Heroes among us
To the Cheakamus-bound bus driver on Saturday at 11 p.m. — thank you for both entertaining me on what is usually a dull bus trip home, and showing compassion to a fellow seasonal worker who had a few too many beverages in the village.
Here's what I saw: It's minus 18C outside. A drunken guy (let's call him Freddie) walks onto the bus with no jacket on and no bus ticket.
He shakes both his hands at the bus driver sticking his pinkies and thumbs out like any good surfer.
Bus driver (let's call him Bob) excuses his lack of ticket "just this once!"
Freddie scans the bus for a seat, of which there are many, and takes a comfortable seat on the floor in the middle of the bus.
Bob takes the opportunity at one of the bus stops to walk over to Freddie to find out where he is trying to go.
Bob realizes Freddie should have got onto the northbound bus in the village and tells him he will get him onto the right bus.
The bus stops at the next bus stop and Freddie bolts out the door.
Bob bolts out the door and brings a stumbling Freddie back with him.
A few stops on, Bob walks Freddie to the bus stop and tells him to wait four minutes for the next bus and gives him a transfer card for the ride.
Bob calls the oncoming bus driver telling him to look out for him and make sure he gets home safe.
Bus-driver Bob (or whoever you are), thank you for going above and beyond for drunken Freddie. You're a hero!
Mandela means reconciliation
One of the greatest statesmen of our time has passed away — Nelson Mandela, a victor over apartheid and the recipient of the Nobel Peace prize. If there is one word to define him, it is reconciliation.
We should take the lead from him. That is why I am calling on our RMOW council, which publicly expresses support for many worthy causes, to join world governments, Canadian parliamentarians, politicians and people of all kinds of persuasions to pay tribute and celebrate Mandela's life.
And what better way for our council to do this then to publicly declare support for our own Canadian Reconciliation, namely the First Nations Reconciliation and Truth Commission movement, which has been dealing with crimes committed by the Canadian state and Canadian churches against native youths and native culture in residential schools.
Two months ago, I participated in the walk for reconciliation in Vancouver with thousands of people of all races. The daughter of Martin Luther King, Bernice King, gave a passionate speech urging peaceful efforts in what she said might be a very prolonged and difficult struggle for First Nations to achieve their rights.
But what hit me like a bolt from the sky was when she said in an interview that this was going on till mid 1990s. The last residential school was closed in 1996. I always thought these crimes were happening in 1950s and 60s, before my arrival to Canada.
I realize that the fact that I did not know these crimes were happening when I have been living here does not absolve me from being also guilty of these crimes. After the WWII the German people were collectively painted with guilt for Nazi crimes. "I did not know" was not an excuse they were allowed to use.
We are all collectively guilty due to our ignorance of supporting cultural genocide. I join prominent Canadians who said they were ashamed to be Canadians and that this has enormously damaged the stature of Canada in the world.
I was just recently in Europe and I was talking with people about this. Interestingly, nobody knew about Rob Ford — well, there is always too much manure coming from N. America — but they all knew what was done to aboriginals in Canada. Their comments were interesting. They said that Canada was actually not so bad, Australia performed sterilization of their aboriginal community.
But, if Mandela could reconcile with his jailers by seating them in the first row at his inauguration, then maybe we could reconcile with First Nations not by retribution, but by making sure that they receive what is rightfully theirs.
Council makes right decision on WIC
I do not normally submit letters to the editor, but, in this case, I feel I have to. Also for many years I have not attended RMOW Council meetings, but this one (Dec.3, 2013) had a certain importance, and so I attended, and was blown away by what I experienced.
The "Zen Lands" and the so-called Whistler International Campus was up for a major decision. First there was a remarkable analytical assessment by Mike Kirkegaard from the RMOW Planning Department... crystal clear logic as to the defects in the proposal for the WIC. Secondly, each councillor in turn did a magnificent job, based on a lot of research and thought, about the inappropriateness of the proposal based on their background and experience.
Each one had a somewhat different approach, but it covered all the weaknesses of this proposal. Finally, Mayor Nancy summarized it well describing it as a "land play."
All agreed it was not at all in Whistler's interest to continue to consider this idea. My sincere congratulations on a carefully considered decision — one of the most important that this council has faced.
Hopefully the proponents, who, you may remember, were using pressure tactics to get their own way, will now leave. If they do persist then they, in their thoughtless pursuit, will obviously (hear from) the Whistler community that we do not want their type of project.
Thank you council, for a job well done. We are all proud of you.
