Letters to the editor for the week of March 6th 

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Spearhead amendment contradictory

If I was not so disappointed in the Garibaldi Park Management Plan amendment I might find the contradictions comical.

Here is a plan that a select few commercial stakeholders have had a look at for the past few months, while the hundreds of people who contributed to it sat waiting.

To quote from the amendment regarding heli-skiing: "Public feedback stated a strong preference for restricting Garibaldi Park to non-motorised activity and phasing out heli-skiing. Motorised access impacts the wilderness quality of the Spearhead Area and affects park visitors' quiet enjoyment of the park, both of which have been recognised as core values of the Garibaldi Park experience.

"While the portion of the heli-skiing tenure within Garibaldi Park is a small percentage of the overall tenure area, it is important for providing a viable heli-skiing opportunity on days of marginal weather when other locations within their tenure do not.

"In 2011, the heli-skiing permit expired and BC Parks granted a five-year renewal, expiring in 2016. By no later than 2026, BC Parks will develop a recommendation on the future of heli- skiing that meets the vision of the park."

To quote regarding mountain biking: "Many of the public responded that what they value most about the Spearhead Area of Garibaldi Park is that it is a place where they can readily connect with a sense of wilderness. Allowing mountain biking — an activity that is likely to be associated with high levels of use which would require further trail development — may detract from the wilderness experience which is of value to visitors of Garibaldi Park."

So, yes to noisy helicopters full of money and fuel because they need a "viable weather location," and no to mountain bikes because they may detract from the wilderness experience. What!?  

There is nothing more degrading to a park experience than having the peace and quiet of such a special place disturbed by the constant noise of a heli operator for hours on end.

And what is happening between 2016 and 2026?

With the exploding winter use of the Spearhead area for winter enthusiasts (who may now outnumber summer visitors) it seems incredulous that BC Parks would continue to ignore two of its "core values" of the Garibaldi Park experience over the commercial operator. This is the same operator who boasts of a tenure of over 160 glaciers outside of the park, but continues to feel the need to consistently operate immediately adjacent to the key access point of the park.

Whistler Blackcomb already has control over almost the entirety of Blackcomb Provincial Park (where it has previously proposed two new chairlifts) and they want a perennial extension to operate Whistler Heli-Skiing within Garibaldi Park. One can only hope that come 2016 we will have relative peace in the Spearhead.

I suggest that Whistler Blackcomb take a closer look at their own recent Master Plan Update from 2010 where they outline their commitment to sustainability in the following words..."We will identify and protect special places."

Jamie May

Whistler

Let's re-brand WSSF?

First off: (Let's) change the name of our annual spring festival to... get ready for it... The Whistler Festival! (exclamation mark optional). Own the name. Own our town. It's not the GM Festival of Jazz (in Montreal). Brand the biggest event of the ski season as a Whistler event. Sorry un-named last-minute-bail-on-sponsorship mobile phone corporation, this is our town!

Second off: During the new Whistler Festival this April, hold a Slush Cup in Skier's Plaza on a Saturday afternoon. Have you seen how many people show up for Joyride during Crankworx? Capture this audience!

People want to see the best pro riders in the world flail into an un-landable puddle of slush... right at the foot of the mountain.

It'll be, "did you see that?!" Gold!

Hire the people who made that 1980s Blackcomb commercial to do the pre-event promo reel. If you don't know what I'm talking about, get your Internet dusted off and get ready for ultimate '80s ski radness!

Third off: Hire local DJs Skiitour to DJ the Slush Cup. I'm 100 per cent unaffiliated with Skiitour, but think they're awesome, plus they have a snow machine!

That's all from me. I'll take free beers as payment for the consulting fee.

Kyle MacDonald

Whistler

Action needed on oil

So why are our boreal forests being decimated to refine tar sands for oil, which we Canadians don't even use? It's being shipped internationally.

Why are we shipping a crude oil product instead of refining it for a value-added product? We would create Canadian jobs if we refined it here. And when a tanker does eventually spill a refined gas evaporates instead of being another exxon disaster. The crude oil we do ship is being refined by a labour force in China.

It's simple really. You, me, our environment, our natural resources, and our future have all been sold out to the international cartel. We need to take back our country, our freedom and our future from the powers that be.

But we won't. Because the majority of people won't take the first step and admit, or care, there even is a problem. Many people don't even know what planet they are on. They live in Andyville (No offence to the Andys out there just using an example), and they will deny/ignore the facts to protect their illusion that the status quo can continue. And the status quo is leading us on a crash course (I'm just trying to inflate an airbag for us).

And I can't totally fault everyone. Because most people are too damn tired from slaving at a job, so the banking cartel can steal from their labours. They just don't have the time think about such things.

So, since our collapse is inevitable, I strongly endorse praying. It's the only hope we have left.

I feel I should add that there is such disregard for the safety of the West Coast shoreline because those in charge know its already dead thanks to Fukushima.

