Letters to the Editor for the week of November 17th 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY LOUISA DAVIS
  • Photo by Louisa Davis

Some housing suggestions

I have one idea that might now assist with this winter's crisis of over 500 workers without accommodation.

The Resort Municipality of Whistler could communicate with all property owners and offer a reduction in property taxes of a fixed amount say 20 per cent or $500 to $1,000 as long as a lease with a fixed, affordable rent per month per person was signed with a Whistler employer to share their residence or empty suite with up to two workers. The employer would match the tax savings by offering produce or services of the same value.

We know of all the empty accommodations owned by second homeowners and the fear of property damage or impact on their vacation lifestyle. This plan might alleviate some of the concerns and directly inform empty homeowners aware of the crisis.

Middle-term solutions could include employers being offered the opportunity to lease or own employee housing built with capitol from the RMOW or joint public private partnerships.

Long-term planning would need future approvals of development to require housing the extra workers required. So Whistler Blackcomb's Renaissance plan, if it resulted in 100 more employees would have a staff-housing component for 100.

A market study would identify the need for future housing for self employed, independent workers and seniors. Within five years an assisted living and long-term senior housing would be built based on needs identified in the market survey.

I hope my thoughts are helpful.

Michael Blaxland
Whistler

Waste solution

In response to Mr. Len Ritchie's letter regarding recent changes to Pemberton Transfer Station not accepting mattresses, Pemberton Valley Hardware RONA would like to offer a solution! (Pique, Nov 10.)

For the same fee ($15.00), we will gladly take any old mattress off your hands. No need to drive to the Callaghan Transfer Station and waste precious fuel or dump it somewhere it doesn't belong.

We have enough trucks on the road that can combine trips and save everyone the hassle, inconvenience and protect our environment.

If you don't have the means to get your mattress to our location, call us and we'll come get it. If it's convenient for us then no extra charges will be applied.

We also recycle paint cans and light bulbs. I haven't figured out gyproc and drywall yet, but let me think about it and I'll get back to you.

We all live and play in the same neck of the woods.

Let us help you love where you live!

Paul Vacirca
General Manager and Partner, Pemberton Valley Hardware RONA

Remembrance Day ceremony meaningful

Your editorial in Pique Nov. 10 is acknowledged.

My father served in the Second World War and my grandfathers both served in the First World War (one also served in the Boer War). 

Agreed there was not a lot of family talk of the wartime years, just as I don't speak much of my tours in Syria (two) and Egypt, however, the personal satisfaction from contribution to world peace was significant.

This Nov.11 marked my last opportunity to participate in a Remembrance Day ceremony whilst wearing Canadian Armed Forces uniform, and I note that Brian Buchholz and team again outdid themselves in the organization of this event.

Of the over forty such ceremonies in which I have participated in uniform, the three in Whistler stand out by virtue of the genuine community involvement.

Major David Blake-Knox (soon to be retired)
Whistler

Where are our representatives in climate change?

A lot of fun has been made of the terribly wrong predictions on last weeks U.S. presidential election.

At the risk of becoming the laughing stock of the Sea to Sky corridor, I would like to make another juicy prediction, this time regarding the upcoming climate change rally at Vancouver city hall, on November 19.

I predict, boldly and confidently, that neither the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Backcomb nor any other community "leader" will bother to organize, fund and lead any significantly noteworthy contingent of Whistler residents, employees or other devotees of snow sports culture to this event.

This, despite year after year of soothing rhetoric and occasional convenient bone tosses to assuage the progressive sensibilities of their customers, employees and citizens.

No, there are more important things to do, such as rake the gravel off the glorious early season conditions we have been blessed with. As you may recall, this is exactly what occurred with the last public climate change rally last November — thus my confidence!

To sweeten the deal, I would like to offer a wager of $500. I know its not much to big players like you but I hope this mergre pittance will tip the scales in your endless deliberations on how to show leadership.

Either way, please go ahead and prove me wrong. I'll see you there with the rest of the low-brow, drum pounding and not very fashionably dressed Deplorables, where you — Dave Brownlie (Whistler Blackcomb COO) perhaps, or maybe (Whistler councillor) Steve Anderson or possibly my old ski patrol buddy Jordan Sturdy (MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky) can collect.

In case you are wondering, I will not be holding my breath, however, I will be delighted to pay up for a genuine demonstration of "walk the talk."

My only qualification is that the said leadership and accompanying representation of the community and culture of Whistler is notable enough to draw the attention of the regional mainstream news media. No, the local Cub Scout troop will not cut it.

In the highly predictable absence of leadership from our alleged community leaders, leaderless individuals might still wish to take part using the information provided here:

http://www.climateconvergence.ca

Bruce Kay
Squamish

Outrage and anti-Canadian values

Are we all outraged? Up in arms! Frothing at the mouth! Filled with judgment from above! This is the same thing we did for President Trump.

(Conservative leadership candidate) Kellie Leitch has suggested we screen immigrants for "anti-Canadian" values. Immediately following this comment the media was tracking down every talking head they could find to express "outrage" over her idea. Calling it racist and bigoted and, most prominently, "outrageous."

