Letters to the editor for the week of May 15th 

  • Boating on Alta Lake. Photo submitted by Finn Saarinen.

Lake sailors act responsibly

I would like to respond to the recent article in the Pique ("No sleepovers on local lakes," May 8) re sailboats.

I am a Canadian Yatching Association sailing instructor and have moored a sailboat on Alta Lake for over 25 years.

My sailboat has a portable holding tank that is brought home after each day of sailing.

There is no dumping of sewage into the lake. All comments in the article are false accusations.

Let's enjoy the lake responsibly and together as friends.

Finn Saarinen


Wasting taxpayers' money

As an almost 25-year resident of Whistler and a mother I was disturbed to read the article in the Pique (May 8) regarding sleepovers on Whistler lakes.

I have raised my son on Alta Lake, I have taught him to swim, canoe, kayak and sail over the past 18 years. Zac has had almost all his early birthday parties on the original barge and continues to have older parties on my boyfriend's sailboat the Hakuna Matata.

Not once in those 25 years have either of us ever defecated in the lake. Occasionally in the summer, when we aren't on the ocean, we have spent a warm summer full-moon evening watching falling stars and sleeping on the boat. We both have great homes, so living on Alta Lake is not necessary.

I am distraught that the municipality and Greg Groff are trying to take those few beautiful summer nights away from us. Ten nights out of 365 nights surely are allowable to a Whistler local, to enjoy a few nights under the stars?

How can it be possible that my valuable tax dollars, and municipal hours are being spent on these three little sailboats on Alta Lake.

As a taxpayer I am shocked that municipal resources are being used for this zoning amendment, which is based on absolutely no evidence.

Wouldn't sewage wash up on the shores of our gorgeous lake? I used to volunteer water sampling every week on the lake, which would then go to the powers that be, surely sewage would show up in these samples? It hasn't.

Lyall Featherstonaugh, owner of Hakuna Matata, and alleged shit disposer has been in this valley for 45 years. He is a valued local and would never discreetly, or otherwise, dispose of boat sewage in the lake. I can't imagine the other two long-time locals are dumping poop into Alta Lake either.

If there is a problem it's immediately following the Ironman swim! I wouldn't get in that lake for days afterwards. It was a piss tank.

The real problem on the lake is with the rowers. I will be sending a letter to council shortly to have them banned from the lake.

Three years ago I was witness to a traumatic rowing accident on Alta lake. It was early in the morning, 7:30-ish, and I was standing on the wayside dock. I saw two rowers coming from opposite directions towards wayside. There was no one on the lake at this time and I could see they were both moving alarmingly quickly towards each other.

Neither had any rear view mirrors and I could tell they were about to collide. It was traumatic when they hit! Ambulances and paramedics were called and I have been shaken ever since. What if they were to hit me in a canoe like that? Or my son on a paddle board? Or worse, swimmers.

So, with that said, I hardly think three long-term locals, who love our town, are a danger to our lakes.

Perhaps Greg Groff is more danger with his rowing boat than we are in our sailboat? Soon, if we all get up in arms about others forms of enjoyment on the lake we can get rid of rowboats and barges as well. Then we'll have no one on our lakes.

Stephanie Reesor


Time for commuter trail is now

Here I go again writing the mayor and council of Pemberton and our Area C Rep, Susie Gimse, about my concerns regarding riding the Highway 99 between the village and the highway bridge across the Lillooet River.

There could be the alternative route off the highway, as we (the PVTA at the time), started working on back in October 2005 after the clearing and laying of the new sewer line for the village was built.

That first letter showed that Ministry of Transportation and Highways representative Rob Bitte had a look and agreed that it could be done and that the village needed to put in a request for a permit. We received money from the regional district for the materials for a fence, which was built by volunteers (yes, that fence you see is mostly on the private lands and we had permissions from the owners back in the day).

We had an engineer do a description of a layout and then another letter in 2008 shows that a Local Motion Grant (applied for by the regional district) was received, but now things ground to a halt again and the grant obtained was used elsewhere.

