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John Weston piqued, in praise of trails, no bears to some bears, thumbs down for peak to peak, not another dead bear, not-so-pros at photo showdown,

More to Kenney’s visit In implying (Same old story in Ottawa, Pique Opening Remarks, April 19) that I invited the Honourable Jason Kenney to Whistler because I want to be elected as the next MP for our riding, you missed the chance to inform your rea

More to Kenney’s visit

In implying (Same old story in Ottawa, Pique Opening Remarks, April 19) that I invited the Honourable Jason Kenney to Whistler because I want to be elected as the next MP for our riding, you missed the chance to inform your readers of some significant points.

Mr. Kenney is Canada’s Minister of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity. He’s also the former Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and is a trusted advisor to the Prime Minister.

Like Minister Monte Solberg, when he visited Whistler in September 2006, Mr. Kenney left Whistler last week impressed by Whistler’s leadership in sustainable environmental initiatives. He also understood more clearly what I’ve been arguing over the past two years — that we need further changes to the Temporary Worker Visa program, in addition to the gains we’ve already won. The meetings Mr. Kenney had with various Whistler community leaders, five municipal councilors and the mayor, sparked an invaluable exchange of opinions and information.

I will continue to work for the people of Whistler and of other regions of our riding. Jason Kenney’s visit last week was just one endeavour that will produce benefits for Whistler. I will continue to work with the people of Whistler myself and to invite senior elected officials here in order to foster better decision-making in Ottawa that affects us here.

John Weston

Federal Conservative Party candidate

West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky Country


Recreation trails key

This letter was addressed to Archie Riddell, project assessment director at the Environmental Assessment Office. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.

I attended the VANOC presentation at Whistler regarding the environmental impact of the Whistler Nordic Centre in the Callaghan Valley. I am writing you to express my support for the recreational trails proposal.

As an active member of the Nordic Events Local Organizing Committee for the Sea to Sky region, 2 nd VP Squamish Chamber of Commerce and a Squamish Nordic Club member, I know that it is essential for legacy purposes to establish a recreational trail system beyond the competition trails.

The community is so excited about the new Nordic facility and is ready to embrace it fully with school programs through to Master’s events that will engage Nordic clubs from Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. In order to establish a sustainable legacy of Nordic Skiing in the Callaghan Valley it is essential that there are significant kilometres of recreational trails in order to market it as a Nordic Destination to domestic and international skiers.

The recreation trails are the key to the sustainability of the Whistler Nordic Venue in the Callaghan Valley. The Nordic clubs in the Sea to Sky corridor are keen to support the new venue. The communities have so much to gain by its success, both socially and economically.

The addition of significant kilometres of recreational trails means the difference between building a Heritage Recreational Centre for future generations or creating a Monument to the Olympic past.

Thank you for your good work in helping to create an environmentally sensitive sustainable Nordic Centre for the Sea to Sky Community.

Nancy Hamilton

Squamish Nordic Ski Club Member


Which way is VANOC going?

Re: George McKay’s letter (VANOC’s plan for recreation trails, Pique April 18)

Mr. McKay states in his letter, “Recent assessments taken on behalf of VANOC showed no apparent evidence of grizzly bears in the Madeley Trail development area.” Then in the Alison Taylor article he states, “I will leave it to the technicians to debate the point if they want to around residency versus transient… Whether they’re resident, transient, in the area frequently or infrequently….” It seems that Mr. McKay is now acknowledging their presence — he changes from no bears in the area to some bears.

Mr. McKay’s letter further states, “…the probability of grizzly bears residing and denning around the WNCV is low…” This contrasts sharply with the position of the experts from the Ministry of the Environment, as stated in the MoE letter sent to the Environmental Assessment Office: “The scientific evidence and information is clear that grizzlies currently live in the Callaghan Valley… it is also clear that… the proposed Legacy Trails network transects occupied habitat. The MoE is confident that Grizzly bears use the footprint of the Trails Network…”

The MoE is confident that they are in the area, and George McKay now acknowledges this. Mr. McKay states, “the Callaghan Valley is part of a range, if you will, and one with poor habitat…” yet he acknowledges “… the WNCV and recreational trail site as a medium grizzly bear management priority area” and “VANOC has… a new study showing that the Callaghan Valley bear habitat effectiveness is much reduced given the past history… the incremental impact to bear habitat and increased risk of bear mortality is limited as a result of this legacy trail plan.” Mr. McKay has demonstrated that he understands that there are bears in the area, an area of poor habitat quality but that is supporting bears, and that the legacy trail plan as it currently stands will negatively affect them.

