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This week's letters

It’s the negative opinions that help I would like to express a thank-you to Pique Newsmagazine for not relenting to the request of Bruce MacDonald who wanted you not to publish negative articles regarding Americans that are already under attack.

It’s the negative opinions that help

I would like to express a thank-you to Pique Newsmagazine for not relenting to the request of Bruce MacDonald who wanted you not to publish negative articles regarding Americans that are already under attack. In the words of a famous American, John McEnroe, "you cannot be serious."

First of all most of the "negative opinion crap" is not against Americans as a whole but rather specific Americans or American policy. As far as Americans already under attack if you are referring to the Iraq War you should check your facts. The Americans invaded Iraq to eradicate Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Ooops! There were no weapons of mass destruction but they decided to stay there and ram an American democracy down their collective Iraqi throats. Because that's what we wanted... I mean they wanted. Then we will install a new government more favourable to U.S interests like we did in Afghanistan. All to strengthen an American stranglehold on our world and further their New World Order.

Any fair journalism must allow an equal mix of opinions, both positive and negative – unlike the American Fox News Network, which provides a predominantly Republican point of view. A variety of polls have been taken that posed questions regarding the Iraq War to both Fox News viewers and real news viewers. In most cases a large percentage of Fox News viewers were exposed to be misinformed. Most reputable news agencies would be horrified to learn that their newscast has misinformed the public, but not Fox News. They are only interested in providing their pro-Republican agenda.

Mr. MacDonald asks Pique to clean up its act. I think Pique is sparkling clean next to most American publications. Mr. MacDonald would prefer a magazine that contains only rosey articles that pat ourselves on the back telling us how wonderful we are and how great we are doing. Yet, in my opinion, it's the so-called negative articles and letters that help us ask questions to help better ourselves and our community. Mr. MacDonald ends his letter with "thanks very much from all of us." Well sir, you can't speak for all of us, just your narrow-minded self.

Tim Gorgichuk



Another view of Anderson Lake

Stephen Buckman's letter in the Feb. 17 th Pique (Lost Valley discovered by IPPs) is full of misinformation about the Anderson Lake area.

Sockeye, pink and spring salmon spawn in the river between Anderson and Seton Lakes and in the Gates River by the road and railway south-west of D'Arcy. Lost Valley Creek is nowhere a silt laden creek, unlike the Bridge River which comes from Bridge Glacier bringing silt to Downton Lake and then Carpenter Lake before entering the penstocks to the Bridge River hydro plants in Shalalth.

As for being a boat access wonderland the "Hiline" from D'Arcy to Seton Portage is used all year with great views of the four transmission lines running the length of the lake. CN has six trains a day running along the north-west shore of the lake and there is ongoing work on the rail line, including blasting.

Most accessible lake shore from Lost Valley Creek to D'Arcy is dotted with cabins and boat traffic is heavy in the summer. When the wind blows we clean our beach of bottles and garbage every day. Boat campers started a forest fire at Three Mile Creek that required water bombers to put it out. Recreational users also started a forest fire in the McGillivray Pass area.

We have had two major forest fires in the last three years and if there were some access to the Lost Valley area for firefighters our community would be safer. I do no expect that a small IPP project in Lost Valley will have much adverse effect in the area shown on the map in their application.

Rolf Gundersen

Seton Portage


Respect your fellow slider

Okay, this is it. I’m as patient as the next person, but I just can’t take it any more. I am a good, fast, rhythmic skier. I try not to take up more of the hill than I should, I check over my shoulder for oncoming faster skiers, I look before I start down the hill or cross a slope.

I often ski with my five-year-old son, who is a good little skier, but a little more erratic, as young kids often are. We have got into the habit of pulling over and stopping to let groups of faster travellers by, and we’re extra careful on roads and ski-outs so that we don’t take our half in the middle.

Today we were on lower Ridge Runner, and a fast group came through. Philippe and I stopped in a logical, clearly visible area well off to the side. The whole slope was available, and some knuckleheaded snowboarder decided to ride up the side hill beside us, in the 10 feet between us and the woods.

What’s the deal? Why do people blitz other people when there is a whole run available to them? Why do they straightline, clearly out of control and taking every blind hit they see? They travel in packs. The first one is generally not too bad, but do you ever have to look out for the last guys in the pack, trying to keep up with no skills and less balance.

The worst part is that most of these hooning jerks are living and working in Whistler. They could care less about anyone else on the hill, even if it’s the people sharing that same mountain who are paying their salaries and making their Whistler lifestyle possible. If you say anything, at best they flip you the bird and at worst they become threatening. That is, if they can hear you over their headsets. There is certainly never any respect for the concept that their behaviour is taking away from your enjoyment, let alone that it might be unsafe.

Okay, there is not as much snow as anyone would like in the alpine, so people are looking for thrills on the groomers. Okay, boys will be boys. But you can’t complain that there are less people here and then make no effort to instil a little consideration in this group so that people can ski confidently. I am sure that they are taking away from the on-hill experience of many visitors, not just me. Yes, I too am frequently told to slow down by the speed patrol, but believe me, it’s not me they have to worry about.

