Letters to the Editor for the week of November 26th 

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More consultation needed on artist TUPs

I am writing with regard to the temporary use permit (TUP) bylaw amendment for home-based artist studios (Pique, Nov.19).

I am an artist with a home-based studio, as well as a director on the Whistler Arts Council and an art instructor. I have participated at all levels of the consultation process for the proposed bylaw amendment.

I was shocked to read the TUP proposal put forth to council. It appears that the thinking during consultation was misdirected in the final outcome.

There are several points that are of concern to me, and I suggest further consultation with artists needs to happen before this amendment goes back to council for final reading.

I agree with an overwhelming number of artists and non-artists alike who I have spoken to that the $750 fee for a two-year TUP and $300 for renewal is excessive and outrageous. To require artists to pay a business licence fee on top of it plus an additional $30 fee to put a sandwich board sign on their property just adds further insult.

It was made clear by artists present at consultation that any fee except the most minimal would be unaffordable and a disincentive.

Few artists sell enough work to make even the most modest of living, and most must supplement their income through other work (very often having nothing to do with their craft).

Why, if under "budget considerations" the proposal reads: "All costs of preparing the bylaw and notifying property owners can be covered under the existing planning department budget" is this exorbitant fee being proposed? Or any fee for that matter? I can only interpret this as a money grab from those least able to afford it.

The stipulation stating that to qualify for a TUP a home-based studio must have been in existence prior to Nov. 17 seems arbitrary and illogical.

My husband and I plan on downsizing to a new home in a few years after all our children have grown and moved out. My plan is to build a new studio, but if when I finally have the time to pursue my art I can't participate in community art tours or run an occasional art class or sell the odd painting because it's too late to apply for a TUP, I wonder what the logic of the requirement is and what good it hopes to do?

The bylaw amendment as proposed would also preclude any professional artists considering a move to Whistler from setting up a home-based studio, and prevent amateur artists from making the jump to becoming professional.

There are no other viable studio options available in Whistler, affordable or not, besides home-based studios.

I am concerned with the proposed requirement that all products sold from a home-based artist studio must be produced in said studio.

That requirement would exclude any art I create at artist residencies and "plein air" painting, or art created in community facilities such as Alta Lake Station House during open studios, village paint-off contests, live-art demonstrations during Artwalk, live painting at The Point during winter carnival and performance pieces... etc...etc... You get the idea.

Would it not be better to simply require that art sold from a home-based artist studio must be created by the artist whose studio it is without stipulating where the artist must create it?

Lastly, I would like the bylaw amendment to stipulate that any advisory committee to the General Manager of Resort Experience, who is to review appropriateness and quality of works proposed to be sold from home-based artist studios, be made up of a majority cross section of artists and experienced people within the arts and cultural field.

(I am grateful for) the immense amount of work done to date by staff on this exciting and important evolution toward truly supporting local artists and creating a thriving arts and cultural scene in Whistler.

With further artist consultation this bylaw has potential to be a key component in this evolution.

Lisa Geddes
Whistler

Feeding more than just the spirit

The Whistler Museum would like to thank everyone who came out and contributed to making our annual Feeding the Spirit event another great success. The long-running event's format is simple: free food, lots of prizes and open doors.

This Saturday, Nov. 21, we were happy to welcome more than 130 people into the museum for a warm gathering of food, culture and community.

As always, the crowd was a great mix of newcomers (at least half the crowd moved here this autumn) and long-time locals, including pillars of the community who've lived here for 30-plus years.

The event is possible thanks to the very generous support we receive from local businesses. First and foremost, Creekside Market once again donated a ton of groceries that filled bellies and put smiles on faces.

A number of other local businesses, all of them repeat supporters of the event, also stepped up by donating prizes that were awarded to guests who successfully answered trivia questions about Whistler's history.

A big thank you to Farfalla Hair & Esthetics, the Whistler Racquet Club, Nibz Bandanas, Purebread Bakery, Whistler Roasting Company, Lift Coffee Co. and Splitz Grill.

