After a little family vacation in Quebec and Ontario it was fun to catch up on the back issues of the local papers. Wow, I don't get how one person could be responsible for everything people don't like. Last time I checked the mayor does not have the power of veto or imperial decree. Every council member and mayor from the previous decade or so must take equal blame for the ills of our little valley.
Some of these letters don't make sense. How can you vilify the present mayor for the cost overruns on the library and then excoriate him for not building a rink that would have cost five times more and been used by even less people. Sort of like building a sliding centre instead of a hospital.
This whole parking thing was decided years ago. I recall it made the front page of the Vancouver papers when there was more concern about paying to stabilize the Fitzsimmons land slump. Why didn't anyone get upset then?
As far as the Nita Lake Lodge Employee Housing Fund issue goes, that'll be like trying to get blood out of a stone anyway. Meanwhile Vancouver is looking at the Champagne Athlete's Village with fear about the final bill and more about the quality of the project down the road. No more money for leaky condos to fix it either. I rode by our athletes' village today and they are on time and on a beer budget. Many of my friends are looking forward to moving in a year from now.
One other thing, I checked with the Mayor about this "cranky and unhappy" quote. It didn't come out of his mouth, but the interviewer used the expression in a question. Don't believe everything you read, even if it is in the Globe and Mail .
You probably think that I am Pollyannish about what is happening in Whistler and who is leading. There are six councillors, who each have a vote. I didn't pick all of them when I voted, in my opinion I voted for the strongest candidates. I did vote for Kenny and I would do it again. His honesty and integrity, work ethic, sense of fairness and commitment to leaving the world a better place made him the best choice. Let me remind you he was the sole dissenter on council when the "Olympic Decision" was made. Regardless, he knows that we have to put our best foot forward and let the millions of people watching see what a great town this is. I only wish more people would start thinking the same way.
A line is crossed
I should not be wasting my time like this, or for that matter, yours.
Last week, a small machine came crawling down the middle of the road in front of our house, followed by a yellow line. Once the machine had passed, the yellow line decided to stay. I don't think any of our neighbours had invited it to come, but here it was. After more than 33 years of living at the same place here in Alpine, I am now staring at a yellow line, trying to figure out what it really means.
Is it safety related? I don't think so. Pretty well all the people I know did not buy their drivers licenses under the table. They all acquired them legally, and have by now figured out that in this country, we drive on the right side of the road.
Initially, the road was gravel, and mosquitoes the local wildlife. Eventually, blacktop muscled in, and we appreciated that the dust moved on to live at some other gravel road.
Everybody managed quite well without a line, and I am not aware of any rash of head-on collisions. Which now makes me think that the painting of lines where they are not needed might be an occupational therapy program for muni employees and their toys. Or is this part of a local economic stimulus package we are not aware of, sponsored by the RMOW? Has bureaucracy in its infinite wisdom decided that we are no longer capable of getting along on the road and need a bit of help?
Whatever the reason, I decided not to bother mayor and council with this. It seems they have much more important hedgehogs to brush than to concern themselves with trivial matters such as this.
However, our money is not so trivial to us as taxpayers. No matter how small the expenditure, the question should always be: is it necessary? Anyone who has ever run a successful business will tell you, that to be so in the long run, you have to keep overhead under foot.
We certainly do not have a bottomless money pit from where to shovel it into the wind, and most people would appreciate to see their money being treated with a little more respect.
Leadership in face of wildfire inspiring
I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the fire crews who have been working tirelessly over the past week on the Blackcomb fires.
The devastating force of a wildfire reminds us how helpless we really are in the face of nature's awesome power. This realization makes the work of these brave and dedicated individuals all the more praiseworthy. Without their quick and skilful action, we could have been facing a very different outcome, not only the destruction of Crystal Ridge but the unthinkable threat to the community of Whistler.
I cannot say enough great things about how professionally and proficiently the Ministry of Forests & Range and the Whistler Fire Department/RMOW responded. Their leadership was inspiring and their swift actions filled us with confidence. Through their "hit it hard and fast" strategy, the Crystal Ridge fire was quickly contained to the point at which we could safely re-open Blackcomb to the public after only two days' closure. And with timely and professional media communication from the RMOW Communications Team, we were able to minimize the impact to our resort-wide business. We were impressed by the level of co-operation among all parties and truly value their consideration.
There are too many people to thank individually - many of whom we didn't even get to meet. But we want you to know how appreciative we are of your continuing efforts here in Whistler.
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend a thank you to many Whistler Blackcomb staff, in particular in our Snowmaking, Patrol and Operations divisions, who worked in partnership with the Ministry to maximize resources at the fire sites and help to achieve containment. I salute the passion you show for our mountains.