Last May (2013), I was inspired to write of my concerns once again because of an incident I heard about elsewhere... and that almost non-existent "shoulder" with cars going at 80 km/hour prevents at least me from riding along there.

But I was heartened to hear support once again from the present area manager of the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Jesse Morewood in Squamish.

Yes, there are some private property issues that need to be addressed, but I understand that most of the commuter trail can be located on highway's right of way.

I do hope that it doesn't take a death or bad injury to finally get that project going again... It's only been nine years, I guess, since we began trying to get our Highway 99 commuter trail built... and cycling has certainly increased a lot during this interval. So, maybe its time has finally come??

Jan Naylor


Playground thanks

After three years of planning, fundraising and preparing, the Signal Hill Elementary School Intermediate Playground was built last weekend.

To all of you who have bought and sold poinsettias, oranges and cookie dough, who have supported your school through contributing to bake sales and purchasing lunches, who have donated and contributed your time, supplies and products, the parents, teachers, staff and especially the students thank you for your support.

What we saw on Saturday was an amazing thing — our school community arrived to build a playground.

This unique project saw a big idea evolve from being parent driven to seeing students buy-in and take the lead making the project part of their learning supported by their teachers, parents and the broader community. Together, we took an idea and made it a reality.

There are so many people to thank we can't possibly mention them all in this letter.

That said, many thanks to Graham Murphy and Ted Macintyre from Murphy Construction for taking on the project management of this installation, to Roger Molinaro and Sabre for coming to the rescue, to the bench install team (you know who you are), to the fly wheel, zip line, climbing platform constructors, those that raised the space climber and everyone who raked and shovelled their hearts out.

Thanks also to the Pemberton Valley Supermarket and Mount Currie Coffee Company who kept everyone fed and watered, and to Valley Chainsaw for the loan of the auger at the last minute.

Finally, thank you to all our corporate and individual sponsors and supporters including the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and Fairmont Foundation, Village of Pemberton, Rotary Club of Pemberton, Ted Gobert, Sabre, Pemberton Lion's Society, Growing Great Children, Pemberton Valley Lodge, Rona, Whistler Resort Management, Pemberton Women's Institute, SLRD Electoral Area C, School District No. 48 and School District No. 93, Lil'Wat Nation and all the amazing students, staff and parents of the Signal Hill Elementary School community. Special mention must go out to Bree Stutt and Jeff Maynard for inspiring a group of Grade 4/5's to make a difference. You are all incredible!

Sheena Fraser and Betsy Linnell

Signal Hill Elementary PAC Co-Chairs

Have your say on pipeline

Hurrah for Leslie Anthony and his great column on Northern Gateway ("Hiding in plain sight," May 8) a.k.a. Enbridge in the Pique. I too have to seriously stifle the gag reflex when I see those touchy feely ads on TV portraying a false sense of security about pipelines and tankers on our coast. As if they care.

Enbridge thinks it's just dandy to put a double pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta to Kitimat over 1,177 kilometres of mountains, streams, and lakes. They want to send about 3,500,000 litres per hour of bitumen (dirty oil) plus diluent (formula unknown: it's an industry secret) down the pipe.

Several times we have had rock slides and debris torrents blocking the highway to Whistler. Enbridge would have us believe these would never happen out there in the hinterland where there are no roads, and no one (that means us) can see them.

Enbridge would also have us believe it is a good idea to send giant tankers containing 360,000,000 litres of bitumen and diluent sailing down a 90-kilometre, narrow, crooked, often foggy Douglas Channel (the third largest fiord system in the world) from Kitimat to the ocean. Then the tankers would have to navigate a further 60 kilometres of a coastal archipelago to reach open ocean.

They expect to send 220 tankers per year; that's one at least every two days. And those same tankers come back with the diluent, which goes back in that second pipeline. And will any of them ever run into trouble? Never, according to Enbridge. In your dreams.

No one even really knows how to clean the bitumen or diluent up. Check out the Kalamazoo spill in Michigan by Enbridge to prove it.

