Someone once told me that grief is the purest evidence that we have loved and loved well. In our tiny mountain town, we have loved and lost many over the years. In the early hours of Oct. 18, 2003, the devastating floods led to the collapse of the Rutherford Creek Bridge and the loss of Jamie Burnette, Edward Elliott, Daryl Stevenson and Mike Benoit. The fact that Casey Burnette survived reminded us all to believe in miracles and we are grateful to see his smiling face each day.
I would like to thank the communities of Whistler and Pemberton for the many generous donations, countless hours volunteering and support that led to over $100,000 being raised for the Rutherford Creek Bridge Disaster fund.
Although a year has past, our grief remains but our memories are a way to hold on to those that we loved. So each day I try to find comfort and solace in living each day to the fullest. I think that the boys would have wanted us to smile more, laugh more, stay up late, hold onto each other, to appreciate the little things and of course have another drink. Boys, we miss you, but in the words of the Hip, "We are all richer for having known you."
Reading your article on the defeat of the expansion plans in the Whistler Village Resort it suggests that the higher density in the CC-1 zone is a given. What is not discussed is the covenant registered on the title of every property in the village restricting development to that which was originally built.
When the village was developed council gave themselves considerable latitude in zoning so that they did not have to rezone properties if they thought a change was appropriate. The village was master planned in minute detail and before a parcel was sold to the private sector models were created and building volumetrics were decided. Issues such as view corridors out to nature, sunlight and compatibility to adjacent buildings were serious considerations. I am not sure whether through these guidelines any sites got to the 3.5 floor space ratio in the CC-1 zone. Once a building envelope was tweaked and approved for development a restrictive covenant was placed on title which for me and others constituted the real zoning and FSR. The covenants are still there and in some cases refer to the development permit for the building.
Far be it from me to be a party pooper but I think some serious discussion needs to occur before this award winning process and hence the village is turned asunder.
Last week I attended the Oct. 5 District of Squamish Council meeting and I commend Councillor Dave Fenn for the vision and perspective regarding the total lack of planning for these proposed energy projects, and for his efforts to put forward a motion which addressed this very issue. Currently the SLRD has more than 60 projects proposed for its rivers and streams. The driving player, B.C. Hydro, issues energy purchase agreements to projects with absolutely no public input. Land and Water B.C., the provincial government approval agency, continues to develop these potential projects in a one-off manner, which fails to address the big picture in any way.
For the past two years I have participated in the Sea to Sky Land Resource Planning (LRMP) process where all the key stakeholders sat at the table, with the exception of First Nations, who unfortunately were unable to participate in the process. During that time the IPP Industry has steadfastly refused to look to compromises which would see planned development of certain more acceptable projects, while also not developing other projects which impact a range of other significant values. All this leaves local government shackled with the responsibility for planning for these projects essentially doing the provincial governments work.
While local government should not have to be dealing with this, it is reassuring that both the District and the SLRD have stepped up to the task. That councillors Fenn, Lonsdale, Peters, Dawson and others recognize that without planned development of these projects we, as the province's single-largest tourism resource, stand to lose much of what we have bet our very future upon (recreation and tourism) is reassuring, and of no small matter.
This is not just a letter to cheer the vote to oppose the Ashlu Project. It is to support the position that we need to balance the development of the best IPP projects for this area with the other values this area holds. We need to select the ones that impact the least other key values, the ones which are acceptable to the community, and by those developers who work with our local government, and the impacted resource users. That the proposed Ashlu project is not one of the more acceptable ones is clearly evident from the ongoing opposition to the project.
Planning means making choices, and some of them difficult; this does not mean we should avoid planning, or the decisions that come with it. As politicians, I commend the District Councillors, and the SLRD for standing up for a planned process, and for recognizing that in the long-term, we need the key recreation and tourism resources which are the basis of our future.
Stuart Smith is River Projects Co-ordinator for the Whitewater Kayak Association of B.C.
This goes out with a huge thank you to those members of Squamish council with enough foresight to look at the big picture and vote to recommend against the Ashlu IPP. I have let it be known that I moved to Squamish as a recreationalist because of this special river. I have since bought a house in Squamish, and land in the Upper Squamish Valley for this same reason.
