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Next steps to China

Now that Approved Destination Status has been approved for Chinese tourists to visit Canada, and Canadian tour operators to market to the 1.3 billion people in China, we in Whistler have some very good news.

Now that Approved Destination Status has been approved for Chinese tourists to visit Canada, and Canadian tour operators to market to the 1.3 billion people in China, we in Whistler have some very good news.

I have visited the Peoples' Republic five times in the last four years on Whistler Forum and other matters. Like Prime Minister Stephen Harper I have seen first hand the many mutual opportunities there are to strengthen the gateways to Asia. Some high-level Chinese officials and delegations have visited Whistler. Now is the time to build on these relationships with those in China looking for education, recreation and sustainable development.

And yet as with our Prime Minister, many in China and Canadian officials I have spoken to there have also wondered why we have not engaged with them more seriously. In Whistler we have some catching up to do, if as well as the regional, American and European market, we want to advance our interests and values with China and the complex emerging markets of Asia.

Through our Whistler Forum leadership programs we know senior officials in the National Peoples' Congress, Canadian Embassy in Beijing, the Canada-China Business Council and at the Party School's China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong Shanghai. Most recently we worked with CELAP on a Canada-China Forum on Corporate Governance and Social Responsibility.

Through Leadership Sea to Sky Cohorts III and IV we explored the strategic opportunities in education, tourism and sustainable development. We took a delegation of 26 to promote Whistler's work in sustainability and accessibility during the Paralympics last September at the B.C.-Canada Pavilion.

We have been asked by officials in Yunnan Province in southwest China to partner with tourism and local government officials in Shangri-la. And Tu Weiming, a leading expert in Confucianism, gave us a Chinese name: "Wei st ler ( )," the "pleasure of thinking together."

It is true that many leaders and officials in Whistler are busy with other priorities. It is also the case that when Intrawest sold off its interests in resort developments in China, that Melco and other Hong Kong investors stepped into the mountain provinces of Jilin, Xinjiang and Heilongjiang.

But with concerted efforts and collaborative leadership in Whistler and throughout the corridor we can rise to the challenges of this new day.

In 2010 we will host a Forum on Chinese Cuisine Sunday, Jan. 24, and a Celebration of the Chinese New Year Sunday, Feb. 14 th . We are also planning a Leadership Sea to Sky tour to present at the Canada Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo Sept. 15 to 22.

We look forward to working with others in Whistler and the corridor, and adding value to the uphill journey of getting to approved destination status.

William Roberts

President, The Whistler Forum


IOC lost in time, space

Thank you so much for the article by G.D. Maxwell about the IOC "rationalization" of disallowing women's ski jumping as an Olympic Sport.

Wow! I didn't realize how far behind the times the IOC was until just a couple of years ago. I just thought I kept missing the television coverage of women's ski jumping at the Olympics. I could hardly believe it when I read that women were not allowed to compete as Olympians in ski jumping.

I was 10 when I went off my first ski jump. No one told me not to. In fact, my parents used to watch me. It was a six-foot homemade wooden jump on a neighbourhood ski hill. The boys were doing it, it looked like fun, so I did too. I loved it!

I went off "just like" The Wide World of Sports on TV. It was 1969, you see. I loved the feeling of "flying." Ski jumping is the closest thing to flying without getting into an airplane.

I am 50 years old now. I would think the IOC would've made the correct decision a very long time ago. I hope I live to see women's ski jumping as an Olympic sport.

P.S. Does the IOC know there are women astronauts? And women doctors, and women lawyers, and women prime ministers, and...

Sue Martinell

Sultan, WA, USA


The new neighbours

You never know who you're going to get when someone new is moving in next door and when there are 500 or so new neighbours well, you might think this could be a real crapshoot.

So it was a great surprise to see the spirit and resolve of some of the people in this group to get council to vote to move the asphalt plant. You folks have certainly impressed me. Your health concerns are completely correct because when a cloud of half-baked carcinogenic hydrocarbons descends on your house you know it's dangerous.

Before the plant was moved to its present location it was about the same distance away from my house as it is now from the athletes' village and when that cloud descended it made the worst day in Mexico City look like a bluebird day on the peak.

I am also impressed by the councillors who voted in favour of moving it by June 1st. That "yes we can" attitude is refreshing and besides, asphalt plants are highly portable. Not saying there are not costs involved and I would like to help out.

I have an annual credit running with the RMOW that stems from an action of mine eight years ago. If you were here then you would have remembered on cloudy nights all of Function was lit up with the glow off the clouds. This was caused by the sewer treatment plant lights that were costing $30,000 a year, as I found out when I started asking why they were on in the first place. I mean, the STP is fully alarmed and there is no one on night shift so why would you have these huge lights blazing away? Seems simple, just turn off the lights, save 30-grand a year.

