Letters to the Editor for the week of October 22nd 

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Thank you Whistler and Team Pam volunteers

Thank you Whistler for voting for real change in government and a special thank you to the dedicated Team Pam volunteers.

Thank you for your energy, passion and hours and hours of hard work.

With appreciation and admiration

Sue Adams and Donna Savage, Team Pam campaign chairs

Congratulations to Pam Goldsmith-Jones and thank you to John Weston

On behalf of Tourism Whistler and our Board of Directors, we would like to congratulate Pamela Goldsmith-Jones on being elected as our new MP for West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country, and we look forward to working with her on furthering Canada's tourism interests.

As a former mayor of West Vancouver, Ms. Goldsmith-Jones has a well-deserved reputation as a strong leader and community champion, with a proven track record in engagement and inclusion. With her experience, leadership and vision, we are confident Whistler will be well represented at the national level.

We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to all of the candidates who sought to represent our riding during this federal election, but would like to give special recognition and thanks to our outgoing Member of Parliament, John Weston, for his ongoing commitment to Whistler and to the tourism industry in this country.

MP Weston was integral in creating the Tourism Roundtable, which brought together a number of tourism industry leaders and delivered the groundbreaking report Tourism in Canada Seizing Economic Advantage, outlining the value of Canada's tourism industry, highlighting where Canada falls short compared to its international competitors, and making four key recommendations for future growth and success.

We thank John for his leadership and support, and look forward to continuing this important work with MP Goldsmith-Jones, working collaboratively with government and industry, as we take Canada's tourism industry to new heights.

Barrett Fisher

President and CEO, Tourism Whistler

Writers Festival says thanks

This morning, Oct. 18, after the closing brunch event at the 2015 Whistler Writers Festival, everyone will pack up and head home. Only the memories will remain. Well, that and a whole bunch of final reports. Yes, they still have to be written.

But this is not the time to think about reports. This is the time to raise my voice and express my gratitude to all those who make this festival, along with the Writer in Residence and the Authors in Schools programs, possible.

Without this support, there is nothing.

Whistler is a very special community. When the festival was in its infancy so many of you came out to see what we were up to. You liked what you saw, and told your friends. And you kept coming back. Your support helped expand our base. And we have grown ever since. Thank you for sticking with us.

The festival could not get off the ground without the single-minded focus of our small, but mighty, organizational team. 

I would like to acknowledge Rebecca Wood Barrett who is my right and left hand and who has never wavered despite the incredible workload of organizing our four-day event.

Yes, this year we added an extra day and a new event, entitled Comedy Quickies. For that, I'd like to thank Ira Pettle and Brandon Barrett.

Stephen Vogler handled all the music for the various events and also moderated our opening night cabaret, which enjoyed record-setting attendance.

Nancy Routley led a team of volunteer captains, including: Julia Aleynikova, Nicola Bentley, Katherine Fawcett, Sara Leach, Libby McKeever, Karen McLeod and Sue Oakey. The captains were assisted by some of the most incredible volunteers any event organizer could ask for, including: Jonathan Baum, Karen Barnes, Pina Belperio, Hayle Byrne, Lynda Chyzyk, Patricia Dagg, Alison Hunter, Karen Laughland, Suzanne Malone, Karen Melin, Kristen Reinhols, Helga Ruiterman, Victoria Swayze, Emma Taylor, Mieke Prummel and Laurie vanLeevwen.

Pat Mackenzie was our go to person for the Authors In Schools program and also helped with driving our authors to the school presentation. All our volunteers do double duty because they are passionate about what we do.

I'd like to thank Mary MacDonald and Libby McKeever for keeping our social media buzzing, Nicole Fitzgerald for juggling our blog, Claire Piech for managing our communications efforts, and Ruth Barrow from Whistler Creative for handling our website and making our festival program and all our collateral sing!

I'd like to thank the actors and musicians who took the written word and added different perspectives to make our reading events extraordinarily special.

There is nothing these folks I've mentioned above won't do in support of our writers festival and for this I am forever grateful.

The Whistler Writers Group is a non-profit group. Our budget is completely allocated to covering the costs of the annual Whistler Writers Festival, the Writer in Residence Program, and other literary events throughout the year, including the Authors in Schools program.

