I have worked as a ski patroller and a paramedic for 27 years in this valley. I have also worked with Whistler Search and Rescue for the past 15 years.
During my career I have had the privilege of working with a dedicated team that has saved countless lives due to the protocols and ability to get patients off the mountain to the clinic in a safe and efficient manner.
Since the new clinic pad was built in 1994 we achieved a benchmark of having a patient off the ski hill into the clinic in less than 30 minutes. From 1989 to 1994 we flew patients to the back of the present municipal hall, the clinic was in the basement.
Prior to that we flew them to the present driving range at the Whistler Golf Course where the clinic was an Atco trailer. During this period of time there has never been an accident involving a helicopter landing at these various locations.
During the 2010 Olympics that all changed, Transport Canada required that the helipad be upgraded and instructed Vancouver Coastal Health to comply with its standards. During my 27 year career we have used mostly single engine helicopters, and over the years they have become much more powerful and reliable. I personally would rather be flying in the mountain environment in a powerful single engine machine than a twin-engine machine.
The present bureaucratic battle between Transport Canada and the VCH is jeopardizing people's lives. There has already been an incident this year where two patients were flown to the municipal heliport and a decision to take one patient from there to Vancouver general hospital via a BCAS Medivac Helicopter had to be made. They made the right decision, but who knows what will happen the next time this occurs.
Twin-engine helicopters are the only ones that will be allowed to land at the clinic if and when it is ever approved. There is only one twin-engine machine in this area and it is not always available. As a rescuer and paramedic I would rather be in the best single engine machine for the task.
It's time that all parties involved come to a compromise and do what is best for the person needing the (expedited) transport to a medical facility. I encourage all residents and guests of this community to write to local government, the Vancouver Health Authority, and Transport Canada and complain about the lack of compassion, understanding, and funds to rectify the dismal situation we are presently in. It could be you, your child or a co-worker who is not properly cared for because of bureaucratic decisions made by people pushing paper and not really getting the big picture!
Cone of silence?
Oh sure, I was disappointed at the "over costs" of the municipal service review, but not surprised. Consultants will charge what they can get away with (Although the extent of the over cost and the marginal findings of the consultants would certainly raise alarm bells to anyone involved in dealing with their own money, that will probably be the subject of letters to come)
What really (got me upset) was the fact that a concerned private citizen had to first of all read through the "information" supplied by the RMOW bureaucrats, recognize something was amiss and go through the effort and time to obtain a Freedom of Information document (kudos to Kevin Rea for that) only to be told by our communications officer, Michele Comeau, it "was a mistake" and "certainly not intentional." Then she totally sidestepped the suggestion that perhaps other financial information supplied by the RMOW could be questionable.
Oh really? To imagine that well paid RMOW financial experts just spaced $40,000 of expense is laughable. It was either incompetent or intentional; both of which are inexcusable.
Since when has the cone of silence descended over muni hall? It has always been the case that sensitive legal and contractual discussions are held "in camera," but now everything seems to have to pass through the propaganda machine before being deemed safe for public consumption. Doesn't the finance department or the person in charge of the service review file in question have a phone? Does that person have a name? Can he or she speak? In the real world people have to defend and live with the consequence of their actions, not have a third party cavalierly toss it off as a mistake.
Our secretive little RMOW bureaucratic fiefdom that operates free of public or media scrutiny does no one any good. In the absence of real time information the elected officials are hung with the results (witness our last election), the public is left to invent its own stories and the staff that are doing a good job are tarred with an increasingly unfavorable brush.
Content warnings please
As editor, and responsible for the content of the articles you publish, I believe you have a solemn duty to warn your readers in advance when said content could be offensive to some, disturbing to many and, in extreme cases, cause harm to your readers.
Case in point: The article documenting how the bill for the consultants hired to reign in ballooning municipal budgets came in...(drum roll please)... OVER BUDGET! (Pique Dec. 29, 2011) and by THIRTY percent no less!!! That article should have been preceded by: "Warning, the following content might cause uncontrollable fits of laughter.
Readers viewing it with their morning coffee in hand are advised that spillage may occur. Online readers are further warned that hot coffee spilled on keyboards and laptops may cause irreparable damage."
Happy New Year, Whistler...I'm off to Future Shop to look for a new laptop.
Service is key ingredient
It's Christmas Eve and I just got home from the café after a slow night, though some local characters came in for dinner and made it rewarding.
