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Letters to the editor for the week of February 21st

Take another look at heli-skiing I sincerely hope (BC Parks and the Minister of the Environment) have been following the "letters to the editor" lately in regard to the effect that mechanized access is having on Garibaldi Park.

Take another look at heli-skiing

I sincerely hope (BC Parks and the Minister of the Environment) have been following the "letters to the editor" lately in regard to the effect that mechanized access is having on Garibaldi Park. No doubt (they) are now reconsidering (their) assessment that heli-skiing is an appropriate activity in the Spearhead range in the park, particularly considering their vast tenure holdings elsewhere.

To that end I would like to request that BC Parks and the Environment Minister Terry Lake make public the facts that have led them to recommend continued heli-skiing. Specifically, how is the following draft statement rationalized: "Based on the public comments submitted via the questionnaire, 68 per cent of respondents are not in favour of heli-skiing continuing in the park... most respondents were not in support of heli-skiing in the park.

"However, the ongoing operation of Whistler Heli-Skiing is important to Whistler's economy and contributes to the diversity of the recreational opportunities offered in the park. Furthermore, the presence of the heli-ski operator in the park provides an important measure of public safety.... The plan amendment proposes to allow heli-skiing to continue in the Spearhead area of the park."

As is well known, Whistler Heli-Skiing holds a large amount of heli-skiing tenure outside the Park. Whistler Heli-Skiing and numerous other mechanized ski-guiding operations demonstrate daily that the service they provide in support of the local economy is entirely viable without the use of the park. Furthermore, as is well known back country users are by necessity self sufficient for rescue and communications, and local helicopter service is available for evacuation. If some rescues occur due to unprepared downhill skiers straying from the commercial ski areas then that is an issue that falls into the responsibility of management by Whistler Blackcomb, not Whistler Heli-Skiing.

BC Parks is ethically obliged to explain in a compelling and factual manner (not merely rhetorical) the incongruity of your decision. Without such an explanation the public can only assume that such an inexplicable decision is based on undue influence by certain commercial "stakeholders" at the expense of traditional self-sufficient park user "stakeholders."

In conclusion, I will point out that this request for clarification has already been extended by myself to Whistler Heli-Skiing and BC Parks, resulting in only some informal unsubstantiated assertions by a single heli-ski guide employee and silence from BC Parks.

Perhaps Minister Terry Lakes could correct this error in process.

Bruce Kay


Action needed

The busy section of Highway 99 from Harrow Road near Pemberton to the Lillooet River Bridge is a disaster waiting to happen.

The narrow and eroded shoulder drops off precipitously to deep ditches, which are death traps and serve no drainage purposes. Vehicle speed limit is 80 km/hr.

There have been close calls to pedestrians and bikers. This section of road has already been identified in the Trails Master Plan and Area C's Official Community Plan as a commuter cycling route.

There are solutions. It would take cooperation from adjacent landowners and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, requiring political will and coordination from local government.

But will it take a casualty to bring that about?

Hugh Naylor


Time to compromise

I have been asked to comment on the effect of off-leash dogs on the birds of One Mile Lake. Clearly, there are no birds for half the year. In spring and summer, the Canada goose is the only member of the duck family, which breeds on the lake.

These aggressive creatures are well able to defend their broods. Occasionally, one sees other duck species with a group of young trailing behind. These will have bred elsewhere and flown to the lake; thus they can fly away from dogs with ease.

The osprey, which is often seen, nests on the east side of Signal Hill and probably does not even notice dogs. Common yellowthroat is the only migrant warbler that breeds regularly in the park. It can be found in the thick reeds at the north end of the lake, but since these are rooted in 20cm of water, most dogs avoid plunging in, in pursuit of a bird the size of a chickadee.

Almost all other birds are arboreal and are not troubled by dogs. These include owls, swifts, swallows, pigeons, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, flycatchers, vireos, sparrows, thrushes, crows, blackbirds, and finches.

The only fish in the lake of any significance are salmon smolts, which are unlikely to be affected by dogs.

The chemistry of the lake is controlled by the Village of Pemberton, and the beavers, which are not affected by dogs.

The number of children bitten by dogs in the One Mile Lake area this century is less than the number of California Condors in the wild: 3. None seriously.

