Letters to the editor 

We’ll be back

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the staff at Whistler Blackcomb for hosting my family's holiday this year. This was our best trip yet.

In times like these, when everything is so tense and big corporations like Whistler Blackcomb could easily scale down, it was so refreshing to see what great community spirit most of the people we encountered had. We had the best service everywhere we went.

To the lovely girls who fixed up our rental skis in the Carleton Lodge, to the delightful girl from Perth in the adjoining retail store. Not only did she spend the time to make sure my whole family had everything they could possibly need she was very patient with my difficult 5 year old, even playing peek-a-boo to occupy him whilst I was fitted with my goggles and helmet. She suggested so many fun things for us to do, from the Fire and Ice show to the tube park, we did nearly all she suggested!

It was so refreshing to see a fellow Australian thrive in this environment. So thank you Nicole. Because of people like you my family plans to return to Whistler next year to soak up the Olympic Spirit. We loved the way this town accepted us and treated us like they wanted us to be there. We will return.

Jacob Hamb
Melbourne, Australia

A family shares
On the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 my husband, best friend and most amazing father Anthony Crute passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. We shared so much starting our business, Pro Ride, taking amazing vacations to Maui, Costa Rica and Italy and the birth of our daughter last year. The 11 years we spent together were the best years of my life.

Baylee and I would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support from the people of Whistler and surrounding areas with all the offers of help, gifts, cards, flowers and food, and all the medical staff that attended to Anthony both in Whistler and Vancouver.

A special thank you to everyone that convoyed to Vancouver to come and pick us up, my amazing coaches who have kept my business running the past four weeks, my parents for flying in from Australia at a day's notice, my close friends that spoke and put the memorial together, Cecilia for the generosity of her house, Jen for coming at such short notice and Helen for taking the best care ever of my daughter Baylee.

Beck, Beau, Karen, Lisa, Louise, Caronne and Dave, what would I have done without you all that first week. Thank you for taking such good care of us. We will never forget it.

Karen & Baylee Crute

Bringing in the cavalry
On Monday, Feb. 9 I sustained a back injury while sledding on the Pemberton Icecap. Armed with a satellite phone and all the right numbers, friends were able to mobilize my rescue through various individuals and agencies within minutes of my crash. With extra insulation, food, a good chat, and some time to stare at the landing zone that I missed I  "relaxed" in my backcountry lazy-boy.

Within about 90 minutes of my initial call, there was a serious breath of relief as I watched the red A-star circle over the Appa Glacier. Fully packaged and in the valley 25 minutes later, I was delivered by BCAS for my executive treatment at The Pemberton ER. My X-rays were on the computer screens of orthopedic surgeons and spinal specialists in Vancouver within minutes. I felt so genuinely well taken care of, every step of the way.

I would like to extend my most heartfelt thanks to: Dave Daling, Dave Craig, Josh Livermore, Laura Downs, Steve Gray, Dr. Jel Coward, Rick King, Imre Sorban, Dr. Mockler and the staff at the Pemby ER, Pemby SAR, Canadian Snowmobile Adventures, Blackcomb Heli, and finally to all of my friends and family for your ongoing support.

In my eight years in the Whistler/Pemberton area I have been involved in many rescues, but until now, never on the receiving end of one. Living and playing here, we live a lifestyle associated with a higher degree of risk than many people on this planet. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by the unbelievably talented people who offer their services and experience to facilitate the lifestyle we choose.

If you need me I'll be on the couch.

Matt King

Help with work is available
I was pleased to read your "Work Wanted" article two weeks ago. Claire Piech did a nice job summarizing the dramatic shift in the local labour market and the concerns of workers in the Sea to Sky region.

While employers may appreciate the HR relief, many job seekers are having a harder time finding sustainable and meaningful work in Whistler. This is a trend we have been seeing in the Sea to Sky Employment Resource Centre since the fall.

Because of the number of people impacted by the economic downturn, I wanted to write and let readers know about the free services provided at the Sea to Sky Employment Resource Centre. We provide individual career counselling services and a drop-in resource centre in Whistler and Squamish. Services are funded by the Province of B.C. and are available to unemployed and under-employed individuals.

While this letter is a shameless plug for our services, I sincerely hope that you publish it. I think it's important to remind the community that there is support, professional advice, and programs available (at no cost) to help them secure employment during these challenging economic times.

Tina Strehlke
Director of Communications Sea to Sky Employment Resource

Opportunities to hit the trails
If you missed the public meeting held this week for the Pemberton Trails Master Plan, then plan to attend the PVTA's (Pemberton Valley Trails Association) 8th AGM set for Wednesday, March 11, 2009. You will hear about the challenges and accomplishments the PVTA has dealt with this past year and there are projects that will require many volunteers on the ground this season.

