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Letters to the editor for the week of January 10th

Comment deadline
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Comment deadline

I'd just like to offer a reminder that the deadline for comment on the Draft Garibaldi Park management plan is today, January 10.

Like it or not, it appears that this is the only forum for public input into the decision process. In regard to the issue of continued heli-skiing, other than myself and John Baldwin, there has been a distinct lack of comment (unless there is) a corporate self-interest. I know for a fact that there are many in the valley who are opposed yet remain silent to protect their relationship with Whistler Blackcomb or Whistler Heli-Skiing, usually in the capacity of employment or business relations. I completely understand this imperative and for that reason I hope everyone uses the opportunity provided by BC Parks to influence the decision process.

On that point it should be noted that as quoted from the draft park plan: "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."

Yet for some inexplicable reason the plan proposes to continue allowing it to occur, offering only the vague rationale that to not do so would mean local heli-skiing opportunities would suffer to the point of viability. Aside from the fact that this observation can be disproven by simply looking around at all the non-park heli and cat operators, no one from Whistler Heli-Skiing, Whistler Blackcomb or BC Parks has presented a remotely compelling case to back up this assertion.

Surely BC Parks doesn't simply take their word for it over a coffee and handshake? Of course not, so no doubt they are willing to share the details, yet with such a deafening silence I suppose the "public" is expected to be content with wondering how the "stakeholders" conversation went behind closed doors.

Funny choice of words that BC Parks used there ... isn't the public the biggest stakeholder of them all when it comes to such a public asset? I'm sorry, was that a No?

What is abundantly true and observable is the fact that backcountry ski touring is increasing in popularity while at the same time decreasing in available land base, mostly due to the proliferation of mechanized sledding in crown land areas. All B.C. parkland is to some degree valued because of its wilderness attributes where fossil-fuelled recreation is incompatible.

I'm not sure why BC Parks allows heli-skiing yet no heli-hiking, but it is most likely due to wildlife concerns. For some reason they don't register quite the same concern with the sizable herd of human wildlife that migrate there every day in the winter! A fossil-fuelled activity available only to those who pony up a thousand bucks a day seems a rather odd fit in a piece of park where the average wage earner likes to find a little peace and a well earned break from the work week.

The park land adjacent to the ski hills is an increasingly rare commodity and is uniquely suited as ski touring terrain that requires only a day. Nowhere else in the whole of southwest B.C. can one easily gain so much elevation to first class wilderness mountain terrain for a single day of effort. I repeat — NO WHERE ELSE.

Most everything else is either an overnight expedition or is poorer quality. Constant helicopter traffic has always been anathema to wilderness and is incompatible with the BC Parks experience.

Whistler Heli-Skiing holds a huge amount of crown land tenure where it can conduct its business. Could it be possible that the reason they don't exploit it more is because their 20 odd years of riding the Garibaldi Park gravy train means they would rather not?

Anyway, just another of a long list of reasons to boot out the Liberals. For public comment go to: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/garibaldi/garibaldi_mp_amend_comments.html.

Bruce Kay

Squamish

Santa's Workshop success

Spring Creek Community School and Ecole La Passerelle held its annual "Santa's Workshop" on December 13. We raised $2,000, which was donated to Whistler Community Services (WCS).

Our children, volunteers, staff and community all participated in a completely Whistler way — with fierce determination, humour, creativity, and energy. When it seemed we would not have enough donations, we put out a plea and got an overwhelming flood of items sent in. When we were worried about the selection for last shoppers one of our students proposed an idea for a way to create and display beautiful decorations, which could be purchased. When we had concerns about used stuffed toys going home one of our local businesses took them all and washed them.  

