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Renters beware

I recently met a nice couple from Europe who hope to stay here for the winter. The couple lost their $450 rent deposit to a thief. They did report it to the RCMP. I spoke to the RCMP, and was told this has been happening a lot.

I recently met a nice couple from Europe who hope to stay here for the winter. The couple lost their $450 rent deposit to a thief. They did report it to the RCMP. I spoke to the RCMP, and was told this has been happening a lot. One officer mentioned he thought newcomers to Whistler are not reading the papers, which have had announcements about this problem.

The story: Day 1: My friends were walking through the village with a sign saying they needed a room to rent. A man (and his friend) walked up to the couple and the man said he had a room available to rent. The man said his name was Pete. After talking about the place to my friends, they exchanged phone numbers.

Later that afternoon, Pete phoned the couple back and arranged to meet them in front of the IGA to look at the place. Pete explained that he didn’t have the key because he had not moved in yet.

They walked from the IGA over to look at a property, and Pete described the inside to my friends in detail. Pete said he would get the key in the next few days.

They all walked back to the bank at Marketplace together. The female of the couple went inside to get cash from the bank machine for a deposit. The male stayed outside talking to Pete, and he asked Pete if he had picture ID. Pete explained that he did not have his wallet with him.

Pete did offer to give them a receipt for the deposit money, so my friends gave the money to him, and they got the receipt. Pete said he would call them when he got the key.

Day 2 to day 4: Pete called on day 2, and said he would not get the key until the next day. Over the next three days my friends called Pete and spoke to him a few times. Then Pete stopped phoning, and his phone number was not working anymore. That is when my friends went to talk to the RCMP.

Tips on protecting yourself: Think ADDA — Address of property/owner name, number. When you go to look at the property, be sure you can go inside! Write down the address that is on the front of the apartment/house, and the street name. Don’t trust that the person you are dealing with will give you the correct address.

Ask for the name and phone number of the owner of the property. Double check the owner’s name is correct! You can find out who is the real owner of any property in Whistler at municipal hall, the building beside the RCMP office in the village. In municipal hall you can look at the tax roll, which is a list of all Whistler properties arranged by the address. Beside the address of the Whistler property is the name and mailing address of the property owner.

With the name and mailing address of the owner, you can look up the phone number on the Internet. If you are unsure about trusting the person who wants to rent to you, you can then call the owner to ask if the owner knows the person you are dealing with.

Deposit: If you think it’s okay to give the person your money, the best way is to pay by post-dated cheque or money order. Be sure you write the name of the person on the cheque or money order. The post office in Marketplace sells and cashes money orders.

Paying with a money order or cheque makes it possible for the RCMP to trace the person who cashed it. There is no reasonable reason for someone to say they want cash only.

Ask for a written receipt. It’s important, but no guarantee, as my friends found out.

Share this information with people you know who are looking for a room.  Hopefully people will become more informed!

Linda McLaughlin

Whistler

Government must step up

In response to the letter from Linda Reid, B.C. Minister of State for Child Care. (Pique, Nov. 20)

Thank you for assisting the Whistler Children’s Centre in becoming compliant with the licensing requirement in order to provide a safe, educational and supportive environment for our children. We as parents support that licensing requirement. However, more must be done by your ministry and the premier or licensed group childcare will eventually become extinct.

You’ve indicated that you understand that communities across Canada are struggling to recruit qualified Early Childhood Educators (ECE) to meet the growing demand. To add to your comment, finding qualified Infant/Toddler (IT) certified teachers for children from 0 to 36 months is even more difficult.

The reason for the lack of child educators is very simple. I know that you are fully aware of what it is because there are numerous groups of child educators, advocacy groups and parents who have brought it to your attention on numerous occasions. The wages for ECE’s are too low. Less and less students are going through the ECE study program because once they receive their certification, they make between $12 and $16 per hour, maximum. This is a demanding career that they’ve chosen, not a student summer job.