Colin Kennedy

Whistler

Olympic congratulations

I join Canadians across the country in congratulating our Olympic medallists on their incredible performance in Sochi.

I especially think of Whistler-native Marielle Thompson's gold medal victory in women's ski cross. Marielle, you are an inspiration for our riding and a role model for everyone in Canada!

I am greatly honoured that the Whistler and Pemberton Rotary Clubs last month accorded me the Paul Harris Fellowship, an honour in the name of Rotary's Founder.  The fellowship recognized work relating to the battle waged by rotarians against polio; I am quick to say rotarians have performed extraordinary work in this regard; my contribution, in encouraging government participation, was small by comparison.

I accompanied Minister of Justice and Attorney-General Peter MacKay in meetings in Vancouver with local police chiefs and child health advocates last weekend, and briefed him on concerns in our riding. These types of meetings are key to "shrinking the distance" between our people and Ottawa's decision-makers. 

Last month also saw the introduction of the Canadian government's 2014 budget, The Economic Action Plan, on February 11. I applaud our government's focus on balancing our budget by next year.

Our voices were expressed through the inclusion in the budget of many local priorities, including support for search and rescue; funds for fisheries habitat protection; and a big boost on a matter on which I have dedicated considerable work — combating prescription drug abuse. 

I am fond of the quote attributed to Sir Walter Scott: "the will to do; the soul to dare." With the "will to do and the soul to dare," we can accomplish even greater things, for our riding and for the country.

With that in mind, I announced last month that I would seek the Conservative nomination once again for our riding, to be running again in the 2015 federal election.  It is an honour to serve the "most beautiful place on earth" in the parliament of a country that is the toast of the world. May we have the will to keep it that way, and the soul to dare to make it even better?

John Weston

MP, West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country

Petition demands accountability

With the story regarding the "Cohen Commission into the Decline of Fraser Sockeye," the degraded Fisheries Act and the cuts to Department of Fisheries habitat protection staff and our the petition sent to the auditor general of Canada published in the Pique last week I had people asking me, "Why do the petition?"

The petition has been filed in hopes that this will compel the DFO to answer our petition questions in writing.

The Auditor general reviews petitions in light of informing their choices around what issues they should do federal audits on. Justice Cohen's 75th and final recommendation explicitly draws the Auditor general into the mix. In that recommendation, Cohen suggests the Auditor general should report to the public on the extent to which government has implemented his recommendations, with a deadline of Sept. 30, 2015.

I had numerous people coming up to me expressing their concerns over lack of action on the Cohen Inquiry along with the recent changes to the Fisheries Act and cuts to DFO Habitat protection staff. Many expressed frustration and asked why the government is not doing more, and what they can do to help? Speak up and contact your local member of parliament. In our riding that is our MP, John Weston.

So many people put their hard work into many aspects of the Cohen Inquiry. Participants in our Sea to Sky Fisheries Roundtable took part in a short video that barely scrapes the surface of the Cohen Commission, but we hope it will at least give Canadians a better idea of the situation. We hope you can take the time to watch a short video produced by Watershed Watch. Here's the link http://youtu.be/BsW5B7gvJNg.

Feel free to share this video within your social network contacts and friends, so we can continue to highlight wild salmon as an important issue.

Dave Brown

Whistler

We all need salmon

I just read MP John Weston's letter in the Feb. 27 edition of the Pique and I would like to make a few comments regarding farmed Atlantic salmon versus wild salmon. First off Atlantic salmon do not belong in the Pacific Ocean period!

They have already brought viruses to our coast and those facts continue to be ignored by the industry and government. Raising any carnivore in captivity is asking for trouble whether it is on land or in the water, we just don't do it.

The natural laws won't allow it and if we break natural laws the backlash will be devastating.

The Cohen recommendations continue to be ignored, and that is clearly evident by the recent acts of the minister of fisheries. Weston states that for the foreseeable future there will be a moratorium on Atlantic salmon farms around the Discovery Island.

So is the department of fisheries saying that all other salmon runs are not important and expanding the fish farms won't hurt other runs of salmon?

The salmon farm industry employs 14,000 people and contributes $2 billion dollars to the economy. The wild salmon industry employs 52,000 jobs and the dollars are in the billions. In the Skeena river watershed commercial fishing, sport fishing, and all the other businesses that come along with it bring in over $250 million dollars a year.

The Salmon farm industry doesn't compare to the wild salmon industry in this regard to the economy.

Atlantic open net fish farms are not worth the risk!  If you want to know what the risk is it's the entire ecosystem of the west coast of Canada and the United States. Without salmon you just don't lose whales, bears, and eagles, you lose it all.

A few years ago in Chile all the farms were closed because of disease and they lost 20,000 jobs and a two-billion-dollar-a-year industry. Why did this happen? Because government and industry ignored the warning signs and once the disease starts you can't stop it.

