Letters to the Editor for the week of July 7th 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY CLARE OGILVIE - VSO 2016
  • photo by Clare Ogilvie
  • VSO 2016

WB should support Spearhead Huts with money

It was with great excitement that I read the recent announcement by the Spearhead Huts Committee with respect to the C$900,000 donation from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. This donation, together with funding from RMOW and other private donors, brings the total funding for the first hut close to the required amount.  

As a lifetime skier and a relative newcomer to ski touring, I am excited about the opportunities these huts present to locals and visitors alike. They will be a fantastic world-class alpine attraction for Whistler and B.C. and a spectacular year-round addition to the mountain experience of Whistler resort.

I was therefore very surprised to see no mention of Whistler Blackcomb in terms of funding or material support for this project. I checked other press releases and still no mention of support from Whistler Blackcomb.

I have seen guides with clients at guest services purchasing backcountry passes on a regular basis, and can only assume this will increase significantly once the huts are up and running.

The mountain will also benefit from the increase in related revenues. These three mountain huts are a big win for Whistler Blackcomb in many ways, with limited marginal costs incurred.

As a long-term Whistler Blackcomb season's pass holder, I am deeply disappointed that one of the key beneficiaries to this important endeavour has apparently contributed a total of zero dollars to date.

So here is a thought — if Whistler Blackcomb sells 2,000 extra backcountry tickets a year (at approx. $60 per ticket) and donates, say, the first five years of this incremental revenue it could give the Spearhead Huts campaign a significant financial contribution of $600,000 to complete this amazing series of what will no doubt become iconic huts.

Surely many others feel the same way. If you agree please visit www.change.org (search Spearhead Huts) to sign a petition and share the link.

In a time of record visits to Whistler and the municipality looking for opportunities to diversify the resort experience, these huts will be an excellent addition to Whistler's world-class infrastructure.  

This would be a great way for Whistler Blackcomb to support the local outdoor community by making a contribution to help a project that reflects the core values of the resort and of the community.

Callum Beveridge
Whistler/West Vancouver

Speak up for dogs

This is a letter to the dog owners of Whistler.

On Monday at the Alpha Lake Dog Park, around 2 p.m., I saw something depressing — an owner decided that the proper way to discipline his dog was to hit it.

While there with my own pup, this other dog came in and took my guy's toy, nothing too weird. The owner got really upset and put his dog back on its leash for about 30 seconds before letting it back off. Of course the dog eventually came back to try and take the toy.

To me this is just dogs being dogs, but the other owner disagreed and smacked his dog. I thought it was a bit rough but I don't know what the dynamic is between these two.

It was when the owner took his dog behind some bushes and started to repeatedly punch the puppy that I took issue with. His other dog was hiding behind me shivering. I was also afraid for my own safety if I said anything since he was bigger than me, and if this is the way he treats his own dog, who knows what else he would do.

The quick 10-minute trip to the park for his dogs consisted of being yelled at for taking a toy, being smacked for going for it again and then being hit repeatedly when it started being aggressive.

If this is the way that you treat your dog, it doesn't know anything else and, of course, is going to lash out at the other dogs at the park.

It's really sad that this young puppy only knows anger and will probably end up being put down when it acts the way it has been treated.

This letter is a notice to all of the other kind people in Whistler that unfortunately there are people out there that only know how to communicate with anger. This guy had two dogs, small to medium breeds, one brindle and one black and brindle. Unfortunately I didn't see if he had a car to get a licence, or his name to pass on to the RCMP or SPCA for further action.

If you have seen this owner, or any others like him, please speak up. It's a shame that an innocent pet has to suffer because of its owner's temper.

Rachel Brady

Think even bigger on climate change

Thanks to GD Maxwell for his three-part series on climate change action (Pique June 9, 16, 23, 2016). Considering how singularly invested in auto transportation we are, his ideas have merit.

However, what is most interesting and alarming is that these ideas are characterized as "BIG." Considering the magnitude of the problem (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) banning patio-heat wasters or installing round-abouts is certainly a no-brainer. His other ideas are indeed complex engineering and legal problems but again, considering the objective, not exactly big.

The truth is, as his series title amply highlights, if we think these are "Big Ideas" then we are all firmly stuck in denialism.

If we truly expect to ensure that global temperatures are stabilized for our children's future, dramatic changes in our energy consumption needs to happen now, not just by fiddling with these entirely useful but essentially tiny ideas.

We need systemic changes and local (and individual) efforts are entirely constrained by the big systems we committed to decades ago. Until these energy consumption systems change, we will only be rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, while we maintain its inevitable course. For ever-so-slightly bigger ideas, how about these ones:

1) B.C. needs to establish affordable resident employee housing by reserving land and incentivizing development local to employment centres. The successful RMOW initiatives are the test model and the agricultural land reserve is the template for expansion into a provincial initiative.  The benefits, as is so often the case, extend far beyond transportation issues and clearly require more than the involvement of one community. Jordan Sturdy should be all over this like an... NDPer?