This morning I drove to Pemberton to drop off some Christmas presents at my brother's. I also made a stop at Marketplace, an insane place to be on Christmas Eve, to go to the bank, the drug store and get a bite of breakfast for the drive. Hoping no one would spot me, I snuck inside McDonalds.
You see, I have this little addiction for those Sausage Biscuit sandwiches. As a restaurateur, chef and caterer there is precious little on their menu that I would eat on any occasion, let alone go in and order. However, the sausage biscuit is an excellent product (without the egg) and I will have one occasionally along with some of their much-improved coffee.
I made it inside the McDonalds at 11:02 AM. There was no line and I went right up to the counter to order. The counter person told me "sorry, we have finished breakfast and are serving lunch now. I looked over her shoulder and saw the counter behind the heated pickup where two pairs of hands were preparing four or five Egg McMuffins and SAUSAGE BISCUITS. I pointed that out and said, "you are still making them, it's all I want, please make me one."
I asked for the manager and was told he was busy. Realizing that any further complaint at this level was futile, I left empty handed, angry and hungry.
I drove the 25 minutes to Pemberton, visited my brother, then, on my way home stopped in at Pemberton's Blackbird Bakery.
This is an old school bakery, where everything is made from scratch, all by hand. I was warmly greeted by the owner and staff. Famished, I ordered one of their amazing sausage rolls, hand made puff pastry with cumin scented meat filling, but they were out. So I ordered two ham and cheese croissants and a cappuccino. The croissants were lovely. I ate one immediately and saved the other to take home. The coffee was superb, strong, with thick whole milk foam; the lovely latte art almost made drinking it a shame. I spied some beautiful baguettes and ordered two along with some almond croissants. The baker mentioned he was making sausage rolls and, knowing I am a chef, he offered me two, unbaked, to take home and bake-off fresh myself. I happily accepted.
Later on, as my family enjoyed all the fresh baking, I was struck how lucky I was to have fate re-direct me into Blackbird Bakery.
I made a mistake going to McDonalds. I compromised my integrity by doing so and I don't expect I ever will again. I wanted a quick, satisfying snack and gave in to convenience and banality to get a Sausage Biscuit; stupidly assuming I could get one at 11:02 AM. I do, however, feel the need to persuade others from making the same bad choice. I intend to extol to them about the wonders of dealing with real people, who care about service, make imperfect but excellent food with love and integrity. These people didn't buy a franchise to become the latest outpost in mass-produced assembly line slop. They put their lives and future on the line to give to the world the magic of what they love to make. They need and deserve our support and business.
I wish a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our independent small business owners; you are the true heart and soul of our community.
Adam Protter (www.bigsmoke.ca)
Award shared with all
I recently had the surprising and most grateful honour to be recognized as Best Server in Whistler (in the Best of Whistler, Pique, Dec. 29, 2011). I feel uncomfortable with this title simply because I work with 16 of the best servers in Whistler at the Rimrock Café.
Throughout the years I have worked with so many who I feel are more worthy of this honour than myself. Each of us has our own unique presence and special qualities that we bring to the table.
It is a lovely recognition and I gladly share it with my workmates and friends at the Rimrock.
Every day each of us puts our best foot forward with our smiles on our faces with the sole purpose of providing each person who walks through our front door with the most enjoyable dining experience.
Hats off to us all, and from everyone at the Rimrock, we thank-you Whistler for the privilege of serving you year after year.
Black Tusk Village
Good on you Pemberton
Sherry Baker, Lonne Clark, and myself are involved with The Salvation Army Kettle Drive in Whistler and Pemberton from ringing the bells at the Kettle stations to organizing the campaign.
This year the amount in donations almost doubled last years and I just had to thank everyone involved and commend the generous people of Pemberton for their most generous efforts this year.
Under the supervision of Lonne Clark the Pemberton volunteers manned their one Kettle in front of the Pemberton Valley Supermarket (whose owner and staff made a substantial donation themselves) for several days prior to Christmas and the local population's generosity was overwhelming.
Whistler did extremely well too with our three Kettles and the generosity of our locals and wonderful guests.
However, the good folks of Pemberton must get "honorable mention" as their one Kettle overheated with donations and truly showed a community spirit that is remarkable.
The winner of course is The Salvation Army and all of the less fortunate families that will benefit from the efforts of all involved in Whistler and Pemberton.
Thanks to all involved, this made Christmas for me.
Mystery needs solving
We are trying to find the past and current owner of a piece of furniture that was donated to the Re-Build-It Centre in early December. It was a roll front cabinet that had been painted black, with slats on the doors.
