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Somebody, anybody, please help these people!

Somebody, anybody, please help these people! This is absolutely ridiculous. I have been living in Whistler for eight years — and grew up in Vancouver — and I have never seen this town in worse shape.

Somebody, anybody, please help these people!

This is absolutely ridiculous. I have been living in Whistler for eight years — and grew up in Vancouver — and I have never seen this town in worse shape. I am witnessing long-term vital residents of this town receiving notices from their landlords to vacate their rental units in order for the owner to significantly increase rent and make an extra buck (who can blame them; everybody has to pay there mortgage).

Not only is this a crisis, but these individuals are now forced to find affordable accommodation, which at this point in the season is non-existent. When I hear friends that have been here for more than five years saying, “Well I guess I am going to move back to Ontario,” or “move down to Vancouver because I can’t find a place to live,” it’s not right.

I know what you’re thinking: awesome, one less Leafs fan to deal with. But this is wrong. We haven’t even had a real influx of seasonal workers come to town yet.

This problem is only going to get worse in the next month, and even worse as we move in to the Olympic season. Now that the temporary ghetto (the Phoenix Project) has been scrapped, where are these people supposed to live? Obviously once our seasonal influx arrives and realizes that there is no accommodation they will pack up and move to one of the other up and coming resort towns in B.C. — where housing is easier to find and cost of living is substantially reduced. Once this happens, how are we supposed to fill all of our seasonal positions in an already extremely short staffed town?

Maybe it’s time for VANOC to release the number of residences they are currently over paying for and give them back to the public and stop driving up the rent all around town. What is all of this for? Four weeks of Games a year and a half from now? Who cares, we have a crisis on our hands and when long-term residents are packing up and moving you have to question yourself… what is it all for?

This problem needs to be fixed… now!

I suggest anyone who can’t find a place to live start sending your e-mails directly to our mayor, Ken Melamed, and let him know how long you’ve been in town and that action must be taken now. Perhaps this will assist our council to comprehend the magnitude of the problem and to stop ignoring the issue.

Stephen Baumberg


Sustaining dialogue, too

Thanks to Bill Overing for his comments in the Sept. 11 Pique (Bill Overing joins council race) and at the Sept. 15th council meeting, which together provide an opportunity to update the community on the start-up of the new social enterprise known as the Whistler Centre for Sustainability.

When we refer to “sustainability” in Whistler, we consider Whistler2020 to be the embodiment of the definition. Whistler 2020 is the vision and strategic plan for Whistler’s continued success to the year 2020, and beyond to 2060, created, and driven by the community. When we talk about sustainability, it is the comprehensive view of economic, social and ecological sustainability — none of which can succeed without the other. It is this community-built sustainability “package” that we will leverage through the Whistler Centre for Sustainability — a package that has gained international recognition and offers significant revenue-generating potential. Other communities already approach Whistler for guidance on achieving similar results in their own backyards and express a willingness to engage on a fee-for-service basis.

Through its alignment with the Whistler 2020 vision to guide community progress toward success and sustainability, the Whistler Centre for Sustainability supports the local economy with a strategic approach building on Whistler’s core expertise in sustainable tourism, events and community planning. The Centre will strive to bring A) external funding and expertise into the community, B) new visitors to Whistler within the growing “responsible tourism” segment, and C) new revenue streams through programs grounded in Whistler’s existing sustainability package, designed for the growing marketplace of corporate responsibility managers, small business owners, and municipal planning departments, among others.

As a note, the Centre will operate at arms-length from the RMOW, and is not intended as a revenue source for the municipality itself. Although launching with initial seed funding from the RMOW, the Centre will strive to realize its business goal of self-generating its own funding and revenue within five years of launch.

The board of directors overall welcomes this kind of conversation in the community, and invites participation in the preparation of the Centre’s business plan in the next several months. We are thrilled to welcome Cheeying Ho, a well-known leader in the sustainability field, to the Whistler Centre as its founding Executive Director.

Deborah Curran

Senior Instructor, Environmental Law Centre, Faculty of Law University of Victoria

Lawyer, Deborah Curran & Company

Co-chair, Whistler Centre for Sustainability

Charles Steele

President, Ziptrek Ecotours

Co-chair, Whistler Centre for Sustainability”

What does WITAC know?

Attention members of the Whistler Interested Taxpayers Association Coalition: Regarding your Sept. 25 ad, what do you know that we don’t?

• #2, about the cause of the 30 per cent increase in our taxes over a five-year period;

• #8, about the location of a strip mall in the valley;

• #9, about expropriation rights;

• #13, about a big sculpture in the village?

Ross and Harlene Walker


Do the right thing

Last Thursday I was at the park with my three dogs, Mac and Tosh, and Finnegan. I decided to walk out of the park along the Valley Trail.

A short distance along the trail, I came across a boy on his bike. As I strolled by him, I thought, he is young to be alone on the Valley Trail! I watched him from a distance to see if an adult joined him. When no one appeared, I approached the boy. I asked him all the questions one would ask: How old are you? Where’s your Mom? Dad? Where is your house? Who are you supposed to be with? Why don’t you show me where you live?

The boy was shy, and getting this information from him was difficult. I managed to learn his name, and that he was supposed to be with his older brother.

Without much hesitation, I made the decision to call the police. I figured that was the best way to find his parents.

As I was speaking with the police, a neighbour of the boy’s came along the trail. She offered to take him home, but the police were on their way. She and I coaxed the boy back to the park to wait for the police to arrive.