It seems prudent to follow the provincial government’s grizzly bear experts and their advice when building this facility. If VANOC does not incorporate the MoE’s position into their plans, are they meeting their stated commitment to sustainable development or moving away from it?

James MacKay



Understated performance

"A lift unlike any other in the world". Now there is an understatement! I certainly know of no other lift in the world that will cost this much yet have ZERO vertical rise. In that sense, you cannot even call it a "lift".

Honestly, when I first read the press release I thought it was a late April Fool’s joke. Peak to Peak? Why not call it the "Up One Side And Down The Other" lift, but then who in their right mind would ever want to do that?

I suppose if the restaurant on one end runs out of soup they can send some over from the other end. All it would take is one stunt flyer hitting the cables (as happened in Italy with the U.S. Air Force) or a lunatic/terrorist in a small plane, God forbid, and you have a major catastrophe on your hands.

Will there be psychotherapy professionals available for those who look down during this ride?

The environmental justification? It is said that this lift will reduce vehicle traffic between villages. Oh, I am sure a lot of people will opt to go up Whistler Mountain, cross over to Blackcomb on this gondola, then go down to Blackcomb village, rather than drive. Brilliant!

I have skied Whistler since 1968, and have always believed this to be one of the best managed, if not the best, managed ski complex in the world. This one, however, really has me scratching my head.

Phillip L. Thoreson



Another dead bear

This afternoon at 3:30 p.m. as I went to drop my daughter to work I decided to grab the garbage and make a drop at the Alpine garbage drop. l put one bag in the car and went back in the house to get another bag. In that time a young three-year-old bear tore the window stripping off my Nissan and proceeded to break my passenger window to get at the garbage in the back. No amount of noise, from pots and pans being banged to activating my security alarm, would deter this bear. This bear had a tag in each ear and a collar, as he had broken into several houses and had broken into a truck earlier to get garbage that someone had stored overnight.

Another bear is dead because this bear has learned that garbage is easier to get than hunting for grubs as they emerge from the dens. Please put your garbage in a place where bears cannot get into and please remember that composting attracts these creatures that share Whistler. As our children are coming home from school they do not need to hear the RCMP shooting and killing another bear in Whistler. Yes this was a "trouble" bear and the RCMP tell me his days were probably numbered, with his numerous offences. Let’s not create anymore problem bears. Please get rid of your garbage, clean your BBQs and do not compost.

Kim Martin



A sad end for one so young

Yesterday afternoon we had a sad reminder in our backyard of the fact that bear season is upon us. A starving black bear was shot to death, sadly in front of my 11-year-old daughter. This three-year-old bear, Andy, had been introduced to the idea that people will leave garbage in their vehicles and homes for him to raid. It was a three-day frenzy of home invasions and breaking into cars. Very sad for a bear his age to become so quickly skilled at locating and eating garbage.

He was being tracked by conservation officers, RCMP and the bear researchers when in our yard, we watched in horror from our basement window as it all came to an end. The young Constable that reluctantly shot the bear was frustrated that people’s carelessness with garbage resulted in this bear’s death. Both of the Constables present were considerate of our feelings and quickly arranged and assisted in the removal of the bear. Thank you Constables Roberts and Harris. The bear researchers, Nicola and Mary, kindly came into our home to explain to my upset daughter why Andy had to be killed.

Please, please residents of Whistler, report any garbage being left out or “bear baiting” type of behaviour to: 604-905-BEAR. I promised my daughter that I would take every opportunity to inform new residents to Whistler about being bear aware and vigilant about disposing of garbage properly. I trust that the rest of us that remember last year nine bears had to be killed, will do all that we can to help reduce this number.

Thank you once again to Nicola and Mary for giving my daughter comfort and for their tireless pursuits in educating us on co-existing with black bears.

Ironically, I spotted another bear barreling through our backyard last night.   I hope that that bear was not hot on the trail of some new source of garbage…

Ailsa Wright



A poor exhibition of character

Recently during the Telus World Ski & Snowboard Festival, a number of photographs that were on display at the Roundhouse for the Out of Bounds Photography exhibit, were stolen. It is a sad day in Whistler when we cannot have a gallery of Whistler artists without something being stolen.