Our hearts go out to all those around the Province of British Columbia, and in particular our neighbours to the north in Pemberton and Lillooet, who are under extreme fire hazards and evacuation orders as we speak. Fire response resources are being stretched in new ways, and fire crew safety is of utmost importance as they fight these dangerous blazes. Our respect grows daily for these men and women faced with such adversity and our thoughts are with them.
Senior Vice President Operations
Smokin' good effort
Another hot and sunny B.C. Day long weekend has come and gone, and with it the Canadian BBQ Championships have come and gone too. As with years past, the event was a resounding success, a well-executed event that drew in literally thousands of locals and visitors to taste some of the world's best BBQ.
As the tradition of the BBQ championships continues, so do our fundraising efforts to support research for a cure to Crohn's and Colitis. For the seventh year in a row our grass roots fundraising group, Whistler Friends, has gathered volunteers together in Creekside to offer information, registration and ticket sales for the event; and for the seventh year in a row the results have exceeded expectations.
This weekend we netted the best results to date, raising over $9,100 for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada, an organization known worldwide as a leader in the battle against the diseases.
Thanks go out to all of our volunteers for donating your precious long weekend time; to everyone who bought tasters' passes; and to Josh Kearns, Mike Varrin, Paul Street, and Joel Chevalier of Whistler Blackcomb and Dusty's for having us back year after year. Together Whistler is making a difference on so many levels.
Thanks and we look forward to BBQ 2010!
Dave and Wendy Clark
Support our libraries
I write on behalf of the Friends of Pemberton and District Public Library to solicit your readers' support in our efforts to maintain essential funding for our libraries. Library materials in whole or in part have been brought to us by an annual operating grant supplied by the province of B.C. This grant is in jeopardy, despite a surge of public library use across B.C. Please visit this website www.stopbclibrarycuts.ca. and join the campaign to stop these cuts.
During this economic downturn, there has been a significant increase in the usage of B.C. public libraries. Residents know that their libraries offer more than free books to read - they are using the Internet and computer systems to do research, hunt for jobs and more. Without provincial grants, significant cuts will result in these areas:
• Open Access - In 2008, open access to library collections resulted in more than 5.4 million items being borrowed between communities, creating substantial provincial cost savings by borrowing rather than buying duplicate books.
• Online Resources - B.C. residents have 24/7 online access to hundreds of online full text magazines and databases purchased co-operatively by B.C. libraries. This saves significant taxpayer dollars and ensures that B.C.'s rural and remote citizens have the same access to information available in B.C.'s larger centres.
• AskAway - A collaborative reference service provided by B.C. libraries. Residents can get free quality help with research on any topic or question from experienced librarians and library technicians.
• B.C. OneCard - The B.C. OneCard program ensures that no matter where you are in B.C. you have access to local libraries and library services for free by showing your home library card and photo identification.
• Literacy Programming - Babies and kids around B.C. can maintain and enhance their literacy skills at all B.C. public libraries with the B.C. Summer Reading Club and Books for B.C. Babies. Both programs are offered free of charge and ensure that all children in B.C. have the opportunity to develop their reading skills.
Please visit your library to lend your support, sign the online petition and write to your elected representative requesting a vote in favor of maintaining library funding across the province.
Christine M. Timm,
Secretary Treasurer for the Board of the Friends of the Pemberton Library
Action inconsistent with promise
This letter was addressed to Premier Gordon Campbell. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.
Re: Provincial Funding to Public Libraries
As chairperson of the Friends of the Pemberton Library board and a trustee of the Pemberton & District Public Library, I am writing to express concern about the possibility that provincial funding of essential services for libraries across the province will be withdrawn, or at best reduced.
Rural libraries such as ours struggle to provide a comparable service to our smaller and more isolated communities to those offered in the larger centres. Provincially funded programs such as B.C. OneCard, the interlibrary loan program - InterLink, the interlibrary integrated database systems and support for a variety of literacy programs are vital to our achieving this goal. This funding has allowed our library to become a vibrant center for literacy for our growing community.
Our community recently raised considerable funding to establish a new library. Since opening our doors July 2008, library use has soared and a variety of programs, addressing the literary needs of all demographic groups, are being well attended. It would be devastating if, through lack of government funding, these programs and the enhanced library services would have to be cut.
To impede the groundswell of participation and interest in literary growth in our diverse library region is surely inconsistent with your election promise to make B.C. the most literate province in Canada.
We urge you to choose literacy as a high priority when making your budget choices.
Chairperson, Friends of the Pemberton Library Board & Library Trustee
Your July 30 cover story - I Love Whistler - is so timely and so "right-on!"
People, we have to get over ourselves. The Olympics are coming! Embrace them. This is not the time to question-challenge-second-guess-doubt-get-greedy. We have the world coming to our little town and if we welcome them with the same spirit we have for our mountains, they will, in turn, make this "Olympic experience" one we will not forget, and one we will benefit from for many, many years to come.
It's too late to back track! Get on board and we can make this the greatest thing that's ever happened to Whistler!