There are no environmental benefits to having Atlantic salmon here on our coast for so many reasons, like what do you feed farmed Atlantic salmon? You feed them a variety of food, but the main one is forage fish like herring.

If you have no herring do you just get the minister of the DFO to lift the moratorium on commercial herring fishing?

We are running out of herring, so what is the industry going to do?  What about all the other sea life that depend on herring for there survival?

To raise one pound of farmed salmon you need 1.5 pounds of wild forage fish (herring) and that's running out because herring can't reproduce fast enough.

Regarding the 2010, 30-million sockeye salmon returned to the Fraser river system that John (Weston) spoke of, there are 27 tributaries to the Fraser River that have Sockeye salmon, but only 17 had normal levels and some were still below average. There was also high pre-spawn mortality, so nobody knows how many salmon actually spawned and it sure wasn't 30 million!  

All I know is a lot didn't make it to spawn because something is wrong. Can the DFO tell us what the escapement of downstream Sockeye smolts were for the spring of 2012 from the spawn of 2010?

That is the real story — how many actually made it to spawn, then to the ocean — not 30 million.

I get that we need more fish, but everything needs more fish and if DFO would just look after our wild salmon there would be more than enough fish to go around.

Yes, this year we had a massive return of pink salmon, but again there are questions that are going unanswered about the diseased pink salmon that have been found on shores of some rivers.

For the first time in history the First Nations were told they could not fish for sockeye in the Skeena River system because the sockeye never returned, and before this year this was unheard of.

This will be the return year for the Fraser 30 million sockeye salmon spawn from 2010. Let's see what happens this coming August!

I hope we get a high return because if we don't we are all in trouble. By that I mean whether you eat salmon or not we all need salmon. If your not sure why just do a little research and you'll see.

Geoff Gerhart

Whistler

A caring community

I grew up in London, England, and I have always found Whistler such a friendly community.

Having lived here for over 10 years I have often seen people taking care of each other and opening their hearts to the many visitors and seasonal workers that come to enjoy the beauty of our home.

Recently, I feel that the media and social networking in the "real world" outside of our comfortable Whistler bubble seems to enjoy highlighting the faults and cruelties of the human race.

On Sunday I was reminded what humans are really capable of. I parked on Main Street to go to my store in the village. It seems that my sliding door was left open on my van, and I hadn't noticed in my rush to get to work.

When I returned about an hour later, in a heavy snowfall, I found a note on my seat that read: "Your door was left open, I closed it so no snow would get in! Have a good one, EH!"

The note even contained a hand-drawn picture of a maple leaf! I don't know if this person was Canadian but the maple leaf seems synonymous with kindness.

Canadians are sometimes mocked overseas as being kind and polite in the extreme, and I think that this is another extreme sport that Whistler should become famous for.

In some places in the world my vehicle may not have even been there to go back to.

It wasn't a heroic rescue from the mountains, it didn't cost this person any money, but this simple act of kindness reminded me that sometimes life is much sweeter if we think of a small way to make someone else's day better.

Thank you to Timothy for closing my door, I will keep your note to remind me to pay it forward!

Lucy Pomroy

Whistler

Hoedown thanks

We had an amazing evening at the Spring Creek Community School 10th Anniversary Wild West Hoedown.

There was much fun had by everyone who attended, and it was a great fundraising success.  The event was a benefit to help build raised sandboxes for the school playground, support the Grade 4 Big House trip, and the Grade 6/7 Outdoor School trip.

The evening could not have happened without the considerable efforts of the Spring Creek PAC: Janis MacKenzie, Andrea Legge, Caralynn Haasen, Kerri Fletcher, Adele Ferguson — the team behind it all — and huge efforts by Ecole la Passerelle APE Chair, Jennifer Oviatt, who came and taught our kids to line dance in gym class.

Huge thanks to our sponsors: Four Season Resort & Spa, Whistler Dental, TAG — The Adventure Group, Kahuna Paddleboards, Hair by Glow — Glowena Erickson, Nita Lake Lodge, Nesters Market, the BrewHouse, Whistler Minor Hockey, Copper Cayoose Outfitters, Bearfoot Bistro, Sara Leach — Author, Upper Village Market, Whistler Cooks!, Lucia Gelato and Grimm's Meats.

We could not have done it without the hundreds of families that attended and the many extraordinary volunteers: Jeff Isert the Bingo Caller, Ira the DJ, Sara and Susan the Cake Ladies for Gr. 6/7, Caralynn and Suzette at the Treat Table for Gr. 4. The folks at the Grub Station did a mighty fine job too!

More thanks to principals Lisa Bartlett of SCCS and Michel Tardif of ELP and our gracious custodians Jeff and Tom.

We were delighted to see all the teachers and staff rally behind our crazy idea for an event! It was an event that brought together our school and our community and we enjoyed every moment of fun!  YEE HAW!!

Tanya Goertzen

Chair, SCCS PAC

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