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Politicians missed the bus

The destruction of Whistler wetlands for 20 hydrogen buses only adds to the already wasteful exercise of the pointless hydrogen buses, Hydrogen Highway and other current provincial automotive hydrogen initiatives.

The destruction of Whistler wetlands for 20 hydrogen buses only adds to the already wasteful exercise of the pointless hydrogen buses, Hydrogen Highway and other current provincial automotive hydrogen initiatives.

While hydrogen may, in the future, become a reasonable energy carrier if produced by the electrolysis of water through nuclear power, or solar or other renewable sources, its promotion and use for automotive purposes today is a completely misleading political ploy on the part of both Premier Gordon Campbell and Hummer-driving California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As readers may confirm at  http://www1.eere.energy.gov/hydrogenandfuelcells/production/natural_gas.html and numerous other sites, 95 per cent of U.S. and likely Canadian hydrogen production is through destructive reforming of natural gas or similar hydrocarbons, in a process both requiring more energy, and producing more greenhouse gases than simply using natural gas itself as the fuel.

Any hydrogen produced by more benign methods is already given better use elsewhere; that's why 95 per cent is being inefficiently produced from natural gas.

Therefore, as we look at the water dripping out of the tailpipe of a hydrogen vehicle as Campbell and Schwarzenegger encourage us to do, all we accomplish is a loss of energy efficiency, and the production of more greenhouse gases elsewhere.

There will be a proper time for the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier in the future, but its use at the present time so that we can pat ourselves on the back during the Olympics, is just an ignorant waste of energy and money, and all Sea to Sky residents should realize this as we see a hydrogen bus or other vehicle drive by.

Doug Morrison

Garibaldi Highlands

Whistler 2020 ‘made a mockery’?

Stating that a small go-kart track located 18 km south of town in an already disturbed area has reduced the importance of and "Makes a mockery" of the Whistler 2020 document shows great disrespect toward all those involved in drafting and living within its guidelines, and is a ludicrous and unnecessary use of hyperbole by Alan Whitney, of the Forest and Wetlands Committee.  The foundation of Whistler 2020 is solid! Let's respect it, and not throw stupid accusations around reducing its importance.

Perhaps, just perhaps, all our "cringing" councillors should be addressing some of the bigger issues facing our town, such as the possibility of a "Red Zone" wetland being paved over for a hydrogen bus refueling centre.

I spent Father's Day at the go-kart track, as did many other locals. To hear the laughter of the little boys sharing with their dads the things their dads shared with them was manifest magic.

I suggest anyone who is upset with this small indulgence go explain to the kids, with their smiles beaming from ear to ear, why they would take that away.

Tom Horler

Whistler

Fitting the Whistler ethos

I have to agree with some of our councillors’ comments in last week's Pique about the new ATV "go-cart" track off Callaghan road not fitting in with the "Whistler experience". No, it does not fit with the summertime ATV operation at the base of Blackcomb, the mini-snowmobile operation donating its smoke and noise at the Chateau Golf Club right beside the cross-country trails, or especially with the cable between the mountains, which will soon be decorated with orange balls and strobe lights to enhance the otherwise drab view of Fissile Peak from the valley.

No indeed, to fit with the Whistler ethos, the go-track track needs to be in the IGA parking lot.

Tom Henry

Whistler

Conditional support for G@S

As many of you are aware, we have recently extended a letter of support with respect to the potential economic benefits to the community of the Garibaldi at Squamish Ski Resort proposal.

Our conditional support of this project is based on seeing the possibility of economic expansion, diversity and local employment creation that could be generated for the community and citizens of Squamish.

We understand the need for this project to be sustainable and also appreciate concerns that are being raised by the EAO, the DOS, stakeholder groups and citizens at large. We believe that these concerns need to be reviewed, evaluated and responded to by the proponent and various referral agencies.

To reiterate, our support is conditional upon all provincial, environmental and municipal regulations being addressed and/or adhered to, as well as further community engagement to address local concerns and input to the master plan.