We could not do what we do without the generous support of a number of sponsors including: The Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Province of British Columbia, The Writers Union of Canada, The Canada Council for the Arts, The BC Arts Council, The BC Gaming Commission, The Whistler Public Library, The Whistler Arts Council, Tourism Whistler, the Fairmont Hotel, Armchair Books (the best bookstore in the world, bar none), Goodwin Studios, Whistler Creative, Access Copyright, The Whistler Real Estate Company, the Scotiabank, the Grocery Store, West Coast Float, Olive's, Gibbons Life, Whistler Bungee, Scandinave Spa, 21 Steps, Sutton Real Estate (Jennifer Walczyk), Fathom Stone and Prestige Hotels and Resorts. Thank you.

Last but not least, I'd like to thank Mountain FM (media sponsor of Comedy Quickies and the Literary Cabaret), Pique and The Question for their wonderful coverage leading up to our festival. Thanks guys. I appreciate the support. 

And now we begin planning for next year. Yikes, did I actually say those words? Mark your calendars, October 13-16, 2016.

Stella Harvey

Founder, Whistler Writers Festival

Authors in Schools a huge success

On Oct. 19, local students in Grades 4 to 10 were treated to a dynamic presentation by Eric Walters, one of Canada's most celebrated and prolific authors for children.

Mr. Walters captivated his audiences with tales and images of the stories behind his books, inspiring our children to read and write.

On behalf of our students and staff, we'd like to thank the Whistler Writers Group (with help from the Province of B.C. and past support from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and the BC Arts Council) for bringing him to our schools through the Authors in Schools program.

Thanks also for providing each school with Mr. Walters' books so that we can capitalize on the excitement he generated.

Sara Leach: Spring Creek Community School

Brenda Norrie: Whistler Secondary School

Sue Oakey-Baker: Myrtle Philip Community School

Nicole Benes: Signal Hill Elementary School

Mireille Turcotte: Ecole la Passerelle

Enjoying the fungi

Thanks to everyone who participated in another great Fungus Among Us Mushroom Festival this past weekend. Fungus Among Us is probably the most fun of any of our events — mushrooms seem to put everyone in a good mood even during an election, and Blue Jays' losses.

Tons of fungi in the woods brought out an enthusiastic crowd of fungophiles for Friday talks, Saturday walks and the cooking show. By Saturday afternoon the display tables at Myrtle Philip were filled with almost 200 species of mushrooms of all shapes and sizes that impressed the hundreds of people who viewed them.

We couldn't run the festival without our 20 fabulous mushroom gurus who gave talks, led walks, and labelled and presided over the mushroom display. Special thanks to the presenters: Bryce Kendrick (Fungus in our Food) and Andy MacKinnon (The Secret life of Whistler's Mushrooms).

Our popular gourmet mushroom tasting wouldn't have been possible without the great expertise and wonderful creativity of Chef Bruce Worden from Milestones.

Thanks also to the amazing group of volunteers who helped out and all the folks that came out to share their enthusiasm and wonder for all things fungal.

Finally, the Whistler Naturalists would like to thank our key sponsors: the Community Foundation of Whistler, AWARE, RMOW and Nesters Market (who donated the yummy wild mushrooms for the cooking show).

See you next year, as always the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Bob Brett, Kristina Swerhun, Julie Burrows, and Kathy Jenkins

The Whistler Naturalists 

The reality of the niqab

Sometimes we need to put our articulate voices aside. Let's ask ourselves, how do we feel when we see Zunera Ishaq?

When I look at her I am deeply saddened. I was born into the Muslim faith. I know that she is not free. This is not about her will or conviction to wear the niqab.

This woman is trapped under garments that cover the smile on her face. She cannot jog in public, or ride a bike or hike in the woods. She cannot eat comfortably around strangers. She cannot show her face to her four children outside, and they cannot see her gestures as they run freely. She cannot walk the streets without people looking at her.

I had many conversations with women like her when I was younger and I know that deep down, underneath this veil, these women wish they could walk freely.

