Letters to the Editor for the week of March 19th 

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Hats off

Wow! What a great job Whistler Blackcomb has done with its snowmaking and grooming.

But WB has gone one step further by developing a new run in Whistler's alpine. The run starts at the top of Saddle and goes straight down the fall line of Glacier Bowl. Fantastic.

I hope WB maintains this run in perpetuity. It deserves a name and I suggest "In The Sun."

It was exactly that yesterday at 2:30 p.m. while the Saddle was in the shade. Hats off.

Geordie Trusler


Can't we do better?

Betting the future of the province on LNG export is like a high schooler planning to wind up working in a gas station.

A noble trade to be sure, but seems more of a Plan B to me. Is that the most interesting dream a government can come up with? As people can't we do better?

Here is an example of what we can shoot for, between Whistler Blackcomb, the Sea to Sky Gondola and the three North Shore ski areas there is a network of lifts that operates quite safely in many adverse weather conditions.

If stretched end to end it spans the Sea to Sky. It was built at a reasonable cost and ticket sales seem to pay for its operation. Gondolas can span impressive distances over nasty terrain in a way that far surpasses road or rail construction.

Using gondolas equipped with comfortable seats, Wi-Fi and a bathroom, why not connect Vancouver international airport to downtown Vancouver via the arbutus corridor (the gardens can stay), then to North Vancouver following the Lions Gate Bridge (for float plane safety), from there to Horseshoe Bay where you can either connect with the ferry to the island, the gondola to Gibson's via Bowen island or continue north to Mount Currie with stops in Lion's Bay and every other community along the way where there is ridership interest. New developments could be created in between to capitalize on real estate opportunities.

Offering an early-bird family pass would pique resident interest and the ticket sales could be more reliable than snowfall.

A project like this would not only benefit locals and visitors on a daily basis, but it outshines the Woodfibre LNG plan on — job creation, tax payment, environmental protection, investment in the province or any other argument I have heard in favour of it.

To satisfy the frackers you could run the whole thing on natural gas and warm the cabins with excess heat from the combustion.

Who could possibly be against this idea? Oh right — Translink, the bus companies, the parking pirates, the gasoline companies... oh well, so much for that dream, I'm sure we can come up with a better one.

In the meantime, fill'er up? Check the oil? Clean the windshield? Thanks for the tip, come again.

Rob Neaga


Soccer thanks

We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of the donors and sponsors for the U18 Soccer Girls Legion Dinner Fundraiser on Friday, March 13 especially Scotiabank, which matched our sales for the evening, and the Pemberton Legion for hosting our event.

The dinner was amazing, thanks to our chefs, John Ferris of The Collective Kitchen, and Ola Smazynski. They created a delicious meal, which sold out in less than one hour, and donated their time and resources to the fundraiser.

We would also like to thank the many donors for our silent auction: Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Batcho Family, Mile One Eating House, Best Western Mountain Retreat Hotel, Bananamay Bodyworks, Greg Sproule, Mynt Salon, Snowline Catering, Sportstop, Starbucks (Whistler), COWS, Style Zone Squamish, Executive Suites Squamish, Pemberton Valley Wellness, Mountain Blooms, Fun for Kids Clothing & Accessories, Field Family, Skitch, Kathy Leverton, Spirit Circle Gallery (Madeline), London Drugs, David's Tea, and Crystal Lodge.

The entire team is off to Manchester on March 29 and will represent the towns of Pemberton and Squamish on the field at two stadiums. Wish us luck!

Thank you all for your support,

Hannah Leverton, Amhani Jones, Kyla Sproule, Sierra Sproule

Squamish United FC U18 Girls

Time to work together

Last Saturday, Canadians across the country came out to demonstrate their opposition to Bill C-51. I'd like to congratulate LeadNow for coordinating these national protests, and I'd like to thank Vincent Martin for organizing the rally in Whistler.

Canada is a safe country, and keeping Canadians safe is a top priority. As new threats emerge we must maintain our vigilance. Our police and security forces are already stretched to the limit to cope with existing levels of crime and random acts of violence. New tools should be investigated, but not at the expense of our personal rights and freedoms. And not without well designed checks and balances.

Most of us now recognize that this hastily written legislation goes too far. It will not make Canada safer. If anything, it could make matters worse. Federal privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien finds the scope of the bill excessive, and more than a hundred academics have urged the government to change it because it violates privacy rights.

