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This week's letters

Olympic metamorphosis The SLRD public hearing regarding VANOC’s application to have the lands at Alexander Falls rezoned to permit development of the Whistler Nordic Centre was a breath of fresh, clean air.

Olympic metamorphosis

The SLRD public hearing regarding VANOC’s application to have the lands at Alexander Falls rezoned to permit development of the Whistler Nordic Centre was a breath of fresh, clean air. Concerned citizens from throughout the corridor spoke clearly on a range of issues from environmental, land use planning to VANOC’s questionable business practices.

The common theme of most speakers was the concern that VANOC’s commitment to this community for inclusive open process, promotion of healthy local economies and the hosting of a green Olympics had fallen to a secondary position behind that of a financially rewarding Games.

From my own personal experience I have witnessed "the Bid" entity morph from a grass roots amateur sports ideal to what I fear has become a self-serving, business devouring machine. Most of the commercial recreation operators in the Callaghan Valley have already experienced VANOC’s ability to manipulate government policy and thwart legitimate local enterprise. This process, if left unchecked, will inevitably lead to business collapse and the loss of livelihood to a significant number of corridor residents.

What was refreshing and abundantly clear from the public hearing audience was a general recognition that VANOC was on a collision course with this community and really needed to refocus on its previous commitments. Should it fail to do so, it runs the risk of losing support for hosting the Games.

Surprisingly, what was missing from the entire presentation was the actual final design of the competition venues as they will be built. VANOC appears to be in such a rush to claim the economic windfall of other company’s tenured land that they appear to still not have completed their venue design.

It is difficult to understand the proponent’s motivation for seeking approval for a concept of 10 hut-to-hut lodges on a development footprint of only 262 hectares. If the intent is to gain development density, VANOC would be better served if it rationalized the need and came forth with an honest design and presented it as such.

Brad Sills

Business for an Ethical Games (BEG)

Editor’s note: The writer is a partner in Callaghan Country Wilderness Adventures


SLRD map in error

AWARE feels that a response is needed to the points raised in Maureen Douglas’s letter (Pique Letter to the editor April 21). Ms. Douglas stated that AWARE’s letter drawing attention to the rezoning of the Callaghan Valley was misleading to the public.

That SLRD published inaccurate information in the papers, in the form of a map that clearly showed a proposed rezoning of a Provincial Park, was not mentioned in her letter. Despite AWARE's inquiries to VANOC and the SLRD as to the rezoning, neither VANOC nor the SLRD could provide AWARE with a binding statement that the map as published was drafted in error. Therefore, AWARE simply wrote a letter to the editor in order to bring the public's attention to this important issue, and encourage an explanation. At the public hearing hosted by the SLRD and VANOC, the public was told that the map was drafted erroneously.

While AWARE accepts the explanation that was eventually given by VANOC and the SLRD at the public hearing, AWARE stands by its commitment to this community to monitor and draw attention to environmental issues in the area.

Brad Kasselman, President

On behalf of the Board of Directors of AWARE


Hydrogen an inefficient highway

I think everyone loves the idea of becoming less reliant on fossil fuels for energy but I'm not sure we should get so excited about the new energy plan brought forward by Terasen. I think their cleaner, cheaper hydrogen-ready proposed $31.8 million pipeline is misleading. Hydrogen isn't an energy source, it's an energy carrier, like a battery. You have to make it and put energy into it, both of which take energy.

Ninety-six per cent of hydrogen is made from fossil fuels. Ninety per cent of hydrogen is made from natural gas, with an efficiency of 72 per cent. Only four per cent of hydrogen is made from water. This is done with electricity, in a process called electrolysis. Most electricity is generated from fossil fuel driven plants that are, on average, 30 per cent efficient. Electrolysis is 70 per cent efficient.

To calculate the overall efficiency of making hydrogen from water, the standard equation is to multiply the efficiency of each step. In this case you would multiply the 30 per cent efficient power plan times the 70 per cent efficient electrolysis to get an overall efficiency of 20 per cent. This means you have used 4 units of energy to create 1 unit of hydrogen energy.

