Letters to the Editor for the week of December 24th 

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Pedestrian road safety

A few days after I arrived in Whistler for my fifth season, I listened to yet another report of a pedestrian killed. on this occasion a woman had walked out, crossing legally and was hit by a car that had gone through the red light in Vancouver.

It seems that pedestrian deaths are so commonplace that people think this is the norm.

According to ICBC statistics, British Columbia has an average of 60 pedestrian fatalities per year. Compare that with Transport Accident Commission statistics in Victoria, Australia where there are 4.6 pedestrian deaths per year. It is 13 times higher here in B.C. — think about it — this is not even double the deaths but 13 times higher.

In B.C., so many pedestrians walk out onto the road, pedestrian crossing or not, without a single glance either way, expecting that the traffic will stop.

This past Wednesday evening I saw a three year old run out into a busy carpark — mom was quick on her heels with her little seven year old racing behind. To my amazement not one of them looked to see if there was any traffic moving. Add to this the poor lighting at the time and this could have had tragic consequences.

The RCMP recommend you look both ways before crossing a street and keep an eye on vehicles that have stopped. Additionally, 22 per cent of all pedestrian deaths occur in carparks. It is not the safe haven that many believe.

ICBC says in about three quarters of pedestrian collisions, the pedestrian has the right of way. You may be in the right, but it still does not mean you should be oblivious to vehicles that may not see you and fail to stop when you have the right of way, which may result in a debilitating injury or death.

So for you visitors to Whistler, please look both ways. There is ice and snow on the roads and add to this equation poor lighting. Please take care with your young ones and be safe this winter holiday season.

Paul Shipley
Whistler

Courteous drivers — what a refreshing change!

I would like to give a huge shout-out to any of the drivers recently who have stopped at the Spring Creek-Highway 99 junction in the morning to let other drivers turn out of Spring Creek.

The traffic has been horrendous there recently in the mornings, and the queues both up Spring Creek Drive and turning east off 99 into Spring Creek have been long, both in length and duration.

For a nation that is globally acknowledged as overly polite and courteous, we Canadians are often the exact opposite when on the roads, and it's refreshing to see some concern for other drivers shine through even if it involves minor inconvenience for oneself.  

Happy Holidays everyone, and keep up your Ullr dances!

Lisa Rehel
Whistler

Time to hit drivers in the wallet to create change

Just nine months ago, a Pique editorial lamented society's overconsumption of plastic.

In response, I wrote to suggest that Whistler merchants impose a fee for plastic bags. Coincidentally, this measure was initiated a few weeks later with an immediate impact on bag consumption.

Now in the wake of the historic Paris UN consensus to limit Global Warming, (Editor) Clare Ogilvie wonders what we can do locally to limit greenhouse gas production and to serve as a global model for sustainability. Again I suggest price signals will be necessary to modify consumption patterns.

By far the greatest source of carbon emissions in the Sea to Sky corridor is transportation, primarily from personal motor vehicles. Despite growing concern over the potential impacts of climate change, local drivers so far have demonstrated very limited initiative to reduce car trips.

In fact, traffic on Highway 99 continues to increase!

As a physician, I find it particularly remarkable that not even the threat of serious injury or death seems to bear any weight with personal transportation choices. Even with $600 million invested in safety upgrades for the Sea to Sky highway, fatal car crashes continue to occur. There have been two more in the past two months, one of the victims a patient of mine.

On the other hand, transit passengers are exposed to 1/10th to 1/100th the risk of death or injury compared to occupants of cars and pick-ups.

Driving will never be as safe as not driving. Yet neither safety concerns nor environmental threats seem to deter anyone from getting behind a steering wheel!

Presumably driving remains too cheap and convenient to give up.

Evidently, demand management is required. That means we must revisit paid parking, this time in every public lot in the valley.

Historically, local politicians have been too timid to institute this measure, so this time I suggest the stick be accompanied by a carrot: free transit in the entire valley.

Tolls on Highway 99 should also be reconsidered as they would spur demand for more coach and transit service in the corridor, including, hopefully, re-establishment of regular passenger rail.

I realize that people hate to pay for something that has always been free and that the Pique would initially be flooded with letters of protest from indignant motorists, but if lessons can be learned from other jurisdictions where politicians have been courageous enough to implement such measures, the silent majority would quickly adapt to the new climate-safe and people-safe transit-dominant reality (as we did during the Olympics), long the standard in Japan and in much of Europe.

As for fears that pay parking and tolls may be a turn-off for North American visitors accustomed to subsidized driving, hopefully we will soon become the trendsetting model for this continent.

Besides, what is more of a deterrent for business in a ski resort... pay parking or a series of rainy, snow-less winters that will inevitably become the norm with further global warming?

Thomas DeMarco, MD
Whistler

Event bursts with spirit of giving

On Friday, Dec. 11, Spring Creek Community School and École La Passerelle held their annual Santa's Workshop.

I am so pleased to let our community know that from this event, our students raised over $2,400 by purchasing gently used and new items for a toonie!

