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Letters to the Editor for the week of June 20

Gearing up for summer safety On June 11, Whistler Search and Rescue—in collaboration with Gibbons Hospitality and BC AdventureSmart—hosted a backcountry safety education event at the Longhorn Saloon: "Gearing Up for Summer Safety.
Photo by Megan Lalonde

Gearing up for summer safety

On June 11, Whistler Search and Rescue—in collaboration with Gibbons Hospitality and BC AdventureSmart—hosted a backcountry safety education event at the Longhorn Saloon: "Gearing Up for Summer Safety."

Whistler Search and Rescue (WSAR) volunteers, BC AdventureSmart executive director Sandra Riches and guest speaker Chris Winter offered safety guidelines and recommendations on how to play safe while enjoying the many activities that summer offers.

WSAR supports emergency rescue services for the RCMP and advocates for mountain safety education and awareness among the local community. (It) is a volunteer-run and wholly non-profit organization.

Over 50 people joined us for the June 11 event. We are very grateful for the many raffle prizes that were generously donated from businesses in the community, totalling over $5,000 value in backcountry gear. A very special thank you to: BC AdventureSmart, Alta Bistro, Arc'teryx Whistler, Big Mountain Bike Adventures, Bike Co., Blackcomb Helicopters, CR Design & Build, Calypso Design, Escape Route, Excess Backcountry, Gibbons Hospitality, Keep It Simple Social Media, Lululemon Whistler, Mountain FM, Mountain Skills Academy, Nesters Market, Race and Company, Scandinave Spa, SMITH, Sweet Skills, and Whistler Blackcomb Vail Resorts. The generous proceeds from the event will directly contribute to WSAR's operations and community education efforts.

We also want to extend a very special thank you to Catherine Aird, Pattie Lindsay, and Sholto Shaw, who all worked tirelessly to create this event.

From biking in the valley to embarking on a week-long hiking expedition, we love to play outside and enjoy our beautiful mountains. With planning, awareness, and education, we can all make sure that we enjoy these trips and return home safely.

The fundamental step in backcountry safety is completing and communicating a trip plan with a friend or family back home. Information is vital; someone who knows your or your group's last location can make all the difference in an emergency.

Making a plan and sharing it is easy. AdventureSmart has a smart phone app called "Trip Plan" that you can use to make backcountry plans and share them with friends and family so that everyone is informed. The app is free and available from any online app store. You can also check out AdventureSmart's website at for more details.

The backcountry is there to be enjoyed, and indeed it should be enjoyed. Even so, people still need to take precautions so that everyone can stay safe and enjoy the backcountry throughout the year.

So, gear up for summer safety, and have fun!

Janice Hulse // WSAR

Memorial scholarship for WSS students doubled

I wanted to let the community know that Doug Forseth and I have reached our goal in our fundraising campaign for the Walter Zebrowski Memorial Scholarship, (which is awarded to a Whistler Secondary School student each year).

We began our fundraising campaign in August 2018.

Beginning in 2020, we will be annually awarding two scholarships reflecting our commitment to gender equality. The scholarship recipients to date have been students who are not only excellent scholars, but are also involved in community activities. We will continue to use that as our criterion.

Since 1997, 23 scholarships have been awarded to seniors graduating from the high school.

The scholarship is a wonderful way of keeping alive the memory of my dad, Wladyslaw (Walter) Zebrowski, and the history of his involvement in the early years of the Whistler community. And it's a wonderful way to nurture the dreams of future community leaders.

(Zebrowski founded the Garibaldi Whistler Development Company and created Eva Lake Park, a man-made, trout-filled lake that he donated to the RMOW in the '70s. He also founded the Whistler Water Works and Whistler Volunteer Fire Department. He was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Whistler, co-founder of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, and was responsible for bringing television to the Valley. In 1971, he was named Citizen of the Year.)

We are proud that we can continue to serve the community and to support young people with big dreams and a belief in community.

We thank our major donors, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, Blackcomb Helicopters, the Rotary Club of Whistler, as well as all those families and individuals who contributed so generously to the Scholarship Fund.   

We especially thank the Rotary Club for its ongoing collaboration in building and administering this scholarship award since 1997.

Ewa Zebrowski and Doug Forseth // Montreal and Whistler

Is hydro electricity really green?

Biogenic solar sounds exciting, but I feel compelled to challenge the (Pique's cover feature "Here comes the sun," June 6) article's frequent references to "clean hydroelectricity."

If hydro is so green, why is construction of the Site C Dam universally condemned by B.C.'s environmental community?

Shamefully, Canada is one of the last developed countries that still builds big dams. In fact, in the U.S., there's a growing trend to decommission such structures for ecological restoration. Although small hydro projects can be relatively benign, big dams (greater than 15 metres high) make big reservoirs with devastating effects on fish and on wildlife dependent on riparian habitat.

They also incur huge losses of native forest, remove a valuable carbon sink, and (take up) fertile farmland.

