler and Whistler Blackcomb as well as our 20 Whistler accommodation partners including our host hotel the Westin Whistler, 15 hospitality partners and all of our Whistler friends who have provided support along the way. None of our achievements are possible without your commitment.

Anniversaries provide us the opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved. In just 15 years, we have built a solid reputation for a "little festival that could."

We can say with our hands on our hearts, with our 15th edition behind us, that the Whistler Film Festival has come of age. We continue to value those who make the films we screen, the industry that has championed us from our humble beginnings and our volunteers who give their time and energy.

These volunteers include our current Board of Directors and those who preceded them over the past 15 years. Their contribution is immeasurable and we are grateful for their efforts on our behalf. We are very proud to be associated with the 90 plus dedicated, hardworking and professional people on our team as well as the hundreds before that are a part of the spirit and fabric of WFF.

Above all else, we thank our audience! As the world changes how films are seen and made and Whistler continues to form its cultural journey, our hope is that the Whistler Film Festival continues to be a place where we celebrate the moving image and artists of our time, while fostering new opportunities.

Looking forward, we have plans to enhance our programs for Canadian talent and our international presence, all of which of course depend on the support we can attract.

But we cannot do it without you! We invite you and need you to step into our story. As a charitable cultural organization, WFF relies on the generous philanthropic and corporate contributions of people like you who share our commitment to nurturing new artists, supporting unique and diverse creative voices, furthering the reach of independent films around the world, and putting Whistler and British Columbia on the map as an essential destination for the art and business of film.

Here's to 15 years of inspiring and celebrating stories that matter!

We hope that #ILOVEWHISTLERFILMFESTIVAL has become your mantra. Thank you again for your support, Whistler! Happy holidays and best wishes for 2016 from your friends at WFF!

Shauna Hardy Mishaw
Executive Director
Paul Gratton
Director of Programming

Passenger rail service and climate change

This letter was addressed to B.C. Premier Christy Clark and the Liberal Party and forwarded to Pique.

I am writing after hearing your announcement at Paris on Nov. 30, 2015, stating B.C. is not meeting its climate change targets and needs to do better. Indeed.

This is a plea for you to reinstate the passenger rail service between Prince George and North Vancouver.

It was a wonderful service and it is a shame that the previous Liberal government did not see fit to value it for the low-carbon and spectacularly scenic method of transport through our province that it was and could be again.

Train service could be instrumental in getting a great many vehicles off the road. And these roads can be dangerous in winter.

For elders and frail people the train is a much less stressful way to travel for medical appointments or other services in the city.

From Lillooet we do not even have a Greyhound Bus service, so the train could really be a low-carbon way for people to travel and get services that they need without getting out on our highways.

It would be a great service to people in communities living all up and down the line from Vancouver to Prince George.  

The only section of the rail line that is still running for passengers is between Seton Portage and Lillooet.

In the summer season, for one day a week, tourists can go down to Seton and back on the same day.

This has been very popular and has attracted visitors from around the globe, especially after the BBC did a review of the service and called it a world-class trip. It really is a stunning ride!

Let's build on this tourism opportunity and have a positive impact on carbon emissions at the same time.

Vivian Birch-Jones,
President, Lillooet Naturalist Society, Director Lillooet Chamber of Commerce

Food for thought

The Pemberton and District Library Board thanks all those who contributed to the Friends of the Library 23rd Annual Wine and Cheese Party fundraiser held Dec. 4. The community support this event receives allows us to keep improving the library's facilities as well its programs and services.

Thank you to the Friends of the Library for organizing the wine and cheese and all the volunteers who contributed their time and energy.

We especially appreciate the support of the Pemberton branch of Scotiabank for matching ticket sales funds.

Contributing to the night's success were the community's many prepared-food donors: The Centennial Café, Ka-Zi Japanese Restaurant, The Wood Restaurant, Mount Currie Coffee Co., Mile One Eatery, Simply Delicious Bakery, Blackbird Bakery, Grimm's Deli Gourmet, The Good Life Café, Backcountry Pizza, North Arm Farm and Otto Simon.

And thanks to the evening's chefs: Four Seasons Catering's Michelle Jackson, The Pony Restaurant's Neil and Alex, Ali from Solfeggio Restaurant and Kevin from The Black Squirrel Restaurant, Matt and Angela from Snowline Catering for their work all night creating appetizers and plating them, and to Steve Hitchens and his bar crew.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to produce donors: Kuurne's Natural Beef, Helmer's Organics, Root Down Farm, Icecap Organics, Plenty Wild Farm, Pemberton Valley Supermarket and AG Foods.

Thank you to all our basket donors and last but not least, Pemberton community members who came out to support this important fundraising initiative.

Thank you for helping keep our library vital and vibrant.
Judith Walton
Chair of the Pemberton and District Library Board


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