I felt the internal pain of these women. On the outside the niqab might appear as a choice. But it's not a choice for most. The requirements of modesty are very hard on women in Islam. And as a woman I understand this firsthand.

Let's put our political views aside and start talking to Muslim women and hear their voices. The niqab is not a cultural dress. It is a piece of attire that covers a woman in the name of modesty and makes her invisible to the world.

God can't be that cruel to the female body.

Farha Guerrero

Whistler

Put your paws together for a great event

WAG wishes to recognize and express its gratitude to everyone who helped make our 13th annual K9 Wine and Dine fundraising gala a success. With over 220 human and 125 dog guests, the event was sold out!

Our special thanks go to our partner, The Westin Resort and Spa, especially to Regine Brucks and Justine Nichol.

Thanks also to the See Ya Later Ranch and the Whistler Brewing Company for donating wine and beer with all proceeds going to WAG; the sponsors who created a delicious meal for our special K9 guests, Milestones Grill and Bar, Chef Bruce Worden, Riverside Café and Catering, Chef Nikita Kornilov; Sugar Momma Pastries and Chef Sabrina Perfitt; the dedicated volunteers who make the evening a possibility; all the generous donors who contributed to a successful silent auction; the photographers who gave their time to create memories, Coast Mountain Photography, and Eric Poulin Photography; PSAV for donating their time and audiovisual equipment for the evening; Scotiabank for its generous and continued support of WAG; Dr. Melinda Lopez (DVM) for her dedication to the shelter; and Emily Zimmerman, pet portrait artist, for her time and fundraising initiative in support of WAG.

And thanks to all of you, our wonderful guests, who came out to support this incredible charitable organization.

See you next year.

Eve Wexler

Whistler

Ladling out thanks

The weather held on Sunday, for the last farmers' market and Whistler Waldorf School's 14th Annual Harvest Soup Contest. It was a fun celebration of autumn's best flavours, as prepared by the most creative chefs in town!

Thank you to all the generous restaurants and fabulous soup chefs who participated in this year's event. Milestones graciously welcomed the dedicated crowd of soup tasters and voters on their patio.

It was the closest race yet for the coveted Whistler soup crown and accompanying Tourine Trophy, with mouthwatering entries which included the Hilton's Harvest Vegetable and Turkey Soup with Potato Perogi, Table 19's Whistler Wedding Soup, Olives' Veggie Thai Curry, Legs Diamond's  Pemberton Squash, Tapley's Turkey Pot Pie, Fairmont Chateau's Whistler's Split Pea and Ham Hock, Tandoori Grill's Lentil and Coconut, and Green Moustache's Creamy Tomato.

This year the voter's choice was ...... Table 19' soup (Nicklaus North Golf Club). Chef Eric Gilchrist narrowly beat the competition with his Whistler Wedding soup, a fabulous list of organic and local ingredients. The soup was so good that an actual local wedding party graciously joined the busy tasting and has signed up for the soup challenge next year.

Second place went to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Hilton took third.

A huge thanks also to our generous sponsors: Nesters, Slope Side Supply, the Hilton Resort, and Whistler Sports Academy.

Also, thank you, as always, to all of the volunteers, the Whistler Farmers' Market and everyone who makes the Annual Harvest Soup Contest a Thanksgiving weekend tradition.

Laurie Grant and Diane Riley

Whistler

Dirt jumps for Lil'wat youth

On Oct. 4 the Pemberton Valley Trails Association collaborated with the Lil'wat Nation, BC Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program, Joyride Bike Parks, and community members to turn four small piles of earth into a series of world-class dirt jumps.

The project represents a first step toward providing Lil'wat youth improved access to a safe and healthy activity close to their home in Xit'olacw.

Volunteer support provided the backbone of this project and was vital to its successful completion.  

Thanks are due to Alfonse Wallace and Graham Haywood who proved key to securing permission for the new amenity. Patrick Lucas, with the Aboriginal Youth Mountain Bike Program, did a great job of bringing a variety of parties together. Joyride staff Justin Wyper and Will Clifford, with assistance from professional trail builders Seb Kemp and Zander Strathearn, provided excellent vision and direction for the volunteers.

