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Letters to the Editor for the week of November 3rd

Preparing for fentanyl's arrival How sad to read the report from the BC Coroners Service about the increase in illicit-drug deaths in Pique's article dated Oct. 13. My son Martin died on Sept.
Photo courtesy of Vancouver Coastal Health

Preparing for fentanyl's arrival

How sad to read the report from the BC Coroners Service about the increase in illicit-drug deaths in Pique's article dated Oct. 13.

My son Martin died on Sept. 2, 2014 in Whistler, aged 19, and therefore is one of the statistics.

Martin's death has had far-reaching impacts, and his loss has left a gaping hole in our family.

It is alarming that the number of deaths is increasing from illicit drugs and that the young, and not so young, are being enticed to add these substances to their lives for a variety of reasons.

This means that more families have to go through the trauma of the death of a loved one from illicit drugs.

It seems that the education and information is just not getting through to those that are vulnerable, or at risk, of taking these substances.

The dealers and those wishing to make money continue to profit.

I liken the dealers and pushers to noxious weeds that infiltrate a garden: at first they mimic the plants we want to grow strong, then gradually take hold and get stronger. Before long they are so entrenched in the garden they are difficult to remove.

That garden could be the nightclub or bar, where everyone wants to go and have fun and feel part of the crowd.

So the friend or acquaintance that you first meet when you arrive in Whistler, and other places, may purport to be your friend and show you how to have a good time, but really has another agenda.

My wish and hope is that all the education, and health services, do well in the efforts to combat the scourge of illicit drugs and prevent more deaths.

It does concern me that Whistler Blackcomb has no plans to stock Naloxone, the medication that can block or reverse the effects of opioids. There is only a very short window of time before long-term adverse effects can cause damage. Not having this medication available is questionable.

As a mother and a family, the loss of a loved one this from illicit-drug toxicity leaves far more questions than are answered.

Jennifer Janson
East Kurrajong, NSW, Australia

Cenotaph needs better location

It has been with great interest that I have followed the "Tribute Plaque Program" administered by the RMOW, particularly the bench program.

Citizens have the opportunity to recognize loved ones or significant events by purchasing a bench and placing a plaque indicating that significance on it.

It is my experience that most of these benches are significantly located to provide as an ascetic experience as possible. It is my wish to see those whose Tribute Plaque Benches are threatened come to an amicable solution with the RMOW.

Whistler has a Cenotaph that is a monument "to all of her citizens who served the local community and the nation and have paid with their life."

Unlike a tribute bench that is often positioned to attract as many posteriors as possible, our Cenotaph is "out of sight, out of mind" — forgotten — for 364 days of the year.

It is positioned between a busy thoroughfare sidewalk, under a tree and at the south end of an overflowing public safety building parking lot — hardly a position where one would select to place a tribute bench.

 My desire is to bring our Cenotaph out to be accessible 365 days of the year.

I am once again looking forward to the Remembrance Day Service — see you there. 

Tom Thomson

Winter tires would help

I read with great interest that the Resort Municipality of Whistler is thinking of hiring a consultant to study road closures — "RMOW hopes study will help shorten highway closures," Pique, Oct.27.

A more reasonable, cost-effective approach would be to ask a Whistler local.

The solution is simple — nobody is allowed up the (Sea to Sky) highway in the winter without good winter tires — period! Problem solved.

Let the RCMP do its job and the rental companies will figure it out.

Steve St.Arnaud

We have to act to protect bears

I would like to comment on the Pique's article regarding a bear being destroyed on Oct. 12 after wandering into the village.

We regularly read about bears being killed for so many unacceptable reasons. In August at Lost Lake, a mother bear and her cubs were killed because a biker fell off her bike even though there was no contact, or consider the July Ironman incident.

The latest incident reported a bear following some people on the stroll. The bear was probably on his way to Tapley's to watch the game or pick up some gear from a shop!

In none of these incidents did a bear hurt anybody.

I'm outraged that over the last 10 years, more than 50 per cent of our bears were killed for unjustified reasons like stealing a sandwich from a construction site, fake charging somebody or coming close to houses. No humans have been hurt due to a bear attack, except intoxicated people trying to touch bears or enter a bear's personal space.

If bears were the vicious and dangerous animals the conservation officers (COs) try to make us believe then we would have many serious incidents every week. Bears are stronger and faster than any human being; the reality is that bears avoid conflict, even when confronted by other animals like dogs.

It seems the COs have decided to avoid human and bear conflicts by killing as many as possible and attempt to justify the killings afterwards.

The fact that the municipality allows this to happen is outrageous. If the COs and the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) decided Whistler should be a bear-free zone, then at least have the courage to announce this and let the people have a voice in this decision. If people want to live without bears then so be it, but at least give people in this town a chance to decide how we want to manage wildlife.