Obtaining hydrogen from fossil fuels as an energy source is a bit perverse, since the whole point is to avoid using fossil fuels. The goal is to use renewable energy to make hydrogen from water via electrolysis. No matter how you look at it, producing hydrogen from water is an energy sink. If you don't understand this concept, please mail me $10 and I'll send you back a dollar.

One of the main reasons for switching to hydrogen is to prevent global warming caused by fossil fuels. When hydrogen is made from natural gas, nitrogen oxides are released, which are 58 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Natural gas is too valuable to make hydrogen with. We also don't have enough natural gas left to make a hydrogen economy happen. Extraction of natural gas is declining in North America. It will take at least a decade to even begin replacing natural gas with imported LNG (liquid natural gas). Making LNG is so energy intensive that it would be economically and environmentally insane to use natural gas as a source of hydrogen.

No matter how it's being made, hydrogen has no energy in it. Hydrogen is the lowest energy dense fuel on earth. To put energy into hydrogen, it must be compressed or liquified. To compress hydrogen to 10,000 psi is a multi-staged process that will lose an additional 15 per cent of the energy contained in hydrogen. If you liquify hydrogen, you will be able to get more hydrogen into a smaller container, but you will lose 30-40 per cent of the energy in the process. Handling, storage and transport of hydrogen is dangerous, expensive and inefficient. At some point along the chain of making, putting energy in, storing and delivering the hydrogen you've used more energy than you get back. The laws of physics mean the hydrogen economy will always be an energy sink. When fusion can make cheap hydrogen, reliable long-lasting nanotube fuel cells exist and light-weight leak-proof carbon-fiber polymer-lined pipelines can be made inexpensively then let’s consider building the hydrogen economy infrastructure. All of the technical obstacles must be overcome for any of this to happen.

Tim Gorgichuk



Killing small business

After living in Whistler (one of the most expensive areas in Canada) for 12 years, I can still justify the cost by my "lifestyle." The trails, parks and the fact that everything I want is within 15 km makes up for the expense. However this morning I lost that justification. I was informed that my morning exercise class at Lost Lake may have to move because the municipality wants to charge the fitness instructor $75/hr to use the park. What is interesting is that the municipality gave her permission to use the park last summer free of charge. Why not this year? They want to charge all groups that use the park for anything (running, yoga, paddling, biking etc.) a per hour fee.

Does the Whistler Municipality know that in Pemberton and Squamish you can use the parks for free? Do they also know that a provincial park only charges $250/season for use of their parks? Why is it that the municipality feels that they can charge a small business a fee of $22,000 for the summer, to use the beach at Lost Lake?

This business owner was also given notice of these new fees only after she had started using the park and was told that if she did not pay immediately then she would have to cancel her classes. I am sure that every owner/operated business in town has $22,000 in their bank account after being in business for 12 months. My issue is that the municipality has driven out developers from Whistler by blackmailing them into paying for everything in this town and now they are trying to drive out the independent business owner. Why is it that they only decide to implement a fee if they think a business is making money?

What is next, a toll both at the parks to use the bathrooms? It can be like the parking meters, $2 to pee! How about we gate them all and you will have to by a season’s pass for the parks, it will only cost $1,000 a summer.

Maybe if we cut some of the executives’ salaries and streamlined the municipality to make the running of this organization more efficient then they would not have to try and rip off the self-employed business owner. Oh but I forgot, the municipal employees get a paycheque every month, whereas a lot of small business owners do not.

I urge everyone to contact our council, because they are up for re-election, and tell them that this is crap. Because if we do not take a stand against the corruption of our municipality then we will all lose another and perhaps the last reason for living here.

Marjory Cheales

Owner, Funky Diva Hair Design



Park or parking lot?

The recent discussions for the proposed rezoning of Lakeside Park for a major park (LP1), that will include a significant amount of parking lot, creates a few questions.

First of all, why is the municipality proposing a major park when the road access requires cutting through a residential neighbourhood? This is in direct conflict with the Official Community Plan.

Secondly, why would we want to encourage vehicular access by providing a large amount of vehicular parking when we are attempting as a community to become an environmental showcase for the upcoming Olympics?