Ultimately, the greatest thanks are due to the Lil'wat youth who worked throughout the day to see the first stage of this project to completion. The future of Mount Currie youth is bright!

Ian Kruger

Director of Trails, Pemberton Valley Trails Association

Mayor should stick to local politics

I am disappointed that Mayor (Nancy) Wilhelm-Morden chose to publicly endorse a candidate for the recent election (as reported Pique, Oct.15); doubly disappointed, as I have nothing but admiration for her stewardship of the RMOW.

What would have been an indiscretion in Nancy Wilhelm-Morden endorsing a particular candidate descended into blatant partisanship when she explained why, and said words to the effect that a vote for her preferred candidate is the best way of securing a change of government?

Further, Ms. Wilhelm-Morden enumerated the attributes of her preferred candidate: leadership, integrity, hard working and "she does what she says she's going to do."

No suggestion, needless to say, that the other candidates may not also excel in these areas and others.

And the mayor's reason? Because she was continually asked her view and voicing publicly her preference may influence some people.

Leave the influencing to the candidates. Talk to as many people as you wish, but do not use the platform of mayor to bring more weight to your view.

Finally, I wonder how she would feel if the riding's provincial or federal incumbents announced support for a candidate (other than her) for mayor at a (municipal) election when she was running? If the flimsy case for intervention outlined above were used against her, she would be justifiably outraged.

 Mayor Nancy: stick to what you know and do best — Whistler.

Rod Tindall

Spruce Grove

Don't feed the bruins

Have the Bear Smart people gone mad?

The very same conservationists that have so vehemently told us to adjust our lifestyles, pull out edible plants and to definitely not feed the bears now want to do what?

Heli-drop food for the bears! At least the professional conservation officers realized (it was) a stupid idea before it got any traction with the activists.

Whatever the bear politicians are suggesting is obviously not working and bears are still getting shot for what...being hungry bears?It's time to stop fussing about these creatures in their habitat and leave them alone.

Get over it and live with it.

Mike Roger

Birken

Flashing green light does not mean go

B.C.'s stupid flashing green lights could kill you!

What does a flashing green light mean in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Oregon, New York, Mexico... everywhere?

It means you can turn left — it's an advance green, and years ago they were everywhere before the flashing green arrows were invented.

But in B.C. it means a pedestrian crossing. Which means when a pedestrian pushes the button the light will turn orange then red... just like any other light, so why in the hell have it flashing?

It's insane. Flashing orange, yes... caution... pedestrian intersection but flashing green is killing people.

Six months ago my wife, our two girls and I were almost taken out by a lady who turned left right in front of us. We got lucky.

Imagine how many deaths are happening because B.C. decided to change the rules.

Oh, and not to mention that at these pedestrian intersections with the flashing green lights the intersecting streets only have a stop sign so cars are always jumping out trying to turn left... also insane. Have you noticed? Will you help?

Maury Power

Whistler

Ontario family lucky

Me, heading north on Highway 99, the car beside me has Ontario licence plates and is loaded with a family turning left at Nesters Road.

The light is a blinking green.

The car proceeds to turn left regardless of the truck barrelling south. The truck lays on the horn, brakes screech, he swerves into my lane and I pull sharply to the left.

We all survive, but it was a close one. I decide to go back to Nesters Market and seek out this car. Locating them is no problem — they are the ones that are a pallid ghost-white colour and still shaking.

I explain to them that a flashing green light in this province is not an advanced green, unlike some other places. This particular scenario is not uncommon here. One does not have to be a psychic to see the future, or the past. 

Geoff Swan

Whistler

Spruce Grove thanks

The residents of Spruce Grove would like to single out and thank the Whistler Centre for Sustainability (WCS) and the Evergreen Foundation for funding our recent Community Block Party.

In particular Dan Wilson from WCS who helped create the "bandwidth" to make this happen.

Thanks to Whistler Cooks and Nesters for the delicious food.

The weather turned out beautifully and the community connections were evident for kids and adults alike. It should be a reminder to us all to do this more often.

Kimiko Taguchi

Iona Lake

Rose Colee

Angela O'Brian

Greg McDonnell

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