Every week when reading Pique, I'm disgusted by how many instances of drunk driving there are reported.
Part of what makes Whistler so great is that everything is accessible by bike, on foot, a cheap cab ride or hitchhiking. So why is it that so many people find it necessary to pick up their car keys after having a few drinks? Cab fare to get from one end of town to the other is rarely more than $20. If these drunk drivers can afford car insurance, gas and the booze that caused them to become inebriated in the first place they should be able to hold off on that one last pitcher of beer and use the money for a cab instead.
In Whistler of all places, there's just no excuse - unless you count stupidity.
Building a relationship
On July 1st, the Whistler International Hostel will be moving from Alta Lake Road to its new location at Cheakamus Crossing. Except for the odd over-exuberant noisy late-night party, the relationship has been a very harmonious one between the hostel and residents of Alta lake Road, as there has always been an excellent manager on site. Over the years the hostel was the place many a local first stayed and visitors, both young and old, from around the world have enjoyed this unique place.
It is understood that the municipality will now be taking ownership and it would be much appreciated if the Director of Parks could hold an open house at the hostel to inform the residents of Alta Lake Road just what the future plans for the site will be so that we may have some input. It does seem that quite often decisions are made without consulting the actual people who are going to be directly affected. None of the other lake parks in Whistler - Lost Lake, Nita Lake, Alpha Lake, Wayside, Lakeside and Rainbow on Alta Lake - are in such close proximity to numerous residences, which this one is. We would like the municipality to bear this fact in mind when considering its use and how it will be supervised.
Hostel move end of an era
It's the end of an era today (Thursday July 1) when Hostelling International Whistler moves out of its Alta Lake Road property and begins life at Cheakamus Crossing. The staff who worked at the historic Alta Lake site would like to thank Whistler's residents and corporate community for attending and supporting our open houses and other community events in nearly 37 years of operation.
The hostel also raised important funds for many local charities including the Whistler Food Bank.
We would also like to thank our neighbours on Alta Lake Road. The building opened as a fishing lodge in the 1960s before officially opening as a hostel on July 20, 1973. When the hostel opened there were just three chairlifts, located at Creekside, and Whistler Village was just a dream.
Today, the new 188-bed hostel will become a flagship property for Hostelling International Canada and will feature a café, television room, dining area, lounge and large kitchen.
The last staff members at Alta Lake also wish the new team at Cheakamus Crossing the best of luck with their new operation.
Forgiveness granted and praise given
Top hat off to Max for accepting the fact that previous articles regarding the asphalt plant at Cheakamus did not accurately reflect either the gravity of the situation or what is, in my opinion, the immensely deplorable conduct of the municipal council.
This is neither the space nor the time to detail council's lack of sound judgment and failure to follow the simplest rules of, in my view, fair and honest conduct.
The only issue is the fact that the asphalt plant is not compatible with the existence of the new community. It must be moved. Moving it means a minimum of five kilometres, not metres. The agreement to shunt it metres behind a hill is not just absurd, it is an insult to intelligent voters. It has the appearance of a stinking, cooked deal and of pandering to the paving company.
The discontent of voters is growing and will soon spill over to environmental and public interest groups.
Each of the plethora of issues including conflicts of interest, failure to disclose, negligence, misrepresentation and more, will be scrutinized in detail by objective parties.
There are two reasons that Max's mea culpa is important. First, it takes a great man to admit his errors and seek forgiveness; it takes a greater man to do so in print, and especially so when that person is a journalist. That shows strength of character and indicates a person who puts truth before pride.
The second reason is that it sets an example for others to follow.
Council should do so.
They should do so of their own volition. The public will not only forgive them, but council will earn back respect for admitting their transgressions. Those include a cornucopia of failings, including but not restricted to false information, misleading statements, and lack of transparency used to enter into an agreement which overwhelmingly favours and will ultimately enrich a third party. All of these blunders and inappropriate actions are of Olympic proportions.
Justice must be done and be seen to be done. In this case, council achieved neither.
Revisit asphalt options
I'm writing in regards to recent developments in the Cheakamus Crossing development, namely the release of internal RMOW documents relating to a 1998 rezoning attempt by the then asphalt plant's landlords, the Sabre Group.
From the documents, it's clear that both the site tenure holder, the Sabre Group, their tenant Alpine Paving, and the RMOW were all aware that the asphalt plant was not a permitted use under the site's zoning. An attempt was made to bring the plant into compliance, but this was abandoned by the tenure holders. Since then, the asphalt plant has been clearly and purposely operating on the site without the proper zoning, despite the operators having the opportunity to rezone the property in 1998. I fail to see any form of tacit approval from the RMOW for Alpine Paving to operate the asphalt plant on that site, and in fact an attempt was made to rezone the property 1998 to bring it into compliance, which Alpine Paving failed to do.