I would like to extend a huge thank-you to all parent volunteers, students, and staff in our school community who came forward so eagerly to help. In particular, an extra special thanks to Andrea and Sandra for coordinating all the details and managing the day itself, to Sharon for doing the set-up, to Erin for organizing and motivating the leadership group, to the leadership group for picking up the donations, to Whistler Laundry Inc. for washing all our stuffed toys, to the Upper Village Market for donating coffee and treats for our volunteers and to Karen for taking the time to meet with me to review and tweak the plan and communicate to staff, students and parents. Finally, I'd like to thank Jacob for coming forward with the great idea of The Giving Tree and to Sue Allen and her class for making the decorations.  

The spirit of giving is so evident in this event — the giving of time, resources, energy and joy.

Vicki Swan

Whistler 

Time to remember

It is exactly two years (since) we lost our beautiful Ellie, who was killed on the road in Whistler by a driver who was speeding.

He has never written to take any responsibility for the accident.

Unfortunately, due to the laws in British Columbia, although the driver was charged with speeding, (we feel) the slap on the wrist fine and loss of a couple of points made sure he would never take any, nor feel any, responsibility for his actions.

Two years later we are still grieving and feeling the sadness of our loss. Every year on the day of her birthday, November 25th, and the day of her death, January 6th, a bouquet of flowers will be left for her from us at the roadside where she lost her life to ensure she is never forgotten and to remind people that our loss is forever.

Ellie brought the sun into our lives and we miss her every day.

Penny Reinecke

Australia

Best Public Convenience awarded to the Hilton

There's no denying it; "toilet" is a dirty word around here. While the word has been used in polite society all over Europe in various languages and for many centuries, the euphemisms of bathroom and washroom are, as we all know, de rigueur here in Canada.

Not only has it perplexed me in the last three and half years of living in Whistler that there are few actual public toilets, but as a new mother, I now notice a scarcity of suitable changing tables, and indeed complete absence of places to breastfeed in comfort and semi-privacy.

So in an effort to improve the "washing" and "bathing" experience for the discerning Whistler local and visitor, I propose a new category for next year's Best of Whistler awards by Pique — Best Public Convenience.

And my choice of winner for this year goes to the Hilton hotel. The washrooms are close to the Skiers' Plaza and the gondolas, and are worth the extra few steps to avoid the descent into the bowels of the Longhorn for relief. They are immaculately clean and well stocked, easily accessible for disabled users and for mothers and babies alike, and they are also situated adjacent to some comfortable seating useful for breastfeeding should the need arise.

Second would be the Westin hotel, and third would be Millennium Place, also with a meditation room on the second floor, which, incidentally, I have found to be the best public place in the village for breastfeeding. It's nearly always unoccupied, very quiet, and they even have a rocking chair and footstool. I take my hat off to you Whistler Arts Council.

And finally, if you find yourself in downtown Vancouver without a pot to pee in, I highly recommend making use of the facilities just across the glass tunnel over Dunsmuir Street between the Pacific Centre and Holt Renfrew. As you make your way into the bejeweled showrooms of the latter, slip off to the left and into washrooms so well tended and sleek of design, you could eat your dinner off them, so to speak.

Aoife Wilkin

Whistler

Skiers lend a hand

Thanks to the two quick-acting skiers who tried to help after a visiting friend was knocked over by a speeding snowboarder on Sunday, December 30 on Upper Olympic, just above Olympic Station.

The story is unfortunately all too common: speeding snowboarder takes out unwitting skier in a Slow Zone. This case was even worse than most, as the boarder didn't stop to apologize, even after being grabbed physically by the two skiers.

The type of person who doesn't apologize after a collision might not be the sort to read a newspaper, so let me thank the skiers and suggest that Whistler-Blackcomb consider adding mountain safety staff in that bottom part of Upper Olympic. A few years ago my sister-in-law suffered a cracked rib in a similar accident. It is hard to encourage visitors to come here to ski if so many are injured through no fault of their own.

Mark CliffordWhistler

Community steps up

Once again, the community of Whistler has come together to support those in need. These past few months, numerous individuals and businesses have shown their support of the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) Food Bank.