Not so. It took months and months of harassing to get that decision made, and then months of me phoning the STP and nagging them when they left lights on, but finally the place went dark.

Now did anybody at the muni accomplish this? No. I did. Thank you, thank you, really no applause is necessary, yes, thank you, you are too kind.

So if you think that I'm laying claim to that cash I've saved the Whistler taxpayer you're pretty sharp. If you know where I'm going with this well you're even sharper. That's right, I hereby donate this cool quarter million (8x$30,000=$240,000, plus a little interest) to the Move the Asphalt Plant Fund as a gift to my new neighbours. You deserve it.

Also, I hope you'll accept this gift in lieu of the obligatory bottle of wine and loaf of bread I should bring over for everyone. I knew I should have started saving up for that a couple of years ago but I had my own problems.

In closing I would like to ask, after cutting down an excessive amount of trees for the STP expansion, paving the rest for security for the Olympics and installing lights on the new Valley Trail that will illuminate a deer at 500 metres in a major wildlife corridor, what plans does the RMOW have to be environmental stewards of their own land? Because at this point the RMOW has done nothing to help land mammals and in fact has done the opposite. In the 30-plus years I've lived on the Upper Cheakamus I've never seen wildlife under such stress as they are now. And after the Olympics, but hopefully before the spring black tailed deer migration season, I'd like an answer to that question.

Welcome to the neighborhood.

Lyall Fetherstonhaugh



Interesting people, but...

Congrats on the story (Making friends in Whistler, Pique Dec. 3). I agree it is hard to make new friends at Whistler.

I have been here most of the time for a few months, having retired at 59. There are many excellent events and sports opportunities but all provide little opportunity to actually meet and talk with strangers. For example the Whistler Film Festival gala had a special opening cocktail event, but for most gala attendees it was an open bar followed by an excellent Canadian film. But little opportunity for most to meet and socialize.

Whistler may need a social club like TGIF in Vancouver, where there is a schedule of events for singles. People show up to share an event or sport with no obligation beyond communicating with a smile.

There appears to be many interesting people here from all over the world doing their own thing but wanting a friend once in a while.

Michael Blaxland



Bratz Biz building on success

The spirit of the season is alive and well in our community. There was something different about Bratz Biz this year. No one could quite put a finger on it. The energy was warmer, there were more tantalizing scents in the air and each of the vendors' tables was more appealing. The kids, with the help of parents who understand the concept of Bratz Biz, are doing so much more. They could be hired as window dressers or secret shoppers for some of our local retailers. There is something special about having sparkle, without the glitz.

Bratz Biz co-founders, Laslett & Shrimpton, have challenges ahead. If the same number of vendors were to participate next year, there would have to be a greater variety of products to ensure satisfaction and success for each artisan. Starting the jury process earlier would help. Applications would have to be accepted on a first come, first served basis if quality met expectations. Once one or two products of the same type were accepted, applications would have to be rejected based on duplication only.

While Whistler Secondary School is a convenient venue for locals, it may not be the best for visitors or skier traffic. Vendors who have participated for more than one Bratz Biz are looking for a wider market for their products. Moving the event to the village, however, means raising more funds to meet operating costs.

Another challenge facing Bratz Biz organizers is satisfying sponsors so that they continue to support the event. If sponsors want to see their logos displayed bolder and brighter, then Bratz Biz will have to purchase larger ads and launch a website in the near future.

Volunteers are also vital to the event's success. This starts with the jury and ends with the clean up. What goes on behind the scenes involves a great number of hours and people who do not have children involved in Bratz Biz. These are volunteers who believe in what Bratz Biz is doing for our youth.

Thank you to each and every volunteer for contributing to the success of the event including performers from: Soul Funktion Dance Troupe, Whistler Chorus and Whistler Singers.

A sampling of Bratz Biz artisans' products was displayed at Whistler Arts Council's Bizarre Bazaar the previous weekend. It was a great opportunity to invite more of the public to the event and show professional artisans what some of our youth are producing.

Thank you to Bratz Biz major sponsors for 2009: Nesters, O'Mara Construction, Thornhill Real Estate, Whistler's Creekside Market, The Whistler Grocery Store, Coastal Mountain Excavations, Avant Contractors, Corona Excavations, Southerncross Construction, Stonebridge Marketing, Walsh Restorations, Whistler Construction, Whistler Dental, Whistler Excavations, Windsor Plywood Whistler & Whistler Blackcomb. Please also look for our thank you ad next week to see the extensive list of businesses who contributed with cash and in-kind donations.

