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Is the sky really falling?

G.D. Maxwell's anti-Olympics hyperbole notwithstanding, I just don't see the sky falling (Our individual rights trumped by Olympics, Maxed Out Oct. 22).

G.D. Maxwell's anti-Olympics hyperbole notwithstanding, I just don't see the sky falling (Our individual rights trumped by Olympics, Maxed Out Oct. 22). I consider the Olympics the greatest show on earth periodically bringing nations, even enemies, together in a friendly pow-wow. A substantial majority here supports the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Winter Olympics as polls, referendums, Olympic license plates, legions of volunteers, etc. attest. Personally, I always look forward to the Olympics with great anticipation and I am yet to be disappointed.

G.D. should have held his fire a while longer. The VPD already announced that it will not be the "sign police" and city hall indicated that it will review relevant bylaws (I give G.D. the benefit of doubt as this information may have been too late for his deadline). I understand Vancouver has contractual obligations with the IOC to prevent anti-Olympic propaganda and "ambush-marketing" within sight of TV cameras covering the Games. I find that entirely reasonable. However, what really scares me is that the city could wind up with onerous lawsuits by the IOC and/or corporate sponsors, should it renege on its end of the bargain.

Second, "peaceful protest" often degenerates into mob action, cop baiting, even physical confrontation to produce footage for the evening news. In such an encounter, I want the cops to come out on top. I am reluctant to accept extreme behavior as "free speech." Furthermore, I am sure the protesters would have ample opportunity to complain on camera during the Games, albeit not at Olympic venues. Local and foreign TV networks fishing for controversy will, no doubt, seek them out for interviews.

Anti-Olympians had nearly a decade to make a coherent and credible case against the 2010 Winter Olympics and the mass media and the Internet to disseminate their message. If they still could not rustle up a critical mass of adherents then they could not have had much of a case.

Joe Bako



Another tribute to Ted

It was good to read in both our local papers the description of all the accomplishments of Ted Nebbeling. Besides the legacies of the Meadow Park Sports Centre and the public transit system, Ted also must be given credit for establishing a home for the Whistler Museum and Archives Society.

As councillor he arranged the lease of the old municipal hall at Function Junction for $l a year to be developed as a Museum and Archives centre. Then, as President of Rotary, he made this his community project. Finances from Rotary and Yurrop Trading (Ted & Jan's company) enabled materials for Rotarian volunteer Bill Wallace to renovate the old building and for local volunteer Andy Petersen to construct counters, cabinets and show cases.

Once again Ted added an asset to the community. He was indeed a special person and we are lucky to have had him give so much to Whistler.

Florence Petersen

Founder of WMAS



Becoming politically correct

Re: Community and branding - A missed opportunity for WB (Alta States Nov. 5)

Yeah! to what Ace said. Great article Michel. You have illustrated very clearly what is wrong with our little mountain town. As I said a few years ago... some people in powerful positions in Whistler are trying to make the Village Square into the Vatican Square with a few drops of Disney goodie goodie sparkles. We are morphing from being the Number One ski resort with the biggest and best terrain in North America to the most politically correct ski resort in North America.

Thanks to all the Gods that the festival was even allowed to be held in the valley.... maybe in a few years we will have to go to Big White or Red Mountain to be able to attend the festival.

Kudos to Travis, Feet, Stu, Bruce and their irreverent crew for doing such a great film festival.

Jorge Alvarez



Average Canadian looking for accommodation

A proud Canadian, male, married with two grown sons and two beautiful grandsons, I have been selected as a volunteer for the upcoming Olympics! A thrill of a lifetime for myself, however accommodation that was arranged with relatives in Squamish has fallen through! I'm calling on all good Canadian people in the Squamish/Whistler/Pemberton area to help me out if they can. I need nothing fancy... a room, a space where I could sleep between my shifts at the athletes' village in Whistler. Food and transportation arranged!

I'd hate to miss this chance of a lifetime to not only participate in the Olympics but visit your beautiful area of this great country. I'm an average, working, run of the mill Canadian like a lot of you and am hoping there is someone out there that would be willing to help! PLEASE! Give it some thought and contact me through e-mail: [email protected]

Thanking all in advance!

Robert Edwards

Durham, Ont.


Can't see the welding shop for the trees

It has recently come to my attention that the developer of the new Holiday Inn is requesting the District of Squamish's permission to remove the treed buffer from along Highway 99, even though this proposed removal of trees appears to be directly contrary to our Official Community Plan (OCP). Council's logic for approving the removal of the trees is the argument from the developer that people would not see his three- or four-storey building with its associated signage and that this would cost him some revenue.