We don't shoot dogs for stealing sandwiches or barking at people. An owner would be quite opposed to having their dog killed for a small misstep. Since bears have no direct owners, nobody objects. We cannot have a small minority dictate our world and accept this as truth. We get weekly statistics on everything from stolen bikes and cars, but never get any statistics on how many bears were killed in the Whistler area or why.

We are invading bear habitat on a daily basis. For the Conservation Officer Service to call a bear habituated because they are not afraid of people is ridiculous. How else can a bear access the different food sources if they don't accept people being close to them? A bear must cross the bike park, or go through our neighbourhoods, to access other parts of its territory, which are intersected by new developments.

If we don't act now, we will have to show pictures of bears in Whistler to our kids.

Viktoria Zuzana

We can reduce waste every day

Between Oct. 17 and 23, people came together to recognize the national Waste Reduction Week (WRW). We would like to thank all those who braved the rain to come watch Just Eat It, a film that showcased the scale of food waste generated in society.

A vibrant audience Q&A with Grant Baldwin, one of the makers and stars of the film, gave attendees lots of options for personal action. Food waste reduction tips included watching portion sizes, planning your meals, ensuring food isn't left to spoil by creating an "eat me first" drawer in the fridge, buying only what you need and avoiding going to the grocery store when hungry!

Those who attended the event were provided with food-scrap collection bins, posters highlighting what can go in and what stays out of the organics bin, as well as information on recycling correctly. If you couldn't attend the event but would like to access posters or waste segregation signage, they are available for free download at

If you missed Waste Reduction Week, don't fret — every day is a great day to reduce waste! There were lots of great ideas for reducing waste collected through the WRW Photo Challenge, so be sure to check them out by searching the regional waste-reduction tag line #LoveThisPlaceReduceYourWaste on Instagram or go to www.awarewhistler/wastereductionweek.

AWARE would like to say a huge thank you to the Squamish-Lil'Wat Cultural Centre for hosting the WRW evening event, as well as the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District for their partnership and support of the above WRW initiatives.

We are constantly inspired by our community and look forward to continuing to work together to support our shared goal of a zero waste future.

Claire Ruddy and Stephanie Hubbard
Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment

Restaurants have role to play in waste reduction

I had decided to treat myself to a nice, delicious vegan classic and Earl Grey tea at Gone on Wednesday, Oct. 26, and was delighted with the friendly service while they were slammed during lunch hour. 

However, one thing certainly annoyed me overall and that's that I had ordered my meal and tea to have (in the restaurant) and, yeah, you guessed it, I got my tea served in a single-use disposable cup! Ugh, how frustrating when I specifically asked for it to be "for here."

If I wanted it "to go," I would have given the employee my reusable "to go" mug, which I was carrying in my backpack, but no, I wanted to enjoy Gone's atmosphere and eat my meal in the restaurant, which has been a tradition of mine for the past nine years.

As I sat down at a comfy windowsill table waiting for my food, I looked around and not one person had a "for-here" mug. Why? Does it not concern (the eatery) when a garbage bin in the middle of winter (is) completely full of disposable cups? I refuse to believe that I am the only person who notices this.

My advice is simple: if a client is requesting something specific, then please listen to them as opposed to doing the unfortunate automatic and habitual behaviour that most baristas have nowadays, which is to straight away use a take-away cup.

Remember when people used to enjoy a nice cup of coffee with a friend at a café and have their warm beverages "for here?" Why has that behaviour disappeared? 

Last week was Waste Reduction Week here in Whistler and many people in town had no idea.

Kudos to AWARE, the SLRD and the RMOW for creating an Instagram Photo Challenge for WRW, #LoveThisPlaceReduceYourWaste.

But how is Whistler going to strive towards zero waste in the future when we have cognitive dissonance inhibiting us? People, please speak up! Let's work together to ensure this does not continue.

This is super easy, low-hanging fruit. For us to live a more sustainable life, all we need to do is enjoy a cup of tea "for here!" It was a very simple and easy behavioural change for me to get into the habit of bringing my own reusable mug, cutlery, napkin, and handkerchief and shopping/grocery bag everywhere I go. 

I'm also considering buying Tiffin tins for take always because, ultimately, although your sushi rolls or burrito may be packaged in a compostable container, there is still the "virtual" carbon footprint behind producing this type of packaging.

Water, energy and transportation are all things to consider when our compostable packaging is handed to us.

So, although it's a great initiative that the Gone Eatery did, they didn't even have a compost bin for my tea bag and compostable cup!

Melanie Tardif

(Editor's note: Gone has had to remove its composting bins in the short-term as it deals with a new garbage-removal storage system.)

Give up single-use cups

I keep seeing "zero waste" campaigns and promises here and there given by Whistler Blackcomb, AWARE and so on, and yet I see so many ridiculous obstacles that could be removed fairly easily with both an economic, environmental and social benefit: a win-win for everyone and everything.