Congratulations Pique for reversing the tide, and reminding us of the jewel we have here and how we can all prosper (in every way) from supporting and enjoying February 2010!
Another kind of Olympic journey
Part of the missing collective Olympic spirit everyone is looking for is mine; and if the life of this Olympic monster depended on my contribution of spirit, it would die. I withhold my support only indirectly because of the obscene amount of money (some of it my taxes) being spent allowing a thousand or so elite athletes to decide who is best in a disintegrating world on one day in February 2010. I withhold my support more directly because our way of life is in such a state it seems almost as much money will be spent protecting it as running the event.
Most directly though I have a view of life in which we have unique capacities and that realizing them should be an Olympic journey for each of us regardless of our capacities. In this view there are no parades for individuals but rather a collective parade of human achievement in which we all participate. Rather than periodic competitions to see who is best there is constant unconditional co-operation to make each other better. Life is a continuous celebration in which each of us receives the same reward. The 2010 Olympics distorts my view and while I am not trying to change anyone else's view I won't help perpetuate another with even my miniscule allotment of spirit.
Sadly for humanity but luckily for Whistler I am probably the only one withholding my spirit because of this view. Everyone else it seems is just suffering as if in a bad marriage. When it began six years ago the "marriage" seemed to fill the void in their lives. However, like all relationships that begin with that expectation, six years into it the partners once again see the black hole that creates a floating anxiety from which they wish to escape. However, rather than abandoning the Olympic relationship, the partners, like good parents, will stay together for the kids. The Olympics will "succeed." What comes after is anyone's guess.
What was BCUC thinking?
What could possibly have led the British Columbia Utilities Commission to think they could get away with massively increasing the use of Burrard Thermal and the tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions it creates? Do the commissioners not recall the public's total rejection of the Duke Point power scheme just a few short years ago?
Burrard Thermal is not the answer to British Columbia's electricity needs. There are far better, far cleaner power generating technologies available. We don't need to be burning natural gas and releasing carbon to generate electricity in British Columbia considering all of the clean power resources we have available to us. The public simply will not support the increased use of Burrard Thermal and its climate destroying emissions.
Port Moody, B.C.
My concerns started years ago when I discovered the electro-magnetic field on the north side of the Signal Hill School was beyond the safe for human health limit. I approached a parents meeting regarding school concerns, expressed mine, but was "shut out" with nobody showing any interest in what I felt was a problem. Inherent mold was the main concern.
The school was moved a few years later; apparently the mold was "good luck" for the kids.
Not many towns have high voltage hydro transmission lines running right through them, this is poor planning, but alas we cannot turn back the clock.
This brings up the new bike park and what may be the site of the Pemberton Skateboard Park. You people all love your children.You would not conscientiously feed your kids a "C" pill each day before school, so then why are you so willing to allow them to have an extended "C" snack every day after school? Come on.... You can do better! How about beside the medical clinic, it is close for band-aids.
Seriously, why don't you consider asking B.C. Hydro to bury the transmission lines on their path through town. Ten feet down in a large tech cable, the lines would not lose 8-10 per cent of their power to rain down on your beloveds, let alone all these new projects you have coming up on the books. This would be expensive, but it probably won't get any cheaper in the future.
Bottom line: please, don't let your kids or yourselves play under the hydro lines, or you could all be, "Shut out of luck". You've got to set up a new recreational site for these great projects or accept the consequences.
Making Whistler world go round
Re: Who pays for free parking? (Pique letters July 30)
Leave it to a right-of-centre fiscally responsible citizen to point out the environmental tie in to this issue. Ask Mr. Stephen Harper what he's done for the environment lately. What happened to Kyoto by the way?
Many of us are trying to figure out how to just park for work or groceries. With our minimal budgets that allow us to simply live and worship this mountain of ours, consider that the $2 from our $20 shopping budget might just be the difference of a tuna sandwich or Mr. Noodles. I think many locals could benefit more from the tuna sandwich, all those great nutrients! Cars may not be necessities, but tell that to someone in Emerald who's lost their third job in six months because the bus didn't show up, again.
Here we are, the locals, making the world go around in Whistler, the heart of the community, and people want to bitter us even more? Whistler once had a mindset that was the beauty of this town. Over the last 10 years this place has become Disneyland. The heart that made this place has slowly been replaced, manufactured when it was once real and genuine.
I think that quite possibly the biggest issues may rise from the fact that China had billions to do their Olympics, their economy allowed for an epic ceremony, and Canada is right after. Have we made sure our egos are in check, and are we being realistic?
As for the parking, do what communities like White Rock do - give out passes to the community based on proof of residency and/or employment. Charge a minimal administrative fee if you have to but stop jerking around the people who really make this town what it is. Unfortunately we may just be too far gone, and the proof is the lack of anything Barely Whistler. A legacy has passed!