Once we got to the park, the mother of the boy showed up. I was surprised. How did she know he was with me in the park? She approached me with an angry expression on her face. I was totally caught off guard. She asked me aggressively why I would call the police. Why wouldn’t I have asked around the park before calling the cops? I was very embarrassed.

She asked me to try to call off the police. I tried, but they said no, we have to wait for them. I ended up apologizing to her, quite emphatically. I defended myself with “I’m sorry. I was just trying to do the right thing.”

Meanwhile, the boy was getting her wrath as well. I couldn’t believe it. Why would the boy and I get the brunt of her anger, rather than the older brother, or herself?

She walked away from me agitated. I was speechless.

I have gone from upset and confused, to angry. I have considered many theories as to why a mother would have such a hostile approach to a person who was just looking out for the safety of her five-year-old child. Her problem with the police was baffling to me. A five-year-old boy in the middle of the Valley Trail! A million things have run through my head, what-ifs concerning bears and speeding bicyclists, and worse.

To the mother: I want to assure you that I use absolute discretion with your identity. I am in no way interested in antagonizing or slandering you. The next time someone has good intentions towards the safety of one of your children, a simple “thanks” would be great.

To all parents: If I found your young child alone on a trail, what would you want me to do? Would I call the police again? Yes. I was just trying to do the right thing.

Alex Scott


Priced out of Games

This letter was addressed to VANOC. A copy was forwarded to Pique.

Isn't it bad enough you've snubbed Squamish, tried to shut businesses down that have been in existence longer than your corporation and priced tickets so high that most people won't be able to go? And now you can't find the money to pay one Canadian songwriter out of thousands in this country (some are actual Grammy winners) to come up with a Canadian slogan or line for merchandise opportunities.

This attitude is certainly indicative of why I was told I was not sophisticated enough to participate in the Games. As it stands right now, your transportation plans have me preparing not to enjoy the bobsled, curling and hockey events but planning to go on tour with my ECMA award-nominated children’s entertainment group.

Have you spent your budget to the point you’re seeking the cheapest alternative to any new promotions? Will we, the taxpayers, be subject to cost overruns in April 2010? Are your Games sending B.C. to the same economic crisis that the USA is experiencing? If so, let me know so I can get out before the economic earthquake strikes us!

Daryl Robb

Garibaldi Highlands

The pleasure of pain

First off, cheers for you guys supporting the “month of pain.” I think it is a great idea, and many riders in my cycling club are thinking of training for it next year.

I would like to make one suggestion though... how about adding the Vancouver Olympic Triathlon on Sept. 1st as the tie-breaking event for next year? That would tie in nicely with the Vancouver/Whistler Olympic brotherhood, and give us city folks a home field event to kick off the month with!

I look forward to next year’s September gruelathon, regardless!

David Grosch


Ask questions

Regarding Independent Power Producers (IPPs

They will sell the power to B.C. Hydro but nobody bothers to mention for how much. Why is our public power producer being usurped in favour of private power producers? You don't think that rates will go up now?

Run-of-river projects do not produce "green power," it's "greed power." If B.C. Hydro is forced to pay high rates to private owners of power plants, that will devastate the rivers and streams and slowly but surely strangle what's left of B.C. Hydro.

The government, with the help of Ralph Klein and the Fraser Institute, wants private power so it can stick to its Milton Friedman/Fraser Institute philosophy. In support of this policy, they allege that power will now be subject to "market forces." Let's think on that for a moment. Private corporations will be given private monopolies and will be paid what the Campbell government forces Hydro to pay! That's free enterprise? That's the market at work? Give me a break!

Because of the Ashlu Bill our communities no longer have a say on run-of-river projects. To date in B.C. there are over 500 IPP run-of-river license applications. This is greed being green washed by the sustainability wordsmiths. This kind of irresponsible privatization, brought to you by globalization and corporatizing our resources, comes in a benign political package but when you open it, it reads swindle.

Private banks have the same template with the appearance of a free market system. We as a nation, from 1938 to 1974, used our Bank of Canada Act for public expenditures whereby the BOC would issue the currency into existence for public projects. After the late 1970s our political leaders were wooed by foreign and domestic financiers, a.k.a. World Bank, IMF etc. So the government borrowed heavily from the private banks, and refused to use its own currency-issuing powers even though it is written into law in the Bank Of Canada Act — and now our national debt is almost at $1 trillion. It is our second national anthem to corporate entitlement, at the expense of our health care, social services, arts and culture, housing, community infrastructure, our students going into debt to get ahead in life, the list goes on.

It’s amazing how this elitist economic model runs through our financial institutions, our pharma industry, our food and GMO BioTech industry, our resource licensing and how it weaves through corporations with our governments leaving the footprint of fascist entitlement. If we, together, rain truth on that footprint long enough the grass will grow again as if it was never there. Think about the river of money stolen from us in the last 35 years. Almost $2 trillion went to private money producers, a so-called free market system that fueled the rich and so diminished our standards of living.

Producing green power is a great idea but why would you want to let our government create a private monopoly of power producers that will pass on the higher rates to us and destroy our public utility while we ignore the fact that we could have funded B.C. Hydro "green projects" with the Bank of Canada and kept our electric rates the lowest in North America? This is how our arrogant B.C. government is selling us out and attempting to imprison our voice. A systemic disease of predatory economics under the tag line of globalization has infected our ignorant and complicit government and society. This needs to be stopped now. Please ask powerhouse questions during this election. If we don't hold their feet to the fire of accountability we will surely continue to cooperate with our own enslavement.

Wolfgang Lindemann