All of these items had been donated by the extremely generous families of our schools.

The entire proceeds from this shopping event have been donated directly to Whistler Community Services Society to distribute, as they need, amongst their many programs.

From the donations, many brand-new items were collected that have also been donated to the WCSS Christmas Hamper Program. The unsold items will now be distributed amongst the many worthy non-profit groups in the Sea to Sky corridor.

Thank you to the principals and teachers of both Spring Creek and École La Passerelle for your unconditional support of Santa's Workshop.

This event would not be possible without the many, many parent and student volunteers that helped sort, organize and sell all the amazing donations. I am sorry there is not enough room to name you all!

Thank you, too, to the ladies that washed and dried the stuffed animals, and the ladies that oversaw the mayhem of the gift-wrapping! You are truly awesome!

The school was full of the spirit of giving last Friday. Each gift was specially chosen and wrapped with care for its intended family member. You should all be extremely proud of your children.

Enjoy the spirit of giving this holiday season.

Andrea Legge
Santa's Workshop Lead Elf
SCCSPAC

Interact Pony Breakfast

On Tuesday, Dec. 8th, the Pemberton Secondary Interact club hosted a "Pony Breakfast" to raise money to support Syrian refugees.

We would like to give a big thanks to the Pemberton Valley Supermarket and AG Foods for providing food for our pony breakfast.

We would also like to thank Alex and Neil from The Pony for letting us use their restaurant, and a big thank you to James and Alex for cooking the food for our delicious charity breakfast.

With their help, we managed to raise $1,200 for the UNHCR, helping them to support Syrian refugees and their camps.

A big thanks to everybody who came out to eat our breakfast!

Adrienne Webb PSS Interact Club
Pemberton

Thank you Whistler Blackcomb

In the spring of 2015 Whistler Blackcomb offered unlimited skiing from the time they opened in November until Dec.18., if you bought a five or 10 day edge card.

Normally you only get one free day, and we usually only go up one time before Christmas.

This year we went up four times and spent a lot of money on rooms (Pinnacle staff are the best), my wife got custom boots made by George McConkey (best boot maker in the world), and new skis, food and beverages.

This was a great promotion and we hope you do it again next season!

Keith Jamieson
Surrey

Keep track of your parking time

I am not writing to appeal a parking fine. I admit I was in Whistler Marketplace for more than two hours, but not by more than 15 minutes.

My concern is with the cost of the parking ticket — $48 is more than what a city fine would be.

The parking lot wasn't full so I wasn't taking space from anyone. Also, I'm sorry if I lost track of time while I was trying not to slip and fall to get back to and through the parking lot to get back to my car with a dog that wanted to take a bathroom break.  

Since I have paid for use of the Whistler day lots, for the month, I should have chosen to park there, but I had several stops to make (in the cold and icy weather) and thought it would be safer to park closer to the majority of my errands. 

Being a long-time local I have used this parking lot many times and have come back to my car a little late with no problems before.

I will pay my fine, but I wanted to spread the word on how much someone has to pay if they decide not to hurt themselves rushing to their car when they realize that the "two hour" time period is close, and they ended up on the other side of the village without noticing the time.

Katy Doiron
Whistler

Choose Vegan for the world and yourself

Thank you Linda McGaw for your awesome letter of Dec. 10 in Pique supporting the vegan lifestyle. This lifestyle answers so many problems. The only way to save yourself, the planet and the animals is to be vegan.

For some reason, people seem to think this lifestyle is too difficult or complicated. All I did was Google "vegan dinners" when I first started and websites galore came up for me to browse. I have never had so much fun in the kitchen.

On Oct. 7, 2015, when my daughter asked me to watch Cowspiracy, I became a vegan instantly. The misery these animals have to endure under our hand is devastating, disgusting and downright cruel! I am ashamed to call myself a human being! It made me sick inside!

There was so much I did not know before, and since Oct. 7 I have been doing so much research, and listening to Gary Yourofsky, reading the Bite Size Vegan website and Dr. Michael Greger's Nutritionfacts.org, etc. (All can be watched on YouTube.)

There is so much information out there that meat and dairy products are harmful to your health. Why do you think the World Health Organization stated that processed meat and even red meat is linked to cancer?

I would kindly ask you all to watch Cowspiracy, or Foods Inc., or 101 Reasons to go Vegan, or Forks over Knives (again all on YouTube) just so you have more information to work with.

I have some fact-based evidence myself: my blood iron level has never been as high as it is now (60 instead of 25), my cholesterol is down, I have lost seven lbs in two-and-a-half months (I don't have to restrict my eating!), and my feet don't hurt at the end of a long 14-hour day. I've never felt cleaner.

I became a vegan because I will no longer support animal cruelty, but by choosing this lifestyle, the health benefits I am receiving are amazing.

Just think, if the human race were to become extinct, our planet and the animals would thrive and be, oh so very content.

Karen Talmon-de l'Armee
Whistler

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