Back in the '80s, when I was growing up in the U.K., if someone had given my mother a cup of tea in a paper cup, she would have been foaming at the mouth and practically chucked it in your face! There is no etiquette in drinking a high commodity luxury product like an herbal tea from Japan, or fair-trade espresso, in a disposable cup. How exactly did North America adopt this tacky, disposable culture, which is so on-trend, and manage to export it to the rest of the world? 

You've probably seen Facebook profile pictures of people posing with Starbucks "to go" cups.

Maybe you have one yourself. Long-gone are the days when people would enjoy each other's company in cafes, or take pride in using fine China porcelain to honour the extravagance of an exotic drink from lands afar.

In Italy, espresso bars are part of the culture: you come in and order and shoot it down in a couple minutes and leave. There's no paper cup. I have seen people order espressos "to go" in Whistler. It's madness! People also order massive coffees in huge paper cups to dawdle around the village with letting their milky, weak lattes go stone-cold and then dispose of them, maybe in a trash can or maybe in a bush, half-full.

Of course, many of us Whistler "worker-bees," who work two jobs or more just to pay rent, are on-the-go and don't have time to enjoy the luxury of cafe culture.

The solution: a re-usable mug. I have been using the same cup for over two years. I have probably saved around 1,000 paper/plastic so-called compostable cups from entering the landfill, and let's face it: that is where they end up.

Coffee cups make terrible compost and aren't recycled. According to many sources online, Canada produces as many paper coffee cups a year as there are people in China, equivalent to half a million trees and they take 500 years to disintegrate.

It's not brain science to figure out that we need trees more than ever and need to reduce our waste and energy consumption (which of course is factored into the production and transportation of all your plastic cups).

I urge the good people of Whistler, Canada and the world: the business owners, the councils, the tourists and the workers to knock this devastating trend on the head. Give it up, please. 

And don't get me started on plastic bags or straws.

Natasha Mauger

SCCS PAC's Gala night success

Baskets of thank-yous to the Spring Creek Community School (SCCS) parents and staff, community members and local businesses for supporting SCCS PAC's Parent Gala night at The Venue.

We are grateful for everyone who supported and who joined in on Friday, Oct. 28 to make our Parent Gala night fundraiser a big success. Your willingness to participate, to enjoy a delicious dinner, to purchase raffle tickets, and to socialize with parents and staff, created a very fun and memorable evening while raising funds for the school.

We had over 65 attendees and raised over $2,000!

Huge thanks to The Venue for hosting our evening and to the Spring Creek PAC executive team for organizing the event. The Venue truly glowed with warm light and positive, festive energy.

And very special thanks to our generous donors who provided prizes for our incredible gift baskets. The raffle of these gift baskets was a highlight of the evening and, in turn, raised significant new money for our school.

The evening was an even bigger success due to your support. Thanks to: Windsor Plywood, Home Hardware, Whistler Blackcomb, Upper Village Market, Nonna Pia's Balsamic Reductions, Whistler Brewery, Kahuna Paddleboards, Blackcomb Beer & Wine Store, Denise Brown Real Estate, The Lift Coffee Co., Creekside Market, Starbucks - Creekside, The Thornhill Group, Armchair Books, The Spa at Nita Lake Lodge, Kerri Fletcher - Allysian, Julie Nash - Arbonne International, Whoola Toys, Whistler Kitchenworks, BC Wine Studio, Peak Performance, Helly Hansen, Nancy Knapton - JoNo Hair, Amos & Andes, Lordco, Scandinave Spa, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Rosie's House, Whistler Dental, Whistler Gym, Whistler Laundry, and Happy Pets.

Christine Zucht

Christmas light mystery

Last week, I was watching municipal workers put Christmas lights on the Lorimer Road centre lane. It is quite a process, and it did take some time, but I am one who appreciates the lights in the winter so nothing to say there.

To my surprise, a week later, other workers came to cut/trim the trees on the side of the road on Lorimer and in the centre lane. Guess what they did with the Christmas lights? They took them off — not all but on quite a few trees.

Now, I am not sure if they worked for the municipality as well, but it does not really matter. Is this really where our tax dollars are going?

You know what they say about common sense — it is not that common. But really, is it this hard to get organized and have the trees trimmed before the Christmas lights go up? It has been less than a week.

Here I am sitting at my desk watching this and shaking my head.

Jenny Citherler

(Editor's note: Pique reached out to the RMOW regarding the issue and received this response:

"Regarding the tree removal on Lorimer Road yesterday: A mistake was made and two trees that had lights installed last week were removed. Our crew was informed of what trees were to be removed, and installed lights only in trees that were far from the removal area. How the mistake happened was the tree removal company was given a map and told to remove all trees with orange flagging tape on them. Our light installer put orange flagging tape at the end of the light string on two of the fir trees that he did, so our ground crew could find the end (of the light string) and finish the tree at a later date. The tree company mistakenly removed those two trees.")