How about a different vision? An LP2 designation as a neighbourhood park would not focus on providing a parking lot but instead focus on providing a better park. How about tennis courts instead of parking? How about more picnic tables, BBQs and green space for families? How about focusing on the cleanup of the fish-bearing creek as required by environmental laws?

All of this would require a different vision for the park than the one being put forward which focuses on a large amount of parking lot space, a concession, and a boat rental facility. In a municipality that is looking for more park space for residents and visitors, can’t we provide it in a more interesting way that serves people and not cars?

Maybe we should take a cue from Vancouver, our Olympic partner, which is busy building over 80 acres of waterfront park space, all of which are designed as neighbourhood parks and none of which provide surface parking lots. I think the Resort Municipality of Whistler deserves just as good.

Lawrence Keith



Benefits of sports legacies

I would just like to add to Andrew Mitchell’s article reporting on the sports groups in Whistler that are interested in having a voice on the facility legacy that might come from the Olympics and the uses that local groups see as important in the long term for the community users and in terms of community sustainability, that the Whistler Youth Soccer Association is also very interested in the type of building that will be available and in addition to the potential field space that might also be added to the building network.

The club pointed out that a large indoor space for indoor games like soccer benefits locals, visiting teams both international, national and provincial and that fields adjacent to the building will provide an opportunity for greater versatility in training, tournaments for adult and youth soccer players and that one field of a wish list of three fields should be an all weather artificial turf surface with a track around it to provide advanced training for all above mentioned groups.

Thank you to Andrew for taking the time to come to this meeting and reporting on our concerns and need to have a voice in the process.

Andrée Janyk

President, Whistler Youth Soccer Club


Next move is RMOW’s

The EBA Report confirms what four previous studies and dozens of informed professionals over the years have consistently said: the Fitzsimmons Slump is a major environmental and geologic hazard that must be dealt with. However, since the 1970s, the RMOW has downplayed the hazard and allowed facilities to be built inside the dikes in debris flow and flood disbursement areas, and is now responsible for dealing with a problem that is largely of their own making.

Politics and the Olympics aside, the provincial government, and specifically, Solicitor-General Rich Coleman, have done a very good job of addressing this issue, and coming up with a rational plan to deal with it. The RMOW must now go beyond simply tracking movement of the slump after it has occurred (their idea of an adequate warning system), and replace words with real action before people in the bus loop or village parking lot are killed by another event originating at the Fitzsimmons Slump.

Frank W. Baumann, P.Eng.

Baumann Engineering



Ignorance is revealing

Are you are an expatriate Ontarian? Your comment, "…British Columbia, which has looked inward so long it has turned parochialism into a virtue…" (Pique Opening Remarks, April 7) is the type of ignorance which I have heard for decades mainly from transplanted Central Canadians. It is just this type of "parochial" attitude that reinforces the alienation of B.C residents. We face an ocean adjoining the largest concentration of the world's population. Vancouver is the second busiest port on the west coast of North America. A poll done recently asked Canadians if they considered Canada to be a "Pacific nation." B.C. responded with over 70 per cent yes; Ontario was less than 10 per cent! Who is parochial – this region on the major ocean of this planet or those of the essentially land-locked "heartland" of Canada?

We are in the top three provinces in terms of level of education; is it logical, then, that this population is somehow essentially ignorant of the outside world because it does not look to Central Canada? B.C. has developed its own way because of its location, economic resources, and its incredible setting and lifestyle which has historically drawn people from all over the world. B.C. is unique in Canada, and it will not change its outlook.

The nation-building you undoubtedly aspire to would benefit with a better researched opinion, not the insulting and flippant one you expressed in your editorial.

Gordon Edwards

Coquitlam, B.C.


It’s not really goodbye

Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist: this is not a goodbye rant about the injustices of living in such an ugly, unfriendly cesspool. This is a letter to let all our friends know that we'll miss them greatly.

What a wonderful place we live in! I've met my wife, had a child, done enough sports to last a few lifetimes, had the two best jobs I could have hoped to have, and made more friends than I can keep up with. There's no way we can properly say goodbye to everyone in our lives the way they deserve: so this will have to do.

It's not just the area that makes this corridor special – its the people. We feel very lucky and blessed to have met so many wonderful people. We'd like to thank everyone for the laughs, love and good times that we've had over the years.

