Letters to the editor for the week of July 31st 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIC MACKENZIE - Great Britain's Owen Vance stops for a sip of water from an Ironman volunteer along his run.
  • Photo by Eric MacKenzie
  • Great Britain's Owen Vance stops for a sip of water from an Ironman volunteer along his run.

The backbone of Ironman

From the Ironman athletes, staff and community to our wonderful volunteers, THANK YOU.

Each, and every volunteer is responsible for making dreams come true. From stuffing the athlete's packages to slathering sunscreen, the contribution you make is essential to the success of the event.

You are the backbone of the race. I have heard from more than one athlete how the smiling faces and encouraging words from a volunteer, as they struggle to continue, makes all the difference.

One athlete said, "When I see a volunteer smile it makes me smile and that makes the race so much easier."

Whether you volunteer to support a particular athlete, a "not for profit group," or one of the communities in the Sea to Sky corridor, we are delighted that you are on our team.

I would like to send a particular thank you to the numerous captains. Not only do you provide leadership, information and training for your group of volunteers, you are also a source of inspiration and support for me.

I look forward to seeing all of you next year.

Donna Savage

Ironman volunteer director

Whistler

so many thanks

This is a letter of thanks both belated, on time and in advance — but all heartfelt.

In the belated category many thanks to Mike Gamble and Ian Gardiner for setting up an excellent Twoonie a few weeks ago and the entire staff of Skiis and Biikes for helping to marshal, cheer on and generally work your butts off for me.

To Terry Clarke of Gibbons Hospitality Group thanks for the Longhorn's amazingly smooth après and great vibe (next year we're going full country hoe down), and Colin Pyne of Whistler Brewing for the tasty suds post race.

In the present so many thanks go out to my incredible staff who endured my many mood swings from panic to ambivalence with taking on "Official Tech" support for Ironman Whistler, and the subsequent five days of craziness that ensued whilst it was in progress.

Thanks also to Ian Gardiner and Lou Currie, who single handedly ordered, processed and filled the Ironman tent with tons of product and wares, and to Emily McCague who calmed me repeatedly with unflappable aplomb and incredible customer service. And thanks to Christine Cogger and the calming effects of her amazingly dry humour in the face of insanity last weekend.

Thanks to Matt Delaney from Arbutus Routes, and Yves Piette from my sister store in Vancouver, who lent me most of their staff in the form of Steve Reid, Shaun Fry, Erwan Fresq and Ian Patterson, all of whom seamlessly worked side by side with Mike Gamble, Denis Ebacher and Matty Richard to tune, fix and repair every Ironman steed that came through the doors (many kudos to you all and glowing praise from the athletes that you helped on course Mike, Erwan, Steve and Shaun).

So many thanks to Allison, Laura, Alex and especially Demi Mitchell (who was on vacation but worked for me anyway), for looking after the store and going above and beyond on a daily basis, especially during the weeks leading up to and including Ironman.

I have probably missed a few people (Trek, Fuji, our many distributors), but you know who you are, and what you've done for me, and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Erin Keam

General manager

Skiis and Biikes

Mutual respect needed at Ironman

I am sure there will be a lot of complaints with regard to Ironman this weekend.  I don't have a complaint, so much as a request for the event to be run with consideration for all those who call this beautiful corridor home. I am lucky enough to be able to call Pemberton my home: I love this town.

It is always a pleasure to be able to share our spectacular backyard with visitors, and so when I heard that Ironman was returning to Whistler and Pemberton I thought, why not?

Where better to swim, run and ride? I didn't mind having to pay for parking in Whistler to go to work after the event took over the free parking lot in Whistler three days before the event began.

I didn't mind the minimal information given to residents of both Whistler and Pemberton about the road closures. I didn't even mind being house bound for a day – if anything I had a good excuse to do those chores I have been putting off all summer.

However, I politely request that event participants and volunteers alike respect our home in the same way our two towns have gone out of their way to accommodate you.