Don MacLaurin, former program and course designer, instructor, BCIT
Success was MADE
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Pemberton Arts Council for putting on such a successful MADE event, an acronym for Music Art Dance Energy, at the Pemberton Community Centre on November 30.
David Moldosky, Moldy, and his volunteers did an amazing job. There was lots of wonderful artwork and the local musicians really "MADE" the night.
We would also like to say thanks for having Mike and Steve as part of your show. We had a great time!
Mike Vollmer and Steve St. Arnaud
Volunteers clean up trash
Recently, local volunteers cleaned up a pile of old television sets and other garbage, which had been left at 1.5km on the Rutherford Creek Road.
Three pickup loads of trash have been hauled to the local transfer station to date — more work will be required to return the site to an acceptable state.
Someone has been using this location as an unofficial shooting range. The "marksmen" used the TVs and other trash as targets.
While I understand that the use of unrestricted firearms on Crown land is perfectly legal, there are a few conditions that should be followed. Selecting a safe backstop, avoiding the use of alcohol while shooting and cleaning up before you leave would be a good start.
In my opinion, those who leave a mess behind them show a lack of respect for the backcountry and create a very poor image of firearms owners.
Take steps to drive safe
It is heart-breaking news once again to hear about the fatalities of two young women and the others involved on the Sea to Sky Highway 99 in Pique Newsmagazine (Nov.28, 2013).
Whenever I hear of such news it takes me back to my first introduction to Whistler and to a friend of our family that lost both his wife and daughter when his vehicle drove off Highway 99 into ice cold water one winter night. When we were all just kids our family first stayed in their Creekside chalet for an Easter Holiday of skiing a few years before that tragedy occurred.
In some countries grave markers will line the highways where people have died and it acts as both remembrance and a bold reminder to all about the danger that is ever present. Whenever I am alone and pass by that lake it is a reminder of how quickly life can vanish when you least expect it. I have also had some close calls over the many years on Hwy 99, and had other moving objects been introduced just a little closer they may have ended my days as well.
The Sea to Sky Highway 99 is a well redesigned highway and vastly improved from the original Hwy 99, but it will always be a very challenging drive, and sometimes fatal because of all the various changing factors including: the highway itself, driver experience, driver condition, vehicle speeds, road conditions, weather conditions, visibility, traffic flow, traffic congestion, vehicle performance and the environment inside the vehicle.
While placing concrete dividers may have prevented the head on collision in the accident, they still have the potential to launch a vehicle in the air and on its side at 80-plus km per hour, as I have personally experienced as a front passenger during my early 20s. Fortunately the car did not roll, but my life flashed in front of me and it all moved in slow motion for those brief seconds before the car landed back on four wheels and we finally came to a stop. How very fortunate we were that night!
The most dangerous thing about the Whistler experience is getting there, getting back and around without a serious incident. What people do on the mountain for recreation may cause injury, and even death from time to time, but the greatest risk collectively, is in the transportation to, from and within Whistler. Everyone really needs to understand and be aware of this when driving, and when on foot and close to moving traffic.
If a death marker was placed at every location along Hwy 99 for a life lost, and a accident marker for every serious incident, maybe the message would really sink in about just how focused you always need to be, and how dangerous it can be at times regardless of all the protective measures already in place. One cannot emphasize enough the need for patience and for a good safe operating vehicle when travelling Highway 99 because of all the variables involved over a short distance, and the driving adjustments required in order to make your transportation trip a success.
For all you Whistler newbies who have just arrived — if you drive then drive safe. If you walk see and be seen always! We all want you to be able to talk about those great times years from now. For us who know it all too well we remember those we have lost, and those that have been seriously injured along the way for it can all quickly change in a flash of a moment.
Brian Wolfgang Becker
WSS students one step closer to Kenya
Once again, our community has given strong support to help make our students' dreams come true!
A group of WSS students are going to Kenya in March of 2015 on a service trip to help build a school or a water system for a rural village. The RMOW allowed the students to run the coat check for donations at the Christmas staff party (last weekend). Through the generosity of the RMOW staff, we raised an impressive $815. Thanks so much for supporting our trip.
WSS teacher Ali Williams, on behalf of the Kenya 2015 Service Crew
Enjoy the wind flag
As we all know, during the past 10 days, we have had very cold temperatures associated with a major outbreak of arctic air, which now covers most of North America.
Dallas and most of Texas has snow and ice, and it's snowing as far south as the San Francisco area, and the San Fernando Valley adjacent to Los Angeles. Temperatures here in Whistler have plunged to the minus mid 20s C in the alpine, and to minus 15 C (-18C with wind chill) here in the valley. As my home is on the shore of Alta Lake, my hockey-playing friends were asking me all last week how the lake was looking.