We're moving to Vancouver Island (Qualicum area) but we may be back for next winter. If we're not back, we'll see you on the island or back here for a visit. So its not really goodbye... its just a "see-ya-later."

Dave, Rachel and Morgan Paul

Pemberton, now Qualicum North


Making people happy

I was riding the Valley Trail the other day, just behind the day skier lots. I noticed a whole lot of new activity in the dirt-jump park. An excavator was there digging away, lots of fresh dirt was on the site, and there were a whole lot of new lines taking shape.

Word on the street is that the muni is footing the bill for this. I would like to thank them for the great and worthwhile expenditure, and also thank the two guys who I see working there all the time. You will be making many local and tourist riders very happy.

Jonathan Van Drunen



Tunnel facts 101

Mr. Clive Nylander (Letters: Council’s Tunnel Vision, Pique April 14) needs to get his facts straight.

He claims that the proposed tunnel at Eagleridge Bluffs is an issue "of a tiny minority in the Horseshoe Bay area." In fact, the mayor and council of West Vancouver, North Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) oppose the four-lane highway and support the tunnel option. The District of West Vancouver has challenged the provincial government over the environmental certification of the 2.4 km overland route. Results of the February 2005 judicial review are expected within the next few weeks.

A March 2005 survey (Robbins Sce Research) of residents in the West Vancouver-Garibaldi constituency found that 59 per cent of respondents are opposed to the overland route and feel that no further action should be taken to that portion of the Sea to Sky Highway until after the May 17 provincial election. Mr. Nylander might be interested to know that residents of Whistler overwhelmingly (74 per cent) want a halt to the project until after the election.

Mr. Nylander’s claim that "this group want to see multi-million dollar homes developed on Eagleridge Bluffs" is ludicrous. With a properly designed four-lane tunnel these lands will never be developed. West Vancouver's 2004 Official Community Plan states that these areas are designated for "protection of the natural environment, its ecosystems and biological diversity." This is the law in West Vancouver.

With respect to expressed safety concerns, documentation proves that a properly designed four-lane tunnel is the safer option. The proposed overland highway through Eagleridge Bluffs will climb above the existing highway with grades as high as 7 per cent, into an area often shrouded in fog and high winds. As 75 per cent of accidents are weather related, according to ICBC, this will be a particularly dangerous stretch of highway. The proposed tunnel, has a constant 5 per cent grade, is dry, straight, well lit and according to European statistics, by far the safest option.

The statement that "a tunnel is more expensive" is also erroneous. The provincial government has not disclosed the entire cost associated with building a four-lane highway although it is continuing to stick with $130 million for the overland highway and $200 million-plus for the tunnel. The $130 million figure is not realistic as it fails to take into account the final construction cost, the final expropriation value for the British Pacific Properties lands, the final cost of purchase of the Municipality of West Vancouver lands and the annual cost savings due to the tunnel being shorter than the overland route. This aside, when environmental, recreation, safety and community values are factored in, the tunnel becomes a financial bargain.

Finally, the Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs is a dedicated group of residents who care deeply about the environment. They have no hidden agenda, and contrary to Mr. Nylander’s comment want to preserve this beautiful area so that it may be enjoyed by residents and visitors for generations to come.

Many more tunnel facts can be found at .

Ernest Corlett


, Coalition to Save Eagleridge Bluffs at Horseshoe Bay


Community support needed

A very dear friend of mine, Alyna Flann, has been diagnosed with cancer. I am writing to ask you, the members of our community, to support her by sending your prayers and good wishes her way.

Kimberly Gannon



Private sector gets it

The Pique’s Clare Ogilvie wrote an interesting article that was published in April 21st edition of The Province headlined: Labour-supply strategy is needed. Her article proves once again, that elements of the private sector in Whistler (like the Royal Bank) are able to do what the Resort Municipality of Whistler has, to date, been unable to do – call a spade a spade and deal with it.

Ogilvie’s article covers the most recent Whistler Chamber of Commerce meeting where Kevin Evans, chairman of the Coalition of B.C. Businesses, focused the Chamber’s attention on the labour shortage and the vital need to address it. "If that does not happen," Evans says, "then we are like a train that is running away and a collision with the station is not too far off."