Having also attended the Oct. 5 council meeting I was appalled by the outlook that the mayor had taken regarding a few issues.
1) First and foremost let the kayakers speak for themselves! The Dept. of Navigable Waters does not give our approval to the project. Ledcor has openly stated that because of the stance taken by the Whitewater Kayak Association of B.C. (we are against the project entirely) they do not want to deal with us. Ledcor states that the Dept. of Navigable Waters has given them approval, but this same department has no provision to say no to the project. The Navigable Waters Protection Act allows a project with an impact on a waterway to proceed. The "power" of the act is that it requires mitigation of some sort. The Navigable Waters officers have told us they do not have the power to deny a project. It seems evident that this does not portray the interests of the paddling community.
2) The mayor speaks of one in five letters referring to a dam on the Ashlu. Despite Ledcor's best attempts to tell us that there will be no dam, all information presented shows that the "intake structure" will be a 3 metre rubber weir on top of a 5 metre concrete structure with a head pond around 800 metres. It seems that "intake structure" is merely a soft washed way of spelling dam. The project would essentially de-water the best paddling sections, during their best paddling seasons. All of this being contrary to the propaganda put forth by Ledcor in their "whats good for kayaking" leaflets. Can we please get our recreational impacts input from the reacreationalists and not the profit motivated corporation!
3) We are not against micro hydro! This could be the most important topic that is getting twisted around. We simply need to look at where they best fit. A Land Resource Management Plan (LRMP) has recently been created to assess which interests are best suited where. All key players participated, with the exception of the IPP industry, which seems to feel that they are above all that. The LRMP plan clearly states no IPPs on the Ashlu, and looks at areas where they are better suited.
Further, the mayor asks where we are to get the power that the Ashlu could create? The Cheakamus hydro project alone makes enough power (800 Gigawatt hours per year) to run all the homes in the SLRD four times over (based on information from B.C. Hydros Web site). There has been no backlash from the recreational community towards the IPPs put on Furry Creek, Britannia Creek, Brandywine Creek, the Soo River, Miller Creek, or both of projects on the Mamquam, and we are forced to live with the ones on the Cheakamus, and the Rutherford. In total, these projects create around 7.5 times (1,500 Gigawatt hours) the power that the SLRD needs to run our homes. All we want to do is save one of our true gems, the Ashlu, in its natural state.
While walking down by the Squamish waterfront last week envisioning what will one day be the diamond now in the rough, a flock of geese flew overhead in the chevron formation seen during migration season; typical of Canadian autumn skies. Several hours later another family of geese flew by, again in perfect formation and again profoundly touching me with their perfect unison airborne alchemy. What was it, I wondered, that was so unique about these birds that distinguished them as leaders in the avian world?
Well, time spent pondering this question led me to the Internet where I quickly learned that the sense of camaraderie demonstrated by the "V" formation is actually a form of very intelligent collaboration where the bird in second place stays behind the leader until the leader tires, and then takes the lead. The other birds sense the nuance in the air and surf on it, making the job of flying slightly easier. As each bird adds to the wake it assists the birds behind, from strongest to weakest, creating one flock of geese moving with great ease in their desired direction while also enabling birds of differing abilities to fly at a constant speed with a common endurance.
"Well," a friend of mine replied when I shared my newest goose infatuation, "an augury can be very helpful from time to time." I had to agree. The geese reminded me of my experience working at the Whistler Chamber of Commerce.
My experience this past year working for Brent Leigh has been one that I'll never forget. While Brent set the parameters and direction for the rest of his team, it was always with a unique mindset of collaboration and individual success. And if any of us got tired and fell to the back of the formation, he would always step up in place until we were strong enough to thrive on our own again. Brent intelligently designed our organization as geese design the "V" formation, so that we could work together and function at our fullest potential while also realizing and meeting the needs of the chamber, of our members and of the Whistler community at large.
