This letter is in response to Katie Fraser's letter "Listen Up!" (Pique, Nov. 19).
I would like to thank Ms. Fraser for voicing her concern re the danger of pedestrians walking along the highway, especially at night.
The residents at the new Rainbow development have also been voicing these concerns to the RMOW and B.C. Transit for the past two months in an attempt to speed up the painfully slow process of attaching a bus stop sign to the lamppost at the entrance to our neighbourhood.
In September, RMOW staff communicated to us that temporarily the closest bus stop northbound is the Green Lake pullout and southbound is the Alpine stop. We were also advised that until a solution is in place, the Valley Trail would remain open north of Alpine to avoid pedestrians walking along the highway.
Well the Valley Trail north of Alpine is now officially marked closed and has been covered by the plows. Therefore it seems the RMOW is condoning residents walking approximately a kilometre along Highway 99 where there are no lights, lately in blizzard conditions, often with young children.
Apparently this decision has been sitting with someone at B.C. Transit to make what should be a very simple decision. All we are asking is for a sign to be screwed into a lamppost that is already there, at a merge lane which is already there, and that the buses already drive past, before someone is seriously injured or worse.
Smoked out of shelter
Here I am yet again waiting for the bus in Alpine unable to go and shelter myself from the elements (it is winter after all - cold, wet, snowy, etc.) because someone is once more smoking inside the bus shelter. It seems irrelevant to the individual that there is a no smoking sign posted in the shelter stating it is a community bylaw and one is subject to $10,000 fine for breaking it. But then, like many bylaws in this community this one is also ignored.
And to top it off, not only does the ignorant smoker disrespect the bylaw and fellow citizens who do not want to breathe in the passive smoke, they find it okay to flick their cigarette butt into the snow. Need I remind you that the snow will eventually melt and cigarette butts will resurface only to be washed into our water ways, be eaten by an unsuspecting animal or be picked up by an innocent, curious child.
Now, the choice you make to smoke is yours even though we are in an age when we know that smoking kills, but this is not my agenda. I simply want to be able to wait for the bus in the bus shelter without having my lungs being subjected to passive smoke by an inconsiderate smoker.
Basically, if you want to smoke whilst waiting for the bus, why don't you wait out in the cold, snowy, windy, wintery conditions? And then when you are done, please place your cigarette butt in the garbage.
A glimpse into the future
An excerpt from The Lonely Earth Travel Guide to Canada, 2014 Whistler, B.C.
IF YOU GO: A visit to this gem of a mountain resort is a must on anybody's itinerary. A full slate of accommodations in varying price ranges are available. A hostel located in Cheakamus Crossing, the former athletes' village for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, serves as an inexpensive option but is not recommended. An asphalt plant sits right next door to the hostel spilling smoke over it most days. The smell, not to mention the noise and toxicity, can be very overwhelming. An archaic decision by the local government of the time allowed for the plant to remain in this otherwise pristine location.
Someone back then actually thought it was "okay" to have this type of industry next door to a newly developed neighbourhood! (Frontal lobotomies used to be an accepted form of medical practice too!) So if you value clean mountain air (the reason to come to Whistler in the first place), this is not the place to stay.
A world-class training facility can also be found in Cheakamus Crossing, part of the Olympic legacy. It was meant to attract athletes from across Canada and around the world to train in a state of the art facility. It has suffered over the years luring people because of the aforementioned asphalt plant right next to it. Athletes and poor air quality apparently don't mix.
The municipality added a top of the line air quality filtering system to the venue (at great expense) to clean up the mess but the damage to the reputation of the facility was already done and people continue to stay away. If for some reason you should decide to go use the training centre, you'll likely have it all to yourself.
Keeping the flame alive
I was quite taken by Max's benign, Olympic protest suggestions (Maxed Out, Nov. 19) and really want to help.
However, a man of my size should never be seen naked in public, even if it is a flesh coloured body suit.
But a quick check on eBay revealed the existence of a few copies of Cheech and Chong's seminal vinyl album Big Bamboo , complete with custom giant rolling paper. This paper has the ability to roll a doobie of Olympic torch dimensions. I will submit a bid and, should I prove to be the winner (and after listening to the album a few times), I'll then pass on the paper to whomever has sufficient supply of a certain herb to fill it.
I hope this helps.
BTW, does anyone know why a green, four-door sedan is following me everywhere I go?
Maintaining our insecurity
Max did it again with his column "...Olympic farce." He turned on one of the lights above my head that has been there for a long time but in the interest of going green I have left it off for quite a while. For the fact it is now on, blame Max. It is my fault it will require a few minutes to find the switch.