Volunteers Jeanette Bruce, Jessica Averiss, John Alexander and Dimitri Tsitses helped ensure things ran smoothly, and Whistler Community Services Society does a wonderful job overseeing the entirety of Whistler Welcome Week.

This outpouring of local support is crucial to the community-minded atmosphere we hope to instil to all the newcomers who come to Feeding The Spirit. Thanks everyone, see you next year!

Jeff Slack
Programs Manager, Whistler Museum

Sorry Whistler

Every year my husband and my two children visit Whistler for our annual ski vacation.

(We thought) this year would be no different. To get in the mood for our ski trip my 14-year-old daughter had the family watch the new show Après Ski based on Whistler. We were hoping for the show to showcase the awesomeness of the town, but that was not the case at all.

I was absolutely appalled by the nature of this show.

For seven consecutive years we thought we were supporting a family destination where skiing and winter fun seemed to be the brand. Little did we know that Whistler decided to rebrand itself into a place to go party, get naked and have a terrible attitude.

The reviews on this show on numerous web pages are horrid as well.

My husband and I were left shaking our heads. This year we decided to not support such behaviour, and we will be taking our business to Banff, Alta.

We hope Whistler rebrands itself back to a winter wonderland resort where skiing and family fun are priorities over drunken stupidity.

Like it has always been for the years we have visited your lovely town.

The Troughton family
London, England

Walking the walk

Something really odd struck me about this time last year. I was visiting the Kinder Morgan protest site in Burnaby, in the pouring rain, with the usual suspects, amounting to about 100 people.

At that moment, I knew for a fact that the entire town of Whistler and the rest of the Ski to Die corridor was not there. Instead, many were, as usual, pre-occupied with what turned out to be one of the crappiest ski seasons in its history.

In other words, a town that is far more intimate with the immediate effects of climate change than anyone else in our fair country, was not in the least bit inclined to take part in what could potentially have been a significant public statement to save their way of life.

Imagine for a moment if Whistler Blackcomb supplied food and beverages, the municipality provided transportation, the Chamber of Commerce, all the big hotels and everyone else encouraged all their off-duty employees — hell, let's say the whole goddamn town took the day off — and showed up en masse at those pipeline protests. Imagine the headlines. Imagine the renewed integrity of the Whistler brand.

Pipe dream?

Yes I suppose it is, but then Whistler does claim to be an enlightened and progressive, possibly even a courageous town. If they really mean it, maybe the town leaders will have the sack to organize such a thing. Stick their necks out. Walk the talk. Take a tiny little risk in a risk-sport town. A sport that ought to realize the potential of anthropogenic global warming better than anybody.

Well lucky us! Whistler — and perhaps also its poorer cousins, Squamish and Pemberton — has a chance for redemption.

On Nov. 29, a convergence of concerned citizens — those that possess a backbone — will arrive at the Vancouver Art Gallery in support of the UN conference on climate change.

West Vancouver will be marching across the Lions Gate Bridge. Mission and Abbotsford will be arriving from the east by train. The question is, what presence will the Sea to Sky corridor have? Will the actual town leadership be there in any way? Why not? Too busy with your head in the sand?

Forget about your new reality of crappy skiing just for one day. Show up. Make some headlines that can't be buried behind the funny pages.

Bruce Kay
Squamish

Super soccer supporters

For the second year in a row, the Pemberton Secondary School boys' soccer team qualified to participate in the 'A' Soccer Championships in Kamloops.

The team did well, finishing 12th out of 16 of the highest-ranked teams in the province.

The boys would like to extend a huge thank you to Sabre, Innergex, Grimm's Deli, Pemberton Rotary and Pemberton Lions, Whistler Hilton Hotel and Daniel Eslake for their fundraising contributions.

Your generosity and support is greatly appreciated.

Chris Read
Team Captain

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