However as the song goes, To Everything There Is A Season. On behalf of the Visitor Information Centre team, I want to thank you Brent for your ongoing support and unprecedented leadership. Wishing you many happy turns on your future course, and more.
Re: A challenge for Pique (letters Oct. 8)
The Cheakamus Challenge course runs 72.5 km from Squamish to Whistler and we have always tried to cleanup the course as soon as possible after the event each year. Each section has a person who is responsible for cleaning up all markers and event related trash by the Monday following the event. This year was no exception and I was under the impression from all our volunteers that we had it completed by Sunday, Sept. 26th. When I spoke to the person who was responsible for cleaning up from Chance Creek to Pinecrest he told me it would be done on Monday the 27th but obviously this was not the case.
I will make sure, personally, that the course is completely clean of our markers in the future as well as cleaning up many markers left over from other events and contractors who work in this area.
Re: Winter Olympic ski jump location
Why is the ski jump going to be up some valley, a very long way away from those who may use it when the Games are gone?
Most Olympic villages (Cortina, Innsbruck, etc.) have ski jumps in town somewhere where we can all look up at various times with our mouths agape.
They tend to get used again that way.
Re: Muni Workers something special (Pique letters Oct. 8)
To Marja Whitton, Kara-Leah Grant and all others who have forwarded comments. Thank you for noticing. Yes, its a job. Yes, we get paid for it. But its words like yours that puts the smile on our faces.
Paul Beswetherick, Landscape Maintenance Supervisor
Randy Symons, Parks & Trails Maintenance Supervisor
Ted Pryce-Jones, Village Maintenance Supervisor
Re: A Very Generous Community
Once again I am overwhelmed by our generous, supportive community. From Oct. 8 to 10 the BC/YT Section of Skate Canada hosted a competitive freeskate competition at Meadow Park Sports Centre. The event was a tremendous success. Skaters, coaches, judges, organizers, parents and friends were welcomed in style. Whistler Skating Club provided volunteers throughout the three long days. Jhan and Ken Derpak deserve a special thanks for organizing the volunteers and picking up every piece that was not ready for 5 a.m. on Friday.
Pulling an event together on short notice means asking for many last minute favours. An awards podium (lent by Whistler Mountain Ski Club) needed to be decorated and Inspired Group said, "Yes, you may borrow some fabric". Neither WSC nor Meadow Park Sports Centre had risers for the judges, so Bob Baker built one and Vision Pacific donated the material. WSC needed display material and products to sell for fundraising and were generously and unhesitatingly supported by Bear Pause, Mountain Blooms, Rogers Chocolates and The Whistler Real Estate Company.
Thank you everyone (named and unnamed) for your gifts of time, labour, materials and products. It makes me very proud to be a resident of Whistler and a volunteer in such a supportive club as WSC.
Thank you, too, to the staff at Meadow Park Sports Centre. Never hosting a skating competition before, this was a steep learning curve for both the hosts and the event co-ordinators. Your patience and co-operation has not gone unnoticed.
Lastly, to the only member of Whistler Skating Club who is competing at a high enough level to have received an invitation to compete this past weekend, you are an inspiration to every skater in our club. Congratulations, CJ!
Hot dogs full of thanks
As we begin our first full school year at Spring Creek Community School, thanks go out once again to this fabulous community we live in which continues to help support the SCPACs fund-raising efforts.
Firstly, we could not even get off the ground without the amazing support of all the parents, staff and teachers of Spring Creek. You are all truly amazing! We kicked off September with a magazine and gift catalogue fundraiser, and then added the Scholastic Book Fair.
Just to cap this off, we thought it might be fun to have a Welcome Back Night complete with family photos and Hot Dogs, where you could meet the teachers and shop at the book fair. By any stretch of the imagination this was a tall order and we could not have had the success we did without the help of our sponsors. A big Spring Creek thank you to Jerry and Sana Marsh of Creekside Market, Adam Protter of Big Smoke Mountain BBQ (Pemberton), Gary and Wendy Ramsay of Sysco, RMOW, and Market Catering who were all very generous in assisting with this fun family event on Sept. 30.
Thank you again everyone for your support!