That's why I'm proud that Green Party leader Elizabeth May was the first Member of Parliament to expose Bill C-51 for what it is: an "Act to Create a New Secret Police." I'm grateful that Thomas Mulcair and the NDP joined the fight against Bill C-51, and I hope that Saturday's day of action will show Justin Trudeau and the Liberals how important stopping this dangerous bill is. We need their help. We need to work together to overcome manufactured fear.

Ken Melamed

Green Party West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country

Animals have feelings, too

I was shocked and dismayed when reading Glenda Bartosh's article, "Wild Things — They Make My Heart Sing " (Pique March 12). I was equally shocked that Pique would print something so incredibly disrespectful and insensitive to all wildlife, to animal lovers and compassion in general.

I am constantly attacked, as many animal advocates are, for being a voice for the voiceless; for animals who are shot in the name of sport or for a certain kinds of food our ancestors ate, neglected, abused, bred in masses, tortured in the name of science, and the list goes on.

Well, here I am again. I am sure Glenda can somehow relate to dogs, cats or horses, which is why she did not include them on her menu of anything that moves. She claims her "grandpa was a great Canadian duck hunter. "Mmm...mallard duck dusted in flour and fried in butter," (she said in her column).

What is so great or Canadian about that?

I would like to know if Glenda has ever spent any time with any of these animals she (discusses) to kill with guns, arrows or whatever weapon.

I have spoken to many former hunters who claimed that once the animals they were hunting looked at them in the eye, it changed their attitudes toward hunting and most have stopped.

Theses former hunters shared/exchanged something; they "connected" somehow in a way that instilled a new sense of compassion toward a beautiful animal.

I dare Glenda to connect and to learn something, at a deeper level than a frying pan, about these animals; learn about the loyalty of a Canada goose, the incredible social intelligence of a wolf or a raccoon, and attempt to understand the beauty, the individual personalities that all animals possess.

We humans share so many physical and character traits. We all share the same will to live. Our eyes, our noses, heart and blood serve the exact same purpose. We all feel pain, fear, happiness and most have a competitive nature in order to survive. We share the exact same water, air and earth that sustain our lives. The similarities are too many to ignore.

Yes, wild things make my heart sing, when they are "living" beside me and my farm, and not on my plate. Live with compassion.

Judy Stockton


Setting the record straight on school funding

Caroline Trench, former public school teacher, is correct in her statement that "statistics can be manipulated to make a point, even an erroneous one."

Regrettably, in her March 12 letter published in the Pique, Ms. Trench herself makes several statements that are based on blatantly erroneous manipulations of statistics and data, to support her spurious argument for taxpayer-funded, private education.

Ms. Trench's claim that "for every student that enters the independent system there is a proportional increase in funding for those remaining in the public system" shows a lack of understanding of the funding model for independent schools.

Group 1 and Group 2 independent schools are funded at 35 per cent or 50 per cent of the full time equivalent (FTE) district school grant, which is calculated based on public school operating funding amounts. As a result, per student funding for independent schools increases each year there is an increase in public school operating amounts, not the other way around.

Ms. Trench asserts falsely that 50 to 65 per cent of funding for students enrolled in independent schools remains in public schools. Public schools do not receive additional funding for students who are enrolled in the independent system. Public-school funding is based on a headcount of students enrolled and attending public schools.

A big leap is made in Ms. Trench's assertion that extra funds in the provincial treasury (that in some hypothetical world could have gone to private schools) are automatically allocated to public education.

The most recent provincial budget shows that this is definitely not the case, with announced cuts to administration costs of $54 million over the next two years, despite substantial surpluses.

Sea to Sky public school teachers are strongly committed to a vibrant, inclusive public education system. Our public schools are vital to healthy, culturally diverse neighbourhoods and communities. Unlike the private system, all children are welcome at our local public schools, irrespective of socio-economic standing or learning style, and we do our best to meet the individual needs of all learners. Public education is a hallmark of Canada's democratic, socially just society.

Public school teachers will continue to advocate for high quality public education, based on principles of fairness, accessibility and equity.

Our hope is that all students receive the supports and resources they need to help them realize their dreams and reach their full potential, within our public education system.

Carl Walker

President, Sea to Sky Teachers' Association


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