While most people like to get their hands dirty trail building, there is a need for new people to get involved with the important "nitty gritty" of board work. Many hours have been spent in planning and conferring with local and provincial officials as well as other groups regarding trail issues, and simply keeping track of the " business" of trail advocacy. Your $10 annual membership ($25 for a family) goes towards maintenance, signage, insurance etc. Be informed and let your elected officials know of your support for the trails you and your family use.

If you are a trail user, please consider devoting some of your time helping to develop the trail system we hope will be a huge asset in the future for Pembertonians and visitors young and old! Go to the PVTA website www.pembertontrails.ca for more info.

Jan Naylor, Membership Chair

Independent and concerned
Re: "Clearing the air on Energy" (Pique letters, Feb. 12) from Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

We take exception to Mr. Lekstrom's charge that critics of independant power projects are "backed by NDP" and "politically motivated." We are not connected with any political party and are pro small business. But we do want to know what's going on.

As residents of the beautiful Pemberton Valley we feel we have the right, and even the obligation, to try to be informed when major projects, such as the 145 megawatt Ryan River Power Project, are proposed in our back yard. This is hard to do. Only one "open house" has been held in this valley, put on by the proponents with plenty of glossy pictures.

If these projects are so beneficial to the people of B.C. then all the facts should be readily available: maps showing the 10 km tunnel bored through the mountain, the effects of dewatering part of a major river and how that impacts food production for fish etc.

Before such major alterations are done to B.C.'s rivers there should be studies completed on the impacts these changes would have on fish, wildlife, and people.

Doug and Jeanette Helmer

Avoiding the real issue
How typical of the B.C. government, as spoken by the resources minister, to make sloppy remarks about what the government is doing (on their good side?) and avoiding the real argument about why the government is letting private hydro power exist when they should be building these projects themselves, which would be cheaper than paying the excess profits engendered by private enterprise.

It is of course what this government advocates - giving away the store. We are now told that the electric rates need to rise (in fact they have already) because any new power will be more expensive. This only if we give the building and operation of new electric power over to private greed. Clearly it is so since there seems to be a rush to get in on the profit.

Terry Smith
Garibaldi Highlands

European power rises again
Wouldn't it be nice if Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, instead of blaming the NDP and various associations of concerned citizens, made sure that all the residents of B.C. were kept well informed of what B.C. Hydro is doing to help them afford the retrofit of their homes with products that conserve energy and minimize energy costs thanks to the use of alternative energies.

I was a building technician in Europe and keep informed of what they do over there. For a couple of years now anyone who wants to sell a home must provide to a prospective buyer, along with other audits and reports, an official energy audit of that home and a copy of the actual energy bills.

EDF (the French National hydro company) advertises its consulting services in most French home decor magazines. EDF consultants will have an energy audit done for anyone interested, then suggest solutions. It could be something as simple as replacing a furnace or windows, or a bit more complex, like insulating the whole home to modern standards, or going all the way by installing solar panels, windmills or a micro run-of-river plant etc.

If the homeowner is interested the EDF consultants will make a detailed estimate of the work needed and its cost, do all the paperwork needed by the homeowner to get the low-interest loans, grants and income tax rebates that he is entitled to, to pay for most of the work (income tax rebates can go from 30 per cent to 70 per cent of the cost of the materials). The consultants will ask several companies to bid on the project, then monitor the work as it's being done and finally have it certified by a building inspector.

All that B.C. Hydro has ever told me is that I should use small fluorescent lights and buy a more efficient fridge. How many houses with solar panels do we have in Metro Vancouver? One can see quite a few in Europe, while in Japan they are just too numerous to count.

Quite a few people in B.C. are against run-of-river hydro plants as most of the projects we read about require the destruction of forests and the buildings of roads, dams and of extensive power lines. This is in total contrast with many run-of-river hydro plants in Europe and developing countries and shows that the B.C. government mandarins and ministers are just as much in the dark about renewable energy as they are about rapid transit and commuter trains.

For thousands of years hydro power in Europe, as in other places, has meant water mills. Obviously the power produced in those days had to be used right by the river. There are still, in each European country, hundreds, if not thousands, of old water mills that, until recently were, for the most part, no longer working. More and more are renovated to produce electricity that is used either right by the river to power a home and/or small factory or sent by underground cables, or relatively unobtrusive ones, to a few hundreds or thousand nearby homes. Nothing grand, nothing fancy but it works.

The science teacher in a college I attended in the 1960s owned an old water mill on a small river on the Western slopes of the Auvergine region of France. He had bought a second hand turbine about five feet long, installed it in the weir that once fed the mill's big old wooden wheel and was selling most of the electricity he produced to EDF.

J-L Brussac


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