In the meantime, the light shines on security but before you turn me off let me assure you this letter is not specifically about Olympic security. Enough has been said about the billion dollars committed to the Games security, the troop deployments that would protect Afghanistan, the "mag and bag" booths that would be the envy of airports around the world, surveillance equipment that Google would want to buy and enough tasers, phasers, photon emitters and other crowd control equipment to keep the troops aroused for the duration of the Games. The Olympics are coming, all the money is spent, we hope, Olympic security is a dead horse, we hope; and I don't want to beat a dead horse. No, this letter only mentions Olympic security in passing because every two years it erupts like a zit on the amount of money we spend every day on our Olympic insecurity.
Based on 2009 figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute just the top 10 countries of the world spend $1.5 trillion a year on their military alone and I don't think that figure includes waging wars. If it doesn't include "indiscretionary" spending then add to the cost of boots between $500,000 (military) and $1 million (civilian) per soldier per year to "secure" Afghanistan. Is it any wonder President Obama is dithering over sending another 40,000 troop surge on borrowed money. On top of military expense is the daily cost of 12 security walls being built and maintained around the world to control crowds of immigrants. The one between the U.S. and Mexico is costing $2.25 million per kilometre for the 3,200 Ks. Then there is the cost of surveillance by humans and the latest inhuman electronic equipment. On a smaller scale and more local level, about two years ago Stephen Harper bought all our border guards guns; and a few months ago the mayor of Vancouver proudly announced a surge of 500 troops on city streets. The costs of keeping us safe from each other goes on and on and...
I know we are given regular reports of crime statistics that seem to indicate we are more secure than ever. However, these reports are always separated by as much time as possible from announcements about increased spending on measures to maintain security. I am going to speculate wildly and suggest there is a connection. In 1996 Paul Chamberlain wrote a book called Can We Be Good Without God. I haven't read the book so I don't know what his answer was but if God is supplying the money we spend on insecurity, the answer is obviously a resounding NO! Indeed, if we continue in the direction we are heading, the instant we quit increasing the money we spend on the effort to eliminate our insecurity, all hell will break loose. That could be life. As I see it though, it is delayed death; and as if I needed to be, I am reminded of the "grim reaper" by the "Olympic farce" every two years.
Anyone want to take on Canada Post?
We have the friendliest, most helpful and efficient postal employees in Whistler. For that, we are very fortunate! I have lived and worked in other postal zones in Canada and have never experienced such happy, pleasant postal workers.
However, the waiting time at the Whistler Post Office is absolutely ridiculous and frustrating. Personally, as a semi-retired individual, I don't have time to wait in 30-minute lineups on a regular basis. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for people who are working in full-time positions.
If you feel as I do, please give Canada Post a call and let them know. I called and the person I spoke to was quite receptive. She listened to my issues and recorded them and gave me a confirmation number. She said that my message will definitely be passed on to the people who make decisions.
I suggested two solutions, either to hire more employees to speed things up, or to open another post office in Creekside or Function Junction. She said that opening another full post office would not likely happen, however, if an existing business were interested in taking on a Canada Post counter with some aspects of the regular postal service that might be possible.
If you feel as I do, please call 1-800-267-1177 to talk to a Customer Service representative. Who knows? If they get enough calls from Whistler, maybe things could be improved.
For close to two and a half years I've been one of the lucky Canadians to call Pemberton home. Having been a part of this community has been an honour. To live in a place such as this is an experience few people have had.
I leave here with a desire to share Pemberton with the rest of Canada, or to stay quiet and let it remain the jewel of the West Coast. During my time here, I've met the most amazing people, become involved in the most amazing events (Winterfest, Pemberton Festival) and service clubs; and I have learned an awful lot.
The road (at times bumpy) has been a positive one - lessons have been learned, and the experiences have been memorable. Then why am I leaving paradise? Why leave a mere 85 days before one of the most prolific times of British Columbia's (if not Canada's) history?
One word can sum it up quite simply, FAMILY. There are things one must do in life that may change a path or dream. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, and result in destinations not originally mapped out. It was never my intention to move to a town I had never heard of, but once here, it was never an intention to leave. But with the times, things and people change.
I will miss Pemberton. I'll miss the friends I met when life got rough; I'll miss the Lions Club and the Legion and of course the Rotary group I was a part of. There's Ed from the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, Alex, and Stephanie and of course Shelley; there was my time as Spirit and Winterfest Chair. There is my most important Winterfest Angel - Shirley Henry - and my daffodil partner Angie. There's my street hockey team (especially number 8) and the fantastic staff at the community centre who work tirelessly for the community, and who made my life during Winterfest the best it could be. There's Paul and Rob - Al, Vinnie and Dave who all have the true heart of a Lion. James and Steve, Paul, Marnie and Amanda who stand tall as the Rotarians they are. I could go on and on, simply because the citizens of Pemberton (and Area C) are true-hearted, kind people, and although I may be moving on I will never forget my unexpected time to one of the most wonderful places I will ever have the chance to live.
Thank you for the lessons, the memories and all the times in between.