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Peak to Peak has world talking

Legacy trails in perspective; Bearing up; A degree of relief; True to our words; A great beginning

Peak to Peak has world talking

The Whistler Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Whistler-Blackcomb for the bold move of bringing the Peak to Peak Gondola dream to fruition.

The positive impact of the Peak to Peak on our economy will be significant, will have minimal impact on the environment and will be built with private sector money. It doesn’t require more market beds or a significant number of employees to operate. With the reality of global warming, the gondola increases the capacity of higher altitude terrain and mitigates our community’s financial risk.

We now recognize that the size of our resort requires a higher level of business than we’ve seen over the last few years to be sustainable. We must fulfill the potential of our current infrastructure so we don’t continue to see businesses close in our community. This new attraction fits well within our long-term strategies to build a diversified economy that is sustainable year round.

Most importantly, it has the world talking about Whistler again. Visitors will come from all over the world to experience the Peak to Peak gondola ride and all its splendor, winter and summer. The lift will generate renewed interest in visitation from the Lower Mainland and those visitors who have “been there, done that.” Whistler already offers the most terrain and variety compared to other ski resorts and with the new gondola, we will be unsurpassed.

We thank Whistler-Blackcomb for making the vision a reality. In our opinion, this is the best announcement for the Whistler community since winning the privilege of hosting the 2010 Games. The Whistler Chamber will do our best to ensure that customer service levels are at their best when the multitude of visitors come to take in the ride. Go Whistler-Blackcomb!

Louise Lundy, President WCC

Dave Davenport, Chair WCC


Legacy trails in perspective

For many years now, cross-country skiing has been the neglected stepchild of the skiing family in B.C. While downhill skiing resorts dominate the terrain, cross country enthusiasts in B.C.’s largest population centre are limited to the tired and overcrowded trails of Cypress Park or are forced to make the three-hour drive to Manning Park.

Lost Lake has been a treasure for those of us who come to Whistler regularly, and the municipality has done an excellent job of maintaining the trails. But the Lost Lake trails will always suffer from poor and unreliable snow conditions. In some years, the Whistler Loppet could have been better skied on water skis.

The benefits of cross-country skiing to personal health are undeniable. The infrastructure required to host a trail system pales beside the demands of running a ski hill. The impact on the environment is also far less than downhill skiing. Nevertheless, there seems to be a concerted effort underway to undermine the development of the Legacy trails in the Madeley Lake area. The initial proposal of 75-100 km of trails has been downgraded to 20-25 km, and even this is apparently too much for those who argue that the trails will have terrible consequences for the biological environment.

It should be noted that the trails will not be encroaching on anything remotely resembling virgin wilderness. The area has been logged repeatedly since the 1950s. It is crisscrossed by logging roads, trails, and mining roads that have been used by ATV, biking, and snow mobile outfitters — all activities which impact the environment in a more pernicious manner than cross country skiing.

Whether the odd grizzly bear may have been sighted in the Callaghan valley is not the issue. The question of whether the Madeley Lake trails represent a significant part of grizzly habitat is more relevant, and no evidence has been presented that such is the case. On the contrary, the already developed nature of the area and its proximity to so much human activity would argue against that.

The Legacy trails will provide a much-needed venue for a sport that will enhance the physical and emotional well being of skiers and their families with less environmental impact than most recreational activities enjoyed in the Whistler area today. Let’s not throw it away.

Moe Milstein

West Vancouver


Bearing up

Last week’s Letters to the Editor featured a letter from Ailsa Wright, who lives not far from me. A young bear was shot in her backyard.

About halfway between our houses is a bus stop, at Drifter Way and Alpine Way. Twice, within the last month a local bear (who may now be deceased) was able to get into the garbage container at the bus stop. Despite the installation of a grid to prevent bus users from putting their household garbage into the “bear-proof” bin the commuters brought their garbage anyway. Almost every day the garbage bin would have the lid propped open by household garbage stuffed in the top. Things took a turn for the worse when the bus users started leaving the bags of garbage beside the bin.

Move down the hill to the bottom of Alpine Way where Alpine Meadows Market is located. Once again, just like the “bear-proof” bin at the bus stop, the bear has managed to knock over the bin and open the rear door to get at household garbage left by neighbouring residents.

A worker at the store told me that the bin is emptied at closing every night and no bag is put in, hopefully to discourage use of the bin. Never-the-less people bring their garbage while the store is closed.