2) A commitment to integrate our railways into public transportation. This is a very big idea I know, but an even larger pipe dream is the replacement of combustion engines with electric on our roads. Again, if Max's local shuttle network was in place, those 60 kilometres of railway become ever harder to ignore. This commitment needs leadership beyond the usual four-year outlook of our politicians. Why Whistler Blackcomb isn't more vocal on this (and other) obvious longer-term requirements we can only guess.

3) Everyone, particularly those who claim the most to give a damn (environmental advocacy organizations) should stop ignoring the most obvious low carbon energy resource that B.C. is uniquely endowed with — hydroelectric power.

CO2 generation is a global problem. Alberta, Saskatchewan and the rest of North America need to get off fossil-fuel-generated electricity. Unlike so many of our alleged "solutions," this can happen right now. We need to unambiguously state and advocate developing our hydro resources for one explicit energy goal — displacing fossil fuels by the most expedient manner available.

The climate benefits are irrefutable and politically such an advocacy takes the wind out of the sail of the obstructionists and deniers, who claim (with some substantial credibility, unfortunately) that environmentalists are merely "develop nothing, kill the economy anti industrialists."

Site C and numerous Run of River projects could become a substantial energy export and provide jobs for those displaced by a much-needed transition away from the Tarsands.

Similarly, northern natural gas development should be advocated for under very explicit purposes — displacing higher GHG fossil fuels.

Yes, an extraordinarily big and heretical idea particularly for the enviro's but like I said, if in fact all their hand wringing about the climate is legitimate, even they must admit that risks must be taken, perhaps even with their own iconic ideals of wilderness.

One thing is for sure... without dramatic action starting 10 years ago; the whole idea of pretty whales in the Sound and salmon in our creeks is all a moot point as far as our kids go. It's about time we set aside the little ideas and try to think and act BIG.

The only other moderately half-assed effort I suggest for all Sea to Sky residents is the next time there is a protest at  Burnaby Mountain or the Art Gallery, set aside your toys for just one day and show up.

Bruce Kay

A holey issue

Could someone please fix the craters (potholes) in Function?

Arne Gutmann

Time for parking re-think

It's time to sort out RV parking in the free lots.

They are a pain! I have seen so many bad drivers — they take up to four spots and some of them are there for multiple nights in the same spots.

I assume they are being occupied. Is that allowed?

This is causing much less parking for cars in those zones. Make them all go to Lot 3 and make that RV-only parking.

Parking needs a rethink — might be time for a multi-storey car park.

John Rowan

Is it time to meter water use?

Whistler should seriously consider the implementation of a comprehensive user-pay system for water consumption.

This would involve metering all users. Meters have been installed in new construction since the 1990s, so many water consumers already have meters. West Vancouver metered the entire municipality several years ago so this is not a difficult undertaking.

Once all users are metered then a consumption rate would be set at an amount that would pay for all operating and amortized capital costs for water supply and wastewater treatment.

This approach to water management has several advantages. A true user-pay system would be established; i.e. the more water a user consumes the more they pay which is fair and equitable. Studies have shown that a significant reduction in water use can be achieved by metering which results in reduced water/wastewater operating and maintenance costs. In addition, all water-related costs are removed from the tax system. A sustainable water system would enhance Whistler's desire to be considered a "green" community.  

Those who make an effort to minimize water use should not have to subsidize those who consume most of the water because of swimming pools, irrigation or just waste water because there is no monetary consequence.

Robert Shepherd

A prom day full of thanks

The Whistler Secondary grad class of 2016 celebrated an extraordinary prom last week; the day could not have happened without the efforts of an amazing community of students, teachers, principals, parents and local businesses.

Prom planning started months ago with a goal to be inclusive, and that fundraising would cover the cost for all students. The fundraising also included Legacy Projects, which focused on LGBTQ and inclusion. All goals were met and exceeded!

In Whistler fashion, many stepped up to make this year's prom come together. Huge thanks go to: the incredible parents for assisting us in all the exciting ways to fundraise and all the generous donations; to Whistler Blackcomb and its awesome team, — wow, what a glorious mountain-top venue for the prom reception, dinner and dancing; to The Westin Hotel and Adele Campbell Gallery for a beautiful space to hold the promenade; to all the amazing teacher and parent volunteers, decorators extraordinaire, set up and take down crew and chaperons.

You truly allowed us the opportunity to enjoy the occasion.

Special thanks go to Joern Rohde our incredible photographer who captured everything, to Dean and Andrew for all your AV expertise, to Celebrate and Whistler Cooks for donating the decor.