This is the new outrage industry. And this story continues to go on.

I have two issues with this: Firstly, where do we go from here? If this is so outrageous, how will we define the really ugly, racist incidences and intolerance?

This is the classic "never cry wolf" approach. The media takes a comment like Leitch made and builds it up to a frenzied pitch, thus we have no where to go from there.

Once Trump began his barrage of radically off-colour comments no one even cared,

Secondly, and I am ducking down for this one, many people (I suspect a majority of Canadians) actually agree with Leitch.

Around the world there are truly barbaric practices that are cultural norms — genital mutilation, honour killings, women forced to stay in their homes unable to talk to anyone or do anything because they are women, sanctioned stoning, hands cut off for petty theft, and on and on it goes.

Why no one ever talks about this stuff is the real outrage.

Seems fairly simple and straightforward to try to ensure these values, prized by many cultures, are not brought to Canada.

Seems hard to disagree with that.

In the U.S. election many people agreed with some things president elect Trump said but they were not going to admit it to the outrage industry. They waited for the polling booth to say it where they got the last laugh. 

We must be careful we do not succumb to this "elite group think" because, as was clearly demonstrated in the U.S. election, thinking we are smart, and hanging out only with people who agree with us, will further bolster this self importance and narcissism. Meritocracy is broken.  

Take this paper for example. Let's all turn to the "right-leaning" article and read it. Oh, can't seem to find one?

Here comes Kevin O'Leary and he is going to love this. Every time he opens his mouth the outrage industry with propel him to the top.

Perri Domm
Whistler

A wall is not Canada's way

We're not going to build an 8,891 kilometre wall along Canada's border with the United States. It's not due to the fact that there isn't enough cement and steel in the world for this wall... it's just that we have a welcoming, tolerant, and inclusive culture — and walls are simply not in our nature.

Think of the Inukshuk with its outstretched arms of rough hand-hewn stone, symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games held in Vancouver and Whistler. For the Inuit and other peoples of Canada's north, this landmark symbolizes friendship and a welcome to everyone.

A few soft words in the past few days will do little to erase the past 15 months of vitriolic and bigoted utterances from the American President-Elect, Donald Trump.

Actions speak louder than words, and the appointment of Stephen Bannon, the voice of racism, as Mr. Trump's Chief Strategist in the White House, is causing outrage in tens of millions of Americans, as well as by others around the world.  Mr. Bannon's extreme right-wing ultra-nationalist anti-Semitic views have been promoted daily for years on Breitbart News, of which he is Chairman.  

The Trump we have seen for the past 15 months is the Trump we are going to get. You don't bring a country together by appointing someone like Mr. Bannon as Senior White House Strategist if you are hoping to represent all Americans, including the millions of American Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and whoever else may be on the Hate list du Jour. Roll over in your grave Abraham Lincoln.

While I am not a follower of any religion, I am aware that Buddhists, like followers of many other religions, believe that actions have consequences. Mr. Trump's unconcealed appeal to racism during the entire election campaign is likely to have actions beyond anyone's imagining, and his words are likely to reap the whirlwind.

I'm trying to stop groaning each morning as I get out of bed, expecting to see another evening, the seventh in a row, of television news covering demonstrators in cities across America, blamed on "professional agitators" by Mr. Trump in his television interviews yesterday.  The number of such professionals is simply astounding, and they obviously must be highly paid, or there wouldn't be so many in this lucrative profession.

While I am trying to forget the farce which has unfolded to our south, I try to think of something positive, uplifting, and inspiring, and the first thing to come to mind is the celebration of sports and the Olympic ideal.

With the passing of Leonard Cohen last week, Canadian singer, songwriter, poet, and novelist, I am reminded of the inspiring performance by Canadian singer K.D. Lang at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games held in Vancouver and Whistler. In front of a live audience of more than 70,000 in Vancouver's BC Place Stadium, and a live world television audience of more than two billion people, K.D. Lang (in bare feet) sang Leonard Cohen's most famous and uplifting song, "Hallelujah."

Check it out. It helps me to forget about all the vicious negatives in the swamp of the recent election campaign. https://vimeo.com/45497680

Doug Garnett
Whistler

Cornucopia thanks

Abundant thanks for the generosity of Sue Eckersley, Kelly Hand and the Watermark team!

This year as part of the Cornucopia celebration the library played host to the bright and delightful, Madeline Puckette, author of Wine Folly: The Essential Guide To Wine.

Participants enjoyed pours of the top three Cornucopia wines, delicious charcuterie from Basalt and a signed copy of Madeline's book. The combination made for a fun and equally informative evening — and 100 per cent of the proceeds from the ticket sales to this event will be added to the Library's Capital Reserve, so we extend our appreciation to everyone who joined us that evening for their love of wine and the library.

In addition, we would like to thank our volunteers from the Friends of the Library and the Board of Trustees for helping us execute the evening beautifully.

Join us again next year!

Elizabeth Tracy, Library Director and Gord Annand, Library Board Chair
Whistler

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