While we can certainly point our fingers at the people using these bins instead of the compactor sites as irresponsible and who knows, perhaps ignorant of the alternatives or consequences, ultimately we have a garbage disposal system that doesn’t work for everyone. If the 2020 RMOW vision is to get people out of cars and to get rid of cars altogether, there needs to be a garbage disposal system that is easy to use and “bear-proof” that can be accessed by residents whether they have a car or not. Otherwise the vision is not 2020 and needs some glasses.

Cathy Jewett



A degree of relief

Re: RMOW ‘extremely disappointed’ by province’s tax solution (Pique news, April 6)

I have several comments to make about this article. First, I am pleased that a degree of relief has finally been offered to the condo owners who have been overtaxed for the last 15 years.

Mr. Barratt comments that condo owners “are able to rent their units and potentially make a profit”. Excuse me, but who was it that mandated that the units be available for rent? None other than the RMOW. Most condo owners have no choice but to make their units available for rent because of the municipality’s own Phase II Covenant, which limits use by owners.

I am glad he used the words “potentially make a profit”.   There have been many lean years when there has been no profit at all. For the last five years, some condo owners have not received enough revenue to pay the taxes, never mind earn a return on their investment.

Mr. Barratt seems to question the fact that the condo owners have an expectation of making that profit. Perhaps he puts his own money into investments without the hope of making a profit, but I can tell him that that is not common practice. Of course investors want to make a decent return on their investments and now they can hope do so without being concerned that all of their revenue will be eaten up in taxes.

I want to thank Minister Thorpe for his powerful leadership and determined efforts to rewrite the previous unfair tax system. The municipality of Whistler has had years to come up with some sort of a solution but their mantra was always “no net loss of revenue”. They were concerned about the revenues with no consideration given to the effect it had on a certain portion of the taxpayers.

There has to be some accountability in taxation. According to the Vancouver Sun, a home with the assessed value of $750,000 pays property taxes of $1,500. In Whistler a condo with the assessed value of $360,000 paid $8,000 under the previous tax structure. It will now pay $4,000. We need to examine not just the revenues but also the expenditures. The RMOW receives enormous revenues for a small community. Maybe it is time to review the RMOW’s seemingly insatiable appetite for tax dollars and tighten its financial belt.

Colleen Talbot



Let us be true to our words

If the U.S. and Canada comply with emission reduction measures as mandated by the Kyoto Protocol, will the world be free from the threat of global warming? Well not really, so what is the use of pushing the Kyoto standard if it won’t remove the global warming threat completely?

The problem with Kyoto is that the protocol does not impose any punishment or incentives for the countries to meet them, not alone do more to remove the global warming threat completely. Many developing countries still also do not agree with the basic principle of the Kyoto Protocol. The current system focuses on reduction of emissions relative to 1990: the more a country polluted in 1990, the more it is entitled to pollute in the future. People in developing countries naturally ask, “By what rights are people of the developed countries entitled to pollute more than we are, simply because they polluted more in the past?” Their logic says, “because they polluted more in the past, they should be made to pollute less in the future and we should be allowed to pollute more”. Moreover, if a country like Canada can walk away from Kyoto commitment, what kind of message will the developing world get from us?

In 2005 the developing countries were producing nearly 40 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and by sometime around 2025, on current projections, developing countries will be emitting more greenhouse gases than the developed world. So in a sense in 2025, even after all of the lifestyle changes that we have made and sustainability measures we have taken at home, we will still be at square one in terms of reducing global greenhouse gases.

If the Kyoto approach is to work, a compromise will have to be found between people in the south and people in the north. What the people in the south want is a more fair approach on our global effort on this global problem. Everybody wants a free ride on the efforts of others. But it is in everybody’s interest that the world act collectively to do something. Leaving this issue to global institutions has ended up a stalemate so far and, meanwhile, the world is getting rapidly more polluted.

If we are serious about solving the global warming issue, as a conscious citizen, we should push our government to go back to the negotiation table with the governments of the developing countries to resolve the difficult issue: linking global warming with international trade sanctions. The countries that pollute more by any standard should be punished with higher import duties. Indonesia, for example, should be allowed to impose higher import duties on Canadian wheat because it was produced in an unsustainable manner. International trade sanctions have been used in the past to punish developing countries for producing their agricultural products that damage the wildlife, why is it any different in the context of the global warming issue?

If we want to be fair, our industry should be held to a higher standard than the industry in developing countries. That is because our industry has grown more prosperous than their counterparts in the developing world while polluting more. The industry sector on this continent will act only if they are forced to do so. Carbon taxes or carbon intensity measures on industry will take decades to make an impact on reducing global greenhouse gasses. International trade sanctions are one tool that will compel them to do something immediately. Our industry should be ashamed of taking a free ride for so long and it is time for citizens in developed countries like Canada to be true to our words by cleaning up our own house first.

