Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Don’t cut until funding secured

Re: Lot 1/9 Celebration Plaza In response to last week’s editorial, I agree that despite a very late start, there were lots of opportunities from 2005 to 2007 for public input regarding the future use of Lot 1/9.

Re: Lot 1/9 Celebration Plaza

In response to last week’s editorial, I agree that despite a very late start, there were lots of opportunities from 2005 to 2007 for public input regarding the future use of Lot 1/9. However, unless I missed a chapter, the community was never asked if it was reasonable or desirable to spend in excess of $14 million to create a four-acre hard surfaced open space in the village.

Since we weren’t able to secure outside funding for the iconic roof and ice rink, for the foreseeable future, only Phase 1 will be completed. Phase 1 appears to consist of site clearing, preparation & servicing, pavers and landscaping, all for the 2010 Games. Not quite the village centrepiece thought of in the original Eldon Beck plans or developed through the community Lot 1/9 envisioning process.

According to the RMOW website, only $3 million of the $14.2 million is coming from VANOC. The RMOW has earmarked $6.2 million and is anticipating the rest will come from a Heritage Canada grant. What happened to the Guiding Principles that Whistler Council adopted to support the Olympic Bid? “Ensure the financial exposure to the RMOW is limited.” “Create legacies that have lasting values.”

So it seems simple to me, don’t clear cut Lot 1/9 until we have the funding for a future use. Get VANOC to build whatever temporary facility they can afford on the driving range or on the land between Day Skier Lots 3 and 4. (This land is designated for a large open space park in the Park Master Plan as an extension of Village Park.) Keep the RMOW’s $6.2 million for village enhancement projects or funding free transit. We already have enough hard surface areas in the village to maintain.

Jill Almond


A big leap forward

I would just like to thank everybody who came out to support the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program at our annual comedy show this past Friday and Saturday.

For those who weren't fortunate enough to find the time to attend, this year we were lucky enough to have the lovely and talented Marianne Sierk come up from California, and Canada's top male stand up comedian, Peter Kelamis, came up from Vancouver — plus, the usual suspects, Charlie Viracola and myself.

The crowds seemed to enjoy both shows, and we all had a great time performing for them. We look forward to bringing another top rate show back to Whistler next year.

And of course the good folks at the Garibaldi Lift Company were fantastic as always. We'd also like to thank the Hilton and Delta Hotels, as well as Whistler-Blackcomb and Scotiabank for their continuing support of our program.

Thanks to the great community support we've received over the years, we've been able to grow from a program that could only provide around 50 ski lessons a year, to now, where we provide over 1,600 lessons in various sports year round.

Thank you, and I hope to see you at next year's great comedy show.

Pete Crutchfield

Whistler Adaptive Sports Program

Make best use of Lot 1/9 space

We would like to add our voice to those of other concerned Whistler residents, property owners and tax payers concerning the plans for Lot 1/9.

Please do not destroy a lovely stand of trees — the perfect setting for a Legacy Park in Whistler — to create a medals plaza and skating rink. Instead, create a temporary plaza, as previously suggested at the current Whistler Golf Club Driving Range — it is already devoid of trees and even has poles for all the flags and fanfare.

We realize Lot 1/9 is an opportune location for the RMOW to potentially recapture revenue lost on other projects that have not returned their purported bounty, but a medals plaza and skating area will only add to the growing list of misjudged revenue generators and “needed” Whistler icons.

Bottom line: Please leave Lot 1/9 as it is, or at least make a decision based on the best use of the space so it truly benefits the community before cutting all the trees.

Karen and Chuck Blaylock


Daycare Games don’t add up

After reading the coverage on the closing of Teddy Bear Daycare in both local papers what really bothered me was the quote from Doti Neidermeyer. I hope it was taken out of context. The quote was that the Teddy Bear Daycare would make “awesome” space for the arts council. It’s been bugging me ever since I read it. The space was designed to be a daycare. What about the soon to be vacated museum space? Not very glam, but central.

While the arts council scrambles for a swell office in time for 2010, parents are going to scramble for childcare. What got us into this mess? The federal Conservative government cut funding to childcare and put it in parents’ pockets — giving them “choice” rather than funding spaces. Never mind that studies have proven that early childhood education reduces dropout rates, which in turn reduces crime rates. The provincial government is introducing Early Childhood Education, but funding is miniscule. Thankfully the RMOW has helped fund the shortfall locally, but can only do so much.

While the articles addressed the days that have not had sufficient demand — though I am incredulous that visiting families did not use this space — we did not hear about demand for other days and whether there are waiting lists. No mention was made of the number of spaces in the facilities and the actual measured effect of the reduction of childcare space.

Meanwhile schools will close during the Olympics and there is no plan in place to help working parents get to work. The RMOW has 45 childcare spaces for school-aged children. There are 600 elementary school aged students in Whistler. A phone survey indicates 50 per cent of families will require affordable, safe childcare during the Olympics. For the sake of argument cut that 300 children to 200 and we still don’t have enough. While there are some families that can afford to have only one parent work, most are caught by the high cost of housing. Families are given another reason to rent out their house and leave town.

In January, at the tightly managed RMOW 2010 Town Hall Meeting where the question about whether you can drive your car was answered ad nauseum (you can’t), the public was assured that VANOC would have a real Town Hall Meeting in a couple of weeks. One where you could ask any question you liked. During the Olympics 1,000 Whistler students will be out of school; 4,500 students altogether, including Pemberton to Squamish. There are also approximately 360 pre-school aged children in Whistler. Will the Olympic Games be a memorable experience for them?

Cathy Jewett


Are you smarter than a 5 th Grader?

Regular TV watchers are familiar with this American produced show pitting elementary school children against adults. The question in the title seems to be invading my psychological and emotional well-being lately as I read articles in the local newspapers regarding some decisions made by our policy makers at city hall.

Perhaps one of the most important decisions lately is the closure of the Teddy Bear Daycare in Millennium Place. We can only guess the serious consequences on the affected families. While art is important, (our daughter is a budding artist herself and we happily support the local art scene), an art centre replacing the daycare to save money perhaps should be opened for public discussion.

There was much time spent discussing the merit of closing the daycare at our daughter’s baby shower the day, attended by young mothers, to save apparently some $50,000. Is it not ironic that the city hall wants to spend some $14 million just across from the daycare to cut down a forest? Perhaps we should visit the local 5 th Grade classes for an answer to where the money is needed more. We should not be surprised to hear the answer of “keep the daycare open for my little sister and brother to attend so my mother can go to work in the village”. It sounds simple and almost prophetic, would not you think?

Therefore the question begs: Should we consult 5 th Graders on issues that could greatly affect them, their future and acquire a bit of wisdom in the process? After all, at this age our children still are unaffected by local politicking and their answers would come from the heart. Coming down to earth from the high clouds would help our policy makers to make decisions for locals who elected them to do just that. Perhaps then we could get an answer to the question, why can we not afford the extra money, $50,000 a year, to keep the daycare open in the village, when apparently the municipality can afford to pay for the multitude of multi-million dollar projects, some of them of very questionable value?

A comedian said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” The moment I heard the daycare was closing to save money sure took my breath way, unfortunately the wrong way.

Joke and cynicism aside, our 5 th Graders could be as qualified to decide on this issue as any of our lawmakers at city hall, considering the money spent wisely or unwisely today will affect them and their future more than we care to think about.

This reminds me: The civic election is approaching. I will be looking for and supporting candidates who can see beyond satisfying their own personal and egotistical visions. I’m looking for candidates who can see those invisible summits of the imagination where cool Whistler air exists and where wisdom can be found.

Grandpa Joe Farsang