Surely a sensible compromise would be to ensure that dogs are leashed near the beach and picnic area and allow our four-footed friends to do what they like elsewhere.

Why are the authorities insisting that people have their dogs on leashes throughout the park apart from the inadequate doggy beach? Perhaps it is to give the bylaw officer something to do. What an odd form of make-work project.

Nigel Mathews


One Mile Lake Dogs

In response to Matt Olfert and Adam Malpus "letters to the editor," (Pique, Feb. 14).

I agree that doggy "crap" on the trails is an issue, and I'm not sure what the answer is. I don't believe that someone who is not inclined to scoop is all of a sudden going to start scooping just because his or her dog is on a leash.

Personally, I have made a commitment to scoop at least one extra poop every time I am at the lake, and here and now, challenge all other "Lakers" to do the same. I believe it won't be long before the "poop factor" is a non-issue and it will be a simple matter to maintain.

The Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality require that beach water be assessed by a running geometric mean of at least five samples over a period not to exceed 30 days and the point at which beach closure is mandated is 200 per 100 ml.

I have checked the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority website for the fecal coliform counts at One Mile Lake beach for 2012. The highest single sample was on 22 August and registered 20 per 100 ml. I would suggest that most of it was due to the concentration of goose poop covering the entire beach area. Personally, I would worry more about whatever chemicals are leaching out of the pressure treated wood used to build the boardwalk along the highway, but that's just me.

Yes, dogs do go missing but so do people. While I would not be so bold as to equate the loss of a dog with the devastation caused by the loss of a person, the sad fact remains that it happens.

The only way to keep it from happening is to deny them the freedom that makes life worth living. While I do all I can to protect the people I love I would never presume to deny them freedom; why would I deny my dog?

People have been walking off-leash dogs at One Mile since long before anybody else had any interest in the lake for any reason.

I stand by my premise that to all of a sudden deny us the right to do so just because someone drew an arbitrary line in the sand is unreasonable and unfair.

Carol Morphy


Rotary thanks

The Rotary Club of Whistler would like to thank Creekbread Restaurant and its staff for allowing us to have a wonderful evening of fellowship and fundraising on Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013.

We also thank Jeremy Thom, a Whistler singer and songwriter, for donating his time to entertain the crowd.

There was a full house with people from all over including many Rotarians. We sold 50/50 tickets giving close to $300 to the winner — and we had a generous number of door prizes donated by local businesses.

We would like to thank Bounce, Brewhouse, Escape Route, Garibaldi Graphics, Happy Pets, Purebread Bakery, Rob's Garage, TMC and Whistler Brewery.

Thanks to everyone for a successful evening helping us raise money for our Whistler Olympic Plaza Chair Project.

Sheila Walker and Peter Dagg

Rotary Club of Whistler

A cultural success

It would be easy to misconstrue Feb. 16's high-impact Asian New Year Celebration at Park Royal as merely a cultural success.

The event was the third annual celebration of its kind, the culmination of a full year of planning and work by a dedicated cohort of volunteers. Certainly, it was a masterpiece cultural show in its own right, showcasing Chinese, Korean, and Filipino dance, music, and cuisine. The volunteers turned the atrium area of Park Royal South into a grand theatre for the day, open not only to those who came specifically in response to widespread publicity but also to those shoppers who were treated to an unexpected free pageant.

One Park Royal staffer remarked that "thousands of people must have come by."

Energy and colour were the themes — the costumes of performers expressed their pride, traditional dancers, taekwondo masters, and West Van High students comically closing out the show with their interpretation of "Gangnam Style."

But the benefits of the program went much deeper than cultural appreciation.

Participation by representatives of the governments of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong sent the message that the people-to-people communications underlie healthy and happy relations between countries and regions. 

Business, investment, tourism, trade, and student exchange occur more fluidly when people proudly express their cultural and linguistic backgrounds, knowing that people of different cultural or linguistic backgrounds are open to receive the message.

As the MP under whose auspices the event occurred, I thank the many volunteers for their hundreds of hours of time; I salute the five generous sponsors (District of West Vancouver, West Vancouver Community Foundation, Park Royal, Prince Seafood Restaurant, and Beijing Chinese School); and I applaud the way people in our community embrace our various cultures. Vive la difference!