Pemberton businesses especially gain very little from the event coming through. Regardless, a good portion of the town's population was out cheering and handing out water and snacks.   

Walking my dog on our usual Sunday morning loop I was shocked at the amount of garbage on the side of the road. Perhaps the event could consider fewer plastic bags next year?

By the time I reached the corner of Collins Road, I had been nearly missed by flying garbage and had filled two bags with bottles.

I was then treated very rudely by a number of orange-clad volunteers who appeared to have developed a God-complex on donning their uniforms.

To competitors, organizers and volunteers I ask only for respect and common sense.

Once you all went back to wherever you came from, our roads are left covered in garbage and our businesses no better off for your visit.

And I am left with a bitter taste in my mouth and perhaps will not be so willing to welcome you back next year.

Rachael Pennington

Pemberton

Residents need parking too

Congratulations to all Ironman athletes and supporters. I hope you enjoyed the event and all that wonderful Whistler has to offer. Thank you for coming and I hope you all had fun.

There are a couple of inconveniences to Whistlerites during these summer events and festivals, but I think everyone would definitely agree that the pros outweigh the cons. 

However, I would like to express my frustration to the municipality on the parking situation.

I know time and time again there are "letters to the editor" addressing this matter, but it is incredibly hard for locals who work in the village vicinity to park a car when you take away a whole parking lot for days.

By 8:30 a.m. it becomes a real challenge to get a parking space, by 10 a.m., good luck!

Last week Thursday and Friday all lots were full early, and all on-street parking up in Blackcomb was full with overnight vehicles.

There is an easy solution — open up Lot 3 for a few days to make up for the removal of Lot 4. Help us out for a few days. Pay parking has been frustrating to everyone, living here is expensive enough without these additional costs.

Every weekend is a festival. During the Crankworx event Lot 4 and 5 are at capacity by mid morning. Please look at solutions for locals who want to do the right thing and not park in inappropriate spaces.

These events are incredibly well organized —now it is up to the municipality to get up to speed and organize a few more free stalls.

Pretty please...

Nola Matheson

Whistler

The only solution is a two-state one

Thanks to Max for chronicling the litany of assaults by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on "what most Canadians thought of as their basic, democratic institutions in favour of the ascendancy of raw corporate power" ("Vote with your hearts... and lose," Pique, July 24).

One assault he failed to include is extreme Conservative reversal of the long-standing Canadian support for a two-state solution in Israel-Palestine, and the withdrawal of illegal Israeli settlements from the Palestinian territory they occupy. And now as hourly horrors are inflicted on 1.8 million blockaded Gazans by the fifth-largest military in the world, the Harper Conservatives are cheerleaders to intransigence that is breeding generations of deepening hatred and divisiveness in the region.

I have been to Gaza and seen the human cage it is. I know Whistlerites love to travel, and that we know you only learn about a place and its people when you experience it first hand. Last November, after meetings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, and after three months of applying for a permit, I entered at the Eretz Crossing. It made me think of the two previous times I had visited a prison, with barbed wire and desperation everywhere.

In Gaza City at the 75-bed Al Ahli Anglican Hospital, I met with doctors, nurses and staff about the rising breast cancer rates, the children suffering from PTSD, and the trauma and burn centre – all running out of funds for medicines, supplies and equipment. The U.S. aid-built Diagnostic Centre was sitting empty for lack of funds for even the most basic CAT scan. I saw the chapel where an Israeli bomb fell during Operation Cast Lead in 2009. When I asked the CEO how she keeps going she said, "We have to — we do it for the love of Jesus."

At the Near East Council of Churches employment-training centres and well-baby clinics, I saw the maternal-health centre teeming with young mothers and children, so many children. This was the same centre that a Canadian church group had sent $5,000 only to be audited by the CRA.