There is a major shortage of IT educators for younger children. This is because there is absolutely no incentive for ECE educators to get their IT certification as they don’t receive a higher wage in doing so. Why isn’t there a program where ECE and IT qualifications are received simultaneously, as in other provinces?

Parents are currently responsible for 80 to 90 per cent of licensed group daycare expenses. Costs have increased for parents drastically over the years but the wages have not. Increasing wages would mean increased costs for parents. For many of us, we can’t take on much more. I know some of us are paying up to 25 per cent of net monthly income for daycare every month.

There is a disconnect between being compliant with the licensing requirement and the ability to find qualified staff. It would be like saying every hospital in B.C. must have a neurosurgeon available 24 hours per day or they are not compliant and will be forced to shut down. It’s just not realistic.

In Whistler, the matter is even worse because there is nowhere for them to live. The government prides itself on creating new physical daycare spaces every year. There are empty childcare spaces all along the Sea to Sky corridor even though the waiting lists are 100 families long. Why? Because no one can find teachers to fill the classroom.

You made your political duty by indicating that you provide loan assistance and bursaries to encourage students to enter into the child education field. Still, students decide not to enroll into the program. Why would they if they can make more money by going through the university education system and becoming public school teachers, or even a waiter? It doesn’t make sense to all of us but you and the provincial government try to justify it without acknowledging the real problem… wages.

I’ve spoken to the child advocacy groups, educators, group daycares in the corridor and parents. We all agree that we have a crisis on our hands. If the situation continues and nothing is done about the group daycare situation, it will worsen and eventually shut down. This is the reality and you know it as well as we do. What you are forcing us to do is to find care where the caregivers may not have the necessary qualifications and support system to provide our children with the proper care and education, or you are forcing one of the parents to stay home. You are taking what has worked for many years away from us by not investing into the system and leaving the parents to fend for themselves.

What we immediately need is a universal child care system, just like medicare and public schools, where daycare spaces are publicly funded and provide every child in this province and country the opportunity for safe and quality educational childcare. There is a way to do it, as this is not a new concept.

Another idea is a top up system where parents’ fees are frozen and the government subsidizes the remainder so that we can keep the educators wages at a respectable level and keep licensed group daycares open.

I really feel for the administration and child educators in this corridor and the entire province. Their job is not easy. They are truly gifted people who provide impeccable care and education for our children. Unfortunately, with the current childcare system, they won’t be around much longer.

There is a critical problem with childcare in this province… I ask that your government do what is honourable and fix it.

Frank St-Amand

Squamish

Best of luck

Congratulations to Ken and his newly elected council. Whistler voted and the results showed what Whistler wanted, all the best to them. Our democratic process works and we embrace its decisions.

It is now time to put our differences aside and work together for a better future. We hope that the next three years will run smoothly and in budget. The mayor and council members have their work cut out for the next three years; we wish them the best of luck.

Jorge Alvarez

a member of WITARA

Toad Hall Studios - Whistler

Hail the soccer heroes

On behalf of the over 300 players of the Whistler Youth Soccer Club, and their coaches, managers and parents, I send a tremendous volley of congratulations and cheers to our Whistler high school boys' soccer team and to its volunteer coaches.

As reported in the sports pages, the team placed fourth in the "A" High School Provincial finals in Victoria.

Apart from the four international students, all the players are products of our local soccer program, and all four coaches coach them as the Senior Boys house team for our local soccer club. Yes, the "house" team!

These home-grown lads, most all of whom have never played competitively outside the Sea to Sky house league with Pemberton and Squamish as part of the Whistler Youth Soccer Club, did extremely well against very tough competition.

The players' strong teamwork, as well as the players' incredible poise and determination, was remarkable.

The showing for the Provincials is also a huge testament to the very considerable commitment of volunteer time dedicated to senior boys soccer here by head coaches Dave Robson and Todd Bush, who are ably assisted by Mel Mellor and Patricio Cabrera.