This hasn’t been an easy ski season and I am completely impressed with how Intrawest has stepped up and taken care of its people and the guests. They deserve kudos from all of us for their efforts, but at the same time (and especially until we get more snow) we desperately need a little more emphasis on sharing the mountain. We need to change people’s habits and attitudes, and hotlist those who won’t co-operate. It says right on your pass that using the mountain is a privilege, and that privilege needs to be treated with more respect.

I have noticed a much increased presence of the speed patrol on the hill. I can't necessarily fault the mountain for the situation. It lies in the attitudes of some people using the mountain. Intrawest can't be expected to control everything and in certain areas on the hill I think they are doing what they can. It is the general awareness of others by the abusive groups that needs to be changed – but how, I'm not sure.

Laura Scully

Whistler, B.C./Mont-Tremblant, Quebec


Praise the snowmakers and groomers

To say this is a bad snow year is an understatement, but then again we Brits are known for that. I hear people complain and frankly I have no patience for that. Yes the snow is limited, we are not wallowing in the powder we dream of and are used to.

However, I believe that praise is due to those on both mountains who are working hard to make sure we have good skiing. I have to say that every time I have been up in February I’ve been super-impressed, we’ve found good skiing and blue skies. I am amazed at the ski outs and general condition of runs, particularly the busy intersections and high traffic routes.

We’ve had fun up high and lower traffic areas, and sure I’m praying for the 12 foot dump like everyone, but feel in the midst of all the disappointing snowfall, there are heroes and heroines who are working hard to make sure we who ski do get to have as much fun as is possible in a drought month. (You’ll notice I said month, ever optimistic that our prayers for snow will be answered. I’m also keen to get off these rock skis!)

Thank you snowmakers, groomers and all who manage the snow up there; you are doing a stellar job and deserve acclaim for making a bad situation quite amazing.

Keep up the great work and keep praying for snow!

John Hewson



Whistler is indeed a spiritual place, but isn't every place? It's what people do there which transforms a place from profane to sacred. A community which does good deeds, which cares for each other, for strangers and locals alike is what makes a place special, a suitable dwelling place for the Divine.

Interestingly, the pioneers lived in Whistler from 1914 to the 1960s without a church, but from what I've read they were indeed charitable, and looked after each other as best they could in an isolated community. The natives preceded them of course, and the whole world was their holy place.

What Pina Belperio did not mention in her feature article was the Jewish community in Whistler which holds a Seder at Passover, and more prominently the Lubavitchers , an ultra-Orthdox sect who do Passover each year at the Chateau Whistler Fairmont. With their long coats and black hats, the women who dress modestly stand out among snowboarders and bar flies.

Judy Keeler



It never got weird enough

I appreciated G.D. Maxwell’s toast to the Good Doctor, however, I have to disagree with him; Hunter’s best work may have been behind him, but he was in no way a "caricature of himself."

From reading his latest, Kingdom of Fear, I must attest that he remained productive, insightful and even prescient to the end. No one foresaw the long term political impact of 9/11 with the immediacy and clarity that he did. His characteristic acerbic wit and baroque prose remained intact.

Lately he had worked hard to protect the 4th Amendment against the continual erosion it has suffered in the name of the sacrosanct Wars on Drugs and Terror.

While Maxwell was right to point out Thompson’s medical troubles as a possible rationale behind his choice, he neglects other significant factors. For one, the doc had said he would have felt trapped in this world were it not for the option of suicide. Also, Thompson always described the American Dream as "his beat." Perhaps it influenced his decision to see the American people vindicate the sneering Nazi swine who had spent the last four years eagerly choking the last breath from that dream.

While his tombstone will likely read "It never got weird enough for him," perhaps it got too stupid, cruel and venal. If that is the case, it does not bode well for us at all.

Neil Lantela



A question of value

On Monday, March 7 th at 7 p.m. in council chambers a public hearing will be held regarding bylaw 1697 to rezone Lakeside Park and the adjoining lot from RS1 to LP1. Although this rezoning has been described as a "housekeeping" issue by municipal staff it is, in my opinion, an insult to all the people of Whistler, particularly to the local Alta Vista neighbours.

The permitted uses of the current RS1 zoning includes "(d) park and playground". The proposed LP1 zoning's permitted uses include "(d) concession including rental of outdoor recreation equipment and supplies". This rezoning bylaw has been deemed necessary at this time as the result of the requests of the Alta Vista neighbours of Lakeside Park to remove or relocate the municipality’s commercial concession operations from this residentially zoned neighbourhood park.

These municipal boat rental concessions were originally created in the ’80s to facilitate the summer outdoor water sports recreational opportunities for the residents and visitors, at a time when the resort was striving to become a four-season vacation destination. Former concession operators used to supply a large variety of water sport options including Laser sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, kayaking and rowing sculls, all at very affordable prices. The profits from the canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals were used to support the large variety of Olympic event activities, as well as numerous community and children’s water sports-related programs.

