Letters to the Editor for the week of December 31st 

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Traffic frustration

As a daily commuter from Squamish to Whistler, I think Whistler has reached its car capacity.

Traffic has been a continuous headache since this summer with traffic backed up past Function coming into Whistler, and the parking lot that the village is turning into in the evenings.

On Monday, Dec. 28, it took me 45 minutes to get out of the village. Once past Function and on the highway it was relatively smooth sailing into Squamish.

The Sea to Sky Highway can handle the volume, but Whistler cannot.

Our politicians from all levels need to start looking at our traffic problems.

In the short term we need a reassessment of the timing of all the traffic lights and four lanes between Function and Village Gate.

Some form of public transportation between Squamish and Whistler would take a great deal of cars off the road. A passenger train between Vancouver and Whistler would be amazing, with the level of accidents and the increasing volume on the highway and in Whistler (that would help.

I would love to have the option to take a train to Whistler and avoid the chaos.  

Emily Myles

Walk facing traffic

I read with interest Paul Shipley's, "Pedestrian Road Safety" letter in Pique on Dec. 24 hoping he would address what has become my biggest pet peeve whether I am driving or walking the roads around Whistler: not walking facing traffic!

More and more people are walking on the wrong side of the road and dare to give me "the look" when I do not move over!

Today it was a couple, with three Husky dogs between them. I, along with my Bernese, was walking facing traffic, yet they forced me to move into the road when two of their dogs became aggressive.

Ridiculous! If they had been obeying the rules of the road neither of us would have had a problem.

As a driver, I find the inconsistency of practising the rules of the road allows for people walking on both sides narrowing my vehicle's path. Combine this with banks of snow narrowing many roadways and these ignorant individuals are an accident waiting to happen.

To stay safe walking here or elsewhere, regardless of the season, remember to walk facing traffic.

BJE Manning

Let's try helping the artist

At the Dec. 15 Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) council meeting it was decided to give third reading to the temporary use permit bylaw allowing home-based artists studios to legally sell their art from their home-based galleries.

Congratulations should be in order for plowing through more than 13 studies over five years, and hiring many consultants to figure something out that most if not all of Canada already knows: Art, artists and artistic culture is free to those with any imagination.

Why on earth would the RMOW choose to charge $750 for a permit to be a legal artist?

Is this the best that the RMOW could do?

This should not be called affordable.

There are over 500 home-based business licences in our town and none of them will pay extra for that privilege. Is this not cultural racism?

Harsh words for sure, maybe not so to the over 80 artists who have been identified as worthy of getting this license who I am sure will gag when they realize it is not worth pursuing.

The RMOW should stop trying to pay for the cost of implementation on the backs of artists. Art and culture should never be considered a cash cow to be milked when you have spent too much.

Just ask the Audain Museum and the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre why they needed a tax break?

Not one of the councillors or the mayor fought for the local artist on this issue.

What are mayor and council afraid of? Is it the power and greed that the galleries in the village possess or maybe too much art in one neighbourhood? Oh please!

We have been operating our home-based pottery gallery in Alpine Meadows for over 30 years without any complaints.  

In culturally significant towns such as Santa Fe, Salt Spring Island, New York City, etc., it is the artist and the local grassroots-based art that nurture the arts and brand your town as culturally significant. 

It may take courage to implement change. 

If our town truly wants art and culture to flourish and draw more culturally minded tourists to Whistler, then try helping the arts rather than grinding them and potentially creating a cultural void. 

Vincent and Cheryl Massey

The public needs to speak out

I totally agree with Brandon Barrett (Pique, "Pique'n Your Interest," Dec. 24) that conversation officers ought not be blamed for killing bears, or any other animal when it's obvious they have little alternative.

The propensity of bears to get into human garbage has made dealing with them a contentious issue for years.

We of course turn a blind eye to the basic cause of most wild animal vs. human conflicts: habitat destruction and encroachment.

The B.C. Government in particular has a dismal record in terms of habitat protection, while it continues to rubber-stamp most resource extraction (logging and mining) and other public land re-purposing projects.

The recent announcement of increased wolf culling is a perfect example. Having failed to adequately protect caribou habitat, it has created a species conflict where one did not previously exist. It's hard to lay blame on any one administration in particular since this situation developed over decades.

However, public pressure could force species protection laws, such as exist in many states south of the border, that actually prevent any sort of commercial activity that threatens even minimally the viability of a species.

All it takes is the public will.

Writing to Victoria, as Brandon suggests, is a great first step!

Charles Leduc

Hoping Pemberton business re-opens

What an unfortunate loss for the people of Pemberton, to see two of the few pioneers of the health movement in town have their businesses closed indefinitely, Solfeggio Restaurant and Be Natural (Pique, Dec. 24).

I started realizing the importance of good food and the direct impacts that diet and lifestyle had on health, performance and mental well-being while searching for better answers on my own wellness journey.