I support the removal of these trees only if council continues to apply the same logic for the following situations.

Remove some of the trees blocking the view from the highway of the Brennan Park Recreation Centre. Just think of how many people driving to Whistler are missing the opportunity to stop and play a quick game of hockey or swim a few laps. Think of the lost revenue these trees are causing the District of Squamish.

The removal of the trees by Capilano University will also need to be done as I believe countless southbound drivers are missing the opportunity to stop in at the university and sign up for a course. All because they could not see the university due to some trees.

Finally, there are some trees in Rose Park that are blocking the view of a welding shop at the top end of the Mamquam Blind Channel. Just think of how much lost revenue these trees are causing this welding shop. I know that on any road trip I take I am always looking for welding shops just in case.

So please mayor and council take the trees down, but only if you take all the other trees down that are costing local businesses revenue as well. Otherwise please welcome the developer to town with a copy of the OCP with the parts about retention of a treed buffer along Highway 99 highlighted and underlined!

Cliff Miller



Thanks for a successful season

As the summer market season has drawn to a close, the organizers of the newly revived Pemberton Farmers Market would like to thank their supporters who made a highly successful season possible.

Not only did the Pemberton Valley Supermarket and the Legion host our market from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. every Wednesday in their parking lot for 16 consecutive weeks, but PVS generously donated funding that helped us get this market off the ground.

The Village of Pemberton also helped us out immensely by not only carefully guiding us through the processes involved in making a fully functioning market happen, but also by granting us funding through the Community Enhancement Fund.

Without this generous support the market would not have been the fabulous weekly community event it was, with more new farmers than ever, an array of fabulous prepared food vendors, local artisans, remarkable local musicians who deserve their own mention for donating their time in the name of "community" and of course all the shoppers that came out and supported the vendors.

We look forward to seeing you all next year.

Shireen Sumariwalla

Niki Vankerk

Sarah McMillan

Pemberton Farmers Market Committee, Pemberton Farmers Institute


A long journey home

First of all, I would like to thank everyone in Whistler from the bottom of my heart. My precious son, Jun, has finally come back to his birthplace, Whistler, after bravely and successfully battling leukemia for nine grueling and agonizing months.

No one in my family doubts that we couldn't have done this without the continuous and generous help and support of our friends and neighbours in Whistler. Had we faced this ordeal in a bigger or different city with the limited exposures and connections to surrounding neighbours, I am not quite certain as to whether the outcome would have been as favorable.

Until last December, the strange illness called leukemia had only been known to me via movies and TV soap operas. Not for a second had we expected that our own son would battle for his life against this disease. As with other fatal and life-changing tragedies in life, this predicament happened to us without any warning, but with a sudden and shocking force that yielded neither mercy nor reckoning.

A few days before Christmas last year, Jun started bleeding from both of his nostrils and would not stop bleeding. Upon arriving at the Whistler Health Care Centre and after being examined by a medical staff, we were instructed to have Jun airlifted to B.C. Children's Hospital (BCCH) in Vancouver. Due to the heavy snowstorm, we had to utilize the ambulance instead. Thus began the most agonizing three-plus hour drive that I have ever taken.

My son, stretched out in the back of an ambulance, was semi-conscious and his half-opened eyes said all that needed to be said. My fear and imagination ran wild. What if the breakfast we had together was the very last one we ever had as a father and son? What will I say to Soyoung, his sister, about her brother?

My wife, usually the chatty one, remained silent during the ride. Not a single word.

The next day, after a battery of tests, the doctor at the BCCH not only confirmed my worst fears but exceeded my worst imagination. My son has leukemia, a blood cancer with a high fatality rate.

We have an expression in Korea that we hope to never utter in our lives; the sky is crumbling down. It felt exactly like that. The sky, somehow, crumbled.

After the sky-crumbling diagnosis, the doctor informed us that leukemia had only a five per cent chance of being cured back in the '60s. However, with medical advancements, these days, kids under the age of 10 have a 90 per cent survival rate if chemotherapy is utilized.

The sky did crumble but left a big hole for us, it seemed at the time.

Our family celebrated Christmas and the New Year at BCCH in Vancouver. Jun had his birthday party at the Ronald McDonald House without the friends that he had had at his previous nine birthday parties in Whistler. He was so weak and vulnerable to infections that he couldn't invite non-family members.

