Hello there. It's Doug Ryan, the HST petition guy as I have been called around town the last three weeks. I'm OK with it as I believe what I am doing is the right thing for this town at a crucial time for tourism following the Olympics.
I want to thank all the people for the thank yous I received as I realized it's not easy to petition when you work full time and you go out there to the businesses and people of Whistler. I want to thank Karen and Dave for the meals that they took care of for me while I set up shop in their establishment so the people of Whistler had a place to sign the petition. They understood what I was fighting for. This HST affects small business and we need these local businesses to stay in business. This is why I support small business because the HST will affect them the most. Twelve per cent on your restaurant meals... Why?
The people of B.C. (and Whistler) have spoken and all 85 ridings are at the 85 per cent threshold. Our riding of West Vancouver-Sea to Sky is at 15 per cent. Whistler is at 1,000+ signatures. Pretty phenomenal numbers when you think about it.
Like I said, I have done my part for the town and I will continue to spread the word to go sign the HST petition at Wild Willies until July 5. Something has to be done and will be done to repeal this tax. Gordon Campbell needs to listen to us now and if anything his government will be done. Let's all vote Green Party at the next election. No HST.
Teaching bear etiquette
After reading about the horrible bear shooting situation south of Function I know that the officers don't like to shoot bears, but I am still wondering why the officer didn't shoot the dog instead. If the dog was initially attacking the bear and if it was off leash, which is against the bylaws, it seems logical that officers would shoot the perpetrator.
The Ministry of Highways should re-look at seeding with attractants in the areas along the highway that draw the bears at this time of year.
Everyone wants to see our bears. Bears are what bring people to our town in the summer. Just viewing a bear to some visitors can be a life experience.
Stopping along the highway creates traffic congestion and there needs to be signage right away on the highway stating not to stop to view our bears. Ticketing needs to be an option.
Visitors also need to know that you can't get close to the bears; they are wild animals. I have no idea why a local wouldn't know better.
Safe long weekend
On behalf of the Pub Sector in Whistler we would like to recognize the proactive efforts that made the May long weekend a positive experience for our community.
Kudos go to the Resort Experience Dept., RCMP, By law, the accommodation sector and last, but certainly not least, the Village Maintenance Dept.
The programming of the entertainment, the visible presence of the police, the expectations set by the hotels and accommodations sector, the diligence of the municipal by-law team, and the tireless efforts of the always pleasant village crew all added up to a great experience not only for our guests but for all of us who live and work here as well. All of your commitment to making this long weekend a success did not go unnoticed.
More party plans
I've changed my mind about the much-debated post-Games celebrations. I now think it's an awesome idea. It would be a great way to kick off the summer tourism season and let people know we're the same community that hosted the Olympics and Paralympics.
Then we can tell everybody that we're now loggers. People can be shown the old growth that will soon be cut down or if they're lucky maybe even see a fresh clear cut. The province might want to get in on the party too: they can use the media to highlight the new HST. Now potential visitors will know that it costs more to come and visit the Olympic logging area. What a party it will be!
To Acting Mayor Tom Thomson: I find the minutes of your meeting in regards to the $96,000 party insulting.
Let's start from the beginning where you list everything that will be happening. It doesn't appear to be much different than what we normally see on the July long weekend except for the inclusion of the athletes in the parade and the meet and greet.
And then you state the statistics in regards to occupancy rates - well, it will be very interesting to see what the occupancy rates are for our $96,000. Yes, we chose to host the Games to boost tourism but if that didn't do it this party sure as heck isn't going to.
And as for those that watched it on TV and left town, well they took the big bucks that were offered for their homes and ran. Why should I have my tax dollars pay for a party for them? They didn't want to stay around and volunteer and be part of the celebration. That was their choice, not mine!
I totally agree there is importance in celebrating our athletes. However, the money would have been much better spent on the athletes if we had made available five $20,000 grants for up and coming athletes.
And once again, don't speak to us as though we are ignorant. The extra two percent hotel tax is part of the budget to run this Municipality and in past years money has been moved from one pot to another. It is still part of our tax dollars and it could have been better spent.
Say what you want - you will never convince me that this is money well spent! Council continues to make poor decisions, in my opinion.
Not our grads
I applaud Francesca Cole's letter (Pique May 27) deploring the garbage and other pollutants left behind following a recent party at the gravel pit. I could not agree more, and I am appalled that young people of this generation especially, raised with a much higher level of environmental awareness, would behave like such a bunch of slobs.
