Last week we were able to learn about the conspiracy of scientists who suppressed scientific information against assertions that global warming is man-made.
This eerily resembles the plot outlined in the 2004 techno-thriller novel by Michael Crichton, State of Fear . This book should be obligatory reading for anybody who wants to have a balanced opinion on this subject. I am all for clean air but I think that enormous sums of money would probably be better spent on trying to adapt to climate change that is coming. This includes the $50,000 of our tax money that our mayor and the council are giving away for their glory.
But there is still hope for humanity. On our recent trip to Cuba we saw a notice in our hotel bar: "Save the planet - re-use your glasses for refills." It really reduces your guilt of downing too many pina coladas when you know you are saving the planet. Maybe Whistler bars should try something similar?
We'll be watching for movement
I'd like to thank municipal council for their attention, in recent weeks, to the issues surrounding the asphalt plant operation adjacent to the Cheakamus Crossing development.
The plant has been operating, contrary to municipal zoning, for years.
Cheakamus Crossing purchasers raised a number of concerns with regard to the plant's continued operation in Whistler's legacy neighbourhood. Council heard our concerns and passed a motion to direct municipal staff to relocate the plant by June 1, 2010. Unfortunately, council's vote was not unanimous. Mayor Ken Melamed and Councillor Chris Quinlan were more inclined to support a staff recommendation which would have seen the plant continue to operate, with a temporary commercial use permit in place, for up to two years from the date of issue, with another possible two-year extension.
Thankfully, the remaining members of council (with the exception of Councillor Grant Lamont who was not present) agreed with the families moving into Cheakamus Crossing that the continued operation of this plant - for any length of time - within a residential neighbourhood is simply not acceptable. Councillor Ted Milner was adamant that the plant must close sooner rather than later. Kudos to you, Mr. Milner - and the councillors who supported your motion - for recognizing the health, environmental and financial impacts of the plant's continued operation in a residential neighbourhood.
It's disappointing that the motion didn't pass unanimously, as 100 per cent support for the plant's relocation prior to the occupancy of Cheakamus Crossing would have given staff a decisive, clear directive to ensure that this deadline is met while at the same time reassuring residents that council is determined to see this happen. At least everyone is in agreement that the plant has to go.
Relocating the plant PRIOR to the occupancy of Cheakamus Crossing is simply the only option.
Staff will now examine the viability of the plant's relocation within the established timeframe. Council has one more meeting before adjourning until late March 2010. Holidays aside, the months of December and January will be a busy time at municipal hall as preparations for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be in full force.
The unfortunate thing is that staff could very well report back to council in 2010 that the June 1 deadline is not viable. I certainly hope that doesn't become the case because if it should, and the plant was to remain, the entire project could be at risk. Certainly there will be people who will opt out of their purchase should the plant remain. And I have to assume that the plant's continued operation would hinder the sale of market lots and townhomes. If the project fails, the RMOW would be on the hook for the $100 million loan borrowed to finance the project.
I do hope that municipal staff recognize the urgency of this situation, will follow council's direction and will work to ensure that the June 1 deadline is met.
Ideally, during the period of late December-late March, while council is not in session, the community will receive regular updates with regard to the progress of the plant relocation. Many of us will be watching closely as we make decisions with regard to our purchases at Cheakamus Crossing.
An epidemic takes hold
While on a recent vacation, I found paradise... sun, sand, relaxation and beers for a buck. I didn't hear any mention of any Swine flu hysteria, scandalous politics or Olympic hype. Ahh, ignorance is bliss.
Unfortunately I blew it; I checked my e-mail and opened an attachment from our strata meeting. I was shocked to be informed that the board decided to purchase "Terrorism Insurance" for the Olympics. What? I figured a security budget that exceeds the GDP of most small countries might suffice.
I guess there's some intelligence suggesting al Qaeda is targeting 20-year-old employee housing. A high risk, high profile target, I suppose.
Amber Alert! It's official. Olympic Fever is an epidemic and there's no vaccine or hand washing that can prevent its spread. The symptoms are serious and can lead to madness and insanity. They include lapse of reason, confusion, fear and paranoia, the willingness to spend others' money foolishly without regard to where it might come from or how it might be paid. Our governments are clearly suffering from it.