The current concession operation is now one of several local outfits offering canoe and kayak rentals, but none of the other more challenging activities. The cost of the activities still offered has almost tripled compared to those charged by the former concession operation only four years ago. For example, a family of four with two small children used to be able to rent a canoe and paddle the River of Golden Dreams for $54 all-inclusive. That same family would now be charged $49 per adult and $24.50 per child plus taxes totalling over $157 for the same activity. I can't help wondering how this particular example has contributed to "Whistler's perceived value" as surveyed by Tourism Whistler.

Meanwhile, the local residents have endured increased vehicular traffic and a decrease in maintenance of their neighbourhood park, despite a dramatic reduction in the boating participation levels on Alta Lake.

As a result I, and several of my neighbours, feel that the community would value this waterfront park more if they had unencumbered access to it, as opposed to the current situation where a significant portion of the available space is occupied by the commercial operation. We feel that the municipality should conform to the existing RS1 zoning, with its "park and playground" intended use, and to relocate the commercial operations to the LP1 zoned Rainbow Park, if their value to the community is deemed sufficient to warrant their occupation of any extremely rare waterfront park land.

I would like to invite anyone who has experienced Lakeside Park to express your opinion now either in writing or at the Public Hearing this Monday.

Chris Manuel

10 year Lakeside Road resident, Whistler

Former concession operator


Does this fly?

If Transport Canada doesn’t like the idea of having 737s land in Pemberton to pick up and drop off passengers, perhaps the first time it happens they can stop by to place a parking ticket on the windshield.

Bjorn Gimse




In mid-January 2005, significant positive strides were made in Saskatchewan to protect children and youth from tobacco products. On Jan. 19 th , the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Saskatchewan’s legislation prohibiting the use of promotional tobacco retail displays in premises accessible to minors.

Practically, this means that when children and youth go into places that sell cigarettes, such as a convenience store or a gas bar, they will not be visually assaulted by tobacco advertising behind and/or on top of the counter. In Saskatchewan, cigarettes and other tobacco products have to be completely hidden from view, such as by placing them under the counter, behind curtains, in cabinets or some other non-visible option. As promotional advertising and sponsorship for tobacco products have become increasingly restrictive in Canada, the tobacco industry has found new and creative ways to promote their products, and this is one example of how the tobacco industry has continued to promote and market its deadly products.

Manitoba and Nunavut have similar legislation in place to protect their children and youth. Not less than four years ago, British Columbia was seen to be an international leader in creative and unique programs and legislation to protect children and youth from a product that kills one in two users. We encourage the government of B.C. to capitalize on the leadership shown by Saskatchewan by bringing in similar legislation to protect our children and youth. If this is the new gold standard, shouldn’t we be leading the way as we look towards 2010?

Bobbe Wood

Chief Executive Officer

Heart and Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon

Scott McDonald

Executive Director

British Columbia Lung Association



Realtors come through

Whistler realtors, once again have generously supported health care in the Whistler community. The recent donation to the Whistler Health Care Foundation of $12,000, part of the funds raised at their annual gala Festival of Lights, will go towards providing critical care equipment for the Whistler Health Care Centre.

I would like to say a personal thank you to the members of the organizing committee, especially Ann Chaisson and Janis Wolsey, for working so tirelessly at making this event one of the highlights of Whistler’s festive season. Not only does the community enjoy an evening of first class food and entertainment but many local organizations benefit from the money raised by the silent auction.

I am continually reminded that, despite the hundreds of tourists that visit our spectacular resort, we are at heart a small, tight-knit community that pulls together to support each other and ensure our community grows in ways that benefit us all – locals and guests alike. The Association of Whistler Realtors is one of the key contributors. Thank you! We look forward to the next Festival of Lights.

Marnie Simon

Chairperson, Whistler Health Care Foundation



Community Now a success

The premiere of Community Now: The People of Whistler this past Friday was a huge success! One hundred and twenty enthusiastic Whistlerites of all ages came out to see the debut of the history-making film project at Millennium Place. Thank you to all those who made the project and evening possible: sponsors (Celebration 2010, The Province of British Columbia, The Resort Municipality of Whistler, The Whistler Arts Council, Tourism Whistler), Brian Hockenstein, Millennium Place, Tel Av, Whistler Printing, senior community members, volunteers, Market Catering, and Kostas Lymbertos and Jana Marie Dupuis.

Jimi Galvao, Program and Design Co-ordinator

on behalf of the Whistler Museum & Archives


Thanks for joining the resistance

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Johnny and his crew, at the Southside Diner, for hosting Black Ohm Tattoos first artshow. Thanks also to Wes Makepeace, Brandon Burke, Scott Johnston, Dave "Pepe" Petko, Hayley and our wonderful friends, family and clients, for making the night a success. Your support and encouragement has sparked our creativity and paved the way for future events.

Robin Dutcher

Justin Ormiston

Black Ohm Tattoos, Whistler