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Beijing lessons for VANOC

When watching the Olympics in Beijing, specifically the mountain bike race, I was amazed to see spectators lined up along the course cheering the competitors, dashing by only centimetres away and separated only by a flimsy ribbon.

When watching the Olympics in Beijing, specifically the mountain bike race, I was amazed to see spectators lined up along the course cheering the competitors, dashing by only centimetres away and separated only by a flimsy ribbon. And this with all the reports of overwhelming security and police presence at the Games.

Contrast this with the spectator access at the alpine ski events in Whistler in 2010, judging by this winter’s World Ski Cup races in Whistler. Venues were cordoned off hundreds of metres from the course and there were only two or three places on the mountain for spectators to watch along the course. I know that there was a lot of complaints about that, but if VANOC does not plan to open the access along the complete trail, they should maybe inform the public, and specifically all the spectators from Europe, not to bother coming, since there will only be 7,000 places to watch at the finish line, and you can watch TV just as well in Germany as in Whistler.

I watched alpine races at the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck and at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid. In addition, I watched many World Cup races in Kitzbuhel, St. Anton, St. Moritz, Schladming and Kranjska Gora, and everywhere the spectators access was and is available along the race course.

This year it was the first time that I witnessed such closed and spectator-unfriendly races.

Drago Arh

Whistler

Aim higher

With the recent developments at Whistler Creek, the Creekside Gondola should definitely be more crowded. I hear there are plans to add another gondola to the base but rumor has it, this new gondola will service only the ultra-rich Kadenwood property owners. Additionally, this proposed lift appears to hog all remaining lift space at Creekside.... I can only imagine walking up and seeing a lineup going over the bridge and then looking at the exclusive Kadenwood lift sitting empty.

I suggest when Whistler Mountain opens the Kadenwood Gondola they open it up for everyone and then add a higher, secondary lift accessing the Peak to Creek zone. If you really want to sell some Kadenwood real estate, don't you think your targeted buyer would prefer getting a head start and upload on the second lift instead of downloading into a crowded base?

The orange stakes marking the Kadenwood lift are in — check ’em out.

Peter Beers

Woodinville, Wa.

Confused and saddened

It is with a heavy heart that I write this letter. I am confused and deeply saddened by current events in Whistler. When the Olympics were announced for Whistler I was thrilled that we could showcase the stunning beauty of our gorgeous mountain town. It was not a surprise to me when it was announced that these Games could be the green games. After all, this is B.C., tree hugging, hippy loving beautiful B.C.

So anyone could imagine my surprise when suddenly and with alarming regularity trees are beginning to disappear. Not only trees, but valuable and critical wetlands. I'm not sure who to trust anymore and how to stop this. All I can do is beg these people to stop. Please stop destroying what little wetland we have left.

Shame on B.C. Transit, shame on B.C. Hydro and shame on council for letting this happen. I am so sorry that we are paving paradise... and terribly, terribly sad.

Stephanie Reesor

Whistler

Everyone reports to somebody

Nothing in recent history has united the fractious folks in the Pemberton area like the Pemberton Music Festival. From the vast majority, there is a feeling of ownership in the success of this festival and a determination to have it return year after year. Yes, there is recognition that there has to be improvements to the mechanics of the festival, but most folks from here enjoyed the weekend party.

On the other hand we have Colin Fry, the Regional Operations Director for the Agriculture Land Reserve, who has said point blank that there will be no Pemberton Festival on the existing site. We are instructed to find another location. This is an interesting position for a bureaucrat whose vision is, and I quote from the ALR website: “A provincial agricultural land reserve system that fosters economic, environmental and social sustainability.”

Let’s all understand something first. The land that is under consideration has supported a total of about 10 animals (horses, donkeys, cows and lamas) for as long as I have been here. Most of the fields have not had any hay removed from them except for this year when the hay was cut so that people could move around on the festival site.

Mr. Fry argues that the land has potential and that the site is being irreparably damaged due to soil compaction etc. I would argue that modern farming practices, with the heavy machinery used, would cause more soil compaction, soil contamination etc. than a festival that basically takes place start to finish within a month.