While I think it is normal for teens to want to get together away from adult company (let's face it, we did that too in our time) there is absolutely no need for this kind of disgusting behaviour.
I must take issue however, with the letter's blanket use of the word "grads." People are sadly all too swift to paint local youth with the same brush. It is only fair to our community's many wonderful young people to point out that many of those present at the party in question were from out of town, specifically Shawnigan Lake School, a private school on Vancouver Island.
There may have been some from other communities as well, in addition to our own, but I do know this party was said to be a "Shawnigan party." It seems teens from any community are capable of poor behaviour.
Liberal use of the word "grads" also inevitably leads to a mental connection with local schools, which is unfair.
The school has nothing to do with these types of gatherings. No school has any control over what their students do after school is over and students leave the premises. They then become the responsibility of their parents, though I am aware that some parents are all to keen for schools to do all their parenting for them, and swift to blame the school, rather than themselves, when their kids behave poorly.
I do not know what the answer is to the disgusting scenes left behind at these outside parties, and I join Francesca in deploring this situation. I just don't want the finger of blame to be pointed yet again solely at our own teens.
The forgotten intersection
Midway between the rarely used traffic control systems at Bayshores and Spring Creek is the Alta Lake Road connection. At this junction there is a Valley Trail outlet, school bus stops and transit stops on both north- and southbound lanes and Alta Lake Road. Pedestrians come in their hundreds from all directions.
There are high density accommodations on both sides of the highway, staff housing, employee housing and large condo complexes. We come throughout the day and night to catch buses to and from work and play.
At the Alta Lake Road intersection there are no traffic control systems, no warning signs to the traffic, no pedestrian painted crossings on the road, nothing. There is a streetlight so that the pedestrians make a clearer target at night perhaps.
During the Olympic period we had the luxury of fluorescent plastic barrels and pylons in the centre of the highway to run to and seek refuge between. That luxury was not, however, one of our legacies.
So far I have heard of no incidents, no tragedies. I did see a cyclist once lying belly down and wheels up in front of a truck.
We are all aware of the traffic volume and we welcome it. For most of us the traffic brings people, the source of our very livelihood. The traffic is dense, all shapes and size of vehicles, from fast sports cars to heavy fuel tankers towing "B" train trailers. All weather conditions, from dry and dusty to rain, snow, slush and spray.
At this part of the highway, the incoming traffic has yet to settle down to the 60km valley speed. Those leaving are driving on the assumption or anticipation of having already reached the highway speed zone of 90km-plus. In peaks hours both northbound and southbound lanes are bunched up and vehicles are tailgating, leaving no space for even the most nimble jaywalker to dash between. There are also those of us a little less agile, the distracted school children, the injured and lame, the impaired, those hobbled by low-hung pants or hindered by plastic ski boots left unbuckled for rapid ejection. Those carrying skis, or pushing children in strollers out in front to test the current. There are cyclists, skateboarders, runners and walkers of all shapes and sizes.
We all make that trip, cross the road and take that risk frequently, daily, at all hours of the day and night. One of these days one or more of us will make an error of judgement, get the timing wrong. It could be so tragic.
I am not a complainer or habitual writer, but I am a self confessed procrastinator. I have seen this danger for a long time. I have hoped to see some change at some time, perhaps when the road widening was happening or recently with the new line repainting. Now I understand that we will see new blacktop through the summer months.
I hope somebody with the authority and the power will appreciate this situation and do something to correct it. Maybe it's already in the planning stage. Lets hope so. Let's not wait too long, eh!
If you see me crossing, I am the one wrapped in fluorescent tape with flashing bicycle lights on my head. Perhaps limping.
No place for a race
I moved to Pemberton some 20 years ago and I work in Whistler, so by rough estimation I have driven up and down between the two towns some 10,000-plus times in the past couple of decades. It used to be a lonely drive but as Pemberton grew the drive has become less lonely - and a lot scarier. Over the years I've seen people (myself included, I must admit) do some really stupid things on the highway. I was treated to some driving yesterday that raises the bar - and prompts me to finally put to paper the letter I've been thinking about for years...
About halfway up to Pemberton I ended up in the usual train of vehicles heading north. It didn't take long for someone in a sporty little blue car to come up behind me - too close behind me for my liking. I've gotten used to getting tailgated on the highway but I still don't like it. Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I look in my rearview mirror and all I can see is grill.