Perhaps worst of all, due to the rotting humus and vegetation that they submerge, reservoirs continue to emit large quantities of methane for decades, a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon dioxide.  

Thomas DeMarco // Whistler

Inaugural Whistler X Triathlon a success

A huge thank you and well-deserved kudos to the Whistler Triathlon Club organizers of Whistler's inaugural X Triathlon held at Lost Lake on Sunday, June 9.

Dale, Kristian and the rest of the team did a superb job of putting on a very fun and safe off-road triathlon.

A huge thanks also to all the volunteers and sponsors of the event—your generosity was greatly appreciated and recognized.

Congrats also to all the first-time triathlon participants, your enthusiasm was infectious. My friends and I will look forward to participating in this event in 2020.

Great job, Whistler Tri Club!

Marla Zucht // Whistler

Uniting the country

Where were you when the Raptors won their first NBA title on June 13?

It's incredible how sports can unite an entire nation and this victory took me back to the 2010 Olympics when Canada won the gold in men's hockey.

Where were you when that happened in 2010?

I just wish we could rally together to fight the oil companies or vote in a proper government that's for the people.

The most inspiring story of the Raptors victory is Nav the Superfan and how he wanted to bring people together because of the Raptors and create more love and not hate in the world.

Why can't we all be good to each other and in live in a world of peace and love? This is why I will always love my sports team—it brings out the positive effect in most people for the most part.

Now if only the Toronto Maple Leafs took some notes on how win a championship.

You didn't have to be a basketball fan to enjoy the playoff run by the Raptors. I think it was more about being Canadian and cheering for Canada's team just like the Blue Jays in '92 and '93.

Once again, thank you Toronto Raptors for uniting our amazing country of Canada, and once again, the whole world is looking at us again as they should.

Here's to many more championships from the Toronto Raptors, Canada's team.

Doug Ryan // Whistler

Strawberry tea

Thank you to our wonderful community, which looks forward to our famous Strawberry Tea every year.

You came out and supported our event, which makes it possible for us, in turn, to donate our earnings to various groups and teams within our valley.

We are extremely grateful to the individuals who show up to help us every year as well.  

A special thank you to Pemberton Valley Supermarket for its continued generosity, which is much appreciated.

Linda Welsh // Pemberton

Mountain bike heritage week thanks

The Whistler Museum would like to thank everyone who helped make the fourth annual Whistler Mountain Bike Heritage Week a success; it wouldn't have been possible without your support and participation!

Special thanks to our speakers Pat Montani, Patrick Lucas, Grant Lamont, Bruce Spicer, Don Campbell, Jorli Ricker, Chris Allen and Steve Mathews and to our partners and sponsors: the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Whistler Off Road Cycling Association, Whistler Bike Co., Whistler Public Library, Pinkbike, Thinkbike, Chromag, Vorsprung Suspension, Coastal Culture Sports, Crankworx, North Shore Billet, Evolution, Creekside Market, X-treme Organics, Sabre Rentals, Arts Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb (EpicPromise program) and the Province of British Columbia. We'd also like to thank everyone who came out to the events.

We're looking forward to next year already!

Allyn Pringle // Whistler Museum

Our community

My wife and I, along with the fabric of this town, attended the Celebration of Life for Cheryl Morningstar.

The MacDonald Ballroom at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler was filled with family, friends and associates that Cheryl had touched in her life. The individuals who spoke so eloquently and passionately about an amazing individual and a life well lived should be congratulated by all of us—there is no doubt that Cheryl's star will burn brightly far into the future.

I was reminded profoundly once again that Whistler cares very deeply about its own, and Buff and I are very proud to be part of this place we call home.

Nigel and Buff Woods // Whistler

Blowing in the wind

On the heels of International Surfing Day. I feel compelled to write this.

Yesterday (Sunday June 16th) was a day of action. Many locations around the world rallied to celebrate our oceans and pitch in to clean up the excessive amount of plastics that pollute this vast and special place we surfers call our playground and even our second home.

What brings me to communicate all this is a sight that nearly brought me to rage today on Monday.

I visited the GFL Environmental Inc. recycling facility here in Squamish mid-morning. As I neared this location coming from the north, I was greeted with numerous pieces of soft, plastic debris blowing up the road. Entering the user-depot area, it was littered with the same. The GFL employee was using a forklift to remove/replace the bins, as obviously they must have been full? 

My first thought was why was there such a mess? The obvious answer to me is "people." People who did not care enough to properly dispose of said items and the people who run this operation who failed to provide enough bins?

I made a frantic call to G.F.L. offices and was greeted by someone who told me they were (understaffed) to deal with this. Really?

I suspect it is really a result of us being "over-manned" in this town, corridor and world in general?

Something to think about—please do your part and clean up after yourself and even go above and beyond, pitch in and pick up debris when you see it.

Pura Vida!

Tony Jovanovic // Squamish