WCSS would like to thank those who have taken the time and made the effort in one or all of the following ways: organizing a Food Drive, making the food bank a recipient of a staff event, donating proceeds from a club get together, donating unsold food items from a store, or making a non-perishable food item (or cash) for the food bank an entrance requirement to a party, sporting event etc. The list of supporters is extensive.

Big thanks to Nesters, IGA, Creekside and The Grocery Store and to the many individuals and businesses who have been filling the donation bins there. With the busy season upon us and the usage at the food bank at a steady high, it is encouraging to see how the shelves at the food bank have been filling.

Many users of the food bank are seasonal workers who arrive and expect to find work quickly, but find that harder than expected, or are unable to secure full-time hours right away. There are also many locals who often find a bit of lag time between their regular summer and winter jobs and if that down time is longer than expected they need the food bank.

In both cases, individuals and families may need a bit of assistance to get through financially until their next cheque comes in.

While non-perishable items are greatly appreciated, fundraisers that have amounted to dollars donated this fall have helped us buy much-needed items such as a new scale, two dollies and a new computer...all of which are replacing items that were in poor working order.

A heartfelt thank-you to the community at large for your overwhelming support!

You too can help out by organizing a Food Drive — visit www.mywcss.org/food-bank to learn how. Or you can call the food bank coordinator directly at 604-935-7717.

Happy holidays and a healthy, happy New Year

Talya Shore

Whistler Community Services Society

Food Bank Coordinator

Christmas Present!

I would like to say a huge thank you to the guy who returned my jacket and phone (gift wrapped!) to me on Christmas day after it had gone missing from a coat check the night before. It really made my day. I hope you and your housemates had an awesome Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Lisa Throckmorton

Whistler

Dishonest people make me crazy!

On Christmas Eve at approximately 1 p.m. I was stopped in the dedicated left turn lane to turn into Marketplace from Lorimer Rd. The road was snow packed and very slippery and suddenly I was hit from behind by a white car.

The driver of the car and myself got out to assess damages. He introduced himself as Chris (?), apologized and as my vehicle was higher than his, all the damage done to my Chevy Traverse was that the trailer hitch cover popped off. His vehicle had a large crack on the bumper.

He suggested we turn in to Marketplace to exchange information, and as we were "sitting ducks" on the slippery road, I agreed it would be safer. I saw in my rear-view mirror he did turn in, and as I looked ahead to park in the McDonalds loading zone, which would give us room in a very busy lot, he took off!

The bus stop on Lorimer was crowded, and I only hope that someone noticed what kind of vehicle it was as I took quite a jolt and I believed him when he said he'd follow me.

I posted a note at the bus stop but so far have heard nothing... So "Chris," know that karma will get you, and everyone of us out there that drive, appreciate it's people like you that drive insurance rates even higher. Thank you so much!

The whiplash I sustained will heal with therapy and time, but my disgust that you were such a coward will stay with me for a long time! I wonder if you perhaps had a little too much après, or perhaps you didn't have a valid driver's license?

Regardless, your actions are a reminder that sadly there are people in this world who have no conscience or morals. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas; you gave me the best present EVER as I've always wanted a headache that lasted for five solid days, (not to mention the neck, shoulder and back pain) and I love the fact that it's going to cost a lot for physio!

Celia Mclellan

Whistler

Time to find a voice?

I think that if the pipeline is a huge Canadian issue our resort should play a big part in the outcome. Could we please see more anti-pipeline solidarity? Solidarity means a showing of opinion and strength. Is Whistler right or left? If we are hoping, like the leftists, to protect the land, then let's protest! Don't give the rich companies everything they want — make them stop!

I am a resident living in Europe and have lived first hand the wonderful protests here. And it all leads to looking for signatures and changes in the common working of the law — a nation calling for a change in the constitution.

More protests!

Diana Day

Razo, Coruna




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