Unfortunately, notwithstanding temperatures remaining continuously well below zero, until this past weekend it had been looking pretty watery.
The reason for this is that until this past weekend, the wind has been blowing vigorously from the north as cold arctic air continued to flow over our area. Every day last week there have been whitecaps on the lake, making it almost impossible for the surface to freeze, except for areas of ice extending outward from the shore for a short distance in wind protected areas.
Finally, with a high-pressure area of cold arctic air covering most of North America by this past weekend, north winds were abating, and by Saturday night they dropped to zero for the first time in a week.
At first light Sunday morning, I was not surprised to see the lake surface frozen from shore to shore. It's a beautiful sight for a red-blooded hockey-playing Canadian.
Of course, it will take continued below freezing temperatures for the lake surface to freeze sufficiently solid for anybody to venture safely out onto the ice.
With winter snows coming, there will be a lot of shovelling to keep the half dozen "rinks" on Alta Lake clear for hockey. As everybody knows, you can't skate on snow!
Before the wind finally dropped on Saturday evening, my outer float section, for some mysterious reason, disengaged from the remainder of the float sections anchoring it to shore, notwithstanding excellent and sturdy hardware.
It is now lodged in lake ice approximately a mile away near the south end of the lake just off the opposite shore. It will likely remain there, stuck in ice until April.
It is the only float on Alta Lake that proudly displays the Canadian flag year round, and I hope that everybody in the vicinity enjoys the view and appreciates the information on wind direction.
It is not about opinions, it is about genetics
Recently, just days after the Vancouver dog attack/stabbing (Nov.20), I too formed an opinion on pit bulls. I was in a pit bull attack.
From my kitchen window I noticed a pit bull in my yard, (along with) my two dogs — a large furry dog and a small lap dog. I watched the pit bull sprint six metres and snatch the small dog from behind by its neck.
Dogs live and play by dog rules — submission and dominance. Only attack dogs go beyond that point. Dogs have gone from being bred as man's best friend to man's weapon for attack. It is not the dog's fault, it is genetics. It is not necessarily the owner's fault, it is genetics. Some breeds were created to go and kill. The more these breeds are caged, or fenced, or chained the less they ever will socialize and fit in a modern society.
In the blink of an eye my big dog was on that pit bull and they rolled and the pit bull let go of the smaller dog. Then the pit bull came up fighting. I ran to the dogs but there was no stopping the fight. I ran to my tenant to see if it was some friend's dog but it wasn't. I ran back and got in the fight. Never recommended, but you do what you have to do, with pit bulls it's life or death.
My dog can hold it's own and had that pit bull down on the ground and still that pit bull wouldn't stop. Twice I had my dog stop fighting and each time that pit bull raced past me to attack again.
The final time he only let go of my dog's throat because I had its head pinned to the ground with a large branch. It was a long fight. The small dog would have died on the spot by an unprovoked attack created by DNA, and if my big dog didn't have such thick fur he would have died right before my eyes. My dog ended up with a large gaping wound on its face and a large flap of skin and fur off its front leg.
He is a good dog and I would take on a bloodthirsty pit bull anytime to back him up.
The man in Vancouver knows how that feels, but no one should have to.
Ban the breed.
MADE says thanks
The Pemberton Arts Council would like to thank all the people that helped to make the sixth annual MADE an evening to remember.
Many people come together to make this event happen. The Pemberton Community Centre is extremely understanding of our complicated needs to pull off a night like this and we are most grateful for their continued support. Without the help of its staff this event could not happen, the library as well is included in this group thanks.
To all the volunteers who helped bartend, "man" the door, and clean up at the end of a long night we love you, and truly appreciate your time.
To all the musicians and artists without whom this obviously could never happen you are what this is all about, and we thank you for your continued participation. To Andrew Bowes of XL Audio Visual all I can say is wow, above and beyond what we could reasonably expect.
This year we had our guests vote for their favorite artist and it was close, with Walter the Polevaulter winning for his chandeleir, which clearly impressed a lot of folks. He will receive a $100.00 gift certificate to the Pemberton restaurant of his choice, enjoy. Seija Halonen was runner up in a close race and she will receive a bottle of Schramm absinthe for her beautiful headdresses, which also impressed the crowd.
Last, but not least, we would like to thank all the people for coming out and supporting the creative fabric of our community. Together we make this town the place it is and that we want it to be.
Pemberton Arts Council chair