It is precisely such a collision that CUPE 2010 has been warning of. As municipal workers, we provide vital services that not only maintain our community, but also keep our water supply safe. Such a service needs to be provided by a highly skilled workforce that is stable. However, over half of us cannot afford to live in Whistler and as a result, we have an employee turnover rate that is on average 100 per cent every two years!

Today, one of our wastewater operators resigned (to go to GVRD) with three more members on their way out, after having been courted by employers in more affordable communities that pay better than Whistler. It takes years to train these operators and they are in extremely high demand throughout the province.

This is no way to run your water and waste water system. I bet international athletes and visitors won’t be too pleased to learn they will be hosted by a town that can’t even ensure a stable workforce is in place to protect the water system of its residents.

Ogilvie’s article shows that the private sector is at least working to find ways to deal with the labour shortage, both in the province, but especially in Whistler. For everyone’s sake, we hope the Resort Municipality of Whistler can exercise the same wisdom.

Peter Davidson

President of CUPE 2010

Whistler’s municipal workers


Attention soccer moms

This letter is addressed to all current and potential members of the Whistler Youth Soccer Club. Recent communications from the WYSC with regard to registration, may have inadvertently mislead some Whistler "soccer moms" (and dads), and we apologize for any confusion.

This is the full scoop for existing and wannabe players of the beautiful game in our community!

All current members of the WYSC are fully covered by their club dues until the end of June this year, when our 2004/05 soccer season ends.

The registrations now being accepted on our website are for the NEW season which begins in September of ’05 and ends in June of ’06. In the past, the WYSC has held registration for the new season in September, but we have increasingly found that to be far too late.

It is very important for parents to note that there will no longer be any registration in September. This means that anyone who wishes their child to play at WYSC in September ’05 to June ’06, (including those who can play only in the May to June session) must register before our deadline, which has now been extended to June. Please check for details on our website at We offer a very simple and user-friendly online registration. Children registering for the season beginning in September must have a birthyear of 2000 or earlier.

Because we are all adjusting to a new system, players who are new to the club and who register now for the new September to June season, are welcome to participate in our soon-to-begin May to June session, but parents should note this is the last year the club can do this, and that in the spring of ’06 only children who register now, will be eligible to play.

We are very excited about our new website, and about the newly named Green River League which involves a full schedule of competitive games with our Pemberton and Mount Currie neighbours. Our website now contains details of this schedule, with dates and locations for all games. We do still await a start date, which will be announced shortly, so please continue to monitor the website.

Andrée Janyk, WYSC President

Linda McGaw, WYSC Administrator/Registrar


A slow burn

Re: Burning Permits

Attached please find a letter sent to mayor and council from May of 2003. Two years have come and gone and I have received no further response beyond the issue being looked into.

Last weekend, the strata adjoining Barnfield, with a valid burning permit, spent the entire weekend filling the Barnfield subdivision with smoke from a garden debris fire.

The Canadian Green Consumer Guide still indicates that backyard bonfires are illegal in many communities as they are not environmentally friendly. If I may quote from that publication again: "they waste valuable composting and mulching material… A more immediate danger is that ordinary garden-waste bonfire smoke contains 350 times as many parts per million of cancer-causing benzopyrenes as cigarette smoke."

As we attempt to move toward sustainability, we must also consider the health of our citizens, visitors and wildlife. Backyard bonfires must also be made illegal in Whistler with the cessation of the issuance of burning permits.

Thank you for your further consideration of this still important matter.

L. K. Shoup



Looking ahead

Fantastic news for the community of Pemberton… the current and future families of the Pemberton Children’s Centre, as well as the Pemberton Childcare Society, would like to excitedly thank Mayor Warner and council members. Their recent decision to allocate a portion of land, adjacent to the public library, for a new children’s centre proves their commitment to childcare in our growing community.

Children are looking forward to leaving the decommissioned building, which we are currently operating from, and moving into a brand-new home.

Let us take this opportunity as a community to work together on this fantastic project.

Enthusically looking ahead.

Stephanie Coughlin

on behalf of the Pemberton Childcare Society