I also fail to see where simply failing to prosecute a non-conforming use becomes an approval of that use. Communities such as Surrey and Burnaby in the Vancouver area have been dealing with this issue for years. Informal industry had been operating in formerly isolated areas that later became gentrified, and those businesses and industrial shops had to eventually yield to their zoning.
I would ask that:
In light of the new documents, council re-open debate on RMOW options in regard to dealing with the Cheakamus Crossing asphalt plant.
Council waive its privilege on the legal opinion that municipal solicitors prepared in relation to this matter and release it to the public. Parts dealing with the financial details of the private parties involved should, of course, be redacted. This opinion affects the future of all the Cheakamus Crossing residents, and considering the large public investment in the project, the entire community, and should not be held in secret.
That council release the consultant's report on the status of the asphalt plant.
I would also like to comment on the failure of the planning department to realize that there was a heavy industrial plant operating in close proximity to a proposed major residential development when they evaluated the different sites for the development. Not only are there approximately 200 families moving into that area, there is a roughly $10,000,000 municipal investment in the project. That the municipal planning department doesn't know the location of every heavy industrial site in the Whistler area, despite the fact that this one was the subject of a re-zoning attempt six years prior to the report, is beyond me.
I wonder how much more it would have cost to move the portable asphalt plant five kilometres versus 150 metres? I would think that the main cost would be the disassembling and reassembling of the plant and the actual transportation cost would have been relatively minor.
I also wonder why one would consider rezoning this new location when it was considered an undesirable activity long before there was a Cheakamus Crossing?
A vote for proportional representation
Andrew Mitchell has hit the nail squarely on the head (Pique 'n Your Interest June 24). In politics the big boys certainly don't like proportional representation, for that would give them a lesser showing than they have under the present lousy system. They also know that P.R. would commonly give us minority governments who would finally have to admit the need to co-operate since they were elected to be friendly to everyone, not just the few who voted for them.
The referendum on STV (done twice) had nothing to do with proportional representation and was only a pretense at reform - which we were promised a very long time ago. A promise that clearly was never intended to be fulfilled.
Instead, a slight variation on WAC Bennett's alternate voting system was engineered by delay, by appointing a committee that was coerced into putting forward that nonsense of having a second choice or worse, having some bean counter do it for you.
If anyone wanted to they could have looked at Scandinavia for a good example of how proportional representation has worked well for more than half a century. Election by riding needs to go the way of the Dodo. All legislatures need to go to proportional representation.
Surely by now no further investigation is needed.
A bridge too bizarre
Could someone explain to me what the muni is doing with the Valley Drive bridge in Alpine?
I find it curious (yet hilarious) that the employees dug a bunch of large potholes on both lanes and left the southbound closed, when it's just as bad as the northbound one.
Fair enough if they were actually doing the repairs, but to tell the truth, I haven't seen anybody working on it for about a week. Where is the logic in this? Have they abandoned the project?
I was just on my patio this morning watching this angry guy kicking the construction signs and swearing at the top of his lungs, which compelled me to write and demand answers.
I am quite certain that I'm not the only one puzzled over this bizzare procedure.
Generous drivers make difference
Just a quick word of thanks to all of the drivers who drove their vehicles through the Ken Quon Memorial Carwash in Marketplace last Saturday. You were very generous with your donations. Likewise with your purchase of the hot dogs at the BBQ.
A big thank you goes out to the Whistler firefighters, volunteers from WORCA, Marketplace IGA, Trilogy, Sabre Rentals and Grace and Martha who lovingly rolled all those dogs on the grill.
The proceeds from this event will be coupled with the earnings from the Ken Quon Ride On bike day on Aug. 8 this year. The day includes a family ride, a Toonie ride, the Remax Corridor Cup Team Race and, for the first time, the B.C. Cup Championship cross country race.
Last year's events provided the funds to purchase an imaging camera that allows our firefighters to pinpoint humans in smoke-filled areas and possibly save lives.
See you on Aug. 8.
Students clean up
Re: Myrtle Philip students clean the air!
Congratulations to all the students at Myrtle Philip Community School who participated in the annual Commuter Challenge and Wheeling Wednesdays in June. Many people wheeled their way to school under their own power, car-pooled, took the bus or just plain walked.
On Wheeling Wednesdays students also made donations to Bikes for Humanity , as a way to reach out and help people less fortunate than themselves.
A big thank you to local businesses who donated draw prizes for Wheeling Wednesdays: Jenine at Evolution, Nada at Showcase, Jayson at Escape Route, Dan at Armchair Books, the Whistler Bike Company, Keenan at Whistler Eco-Tours and Rusty at Katmandu. Your prizes make the event lots of fun.
Thank you so much to Shelley Leddingham, teacher sponsor at Myrtle Philip for organizing her class to graph the results and announce draw prizes among other things.
The winning classes in the Commuter Challenge received a pizza party in recognition of their efforts for a week of coming to school in a clean air way. We hope everyone continues to use their own power to get around!
I'm looking forward to a clean air summer!