At the UN School that has two shifts 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., the children were playing and learning as kids all over the world do. Except these kids represent the demographic threat the rising Palestinian population is to the falling Israeli birthrate.

Ashamedly, I had never been to a refugee camp in my life until Gaza. There in cement jungles with streets only wide enough for tanks to roll through, were thousands upon thousands of stateless, unemployed, homeless Palestinians driven off their land in 1948 and 1967. Now with only the UN to help, theyhave nowhere to go. They are sitting ducks.

All these Gazan places, hospitals, clinics, schools and refugee camps are now terrorized day and night by drones and F-16s and high -explosive bombs full of collateral damage. Less than 200 kilometres away in the Sinai at Dimona, Israel has a stockpile of 200 nuclear warheads.

Only at the checkpoint entering the Gaza Strip did I meet a Hamas official, but everywhere else I felt and saw the resilience and resistance of a proud and forgotten people. It should come as no surprise to any thinking Canadian that seething under the injustice of such inhuman, desperate conditions is bred a violent resistance movement.

As a Christian myself, I denounce violence although I have studied the "just war principles" that may defeat despots and topple empires. Non-violent resistance in the powerful actions of Quakers in the slave trade, Gandhi in India and King in the U.S .are to me the more heroic examples to follow. Building on their witness, the non-violent Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is now embraced by the United Church of Canada, the Presbyterian Church of the U.S., Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a growing number of non-violent activists worldwide.

As a Christian realist and Canadian democrat I also know that the dogs of war and brokering of peace come with nation-states and the political class.

I have much fear that this third bombardment of those imprisoned in Gaza will serve only to deepen the hatred of the occupier by the occupied. But as a Pearsonian-Trudeau Liberal, I have hope that when the Harper-Armageddon Conservatives are relegated to the opposition benches, we Canadians will deploy our diplomats to bridge misunderstandings, our troops to engage in peacekeeping and our government to work for a just society, for Palestinians and Israelis in a two-state solution, where settlements, blockades and missiles are stopped.

As my great teacher and Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wrote in his famous I and Thou, "Nothing can doom man but the belief in doom, for this prevents the movement of return to encounter."

William Roberts

Whistler

Voting with integrity

Hey Max, last week you wrote, "blah blah blah... You're wrong; I'm right"("Maxed Out," Pique, July 24).

Sounds like you're in Grade 2! People that support the NDP and Green Party aren't just voting with their hearts, they're voting for policies and values they sincerely believe in!

They don't compromise their integrity just to win. This is where true change should begin!

J. Harding Lee

Whistler

Thank you Valley Trail crew

As a new parent, you never know what to expect from your day. Sleep-full nights, sleepless nights. Wants to eat, doesn't want to eat. This trick works and now it doesn't. Change, adaptation, joy and maybe a nice hot shower to wash your hair at the end of the day; these are the wonders and education of parenthood.

But no matter what loop de loop the day brings, there is always a constant in my new family's life. One routine that we set out on sun, rain or snow. Our morning date with the Valley Trail. The yellow line that wanders amongst forests and neighbourhoods, lakes and cafes is my lifeline to a few quiet moments to myself and a deep sleep for a babe that sleeps better outdoors than in.

So every day we set out, our procession of a Sheppard, terrier, baby buggy and myself. We walk, she's lulled to sleep, we stop, she dreams, I think.

Steps from our front door, there are multiple directions to take. On a grey-skied day, we venture to a park with picnic tables perfect for a book and later a swing to put a smile on my daughter's face when she wakes from her nap. On busy sunny weekends, I walk my daughter in another direction and pull off into a shaded lookout point overlooking a lake. Nestled in the trees, her sleep is free from the bustle of talking people and barking dogs. Aside from the occasional, "That looks like the best office ever" as I type away, the quiet of the forest surrounding us is our own. There are stops at community porches and docks, bridges with rushing water that replace the soothing sounds of a sound machine. There are pathways affording more shade from the sun, and steeper or flatter sections to choose. There are neighbourhood gardens to watch grow, mountain peaks to revel in. And more often than not a stop at The Fix Cafe for a much-needed coffee and a quick catch up with the café girls and friends. Whistler's own "yellow brick road" connects my daughter and I with quiet times to dream as well our community, neighbours, friends and visitors. And all on a smooth, flat, clean and cleared surface that lets us roll comfortably with rain gear, diaper bags and lunch boxes loaded and ready to go.