For those of you who are not familiar with the application process, it is roughly as follows:

1. Provincial EAO Process & MOTSA

The Environmental Assessment Office Certification is the preliminary level of provincial approval that in this case has been coupled with the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and Arts Master Plan Review. This combined process is all encompassing, and covers the following areas to name a few:

a. Economic Feasibility

b. Snow Conditions & Operational Feasibility (ski terrain, climate, bed units)

c. Environmental Issues, including water, sewage, wildlife and fisheries

d. Master Plan Review based on provincial criteria for ski resort applications

e. Master Development Agreement

2. Local Approval Process

Should the proponent be successful in meeting the EAO and MOTSA criterion, the proponent and the District of Squamish will enter into discussion regarding the annexation of the proposed resort lands into the DOS.

The annexation of the resort lands into the DOS and applicable re-zoning can only be granted by the DOS if the proponent meets or exceeds all conditions set forth by the DOS including but not limited to economic feasibility, infrastructure cost requirements, and environmental requirements including wildlife, water supply, sewage, and fisheries. This could include suggested revisions to the master plan.

Local approval by DOS Council will need to be contingent upon the proponent obtaining adequate support from the community as a whole for the ski resort in principle, and the proponent’s plan being reflective of the feedback gained via further public consultation. It should be noted that the proponent will need to maintain a certain level of profitability to proceed with the project, and that the final master plan of the resort could be an area of mutual compromise, should the community support the resort in principle.

We have had very informative discussions with representatives of the Squamish Environmental Society and Save Garibaldi Group at their request.   Their information and comments were taken very seriously and we appreciate the time and effort they put forward to express their views. The Board of the Chamber of Commerce believes that all of their concerns will be addressed and should be addressed in the above mentioned process. The Board continues to maintain our original qualified support for this project and we have not changed our position.

We understand that in the coming summer months the Province and GAS will be working together to address concerns communicated from earlier discussions and also provide any outstanding   information required, before granting an Environmental Assessment Certificate and approving the master plan, again this is only if the various Provincial agencies are satisfied with the application data.

Many of the outstanding issues and information deficiencies relating to the GAS application should be resolved by the time there is a community public hearing in September regarding this resort proposal. We encourage all our members to take some time to get informed on the project in the coming summer months and participate in any future public consultation.

It is very important for the community of Squamish to show a progressive attitude towards economic development and diversity. We should not discard the potential of larger investments in the community at a first glance. If all the regulatory groups and the Municipality build in the appropriate safeguards to protect the community’s interests, and the feedback of the community is reflected in the master plan, a project of this kind could be very beneficial to our local economy.

We will certainly reach out to our membership for feedback, prior to the public consultation in September, once so many of the currently disputed facts are resolved by both the provincial and local government.

Margo Dent, President

Squamish Chamber of Commerce

This is sustainable?

After reading the article titled "Bogged down" in the June 12 edition of the Pique Newsmagazine, I'm amazed at the lack of regard for wildlife displayed by a community which, the last time I checked, is promoting itself as a "Sustainability" role model to the rest of the world.

If this area is "one of the last remaining wetlands in Whistler" since 72 per cent of Whistler's wetlands have been lost over the past 50 years "due to human activity" and the area has been "red listed" because its species are endangered, who is allowing it to be considered by B.C. Transit as a possible site for Whistler's new bus station? And why?

Nicole Erika Trigg

Whistler

Farms are for food

Clearly it must be time for all players to realize that ethanol has been an obvious mistake, offering little or even a detrimental benefit to the environment and the economy not to mention its impact on global food supplies.

The great benefits that ethanol is touted to have on our overall energy needs are no doubt negligible at best. Yet as we speak the current Harper government is signing us on to ethanol into perpetuity, passing a national law declaring that all fuel must contain regulated percentages of ethanol.

If this wasn't bad enough the federal government is subsidizing companies up to 10 cents per litre, which oddly enough puts you the taxpayer in the precarious position of paying for gas twice!

When are the politicians going to get it? Farms are for food not fuel.

Mike Crane

Whistler

The future of food

I am writing to express my concern about the development pressures facing agricultural land in Pemberton. Are we so confident in our current food system (near complete reliance on food that is well-travelled, cheap, heavily subsidized and of questionable nutritional value) that we are willing to sacrifice our future foodlands for short term individual profit and an incrementally larger tax base?