Jay Wahono



A great beginning

The Whistler Adaptive Sports Program hosted the first annual Rotary Giant Slalom on April 21, 2007.   The Race, held on Whistler Mountain, showcased both up and coming racers from across the province and some of Canada's best alpine athletes.

This race would not have been possible without the support of the Rotary Club of Whistler, specifically Noel Villard, David Oakes, Jessie Pendygrasse, Jim Miller, Bob Calladine, Colin Pitt-Taylor, David Malaher, Ross Harlow and Isobel Maclaurin.

The local Scotiabank branches showed their ability yet again to be a great community partner by generously donating their staff to help out for the day and the efforts of Brent Bickerton, Shelley Link, Ian Welin, Cris Cusolich, Allison Rockwell and her dad, and Val Plourde all contributed to the success of the day.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club and Nigel Cooper were also instrumental in ensuring that our race was a success. The Whistler Brewing Company and Zog's made sure that we were all well fed and hydrated, while Rossignol, the Rotary Club of Whistler and Penny Martyn provided some great prizes for the athletes. Thanks also to the Hilton Whistler and the Coast Hotel for your support. The Community Foundation of Whistler, RMOW, and Pacific Sport continue to support our Adaptive Alpine Race Development Program, which provides the groundwork for the athletes to attend this event. Whistler-Blackcomb is an amazing partner and their commitment to our program was demonstrated during this event once again.

To all of the dedicated volunteers and Board Members of WASP, your support and continued contribution to adaptive sports and recreation in the Whistler Valley continues to be amazing. As there are too many to name here, please know that your dedication and commitment to our many programs is always deeply appreciated.

To all of the athletes who came out and participated, thanks also to you - we were blown away by the distance that many of you travelled to take part in our first race. To our coach, Dana Williams, thanks for a great first season!

Peter Engstad of Alpine Canada has rated the event 10 out of 10, something that we could not have done without the tremendous support of everyone involved in this event.

We are already looking forward to next year's race!

Chelsey Walker

Executive Director

Whistler Adaptive Sports Program


What nurses do

May 7-12th is National Nurse’s Week and I would like to thank and recognize all the nurses in Whistler and the Sea to Sky corridor for their dedication to caring about the people in their community.

The scope of nursing is often not known so I would like to share a comment by C.A. Meilke, (2006) about what nurses do.

“Nurses are involved in one of the most complex, difficult and important professional roles in society. Nurses provide their services when patients are at their most vulnerable. Their relationship with patients is intimate, intense and often continuous for long periods. They must be skilled in dealing with the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of patients and, often of relatives and friends as well, and they are responsible for keeping up with a knowledge base that is growing rapidly in all of these areas. They routinely deal with profound ethical problems. They function in a technical, political and cultural environment that is one of the most complex in society, and one that is often hostile to both their personal and professional needs and potential.”

Whistler has nurses that work in mental health, public health, home care, sexual health and emergency services caring for people with very diverse needs. We all know someone that has benefited by the caring approach of a nurse. If you meet a nurse during National Nurse’s Week thank them for being there when they are needed. I know I will.

Anne Townley

Nurse, Whistler Health Care Centre


Goal surpassed

To daffodil volunteers and corporate supporters:

I want to thank all of you for doing an amazing job this year on Whistler's 2007 Daffodil Days Campaign. The official numbers are in and we reached our goal and surpassed our 2006 results by raising a total of $11,492.59! In fact, thanks to your hard work and support, Whistler was once again the top fundraising community in B.C., which is amazing.

Once again, the weather this year was terrible, throwing everything at us — snow, freezing temps, sleet, driving rain and very little sun — so I want to especially say a big thank you to all of the volunteers who were outdoors for hours braving the cold. We could not have done it without you! I've put an order in for sunshine well in advance of next year's campaign — hope you can join us for the weekend of March 22 & 23 in 2008!

The RELAY FOR LIFE will be happening in Squamish this June. We're really hoping to have enough Whistler participants to form a team this year — and even if you can't commit to doing the 12 hour relay, but have a few hours to volunteer, Tamsyn would love your help.

So once again, thank you so very much for your support. Long after the daffodils are gone, our efforts will help the Canadian Cancer Society fund important research and community programs. We can all feel good about our contribution to making cancer history!

Jacki Bissillion and the crew of Resort TV