The vision of the ALR is being more closely realized by allowing the festival on this piece of land than it ever will by reserving it for farming alone. This festival has fostered and will continue to foster economic, environmental and social sustainability. There is no doubt that it has and will continue to contribute to the economic growth of the area and Live Nation is living up to its commitment to leave the land in the same as or better condition than they found it.

As for sustainability, the plan is for this to be an annual festival and that sounds like sustainability to me, certainly more so than the Olympics, an event we will never see again in this area. And yes, the festival is as important to Pemberton as the Olympics are to Whistler.

The ALR’s website goes on to say: “The Commission expects to achieve its mission through the realization of its four complementary goals:

1. Preservation of agricultural land.

2. The encouragement and enabling of farm businesses.

3. A provincial land reserve system that considers community interests.

4. Sound governance and organizational excellence.”

The first two complementary goals have been addressed by Pemberton and Live Nation. The festival is preserving the land for agriculture. The last time I looked, the land is still there, the hay is still growing and other things could still be grown on it. The business of farming is enabled and assisted in that this land will be more productive than it ever will be by farming alone.

I wonder if the ALR has sincerely considered community interest in this matter, as the third goal states? This community wants the festival, so how can the ALR refuse to license and sanction it, including the additional land it will need for expansion? Mr. Fry’s stance is against the wishes of the majority of the people in Pemberton. His unilateral decision does not demonstrate the sound governance and organizational excellence the ALR aspires to.

I understand he may have felt under duress to grant a temporary license but what did he think would happen when the festival was a success? This was not a grand experiment of some sort, but rather the investment of many dollars by Live Nation and many hours of volunteer and paid time in this community.

My last point is this. Everyone reports to somebody. Live Nation has taken a business risk and the company has backed Shane Bourbonnais in that risk. If Mr. Bourbonnais cannot, within the next two or three months, report to his company that the site is secure, the festival will go elsewhere. The big loser will be Pemberton and we will have the ALR and Mr. Fry to thank.

Mr. Premier, everyone reports to somebody and the last time I checked, this Crown corporation reports to the provincial government. A stated goal for your government has been to double tourism and this event alone brought 40,000 folks to the area. Could you please have a few words with Mr. Fry on our behalf?   Let’s get this straightened out quickly before we lose the best thing that has happened to Pemberton in years.

Don Coggins

Pemberton

Bonuses aren’t looting

Your Aug. 21, 2008 article by Allen Best misstates that Dennis Kozlowski is in federal prison, which he is not. His case was rejected for prosecution by the federal government and instead was brought to trial by the Manhattan District Attorney's office for the State of New York. That case has now been accepted for appeal by the New York State Court of Appeals and should be decided by mid-October, 2008.

Grouping Mr. Kozlowski with John Rigas seems really unfair. Kozlowski's case centred on disputed bonuses that were on the Tyco books and were a fraction of what Tyco acknowledged was (and still is) owed to Kozlowski.

John Rigas and family looted Adelphia's employees and investors and drove the company they founded out of business. Kozlowski took Tyco from a $20 million company to the multi-billion dollar conglomerate that it remains today. Hardly a fair comparison.

Judee Flick

Los Angeles

What kind of a relationship?

B.C. Transit President, Manuel Achadinha made his speech to council last Monday (Aug. 19th). During his speech he had the opportunity to tell council (and the community) that, in fact, B.C. Transit didn’t yet have the approval from B.C. Hydro to destroy and clear cut the Nesters Land. If he didn’t know, he ought to have known, he had enough people with him at the meeting that someone, whether it was B.C. Transit people or the RMOW people, someone knew.

Manuel Achadinha stated “we want to respect the community’s values.” Well sir, with all due respect you can’t possibly respect our values if you’re not telling everything.

He also stated that: “you can’t control what’s being written in the papers.” Well I for one am glad you can’t.

The mayor and three councillors spoke to the partnership the RMOW and B.C. Transit have, even though they’re weren’t happy with the situation they agreed that it was the only solution. What kind of relationship is this?

Thank you to Eckhard Zeidler and Ralph Forsyth for standing your ground, you made me proud.

In my opinion, when any partner abuses trust that’s when a relationship fails. This is a dysfunctional relationship between RMOW and B.C. Transit and something needs to be done.