And a round of applause for the very brave family for hosting the after party, another to the family who held the delicious after-prom brunch, and those who hosted pre-prom celebrations as well.

And to Whistler Secondary's vice principal, Erin Boisvert, we must say, "you are amazing!"

Thank you everyone, we are so grateful.

The Grad Class of 2016

Volleyball heroes

Sheila and I would like to recognize our Pemberton volleyball All-Stars.

On Saturday, June 18 with the help of Mark Leverton and Krista Walden six beautiful young ladies from the Pemberton Secondary School's senior volleyball team came and weeded our back yard. They worked hard removing an incredible amount of material.

There was a package to pay the ladies, which has since been returned because the ladies would not be paid.

I am sorry that I don't have all their names, but they know who they are and you are our heroes.

We would like to thank you with all our hearts and wish you all the best in your future.

Sheila and Craig Hoover

Duffey Lake Road rock quarry

Last weekend I drove over the Duffey Lake Road for what seems like the millionth time this summer.

I love the drive but I almost prefer it in winter. The summer can be packed with slow campers, as tourists road-trip east from Vancouver.

The Sea to Sky is a tourism corridor and I've come to terms with the fact that what brings me frustration some times may also put money in my pocket as a guide. In fact, Joffre Lakes had more visitors than I've ever seen; I hit a lineup of cars along the road, much, much earlier than I'd expected. That's another story though.

It's enough to say that tourism is in full bore this the summer on Highway 99. Quite likely booming.

Similarly, a lot of work is going into upgrading our transportation networks as our government invests in fixing and/or upgrading road infrastructure. One example is a new two-lane bridge crossing the Cayoosh River near Gott Creek.

What brought on this letter is the gouge a little further east as rock has been quarried from roadside talus fields for banking the river at the bridge. This talus has been sitting decades long enough to have acquired the black tinge of lichens.

I'm a little disappointed that this hillside was gouged right next to the road as it leaves a big white scar of a hole for anyone that drives by enjoying the beautiful and seemingly pristine-wilderness road.

Don't get me wrong. This road was born out of industry and continues to be a source of lumber and other industrial uses.

I'm a realist in understanding our need for raw materials. Logging cuts on the Duffey are part of the landscape and I've no complaints there. The Duffey, however, is flanked by mountains and not power lines (yet). I just wish that in the future we could go that extra mile in sourcing rock from somewhere a little less obvious.

As much as those campers and tourists might frustrate me on my commutes east from Pemberton, I want them to have nothing but raving comments about their experiences through our corridor.

There's something special about the wilderness (real or perceived) that we inhabit in the Sea to Sky. If it is just an illusion, for tourism's sake alone, we should continue to propel, not dispel, that spell.

Sam McKoy

Do what is right?

I have met with at MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones (West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country) at coffee shops and town-hall meetings to discuss the proposed Mount Mulligan Compressor Station.

We have written letters, attended meetings and begged her to help. No help has come. Change was supposed to happen with the new Liberal government. In her campaign she and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised public input would be respected, communities would grant permission, science was back on the table and that climate change would be addressed.

Mount Mulligan proves that was all lies.

Catherine McKenna (environment minister, Ottawa Centre) had a long legal career in Indonesia where the alleged criminal billionaire behind the project is from.

The Liberal Party of Canada has done the impossible. It has made me miss the former Conservative Stephen Harper government. At least they where honest as to what their intentions were.

The Liberals are talking out of both sides of their face at the same time. FortisBC will emit 27,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases every year into the air of this narrow valley, which is a residential neighbourhood with three schools within it while potentially polluting the water that all of Squamish uses. Fortis is making way to triple the output and triple the pollution. Fortis could move the station or use electricity to compress the gas, but that would cost them some money and Fortis does not care about us.

Goldsmith-Jones must know that this project stinks. The stink will stick to the federal and provincial Liberal parties. I am asking Ms. Goldsmith-Jones to quit the federal Liberal party and cross the floor in the House of Commons. If you are truly there for the people and not the corporations then I hope you can find the courage to do what is right.

Michael McGillion

Coach courses thanks

As a sports coach and strength and conditioning coach working with young athletes it is important for me to keep learning and developing my skills.

Thankfully, Lucinda Jagger and Tami Mitchell of Whistler Sports Legacies have been working hard to make coaching workshops and courses available locally.

From NCCP courses during Coaches Week in September and then again earlier this spring, to the High Five Sport Workshop held on June 27.

Special thanks also must go to Amber, Daphne and Erin of Sea to Sky Athletics for hosting the first Physical Literacy Tools Workshop in Squamish as well.

All of these events are not only great learning opportunities, they provide multi-sport coaches, teachers, recreation instructors, etc. a chance to engage with one another; sharing ideas that can lead to better experiences for all local athletes.

Diana Rochon


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