Letters to the editor for the week of July 24th 

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Clinic helipad blame game

Reading last week's article regarding the medical rescue of a young mountain biker with an open skull fracture, and the inability of the helicopter to land at the medical clinic helipad, just renewed my anger at how long this issue is taking to resolve.

In what has turned out to be an endless game of blaming each other, it is time for the three parties ultimately responsible (Vancouver Coastal Health, Transport Canada and RMOW) for returning FULL emergency helicopter transport in and out of the clinic, to come to the table, recognize their own misdeeds over the years and find the solution to resolving the current impasse.

As a tourism destination, we cannot continue to lure visitors with a whole menu of world-class adventure activities and then not provide first-rate emergency response.

All of the current impediments to restoring flight services in and out of the clinic can be resolved. It might take some compromise and money, but... if it was your kid / girlfriend / father on that stretcher, I can guarantee what your stance would be.

Think about it.

Brad Sills


Does Someone Need to Die

...Before council will solve our helipad problem?

We are a mountain resort that thrives on people taking risks. Not being able to land a single-engine helicopter at the medical clinic is like playing roulette with people's lives.

A 20-minute delay in emergency medical treatment will end in a disaster. It's only a matter of time.

I wonder who will die? Will it be my kid? Or yours? Perhaps your sister, or best friend, or that little girl's mom. 

Maybe it will be a guest and Whistler can get some more well deserved, world-class media attention.

Come on you guys — do whatever it takes and do it before it's too late.

Suze Cumming


Pemby Fest says thanks

As we wind down the 2014 Pemberton Music Festival, our team would like to thank the many people who contributed to the event and supported the festival through a difficult time. 

While it was a weekend of celebration, as all of you know, it was also a weekend of sadness. We are extremely grateful to the RCMP and IHIT for their support and leadership through the tragic incident that happened on July 18.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Nick Phongsavath, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.  

Heartfelt thanks to our volunteers, staff, suppliers, vendors and sponsors. Your efforts contributed to smooth operations and filled the site with positive energy and enthusiasm. Our thanks also to our community partners, the Village of Pemberton, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the Lil'wat Nation and the Agricultural Land Commission for your support and assistance from our initial meetings through every day of the festival. 

A tractor-load of thanks to the community members who showed up this past Monday morning with trucks, ATVs, flat beds and cargo vehicles to help us load out campers. Your generosity of spirit is so very appreciated. And thank you to our neighbouring landowners for your collaboration and patience through our first year. The Pemberton Valley is home to some very special people.

Finally, thank you to our festival guests, who jumped on board the 2014 bus and created a festival community of fun and friendship. We look forward to seeing you in 2015.  

AJ Niland

CEO, HUKA Entertainment

Working on getting everyone help

Thank you Janice Tedstone for sharing your story in last week's Pique and shedding light on the fact that Whistler does not have services for people that are homeless, or in distress and need a safe place to stay (Pique, July 17).

This is a gap in programming that exists in Whistler and for those of us who work in social services it comes as no surprise that you struggled with a difficult situation.

It is fortunate that things went as planned to get the person to the nearest shelter — the Helping Hand Society in Squamish. Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) has outreach workers Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., who are available to connect people to programs and services but do not offer crisis response.

As Janice points out, unfortunate circumstances happen so with a lack of resources in Whistler there are some important phone numbers that everyone should have who works a "front line" job — 9-1-1 is your call when there is an emergency including situations where people are a danger to themselves or others.

If 9-1-1 isn't an appropriate call because there isn't an emergency but you still need help, there are two phone lines that WCSS recommends using depending on what you need. By dialing 2-1-1 you will be connected with a multilingual, information specialist who can provide referral to social, community and government services 24/7.

However, if the person you are with is experiencing a mental health crisis (speaks of suicide, seems anxious or intoxicated) call the 24/7 Distress Line at 1-866-661-3311. The Distress Phone Services provide confidential, non-judgmental, free emotional support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. 

Janice and Shannon, you definitely provided goodness in a situation that was difficult, and you truly deserve the community's thanks. Our hope at WCSS is that in the future there is an appropriate housing option so that nobody has to go to such difficult lengths to have a safe place to sleep and get connected to support services.

Claire Mozes

Whistler Community Services Society


As he lay dead

around the body

the party continued

as he was falling

falling, falling, falling

hope falling

past falling

present falling

future falling

I was at home

tears falling

for the young man

for his family

for his friends

their lives forever bound

in police tape


unrequited dreams

Written on the death of Nick Phongsavath at the Pemberton Music Festival July 18.

T. J. Cheverie


Think about the consequences

Every time I read stories in this section I feel blessed to live in such a great community. This time it's my turn to be grateful and hopefully find some answers to circumstances that led me to write this.