The risk of Jun getting sicker was the only thing in our minds. Not only had his hair fallen out but Jun's fingernails changed colour to the most frightening shades of black that I've ever witnessed. Due to the heavy medicinal regime, he gained eight kilograms in two weeks - then lost almost twice the weight in a few days when his body reacted violently to the chemo pills.

This nightmare of weight gain and loss continued for what seemed like an eternity. The weekly blood transfusion, due to the lack of hemoglobin, was unbearable to watch. Little bruises and rashes started to appear all over my son's little body because his immune system stopped working.

Thankfully and gratefully, Jun endured this nightmare with such fortitude that we, as parents, were sincerely moved by our sick son's inner strengths. What a brave little kid we have, we would say to each other. We are still amazed and grateful.

Still, he has to take the weekly blood test and the monthly chemotherapy at BCCH. We do not have an end date for this illness but we are certain that it is near. Yet it is such a joy to see him play with his old pals from the school and the neighbourhood. Jun might not jump as high or run as fast as before the illness but we are just glad that he is jumping and running. Smiles, once forgotten and thought to be lost forever, have returned to the faces of my wife and me.

We would like to return his grateful and lucky smiles to the Canadian medical system, staff, voluntary organizations and volunteers. Also, our sincere gratitude goes out to friends in the Whistler community. This leukemia picked the wrong town to mess with.

I remember distinctively when I immigrated to Whistler from Seoul, Korea in 2001. I loved skiing so much that I left my friends, relatives and the motherland to be able to ski in the best mountains available to human beings on earth. Small ski areas and limited skiing days in Korea did not prepare me to realize what real skiing was. No one before or since has immigrated out of Korea exclusively to ski. I am proud of the fact that I am the first one to do so and feel so fortunate to settle down in Whistler of all other ski towns. I am still known in Korea as the happiest Korean-born skier on earth.

Eight glorious years later, I now realize that I am the most blessed man to have such caring and loving people as my friends and neighbours. Perhaps it is the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding environment that causes people to have similarly beautiful hearts and traits. You, my beautiful neighbours and friends, are the ones who gave us our smiles back and we will reciprocate dutifully. I am so proud and fortunate to live here in Whistler to have you as my neighbours and friends.

The nurses at BCCH called Jun a quiet, strong boy. Perhaps he will take after his father and maybe one day he will compete in Iron Man competitions like his old man did. One thing that I am certain is that he will be brought up as a young man who gives back to the society via volunteer works and donations. We believe that this is the only proper way to reciprocate what he has received from his community.

Looking back past nine hellish months, I cannot help but to compare myself to a man who has awakened from a seemingly un-ending nightmare with a kind but effective shove by angels. I sincerely thank every one of you and may you all be blessed by the denominations of your choosing or belief.

Special Thanks to Nesters Market, Erin Marof and her friends, Our Lady of the Mountains, Whistler Tae Kwon Do, Sushi To Go.

Woochan Jeong



Nominate someone deserving

Alex Bracewell organized a grassroots community committee to design and build an innovative trail at Tatlayoko Lake using recycled mining belts to create a surface suitable for wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers. His goal is 210 kilometres by 2010, and his dream is "to make the Cariboo Chilcotin one of the most attractive accessible tourism destinations in the world."

Alex is just one of the thousands of British Columbians who have gone out of their way, quietly and without fuss, to improve the quality of life in their communities.

Every B.C. community has at least a few of these community heroes - they are the backbone of the community of Lions Bay, where I spent the past three years as mayor - and one of the most important things we can do is to recognize their work and celebrate them.

There is an easy way to do this. Nominate someone in your community for a B.C. Community Achievement Award. Consider individuals you know who go above and beyond to make a difference in your community whether as a volunteer or in the course of their work.

These are extraordinary people. They may not think so - I know that many of the most consistent community supporters in Lions Bay simply believe their efforts are natural responses to their community's needs. But we know otherwise.

Every one of them, and more than 200 other community heroes nominated by British Columbians since 2004, have been awarded The B.C. Community Achievement Award from B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor and Premier in a beautiful ceremony that takes place every year in Victoria. Award recipients receive the British Columbia Community Achievement Medallion.

This year, take a little time out to consider individuals in your community that you would like to  nominate for a British Columbia Community Achievement Award. It won't take long, and it's a fitting way to say thank you to someone who devotes part of his or her life to making your community strong.

For more information, please go to .

Max Wyman

Lions Bay

(Max Wyman, OC, former President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, is a member of the board of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed in 2003 by the Province of B.C. to recognize excellence in community service, arts, humanities and enterprise.)