Currently, the only requirement for buying farmland is money. Until this changes, let’s protect and preserve our precious soil. What lies beneath a scrub alder-cottonwood forest on Agricultural Land Reserve is rich Pemberton dirt, and Whistler’s future breadbasket.

If you would like to hear more about the future of food in Whistler and Pemberton, and want to talk about it, attend Anything Grows on Aug. 14th at 7 p.m. at Millennium Place.

Anna Helmer

Slow Food Cycle Sunday Society, Pemberton

Gems would be valuable

I was very excited to hear about the Gems School proposal to be located in Pemberton. As parents of two school age boys (ages 8 and 6), we feel it is imperative to give them the very best education available. From what we can discern, the Gems School would provide our children an A1 education without us having to send our children away. Obviously, we are in full support of this initiative both personally and from a community economic perspective.

When deciding to relocate from the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean to Pemberton one of our main concerns was education, as our children attended an excellent British private school in the TCI. We are in full and total support of the Gems School, as we feel it would be nothing short of a grand success in Pemberton for both our children and the community at large.

Timothy & Susan Smith

Pemberton

Think positive thoughts for Ryder

I am writing on behalf of a group of Whistler moms who are attempting to raise funds for a very sick little boy. Four year old Ryder Evans-Brockett is currently battling inoperable brain cancer. Ryder is one of the strongest little guys we have ever met, and as his Mom said "Cancer has met its match in her son." Ryder and his family are former residents of Whistler who now reside in Burnaby, where they run Sharpey's Cycle Shop (www.sharpeyscycles.com).

Ryder’s parents only took over ownership of the bike shop in September last year, wanting to leave a legacy for their son that reflected their passion for the sport. They have expressed that keeping their business going will alleviate financial pressure on the family, allowing them to focus all of their energy into caring for their little boy during this difficult time.

In an effort to assist Nicole and Jimi Evans-Brockett, some of their Whistler friends and moms approached Test of Metal organizer Cliff Miller to ask if there was any possibility of raising awareness and funds for the family through the event. The response was immediate and supportive, with a resounding ‘yes’.

The task then became to get flyers and posters printed within four hours, which was all the time left on Friday before close of business. The seemingly impossible became possible with the help of Kim from Whistler Printing and Glenn from Cutting Edge Signs. When approached, both of these companies stepped in to offer immediate help. They ensured we had the flyers and posters printed for Test of Metal and donated their time and materials.

So on behalf of the committee of concerned moms, a big thank you to Test of Metal, Whistler Printing and Cutting Edge Signs, your generosity of spirit overwhelmed us, thank you.

We would also like to draw attention to Ryder’s family journal, where you can follow his progress as he battles this awful disease. The address is: www.caringbridge.org/visit/ryder There is also a link to the trust account set up to assist his family as they face this terrible challenge. Each journal entry ends with "Every Day In Every Way Ryder IS Getting Better And Better."

We ask for everyone to take a moment to send out positive thoughts and prayers for this wonderful family. Thanks once again Whistler, you truly are an amazing community.

Susie Douglas, Elena Maloney, Paula Jeffers, Lori Kercher, Carin Smolinski

Valley Trail goes both ways

Re: "Douchebag Redux" letter of June 12th.

I have a simple question: How fast do you have to be cycling along the often-used-by-families-with-small-unpredictable-children-Valley-Trail to go over the handlebars with such force as to knock yourself out? I don't condone the actions (or inactions) of the dog owner — far from it. But think, that next time it could be a small child that you have to "avoid killing".

Sarah Bourne

Whistler

Enjoy the Ride

Just wanted to thank the individual who stole my 1995 burgundy Trek mountain bike on Saturday night (June 7). Your thoughfullness has forced me to think of new and creative ways to get to the gym each day to rehab my ACL. I'm sure you will enjoy riding in the rain to work, with the full fenders I put on. I'm also sure you will find the milk crate on the back more than helpful getting your groceries home.

Thanks again.

Anne Kennedy

Whistler




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