This guy passed me on the straight stretch heading towards the bridge below Suicide Hill, which I was grateful for. I was at the end of a line of about 10 vehicles that included the dreaded rental camper. As the train rounded the hairpin the tourists stayed left instead of moving over to the right to let cars behind them pass. A black pickup with a lift kit and great big tires (that had come out of Wedge Woods) moved over to the far right in order to pass them, with the guy in the blue car glued to his bumper. The pickup truck driver floored it and - because he was now on the shoulder - created a huge cloud of dust and shrapnel into which the blue car disappeared - and I mean that little blue car just vanished. I actually thought this was rather amusing - a case of karma being served up quickly - until the rocks started bouncing off my windshield. I counted at least a dozen rock strikes on my windshield, and one little chip out of the glass.
The guy in the blue car had the black pickup pulled over on the Nairn Falls straight stretch. I don't imagine the discussion was friendly. I don't think their aggressive driving got them to Pemberton any faster that day.
And that's really the point. I am really tired of being tailgated, of having a car beside me trying to pass when the double lanes run out, and all of the other boneheaded moves people make on that highway every day. And the reason I'm tired of it - other than I can't help wondering why these agro drivers are risking others' lives - is that it doesn't actually make any difference in the speed of the trip.
When you tailgate me for 10 minutes and then pass me on a double solid on the drive down guess what? I'm going to end up two or three cars behind you at the lights at Blackcomb Way. You've saved all of 10 or 15 seconds...
The fact of the matter is with the way the highway is currently laid out, no matter how fast you drive and how many risks you take you aren't going to save more than a couple of minutes in your commute. You will inevitably catch up to cars moving slower than you want to move. You won't be able to pass all of them. Check your rearview mirror when you get to whichever town you are heading for. You will have all the cars you passed right behind you.
The drive takes the time it takes. On some days it will be relatively quick and painless. Other days it's going to take a little longer. That's just the way it is. Driving like a maniac doesn't really save any time. It just doesn't.
If it's just a need for speed I have a suggestion. There is a dirt track south of Pemberton and the guys that run it would love to have move people racing with them. If you think you really are Michael Schumacher perhaps this is a better place to show your skills.
If your time is so important to you that you need to get to where you are going one or two minutes faster I have another suggestion. Why don't you leave a couple of minutes earlier?
To end my little rant I'd like to close by thanking the large majority of drivers that give the vehicle in front of them some space, that pass well before the passing lanes end, and that generally drive skillfully. You are all gold.
In regards to the re-zoning of the asphalt plant next to Cheakamus Crossing, why not just leave our "good neighbour" right where he is? The mayor and Mr. Silveri have stated that the plant meets all air quality standards set by the province. Let's for now take both of them at their word. Start testing now so the entire community of Whistler can judge if this type of industry should be close to Whistler. If he has nothing to hide all these decades then keep him exactly where he is and save his million on upgrades and let's see what happens.
A quote from a famous movie comes to mind: "you can't handle the truth." Bad air quality, I believe, could harm the tourist trade.
I apologize that I got something wrong in my letter last week. The RMOW emissions models assume that the asphalt plant will be working 12 months a year - this is conservative as the plant apparently only works six months per year, which is good news.
That said, the asphalt plant does contribute significant emissions and is harmful to Whistler's air quality and the health of residents and visitors. My family is strongly opposed to the proposed rezoning amendment.
Industry - especially industry which results in harmful toxic emissions - simply does not belong next to a residential neighbourhood.
Sad situation for community
It's been a very long time since I've found myself in tears over politics, especially after moving to Whistler over a decade ago. I learned the hard way about the importance of the clothesline bylaw to the powers that be at the lighter end of life here, and at the heavier end became immune to the tales of atrocious housing conditions for the young people here for a season.
I heard the jokes but it took a while to get them... Whistler is a town of have's and have mores... stick and stay and make it pay, that's the Whistler Way... career advice: show up, sober, three months, manager! But you know what? It was the clean air, the clean water, the beautiful Valley Trail, the smiles on the other locals (an earned nickname) and the awesome environment that kept me here.
I feel that continuing to have the asphalt plant operating anywhere near where human beings live is a tragedy in this day and age. It makes a joke out of our leading the way with The Natural Step and the Centre for Sustainability initiatives.
The mayor continues to shock me in the manner he addresses his constituents. I understand that media attention is vital and that we strive to present a wonderland to our guests (see clothesline above), but the "advice" he reportedly gave concerned citizens, to tone down their statements and to reconsider their statements in view of the effect on the property values, is outrageous! In effect if you don't like your new home, shut up and sell it for the best possible price. I am beginning to question who he is. Did he just use AWARE as a means to the end?
We cannot have this plant in our community! It is ludicrous to even contemplate. If we do not stop it now then it truly will be too late.