The selfless efforts of these gentlemen in preparing our town's ambassadors so successfully for this event is representative of the amazing volunteerism of the dozens of coaches currently shepherding along our young boys and girls' soccer development in our fair valley.

Particular recognition should go to the club's co-founder Andree Janyk, who as long-time school trustee oversaw the high school boys and girls teams over the last decade in their quest for the provincials. (They have now gone four times and three times respectively, contrary to prior reports.) Andree's generous financial contribution should be mentioned, to go with all the other donors.

Here's to youth soccer in Whistler!

Peter Shrimpton,

Whistler Youth Soccer Club President

Rivers threatened

Re: Ryan River Hydro Project

Do you know that over 300 of B.C.’s most pristine waterways are threatened by so-called “small” hydro electric projects?

Several of these projects, including those on the Rutherford and Miller rivers, are already built, while another, Ryan River Hydro Project, is proposed in the beautiful Pemberton Meadows area, l8 km from town. Another 33 power projects are in the application pipeline for this valley.

Having huge possible environmental impacts, including dams, miles of transmission lines and roads, these projects also severely reduce water flows in rivers, cut off access to Crown lands and remove local control over water, power, and land. Short-term jobs are no trade-off for untold long-term negative consequences.

If you hunt, fish, hike, bike, or simply want to preserve our river valleys, come to the public meeting: Thursday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m., Old Pemberton Community Centre Gym

Marilyn LeBlanc, Pemberton

Sharon Tschopp, Pemberton

Jeanette Helmer, Pemberton

Whistler pitches in

In Whistler, when you ask for help and understanding, you get it.

Recently, on my lonely track to representing Canada in cross-country skiing at the 2010 Paralympic Games, a handful of people really stepped up to help. This isn't financial help, this is plain neighbourly help, the kind we all need. I cannot express my gratitude enough.

Brad Sills of CallaghanCountry.com, thank you so much for tracking what very little snow we have so I can ski an hour or two a day; every inch counts. I hope you sell a lot of Tri-Season Passes over the next month.

Dr. Zeglinski and Dr. Fisher, of Northlands Medical Clinic, thanks for all of your advice and experience.

Susie Mortensen of Whistler Physio, thanks for the knee brace hook up with Ossur. I am sure it will make me a better racer.

Thank you Robbie Metza for all of your ski tech help and advice. Also I should thank a bunch of trainers at Bodystorm and the Core Gym for pushing me in the right direction.

Whistler is a great place to live and work. My clients and the people I work with, thanks very much for giving me your understanding when I am away training and competing. I really couldn't do it without you.

Tyler Mosher

Canadian 2010 National ParaNordic Team Member 2008-09

Canadian Snowboard Federation Adaptive Snowboard Team Member 2008-09

On climate change

Lawrence Solomon’s book on climate change, The Deniers, is, in my view, obligatory reading for those interested in this subject.

Whether you agree with him or not, the book is a convincing summary of the opinions of a reputable group of scientists who do not accept the doomsday scenario as presented by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and now being promulgated by such non-scientists like Al Gore Bill Clinton and our won Premier.

Even if The Deniers are only partly right and the IPCC is only partly wrong, the implications for governmental policies concerning climate change are astounding. For instance, can we afford it in such dire economic times that we are told are not going to disappear soon and we better hunker down?

The possibility of an all too common human failing may be at work, namely, that once a statement is made by an “assumed authority” and then widely accepted, there seems no way of stopping or even diverting the consequential actions based in the original assumption. A recent example of this was the official U.S. statement that weapons of mass destruction were in the hands of the Iraqis. The outcomes, sadly, have been catastrophic.

As the son of a Vimy veteran, I believe I have the responsibility and indeed the right, to have the basic assumptions driving the climate change movement examined and debated.

Ken Hill

Burnaby/Whistler




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