Mr. Achadinha, please come forth and tell us everything, open communication is the only way you will gain our respect. You most certainly don’t have my respect.

We’re still waiting for word on the B.C. Transit “open house,” or will that just be the open house to celebrate (commiserate) the destruction of the wetlands and the clear cutting of the land when these busses get here?

Kelly Lee-Richards

Whistler

Think of the animals

I am appalled at the lack of respect people have towards our resident bears. I overheard a conversation between WB employees earlier in the summer about bears getting into garbage at midstation because of staff carelessness. I know a girl who had a bear in her place because her roommates frequently forget to lock the sliding door. There was also a lot of garbage in the day lots left from Crankworks visitors, huge piles of food and other disgusting human waste.

The question is why can’t we get people to care enough to dispose of waste and secure homes properly? Is it the age of the short-term locals or their lack of respect for not only our beautiful surroundings but the animals that call it home? Is it “cool” to live in squalor with 10 other roommates and leave attractants out because mom isn’t there to clean up after them? Is it so hard to drive (or walk) to a garbage can instead of throwing litter out the window?

I find it so sad that human mistakes often mean the animal is punished. Our local bear teams can only do so much, everyone has to do their part. I wish offenders would be forced to do community service, like picking litter out of the ditches, or have their beloved season’s pass revoked for six weeks.

Education doesn’t appear to work for those uninterested in anything but themselves.

K Thomson

Whistler

The wisdom of small island nations

Re: Camps take different views on STV funds by Paul Carlucci (Pique online Aug. 19)

STV opponent Bill Tieleman has some nerve to claim that STV is unfair and unproportional. Aside from the fact that he's on record against proportionality, which should make him embrace STV if his accusation were true, the whole point of the Citizens' Assembly's recommendation is to deal with the manifest unfairness and disproportionality of our current system. How fair is it when one party wins 97 per cent of the seats on 57 per cent of the vote, or when 162,000 voters support a party that wins zero seats?

In contrast, STV will be a breath of fresh air — it's fair because candidates from any party, large or small, only win if a certain number of voters choose that specific candidate on their ballots. And it's highly proportional — both nations that use STV are ranked in the top 10 most proportional countries.

As for Tieleman's comment disparaging small island countries, I guess he wouldn't have supported the first past the post election system either when Britain first invented it.

Democracies evolve and we should recognize good ideas wherever they come from.

Antony Hodgson

Vancouver

Down the path of history

Corinne Stoltz's letter about Pemberton trails (Pique letters Aug. 14) brought back wonderful memories of summer school holidays spent roaming across southwestern France on trails running freely along vineyards and fields and in the huge Landes forest that border the Atlantic Ocean. However the free access to these trails isn't due to the benevolence of 20th century landowners. These trails are public domain because they have been protected by law for many centuries.

Pemberton is much too young to have such a history of legal precedents so one shouldn't be too critical. One does hope, of course, that common sense, civility and the prospect of income from tourists will help create a network of free access trails ASAP.

The trails in France (as in other parts of the world) were originally used, during the centuries when walking was the only means of transportation for the average person, as shortcuts between farmhouse and the fields, forests, rivers or lakes where the locals worked, hunted, fished etc., or as shortcuts between nearby towns and villages.

One of my great grandfathers told us many times that before WWI he would walk a couple of times each year on one of these unmarked trails across the countryside to visit his brother, 30 km away. At one point he had to wade naked across a wide river, carrying his clothes on his head. Taking trains would have been a much longer journey in both time and distance.

I have walked on a trail in the Auvergne Mountains that ran for a while along the remains of a Roman road. Some of the best known trails have been used since the Middle Ages to walk from already famous shrines in central France to the Spanish border, on the way to Santiago de Compostela. Other trails have long been used by shepherds bringing sheep, cows or horses from their winter quarters to mountain pastures where they stay from late spring to the end of the summer.

The official network of trails in France is 175,000 km long and is divided into national paths — GR — going from one end of the country to the other, regional paths — GRP — covering a whole region, and local paths — PR — going from a village to local points of interest. In addition of these official trails (signaled along the way by coloured markers) there are numerous other trails than are only known locally.

J-L Brussac

Coquitlam




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