On Tuesday July 15 I parked my personal vehicle in the underground parking underneath the Holiday Inn (or cinema if you wish) between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. I use this underground almost daily, since I work as a delivery driver.

This time was different though because I worked inside the shop, so my car didn't move as usual. Somebody took this opportunity to loosen the bolts on my left rear tire! Leaving me freaking out and hearing noises every time I sat in my car in this past week.

I know it's a long shot, but I'd like to ask if anyone has seen anyone tampering with my olive-green Nissan Xterra with Avalanche Pizza magnets on it, to please contact RCMP Whistler. Any information may help. You may have seen somebody "fixing" a tire, which wouldn't be suspicious — except I am a blonde female and I certainly wasn't around at the time.

This story has a happy ending — I was aware that something was amiss driving to the Rainbow Park the next day, and it became worse on the way back. I could feel it the most while braking, so I thought it was my brakes, and would have never thought it was a tire.

I do look after my car and it is not possible for six bolts to get so loose within 40 kilometres of driving. I was lucky that a friend was able to come and fix my car right away. Otherwise I would have attempted to drive to the village later for him to check, still thinking it is the brakes. As it was, I would have not made it so I would like to: Thank you Thomas – for saving me once again. I can't express how grateful I am for your coming right away, and thanks to everyone – for not needing me to work earlier that day.

And to the person who did this — if this is a personal problem, please contact me. Somebody could have been seriously injured, or killed, and I don't mean just myself. If this was just a joke — please think about the consequences of your actions next time you do something this stupid and never ever do it again.

Mirka Gajdosova


Supporting Alex Attard

I left Whistler nearly four years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think about the amazing experiences I had there across two amazing years — the majestic scenery, the epic friends, and the incredible connections I made. But never have I thought about those connections more than I have over the past two weeks – and how grateful I am to have had made them.

I woke up on Sunday July 6 in the middle of winter in Auckland, New Zealand to hear that my good friend and old Whistler roommate, Alex Attard, had been (in an accident with a) taxi on his way home from the village, (while riding his bike), and was in a coma. Over the course of that day I had conversations with friends as far away as Perth, Nepal, Melbourne (Alex's hometown) and, of course, Whistler.

By the time I went to bed we had a website, numerous donations already, and a Facebook page that was rapidly growing in size. And I had absolute faith that all my old Whistler connections would be able to help Alex, in one way or another.

What followed was an explosion of love and support that was greater than anything I could have imagined.

While we waited to hear the news of how Alex was doing we had businesses and people from all over Whistler and Vancouver offering their help and support to his family in so many ways — groceries, accommodation, transport, healthy ready-made meals – things that I hadn't even thought of were suddenly being offered. For free. To strangers.

And then there was the Creekbread fundraiser and silent auction. At last count around 56 businesses and people donated items and gift certificates to be auctioned off. We raised $6,995 from the auction. There was also a Phat Wednesday donation drive (making over $800 in cash) and countless donations via his website from people from all over the world. All this money will go towards the costs of flying his parents over from Melbourne, their accommodation in Vancouver, and anything they need to make their stay a bit more comfortable as they help Alex get back to his badass, bike-riding self.

I truly believe that this could only have happened in a place like Whistler — people coming together to help others with absolute selflessness.

I'm in complete awe of how amazing you all are right now and I know Alex and the Attards truly appreciate it. Alex has spent seven years living the dream in Whistler and deserves every bit of this. From the bottom of my heart and the bottom of the world — thank you Whistler!

Here's the final list of thanks:

Creekbread, Whistler Blackcomb, Nagomi Sushi, Katrina Strand, Arbutus Routes, Whistler Bungee, Nesters Market, Crystal Lodge, Ziptrek, Daniel James Ryan, Medicine Room, The Hilton, Wonderland Valley, TAG, Splitz Grill, Samurai Sushi, Oakley, Backside Five, Beacon Bar, Canadian Adventures, Samurai Sushi, The Grocery Store, Camp of Champions, GLC, Phat Wednesday, Trek Dirt Series, Starbucks, Superfly, Whistler FM, Longhorns, Tapley's, Buffalo Bills, Summit Sports, CüR Laser and Skin, Amalie Budgen, Evolution, Mount Currie Coffee Co, Brewhouse, Cinnamon Bear, Peaked Pies, Nita Lake Lodge, Eternal Skincare & Spa, Yogacara, Pinkbike, Starbucks, Comor, The Body Shop, IGA, Zep Techniques, Alisha KP Prints, Sewing Repairs Whistler, The Keg, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Lift Coffee Co, Caramba, Old Spaghetti Factory, Caveman Grocer... and many more amazing people who donated money, time, and resources to help Alex and his family.

Alisha Palin

Auckland, New Zealand


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