If we budgeted money for legacy heads in beds... this is it! Only these beds are for the lifeblood of the community! State of the art athletic facilities! Beside an asphalt plant which puts out twice the pollutants of those in Vancouver for six months of the year, according to some report. This affects the air in our whole community. We are in a narrow valley with fairly consistent northerly winds in the afternoons.
Lastly I would like to thank people like Patricia Westerholm, Drago Arh and the White Family for their passion and information. I got more out of their letters than anything coming out of council. Closed-door meetings are cowardly. And claiming that Ralph and Eckhard voted against clean air is misleading and unfair. I am not impressed but I am saddened and disappointed. It does not reflect well for us as a community.
Jack's the man
Just a note to say how inspiring it is to see Jack Evrensel and his team at Araxi win Vancouver Magazine 's restaurant award for Best Whistler Restaurant for a tenth straight year. From exceptional local foods, to public art, to international exposure with Hell's Kitchen, to his strong support of the Whistler Film Festival, Jack - Whistler's businessperson of the year - and his team shines a bright light on the future of Whistler. What a great example of a local business adding so much to our community.
Re: RCMP taking stock of cyclists, Pique May 20
It is easy to understand rules of the road for car drivers. Being fit, awake, unimpaired, not driving too close.
Cyclists have another set of rules protecting themselves against themselves, unlike car drivers whose rules are meant to protect others - except for seat belts, which are a good thing but since they are only to protect the wearer and no one else they are only the business of the wearer and not the law.
This is absolutely the case with cyclists. It is not the business of the law to force riders to wear helmets or have lights or say where they should ride on the road, unless of course a clearly marked bike path is available. And who dreamed up that nonsense of no doubling? It is not like police needed something to do.
Road hockey alive and fun
The Troustmen International Club of Leisure would like to thank all the players and sponsors for the overwhelming success of their first Whistler Street Hockey Tournament held this past Saturday at Spruce Grove. First and foremost we would like to thank Bob Andrea and the Resort Municipality of Whistler for allowing us to use the location and the means to make this event happen.
Although there were a few minor logistical setbacks on the day of the event we were able to finish the event on time and under budget - which in a first-year event is a tremendous feat in itself.
Thanks to Whistler Brewing and Harrison at the Longhorn Saloon for providing the sound equipment, BBQ dinner and beers; Sushi Village, Sportstop, Whistler Water, Chadillac Designs, Toad Hall Studios, Monster Energy, Creekbread Pizza, and Sabre Rentals - without these people supporting a locally organized, community event, fun stuff like this doesn't happen.
When the community puts their heads together and combines their efforts to produce an event like this, it brings out the true Whistler spirit among players and event organizers. The Troutsmen are all about this, and will continue to bring you more events, fundraisers, and Cheeseburger Picnics over the summer. If you would like to get involved with the Troutsmen Club of Leisure for future events please email email@example.com.
Troutsmen International Club of Leisure
Lots of help
Whistler Secondary Grads 2010 would like to thank the Municipality of Whistler, and Roger and Kiran in particular for allowing and supporting an after prom party at their beautiful new facility, Austria Passive House on May 29th.
We would also like to congratulate the grads on their co-operation in respecting this privilege. I appreciate their understanding with regard to the need for number restriction and control of access in keeping with safety bylaws, I know this caused frustration for some who had not attended prom.
I would like to thank the parents who helped with the event - Louise and Brian Buchholz, Alan Lpoez, and Corinne and Bob Allison.
A thank you also goes to Rocky Mountain Productions who provided lighting and audio systems, and Cooper and friends our DJ's.
Mairi and Peter Blair
Whistler Secondary Grads of 2010
Purrrfect Mother's Day Brunch
The sun was shining down on Green Lake, the children were playing and exploring the water's edge. All the while mom relaxed on the patio with a mimosa, and a deliciously full stomach.
This was the setting that the wonderful staff and Chef Chris Shiner offered for the WAG Mother's Day Brunch. We cannot thank them nearly enough.
The food, which was all purchased through those WAG points all of you donate to us, was cooked and prepared with such care that it left a smile on every diner's face. The support that we received from the volunteers who generously donated their Mother's Day to help with the brunch, to the 171 locals who came to enjoy the feast, proves to me once again that I really do live in the best community one could imagine.
Thank you to everyone who helped out at the Edgewater Lodge, Nesters and our WAG volunteers for making this such a purrrfect Mother's Day Brunch.
Paula Del Bosco
Executive Director of WAG