I hope I'm not infected, because I'm starting to feel sick. I'd better go online and buy a miracle cure. I'm sure I'll find someone who will sell me an antidote. I'd pay anything for a quick fix and piece of mind.
Down at the Library Bar and Grill
As the manager of Oly and the Fat Cats, I'd like to thank VANOC and Whistler's top bureaucrats for a never-ending supply of inspiration for our material. That sign in the library window announcing the application for a liquor licence is priceless, and a photo of it is now on our website.
Not only will our "public" library be closed to the public for over a month during the Games, but local peasants will be able to stand outside, faces pressed to the windows and watch as up to 999 VIPs get blotto inside. On our tax dollars. It warms the heart.
We trust that more such announcements are on the way, and want to offer a few suggestions that would undoubtedly help stir Oly's creative juices:
• Daycare Signs Contract With RedBull - To Stay Open 24 Hours;
• High School Gym To Be Converted To Grow-Op - Students Excited;
• Monsanto Buys Food Bank - All Handouts To Be GMO Only.
Big Daddy VeeCee (a.k.a. Van Powel)
I can't comment on the rhetorical question in Max's column "The Pod People..." without first acknowledging the skill required to write the entire piece about PPs and then in the last few sentences to work in a reference to the "O" word.
In his column Max asked, "What is it about political office that seems to strip the humanity, reason and ethical gyroscope out of a person?" when all he should have asked is, "What is it ... that seems to strip the humanity, reason and ethical gyroscope out of a person?" I won't quibble with the "good" characteristics he suggests we could have. Whatever they are, if there are any, political office does not strip them from us. They are gone when we get there, stripped by our collective reaction to "it." The lights in a political office simply reveal their absence in us.
I could tell you what "it" is within the generous extension of your 250-word limit you always give me, for there is really nothing to "it." I won't though because it has been my experience not many, even the highly educated who read Pique, want to read about "it." I will for present purposes say our individual reactions to "it" are a blend of the ideal and the absolutely restrictive and that they form a collective resultant reaction. We can assess the relative amounts of component reactions in our resultant reactions by the amount of conflict that pervades our existence. In my assessment just the amount of conflict over money puts us closer to the absolutely restrictive than to the ideal and when we add to that religious, political, environmental and every other aspect of conflict, the amount doesn't leave much room for hope because the consequence of the absolutely restrictive reaction is self-destruction.
The restriction is, of course, on our continuum of physical/mental activity. The restriction on our mental activity strips the "humanity, reason and ethical gyroscope" out of us. As an example of how inhumane we are consider the fact that while we have strict rules about how to treat prisoners of war, we maintain a vertical economy that guarantees the further removed we are from the top the more torturous is our existence. To illustrate the absence of an ethical compass I will use an enhanced version of my mother's most frequent comment. If she killed someone on the street she would be put in jail, yet we justify aborting lives at any stage in clinics and in theatres of war.
Examples of our lack of reason have no end but where do I start? I could begin with the observation we can agree on the rules of war but not on the rule of peace. But then there are our "leaders" telling us we will do nothing to save our environment that will harm the economy. The completely unreasonable perpetuation of religious myths deserves consideration. Though all worthy I begin and, because I am well beyond my allotment of words, end with the lack of reason shown by spending billions of dollars on an athletic "party" that allows a few individuals and one nation to claim they are the best in a worsening world; and gives thousands of others another opportunity to make the world worse by getting "wasted" to avoid thinking about "it" for a couple weeks.
The true Olympic spirit?
While traveling to Vancouver to speak at the Vancouver Public Library at a benefit for community radio stations, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman and her two colleagues were detained by Canadian authorities. Amy was questioned extensively about the speech she intended to give; their car was gone through by armed border guards, and their papers and laptop computers were scoured. The armed interrogators were particularly interested in whether she would be speaking about the upcoming Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
Please do not let this one go away. I am in favour of the Olympics. I am against the corporate bludgeon. I am against the militarization of personal consciousness (Google that phrase = Psychologies ever vigilant against an undefined and hence elusive enemy).
I fear that the true Olympic spirit of the current schizoid times is revealed in the above gaff.
Just two tickets each?