Susan Shrimpton

Bratz Biz Co-Founder


Protect our food-lands

Pemberton is blessed with some of the best farmland in Canada and we are losing it. Only 0.5 per cent of all of Canada's land is considered class 1 farmland (according to the Canada Land Inventory), which means it has no significant limitations for farming and has the highest productivity for a variety of crops. If Canadian agricultural soil in good climatic regions were a species, undoubtedly Pemberton's farmland would be labeled endangered.

Non-farmers are buying Pemberton's farmland and building their homes in the middle of food-producing fields. This is destroying what is undeniably some of the finest and most rare food-lands in Canada.

Vegetable and animal crops require all the currently available farmland in Pemberton in order to thrive and survive. Every square foot of land given over to non-farm activities puts our food-security at risk and directly decreases our ability to feed our population. It is critical that we take action now to protect our remaining productive soils.

The SLRD board recently gave first reading to the Farm Home Plate Bylaw for Area C in Pemberton. The intent of the bylaw is to ensure that future homes, tennis courts and pools are not built in the middle of our fertile farmlands. Let your local politicians know that you agree with the need to secure food-producing lands.

Surrey and Delta recently passed similar bylaws to protect their farmland. It is not too late to take stewardship over our soils and we can do this by changing the laws and policies to protect farmland. We need to save our farmland to grow food.

Jennie Helmer

On behalf of the Citizens in Support of the Farm Home Plate Bylaw



More is never enough

Their publication notwithstanding, the response my letters to the editor have evoked has been expiring so I was thinking seriously I should quit writing before I am empty. I was at the point where only God could change my mind. Then this week CTV and Vancouver Sun publicized the fact local health authorities are going to give Olympic athletes and officials 100,000 condoms. God indeed works in mysterious ways.

The irrefutable evidence accumulates as I write. Taking sex as a reaction to "it" is more destructive than reacting with either alcohol or drugs; and as with all other reactions to "it," more is never enough. If we don't look too deeply it will appear by taking alcohol or drugs we can self-destruct in isolation. By contrast, taking sex intimately involves at least one other person so the destruction of lives is more widespread in any view. Together the three anesthetics cause almost as much self-destruction as other reactions, such as defending religious beliefs or trying to accumulate more money than everyone else, and still we try reacting to "it" with sex.

As if we needed more evidence Tiger gave us another piece. If early reports are any indication, we will eventually learn Tiger has won more major trophies with his short club than he has with his long ones. I can imagine upon discovering proof Tiger was not the husband and father he is being paid a billion dollars to be, his wife went ballistic. In response Tiger yelled, "You're nuts!" to which his wife replied, "No, you're nuts!" as she lined them up with his driver. Were it not for the safety glass in his Escalade there is a pretty good chance Tiger, along with his bag and balls, would have been driven into a hole and marked with a flag.

Do I think Tiger will learn that trying to react to "it" with sex is self-destructive? Not even if his wife becomes the first $1 billion ex. Really and truly - as confirmed by the on going destruction of our environment, human beings have got to be the dumbest species on the planet and perhaps in the universe. There is no other explanation for the "thinking" behind what I didn't know is the continuing practice of giving condoms to Olympic athletes. It began in 1992 and in Sydney the initial supply of 70,000 ran out so another 20,000 were ordered. Athens officials ordered 130,000, which worked out to 12 for each of 10,500 athletes. Beijing only ordered 100,000 condoms but they were uniquely imprinted with the motto "faster, higher, stronger." Though there were more athletes than at Athens, they only used 95,000 because the pollution diminished all activity.

To win the gold for condom distribution Canadians are giving 100,000 condoms to 6,850 athletes and officials, a new world record of 14.6 condoms and presumably 19.2 encounters per person. The persons using these condoms will have to be careful though because the officials who approved the plan likely cut the .4 off the closed end. It is rumoured Canadian condoms will have on the packing two curling stones on either side of an erect broom with the motto "hurry, hard." I wonder if a sexual orgy is what Gordon Campbell had in mind when in his sales pitch he said Olympic athletes will inspire young people to be the best they can be. WTF eh? Why we will spend $16.4 million to prevent athletes from taking drugs yet extend drinking by an hour and supply condoms to facilitate equally self-destructive activities is beyond me. I think I must be missing the Olympic equivalent of military intelligence.

Lest you think I am on a "holier than thou" moral crusade I must reveal that in a previous life I learned from frightening experience how self-destructive it was going to be for me, to be involved in another person's reaction to "it" with sex. However, I can see myself being recognized above the rest of humanity as the dumbest human for thinking as long as I have it should matter that we don't self-destruct. Until now I never thought officials will probably hand out condoms in Copenhagen. I don't know how much an actual condom costs, but as a metaphor, it is priceless.

Doug Barr