Stealing photographs which are on display for everyone is not only insulting and damaging to the artists, but to the public, and the overall impact of the events themselves.

This theft has cost the artists money from their own pockets, as well as cost the Whistler Arts Council, possibly creating problems for future events. So to whoever stole them, grow a spine, and just enjoy the photos with everyone else.

Alex Wigley



Community coming together

The start of 2007 found our childcare centres facing a set of challenges stemming from the federal government cut backs. In the months to follow I had the opportunity to meet with various individuals and organizations of Whistler to discuss our circumstances and the obstacles we face.

On behalf of the Whistler Children’s Centre Society and its board of directors I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of those who were involved in this process by providing either financial support or collaborating together to address the needs and challenges of childcare in our community. I thank everyone for their energy, time and commitment.

Thank you to Mayor Melamed, municipal council and staff, Janet MacDonald and Whistler Community Services, Mei McCurdy and the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and Kate Harvey and Kirby Brown of Whistler Blackcomb. I look forward to any more conversations that may evolve as we look towards the future of early childhood education and care in our community.

Thank you to Avant Contractors Inc. in helping us complete many of our outstanding building repairs. Your contributions have made many of the children and teachers happy!

To all the staff, teachers, parents and children of the Whistler Children’s Centre Society: your patience, support and understanding is greatly appreciated. We do our best to make sure all decisions are made in the best interest of our children and families and I am thankful that everyone appreciates the challenges this brings.

I have said from the start that it takes a village to raise a child. In a vibrant and young community such as Whistler I am pleased to see that we are coming together to focus on one of Whistler’s greatest natural resources, our children.

Kari Gaudet

Director of Childcare Services

Whistler Children’s Centre Society



Whistler Blackcomb would like to extend a massive thank you and congratulations to Sue Eckersley and the whole team at Watermark Inc. for working their magic and expertise once again to build on the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival’s past successes and impressing the masses that gathered here last week.

After 10 solid days and nights of world class art, fashion, sport and music we hope you are all catching your breath and patting yourselves on the back for a mind-blowing spectacle that captured the spirit of what makes Whistler such an amazing place. TWSSF has positioned itself as the must-attend spring event for world famous athletes, the ski and snowboard industry, mainstream media as well as for visitors from around the world and last week did not disappoint.

An incredible amount of Watermark’s effort and vision goes into the planning and staging of the event, and countless members of the community lend their business support or volunteer their time as well. We’d also like to say thanks to many of our own employees who work extensively in support of the Festival.

As TWSSF continues to top itself we will look forward to supporting and contributing to the vision of Sue and her team in producing this now-legendary Festival.

Thanks Sue and the Watermark Inc, Team.

Dave Brownlie and your friends at Whistler Blackcomb


New friends will make a difference

On behalf of Tourism Whistler, I would like to extend a huge thank you to all those who helped make the 32nd annual Mountain Travel Symposium held in Whistler last week such a fantastic event. Our spectacular resort was showcased to more than 1,150 delegates — marking a record attendance for the weeklong ski industry conference. With mountain travel professionals from across the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, Latin America and North America in attendance, this event represented a unique winter business opportunity.

And, at the same time, the symposium shared an important trait with the many conferences held in Whistler — each delegate represents not only a potential returning visitor to Whistler, but an important ambassador for the resort. The amazing feedback from our key tour operators, industry partners, as well as the event organizers, makes it very clear that we have a lot of new friends who will be encouraging others to visit Whistler.

Special thanks to:

• Tourism Whistler’s Leisure Sales team led by Shawna Lang and Stephanie Nichols for raising the bar for future symposiums by providing a seamless connection between tour operators, group leaders, members and partners;

• Tourism British Columbia, Tourism Vancouver and the Canadian Tourism Commission for their support and participation;

• Our colleagues at Whistler-Blackcomb for partnering with us to provide MTS delegates with exceptional memories of Whistler — both on and off the mountains;

• Our Members who supported the symposium from start to finish — from hosting our top tour operators during the pre-familiarization event to participating in programs such as the evening gala at the Roundhouse Lodge where they donned special 2010 Winter Games apparel and welcomed our guests off the gondola. Your passion for Whistler made an impression on our visitors they won’t soon forget!

Kudos to the entire community for helping to make the Mountain Travel Symposium a great success.

Karen Goodwin

Director of Sales for Tourism Whistler