Whistler (taxpayers?) went to great expense and gave up a forest to build the medals plaza. We fought with VANOC to ensure that the nightly award ceremonies and celebrations would be held there. We tried to be understanding when we were told there would be no arena and no second sheet of ice.
Whistlerites have been encouraged to embrace the Olympics and welcome the world, so those of us who aren't fleeing (with big bundles of rental cash in our pockets!) are figuring out the logistics of getting to work, school, bringing home the groceries, trying to enjoy some skiing and maybe even take in an event or two. Because, after all it's going to be worth it, right? Especially the lasting memories for our kids - those nightly celebrations at our new plaza, fantastic! We've heard that the best Canadian bands are coming and we are hoping to cheer on our Canadian and even local athletes. Wow!
I completely bought in to this fantasy, until today. I finally got to the front of the line to pick up my purchased Olympic tickets (I got lots) and I found out that after spending over $5,000, I get two tickets for one Whistler celebration! That's it - no more tickets for sale, none to be had, unless you got a voucher at the 100-day celebration. How can this be? Who are the 5,000 people who will be there nightly, and how did they get their tickets? The people that travel up by bus for the events have to hop back on those buses after the event.
Please don't hold a party that we are helping to pay for and then tell us we can't come.
Silence is dangerous
Clare Ogilvie's Highway to Paradise article (Pique, Nov. 26) is a welcome overview of this fantastic project. It's a huge success story... and it has a dark underbelly, namely uncontrolled speeding.
Mayor Melamed and the police point to an increase in dangerous speeding, coupled with no new resources to manage enforcement. (Hello B.C. Transport Ministry, municipalities, and the feds responsible for the RCMP - why are you silent on this issue?)
So with the winter conditions upon us and this speeding situation as a threat to all of us, let me suggest, Drivers, it's time to step up!
Can we get together to do the following ?
1. Use the Sea to Sky hotline to report dangerous drivers;
2. Use hazard lights for some rapidly overtaking vehicles and flash headlights as they go past. Over half of the vehicles slow down ("Hey, I'm speeding" or "Radar ahead?"). Flashing really works;
3. Tell the silent MLAs, MPs, town councils and ministries to weigh in on this situation.
If we drivers step up, the S2S will be a safer and a more enjoyable drive for all of us.
Improving postal service
I share Pat Dagg's disappointment in the lack of postal service in Whistler. I would like to add my 54 cents in the pursuit of improvement.
I brought this problem up with our MP, John Weston. I am grateful that he did everything in his power to address the issue, but Canada Post is a separate entity. John forwarded my inquiry appropriately to the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. From there I received a response from the President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Post Corporation, Moya Greene, at 2701 Riverside Dr. Suite N1200 Ottawa ON K1A 0B1. The response was that they are aware of the problem. They have contacted our Chamber of Commerce of a business opportunity for a local business to become an authorized dealer in Whistler. Unfortunately we had these in the past and Canada Post will not pay enough to make it profitable and so we lost them.
Personally I think our best solution would be to remove all the postal boxes from Marketplace Post Office to a Super Box situated somewhere quiet, like the north end of Northlands Boulevard. Renovate the present site to have the potential of as many front line staff as necessary to accommodate the demand. This would also reduce the vehicle traffic in a very busy location.
In the mean time, Christmas is coming; to avoid line ups go to the Pemberton or Squamish Post Office if you can!
Christmas light madness
I write this letter in exasperation having just watched two muni workers with a cherry picker take eight hours to decorate one tree with Christmas lights outside Citta'. Even if 80 per cent of this cost is covered by VANOC (as I have been told by RMOW), this still represents a crazy cost to taxpayers. I'd like to know if this kind of contract is ever put out to tender and whether any non-government agency would allow two people to take all day over one tree. I suspect not.
Liquor rules obsolete
Why is a liquor licence seen as something special? Even hours of operation are viewed differently than any other licence, such as hardware, garden plants, groceries and prepared food.
The only purpose of licence fees is revenue. Other rules are just additional factors as in only related to the morality attitude of "shall we let someone sell beer."
It is way past time this nonsense of "drinking in public" and needing someone's permission and being corralled behind fences and without children be abolished.