So a heartfelt thank you to the visionaries and the town councillors who continue to invest in the Valley Trail's up keep and expansion. And most of all thank you to the hard-working crew that keeps the trail clear winter and summer – and a huge thank you to the worker the other day who stopped blowing leaves, so my sleeping daughter and I could pass and continue to enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature.

It's a drizzly day today, so we've opted for the picnic bench under an umbrella of evergreens. Nita lakeside is quiet. The rain keeping kids from running around the beach. My Sheppard rummages through the bushes, the other rolls over for a tummy rub from a tourist. No swing time today. But probably a coffee. My daughter stirs. We're up again. One wheel on the pavement, the other on the gravel, jostling my new family down the Valley Trail for yet another perfect start to an already incredible day (and even more wonders await once I hitch up the chariot to my bike this fall).

Thank you again.

Nicole and Rose Fitzgerald

Whistler

'Christmas in July' success

Bells were ringing at the Annual Fundraiser "Christmas in July" by the Squamish Food Bank Society, as volunteers raised a truckload of food, lots of smiles, and more than $2,200 in cash.

Volunteers looked for community support for the food bank in front of Nesters, Save-On Foods and Extra Foods on July 19 and 20 and found that the Christmas spirit is indeed alive and well in Squamish.

This summer the Food Bank is consistently serving over 200 persons each Food Bank day, so the funding is vital.

The Squamish Food Bank Society has been working to provide food for those in need in Squamish for the last 17 years.

Along the way, the society has grown alongside the community's need. Our mission: "We provide food for those in need in Squamish."

The Food Bank in Squamish is not agency funded. We rely on personal and corporate donations of food and cash to continue to keep the doors open.

Collaborative relationships are vital in every community and the Squamish Food Bank greatly appreciates the support of volunteers, businesses, other non-profits and our wonderful residents.

We are also not affiliated with the Christmas Hamper program. If your business would like to partner with the food bank to participate in an actual Christmas fundraiser this year, please contact us.

If you can help in any way, please contact us at Squamishfoodbank@gmail.com or contact our wonderful program coordinator Christina Rupp at 604- 815-7332.

Thank you for your continued support!

Lorna Van Straaten, President, Squamish Food Bank Society

Pemberton Music Festival feedback wanted

On behalf of the Village of Pemberton, I would like to extend a hearty thank you to HUKA Entertainment, the residents and businesses of Pemberton, and our neighbouring partners, SLRD Area C, Lil'wat Nation and Whistler, for your support and assistance in making the 2014 Pemberton Music Festival a success. We hope to work with you again on future collaborative endeavours that will benefit all our communities. It's amazing what we can achieve when working together!

As we begin to catch up on our sleep and put away our dancing shoes for another year, the Village of Pemberton thought it would be a good time to take the temperature of the community, and find out what worked for you, what didn't, and what we can improve on in the future.  

We recognize there will be impacts (both negative and positive) when we take on large initiatives such as this.

But with your constructive feedback, we are able to address these concerns early on in the process, so we can "iron out the kinks for next year."

In an effort to efficiently gather your feedback, the Village has initiated an online survey, found on the homepage of www.pemberton.ca; it should take approximately five to 10 minutes.

Your feedback is important and will help guide decision making for future festivals and large-scale events. Your input will be shared with HUKA and with council in September.  

Thanks again to all involved, enjoy the rest of your summer!

James Linklater

Acting mayor, Village of Pemberton

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