This piece of furniture came with a mystery that we are trying to solve and we would like to speak to the donor. Also, if you are the current owner who bought it for your kid's playroom, we would like to be able to take a picture of it?
If you donated or bought it could you please contact Claire@mywcss.org or call her on 604-932-0113.
Lorna Van Straaten
Whistler Community Services Society
Free parking OR "pay what you want" parking in Lot 4 and 5
I would like to suggest a new parking system for Lot 4 and 5. I am happy that you removed the pay parking; it was an added $4 cost to go to a movie.
But I would still like to pay for parking. Let's say $2 if I go to a movie or $5 if we go skating.
This type of system has been introduced into many different communities in the form of the "sliding scale" which is dependent on your wages.
it's realized that while one person pays $6 for a spot, someone else might want to pay more.
This type of user sliding scale means that some users subsidize the rest of us. You have given the choice to each user whether or not they want to pay ... and if they do want to pay what they feel the amount should be. The meters are still there. There will be nobody there to check them. There will just be a sign posted and people will put money in.
I bet you will make more money on those two lots than anticipated.
Believe it or not these parking systems were in place in Tampa, Florida last summer. Please feel free to contact me to help implement this very simple system. It's worth a try and I'm sure you're going to be very surprised with the outcome.
Spoiler alerts inside the Pique
I would like to give a huge BOOOOO to Stephen Smysnuik for ruining the big ending of season two of Boardwalk Empire in the Dec. 29 issue for me and probably countless others.
I didn't even intend to read the article but when I just opened the paper up randomly, right there in big bold letters Stephen felt the urge to ruin the big surprise that I heard about coming in the last two episodes of the current season.
As a newspaper the whole team should take more responsibility in not ruining things for people and I'm very surprised the editor would let that happen. Printing a spoiler to anything like that seems very bush league to me.
Too late now.
Sport is the legacy
Ask yourself a question. What does Brad Sills, the owner/ operator of a private, for-profit company, hope to gain from his recent accusations against, and misstatements of fact about, Whistler Sports Legacies, their mandate, their scope of operations and operational/ funding model. Ask that after you have considered the following.
When (Vancouver Organizing Committee CEO) John Furlong woke up on the last day of the 2010 Olympics, he knew that no matter what the outcome of the long anticipated Canada-U.S. gold medal game, the Olympics would be a success, because the next day, millions of Canadian children would wake up with new heroes and new dreams. John Furlong is all about sport.
As was John Furlong, Whistler was born for sport. Whether it was sport fishing at Rainbow Lodge or the Olympic bids of the past. Sport is a great thing for all of mankind. It teaches us the value of goals and the hard work required to reach those goals, and respect for fair play and teamwork. Sport builds a healthier, well-balanced population. Hell, sport is plain fun. The Olympics strive to present sport as a means of global unification for a brief period of time. It is up to the host country of the games to determine the value of hosting beyond the closing ceremonies. Canada made the decision that the legacy of hosting the 2010 Olympics should be more than economic, that it should be social as well. The greatest benefactor would be sport development.
Whistler was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of it's original founders and play a major role in the this goal of sport development. Thus was born the Whistler Sports Legacies Society, a legally registered, non-profit society with the mandate to facilitate and promote the development of athletes and sport for all of Canada, not just Whistler. WSL is a government, read taxpayer, funded entity, dedicated to ensuring that the venues they have been charged with managing provides every opportunity possible for the next John Montgomery, Becky Scott or Brian McKeever to compete and succeed in the goals of their chosen sport.
Every operational decision that WSL makes is driven by the financial impact that decision has on its ability to deliver on its mandate. It has neither the desire, nor I imagine the opportunity, to keep going back to the provincial trough for increased funding. Its responsibility is to a far greater constituent than a single town, let alone a privately owned and operated for profit company that seems to be dismissing the benefits it has received as a result of the Olympics. Its responsibility is to ensure that the torch, the passion, of the successes of the 2010 Olympics continues to burn long and hot into the future for Canadian sport.
Sport is what Whistler was born for. We now have the opportunity to continue to carry the original passion that drove Whistler's success to a far greater good for our entire country. After all the talk about what the next big thing for Whistler will be, it seems that the answers to the question lie on a slope above Base 2, a high performance centre in Cheakamus, in the hills of the Callaghan Valley and the passion of an organization that runs it all. The answers lie in the dreams of our local athletes already embarking on this journey. The answers lie in the history of what Whistler was born for.
Enabling the Canadian competitors and champions of tomorrow, building the legacy of sport. That is Whistler's post Olympic goal. Keep the passion burning.