Letters to the editor for the week of March 27th 

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Leashed is the law

I know there have been numerous letters regarding this subject over the years, and that sadly the people that they are aimed at are so ignorant that they will not take responsibility and admit they are even partially in the wrong, but here goes.

Yes, it's the off-leash dog issue! In particular in Pemberton — a town which requires all dogs to be leashed!!

My dogs do not like other dogs rushing up to them when on leash — they become reactive. Every time this is about to happen (mine are leashed, the others are NOT) I ask people to leash their dogs, and I try to move out of the way and distract mine to avoid conflict.

But because the other dogs are so perfect the owner will not leash their dog, and (then they) go on to give me crap because my dog is upset.

It's hard to get out of the way when the other dog is not restrained, and is allowed to come close as we are trying to move away!

What they can't understand (and don't want to know) is that many of us who have dogs like mine (there are a lot of us) are constantly working with their dogs and themselves to try avoid conflict, and want to enjoy being with their dogs.

By "working with their dogs" this includes getting and paying for professional help, which in my case has helped a lot. But it all seems like a waste of time when these off-leash dogs are allowed to do what they want potentially undoing all the work we have been doing, and in my case turning me into a raving lunatic, which also doesn't help me or my dog!

It's so damn frustrating not being able to get these people to understand that they can help us out by just restraining their dogs for a minute, so that we can all pass peacefully with no conflict.

There will still be the odd hiccup, but at least we would all be working together and helping the insecure dog feel safer, so hopefully one day will be able to walk by without even flinching.

There is also the leashed sick, injured, ageing and recovering from surgery dogs that are also at risk from off-leash dogs.

I could go on but really, what's the point?

Ellen Ramsay


The Spearhead and helicopter skiing

Let's take a look at what, and who built this town and why we are all here.

Let's face it, without Whistler and Blackcomb, nobody has a job here, and we don't have a town. No ski hill means no newspaper, no coffee shops, no fancy houses and certainly no argument over who should be allowed into the backcountry.

Whistler Heli-Skiing was operating in this valley long before we saw the huge influx of ski tourers, and massive numbers of day-trippers hitting the slack-country slopes. The government granted the heli skiers a business license and an area to operate within. This is what creates the value of one's business.

There is currently an argument over heli skiing in the Spearhead and ski touring only because Whistler invested millions upon millions of dollars to make easy back country access by adding more and more chairlifts out over the musical bumps. Without these lifts, there are no ski tourers back in the Spearhead! OK, maybe a couple, but certainly not the day after a major storm while the snow is still waist deep and trail breaking would take three days to get in there up the singing pass road.

So, now that the ski tourers have easy access to an area, they want the original users of the area to be booted out.

Did you know that Whistler Heli-Skiing is owned by Whistler Blackcomb? Did you also know that thousands of people come here each year just for the heli skiing in this valley? They come here because they can get out heli skiing in the Spearhead during times of inclement weather when there are no other places to fly. This is also what keeps the heli ski operators alive; it is the ability to fly on more than just the clear sunny days.  

Currently, snowmobiles are encroaching upon a massive portion of the available heli ski terrain, and are also forcing the heli operators to be more and more restricted as to where they can go. On some days, more than half of the potential heli ski terrain is tracked and used by the unrestricted usage of snowmobiles and backcountry movie crews on sleds.

Is this how we treat the people who first invested in the jobs and infrastructure of this town? We give them a place to operate, let them build a business and client base, and then strip it all away when we feel it better suits a few other users without any compensation?

What about the restriction upon the ski tourers and the snowmobilers? Oh... there are none. They are allowed to go wherever they wish, with no guide, no experience, and no regulation, and no compensation for the tenure holders in the area. Yet they are the largest users of the publicly funded search and rescue in the valley.

One argument is over how much noise helicopters make. Yes they can be loud. But... they also operate within the noise bylaws of this town.

But, is it any louder than the sounds of jackhammers, rock drills and avalanche bombs? I seem to recall hearing explosives every morning starting at 7:00 a.m. every time it snows.

And, without those bombs the top lifts are not opening, and there is no access to the backcountry. Yet nothing is ever said over that, nor are complaints ever made. 'It's just part of this town,' people would say. It's what gets us out to the powder snow.

Don't get angry at the heli ski operators, and the fact that they are trying to stay in business and provide jobs for the hundreds of employees and businesses in this town that rely upon them.

Instead be angry with the government for the unregulated usage of the backcountry that is forcing the heli skiers into one of the last places they can operate on a marginal weather day.

Take that away, and you take away the entire reason we are all here: skiing powder snow.

Don Schwartz


Grizzly protection needed

I am writing to support and endorse the statements of Wayne McCrory, "professional grizzly bear biologist of long standing in the province of B.C." (Pique March 20).

As he points out, we must stand up and protect our wilderness and wildlife.

The Upper Lillooet River diversion project, for example, is a huge gamble with a valuable fish-bearing river, which has sustained people and wildlife for thousands of years.

Surely, a few short-term jobs are not worth the risk of long-term destruction of this precious resource. 

Jeanette Helmer


Slide safety and issue for Innergex?

This letter was addressed to the SLRD board members and submitted to Pique:

With the recent tragedy in Oso, Washington, and the very recent close call that happened at Meager in Aug. 2010, I am still shocked that a company wants to risk the lives of workers and contractors to build a power project in the Upper Lillooet.

I read in the recent Pique that the original work campsite has been deemed a hazard — after years of planning Innergex has finally realized this? Quite unbelievable. (It) certainly doesn't say much about the company.

It is also hard to imagine that there was not one company in B.C. that could not of have been the general contractor. With Quebec-based CRT-EBC getting the contract, and many of the workers going to come from out of province, it is unlikely that the workers will realize just how hazardous the construction site could be.

Since the SLRD is the approving authority hopefully some common sense will rise to the surface and no building permits be issued for this project. This whole area should be treated the same as the Barrier Civil Defence Zone.

Ray Mason


TED talks stir the conversation

Congratulations and "thank you" to the Whistler Public Library and the Whistler Centre for Sustainability in making the TED talks available to the public last week.

So many great talks to mention, but try these three on the broad subjects of transparency, secrecy and openness in government, in media and on the World Wide Web.


• Former NSA analyst Edward Snowden's defense and explanation of his actions in divulging the National Security Administrations intelligence gathering programs; in America and around the world;

• NSA Deputy Director Richard Lodgett boldly facing direct questioning from a TED facilitator on Snowden's accusations and actions — (Whistle blower or naïve, rogue intelligence officer?);

• General Stanley A. McChrystal (former Senior U.S. Commander in Iraq) and his essay on "leadership," unnecessary censorship and secrecy in the military and beyond.

B.K. Buchholz


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