John Weston, MP

West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country

Heartfelt thanks

I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all who helped make the Myrtle Philip's Valentine's Day dance a huge success. I know it was successful because I was overwhelmed with grateful thank-yous from the 200 kids who showed up and danced like there was no tomorrow.

They came in costumes, in their most beautiful Valentine's dresses, in shirts and ties, hair gelled, make up on, and even heels! They gave it their all as they bent their bodies under the limbo stick and danced for best-dancer competition with the full intention of winning a prize. Congratulations to all our winners, especially Nathan Tomcheck, who astounded us as he bent like rubber below that limbo stick — it couldn't have been more than 12 inches off the ground!

Thank you to a DJ Steve for once again making it all happen. It wouldn't be a dance without you catering to the kid's musical desires and pumping up the volume as the night went on. Your patience and dedication to our school dances is appreciated by all.

Thank you for your donated prizes from Farfalla with generous haircuts and shampoos...thank you for prizes from our other sponsors: Whistler Blackcomb for ski masks, drink containers and T-shirts, the Great Glass Elevator Candy store for the yummy valentines popcorn, Eco Chic for your generous manicure donation, and to the Longhorn.

Thank you to Shelley Ledingham and David Krazny for your emceeing and organization of the dance competitions, and to Shelley Sharpe and Brenda Peterson for working the Limbo stick and helping pick our fabulous dance competition winners! Thanks to Louise Tomcheck for helping organize it all and being ever present to make sure things go smoothly. I couldn't do it without you.

Congratulations to the Grade 6 class for a superb bake sale and great job making money for your camp trip! Thank you to all who were able to show up from Grade 7 to help decorate — it looked amazing — and thank you to Kristi Wells for donating, once again, all the amazing decorations!

Thanks to Ethan Regan for your dance-off lemonade sales for Grade 7 — we all really appreciate your extra efforts to dance for our buyers! And thanks to Marin Regan for helping with ticket sales! Thank you to Melissa Kish and RMOW for allowing us to rent the room and staying late to make sure it all got tidied up properly and locked up — we appreciate you staying late for us, and to our janitor for your patience and cleaning up our messes.

And, of course, thank you to all the behind -the-scene parents not mentioned here by name, but always there to help in any way from chaperoning, to bake sales, to ticket sales.

All of you make this happen. No one person is ever responsible — it takes a village as they say, and what a wonderful village we live in as was evident Friday night by the smiles, and sweat, and dancing and singing at MPCS.

Well done everyone!

Beverly Lucas, MPCS dance organizer


Help when I needed it

I want to thank Steve (Turner) from Local Automotive for "having my back," and standing by his shop/workers/and reputation in town.

I recently moved to Calgary for work, and had to get an out-of-province inspection done on my vehicle.

Prior to driving across the Rockies I had my car checked by Steve. He replaced my brake rotors and pads, all the fluids and freshened her up so that I felt confident my car would perform beautifully.

The inspection failed. The reason given to me was that my brakes were "shot" and had to be replaced... Along with a "new" inspection once they were fixed.

Knowing they were brand new, driven less than three months on flat Alberta roads with 3,000km I was shocked. My first thought was that they were taking advantage of a "lone female" and ripping me off.

I called Steve and he instantly took action. Not only did he spend hours of his own time on the phone with the Calgary mechanic, but with me also, confirming I was being fleeced, but telling me he'd do everything he could to fix the situation.

He did... thank you from the bottom of my heart from a girl all-alone in a new province!

If anyone needs work done on their vehicle... And wants an honest man who stands by their work, Steve at Local Auto is the man for you.

Anita Kargl

Calgary, AB

Reconsider IPP in Pemberton

How can we justify building more Independent Power Projects (IPPs) when existing ones are costing us one billion dollars over next four years?

The proposed IPPs in the Upper Lillooet will be the ruination of the one-of-a-kind Keyhole Falls.

Why is this country hell-bent to destroy all natural rivers and leave nothing for future generations?

IPPs are costly, destructive, and detrimental to fish and wildlife.

Jack Ronayne