It was so exciting to find a holistic nutritionist, athlete and entrepreneur like Kristi Richards, who believed in the power of nutrient-dense meals, who sourced out the most local, most healthful, quality organic ingredients, making everything from scratch, caring so much about flavour and health benefits and maintaining her integrity while expanding the business.

There was no microwave at Solfeggio. The beef was local. The produce, grown in the mineral rich valley was getting eaten in town, the local high school had a garden program, people were talking. Solfeggio was a place for community and curious discussions about food, health and healing.

I hope we are lucky enough to see great businesses in favour of healthy living reopen in Pemberton.

Katie Day

Earth always on the move

Brandon Barrett's interesting report on the recent Wedge Slide is a reminder of the active tectonic forces constantly working to rearrange the current landscape features albeit at a very slow rate punctuated by occasional dramatic events (Pique, Dec. 24).

To the NNW of the Wedge Slide another slide, defined as a "rock avalanche" by geologists, occurred. It is known as the Mystery Creek Slide. Mystery Creek is a westerly flowing tributary of the Green between the two slide sites.

Like many readers, I travelled the Pemberton/Whistler route hundreds of times before wondering about the origin of all those huge angular boulders lying alongside Highway 99 just south of Shadow Lake.

A quick search on Google Earth revealed the answer. The highway was built on the very extreme limits of a huge prehistoric rock avalanche with a headwall that lies about 1.5 kilometres to the east across the Green River. A short walk into the quarry site at this location provides spectacular visuals.

Last year the Whistler Museum hosted Ian Spooner from Acadia University who gave a talk on risk assessment related to landslide features on the Sea to Sky Highway.

Due to the infrequency of such events and the absence of human habitation at the Mystery Creek location, the risks were deemed low.

Dr. Spooner referred to a report by Andree Blais-Stevens, which described the research carried out by the Geological Survey of Canada in 2011. She describes a scenario of 40 million cubic metres of rock (in the order of magnitude of the Meagre Creek and Hope slides) travelling over a kilometre, crossing the Green (possibly on residual ice from the receding glaciers). Details of the research can be found in a Google search for her paper, referencing Mystery Creek rockslide.

Of particular interest to me was the fact that the head scarp is located within a north/south zone extending to Mount Currie along which further slides would be expected to occur in the distant future. I emphasize distant.

Those lucky enough to have seen Wave at the Whistler Film Festival witnessed a graphic illustration of the concept of slope failures.

The slide material is presenting both an obstacle and potential showcase feature to Sea to Sky Trail planners.

Hugh Naylor

Time to change our ways

I enjoyed reading "Living on the vanguard of climate change," in Pique Dec. 24.

However, I was left wondering how tourists jetting from all over the world to swim and scuba dive in the Maldives would help lower our burning of fossil fuels and creating CO2, the cause of climate change?

As well, most of those tourists are from the First World and burn off a huge proportion of the world's CO2 in their daily life in their home country.

I think this dilemma highlights the difficulty of trying to convince First World nations to give up the lifestyle that burns up all this dirty energy.

Unless we change our ways, the Maldives will sink beneath the ocean.

Tony Puddicombe

The B.C. government's war on wildlife

Valhalla Wilderness Society is appalled that B.C.'s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is proposing to triple the number of licences from 50 to 150 for resident hunters seeking to kill a grizzly bear in a remote area in the Peace.

The Ministry also proposes lifting the limitations on the number of wolves that hunters can kill in the Kootenays, the Peace, Thompson-Nicola and Omineca, allowing hunters to kill wolves year round, including with pups in the den, and permitting trappers to trap wolves on private land.

The government's rationales for these proposed increases are based on speculative and anecdotal observations of grizzly bear and wolf population numbers often provided by those with vested interests, including hunters and trappers. So much for science-based decision-making!

The government is currently seeking public feedback on these proposed changes with a very short deadline of Dec. 31.

If you, like the overwhelming majority of rural and urban British Columbians oppose trophy hunting, please speak out by going to this website: http://apps.nrs.gov.bc.ca/pub/ahte/.

Click on the green hunting and trapping icon at the bottom right of the link's page and register or log in. Go back to the previous page, look for grizzly bears and wolves in the species column and click on the link to the left of these species (grizzly bears: page 1; wolves Peace: page 2; wolves Omineca and Kootenays: page 3; and wolf hunting and trapping Thompson-Nicola: page 4). Please click on "oppose" to show you do not support trophy hunting or trapping.

Thank you very much for speaking out to protect our wildlife.

Louise Taylor, Valhalla Wilderness Society researcher
New Denver

Go team go

I would like to thank the Pique for another year of phenomenal sports reporting.

In an era of media downsizing it is nice to see continued investment in local sports coverage. The athletes, their friends and families appreciate the coverage. 

Happy New Year!

Jim Watts


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