All this, (plus those nauseating ads) so Enbridge can sell tar sands oil to China. Most jobs created will be temporary while the pipeline is built. Tax revenue for B.C. is projected to be $40,000,000 per year, which boils down to a hefty $10 per resident.

If you think all British Columbians (not just Christy Clark and Enbridge) should have a say on whether this all happens, go to letbcvote.ca online and sign a petition calling for a province-wide vote. We should have a say too, because we live here.

Jane Reid


So much for common decency

To the degenerate who smashed into our parked silver Forester on Wednesday, May 7, between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the road outside the Re-Use-It Centre, left a dent almost 30 centimetres long and 10 centimetres deep, and knocked the bumper askew off the car body, and didn't have the common decency to leave a note, I hope your appalling driving and disgusting attitude towards your fellow humans keeps you awake at night.

You truly are an arse of the highest order.

Lisa Sheppard


Alta Lake Ice-Break!

Thanks to everyone who took part in this year's Alta Lake Ice-Break Raffle.

The ice broke nearly two weeks later than last year, and the barrel floated past Cypress Point on Monday, April 14, at 1:10pm.

For the first time ever, there was a tie for first place between Michael Tolton and previous winner Don Eagleton. Third place went to Jim Watts.

The raffle raised approximately $600 for The Point Artist-Run Centre's summer children's music and theatre camps from August 11-22, and the Flag Stop Theatre & Arts Festival on August 22-23.

Special thanks to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Scandinave Spa and Backroads Whistler for their generosity in donating the prizes.

Stephen Vogler

The Point Artist-Run Centre

Old-growth forest should be preserved

I have learned from a friend who lives in Whistler that mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden is friendly to the forest and I hope to encourage her.

I have been backcountry skiing and hiking in the Sea to Sky and the rest of B.C. for 28 years since I joined the North Shore Hikers and Alpine Club of Canada, and 20 years before that with family.

We have seen many beautiful old-growth forests in the Sea to Sky that survived the catastrophic logging of the `60s and `70s before snowmobilers curtailed our use of the forest lands in winter. Considering the minimal job and money contribution of logging in a community forest, and the ongoing value of old growth for tourism and local enjoyment, I encourage you to promote the conservation of high-value areas in the Sea to Sky and non-motorized trails for peaceful access to them. The following is a list of some examples:

• NE side of Mt. Brew (below peak ridge) above old logging road slump, which was the old winter trail and is the current summer trail from Brandywine Road (currently under tenure review. Powder Mtn. Snowcats).

• NE side of Metaldome above logging road and snowmobile cabin. The whole area is scenic (the above were formerly accessible to skiers from Brandywine Rd. and are accessible in summer).

• Some unlogged areas SW of new Callaghan Rd towards NE side of Metaldome. Not too scenic, but road accessible through the dog park (winter).

• Summer trail to Brandywine meadows, boggy but excellent old-growth, designated trail.

• South flank of Sproatt Mtn. and over Gin and Tonic to Rainbow trail access off Callaghan. High-value area next to Whistler watershed. In 2000 designated for non-motorized use by Sea to Sky Forum and former forestry maps.

• Madeley Lake trail to Hanging Lake, Rainbow and Hanging Lake ski trail from Callaghan Biathlon area. Large, very-high-value area with excellent summer trail (access impeded if Olympic Park gated).

• Singing Pass trail. Park-protected but access washed out. We need bridge restored across Fitzsimmons Creek to the old parking lot. The extra five kilometres from the village makes Singing Pass too far for a day trip from Vancouver.

• Cheakamus Lake trail. Fantastic old-growth area. Park-protected, but road poorly maintained.

• Wedgemount trail. Park-protected above logging.

In former days, high-elevation forest strips were left between logging and the alpine. This discouraged motorized incursion and destruction of the alpine and maintained a seed source for natural reforestation. This policy should be maintained or reinstated. Our old-growth forests are an irreplaceable resource. Don't squander them!

Lesley R. Bohm

Member of Sea to Sky Forum


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