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This weeks letters

Wish I could help There's at least one potential employee available this winter that apparently no one will be able to hire. I'm a foreigner (from the U.S.

Wish I could help

There's at least one potential employee available this winter that apparently no one will be able to hire. I'm a foreigner (from the U.S.) who'd like to work in Whistler this winter — but I'm well past the upper age limit for a working holiday permit. I'd like to apply for temporary work visa but I need a job offer in hand in order to do that, and thus far no employer is yet desperate enough to hazard that red-tape nightmare. What small business could afford it?

To make it more difficult, I'm a skilled worker — but in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, for which there is zero demand in Western Canada.

Do I mind washing dishes or making beds for $14 an hour? Not at all. Will I work under the table? No. Make no mistake, I think Canada's willingness to defend its jobs for its own people is admirable. If one can judge, however, from the desperate clamor for employees all over Westerm Canada, there are not enough Canadians to go around.

Sorry. Wish I could help. Just visiting, now.

Rain Amrais



A new perspective

Considering the time of year, it was great to see the village really busy this past weekend, no doubt due in part to the free concert for the 2010 Paralympic Games Emblem. Whilst we couldn't make the concert, we heard great feedback from those that did.

This Paralympic event was actually great timing as we had some friends visiting from Vancouver and they wanted to do the typical thing — dinner, drinks, clubbing.

We’ve lived in Whistler for many years, so doing the tour guide thing is usually easy. But this time we couldn’t go to our favourite place as there was no access for our friend who is a paraplegic. So we went to The Keg for dinner (they have access via a round-about-way thru the hotel, back doors, off the pool etc.). However, he couldn’t access the washroom, which is on a middle level accessible by stairs only.

Then it was time for a few drinks after dinner, so we went to Citta’s, which was easy to enter and the washroom was accessible. We wanted to sit inside as the girls were cold, but that wasn’t an option because the seating downstairs and inside is limited to high bar tables and chairs, not conducive for someone in a wheelchair. So we went up to The Longhorn. Again access was good, but it’d be impossible to wheel around the floor area to get a table if they were busy and the washroom wasn’t an option.

After that we hit Garf’s, where access was great via an elevator off the main entrance (special thanks to Yos and the guys for being so welcoming and helpful to our friends, as usual!).

Kudos go to all of these establishments for having some form of access and their staff were all really helpful. I’m sure there are also other businesses out there that are accessible.

I must admit that I was quite appalled with myself because I didn’t know what places had wheelchair access — something I am now striving to learn. I realized that my friend must face these types of obstacles every day, but it was a new experience for me and at times I felt embarrassed that in order to get to all the great establishments in Whistler, we often had to take a back entrance.

Somehow that didn’t make me feel so wonderful, I wonder how it makes my friend feel?

Louise Butfield




The passion shows

There are three components at the core of any successful endeavour: vision, perseverance and support. All were working overtime this past weekend to ensure another successful Whistler Writers Festival.

Five years ago, a small band of like minded individuals formed the Vicious Circle, Whistler's Writers Group with a vision: attract Canada's leading thinkers and writers to Whistler to develop and mentor emerging writers, raise awareness of local and national writers and draw an audience to our literary events. In 2001, we held our first festival and attracted nine emerging writers and 21 people to the public reading event. Five years later, we've been able to expand our event to a full long-weekend, offer seminars on diverse topics to writers at all levels of their career, increase the number of emerging writers in our mentorship program, and draw writers such as Maude Barlow, Joseph Boyden and Eden Robinson to Whistler so that capacity audiences could hear them read their work and meet them in the flesh.

The Vicious Circle persevered and our commitment to our vision has been supported time and time again by sponsors who also believed. They've allowed us to go bigger, offer more, bring in the best, keep it all affordable and provide scholarships to those who would otherwise not be able to attend the festival. Many thanks to:

Arts Now, The Resort Municipality of Whistler, B.C. Arts Council, Whistler Arts Council, Millennium Place, The Whistler Public Library, Armchair Books, The Whistler Farmers Market, Mountain FM, Elements Urban Tapas Bar, The Question, Pique Newsmagazine, Tourism Whistler, Holiday Inn SunSpree Hotel, the Spruce Grove Field House, Starbucks and Integro Insights.

Perhaps the single most important aspect of support, however, is you... our audience. Without you our vision would remain in our heads, something we talked about but could not bring to fruition. You came out to our reading events, supported us and our guest writers with your attendance, interest and passion for the literary arts. Thanks so much. For you, we will strive to continually do better.

We look forward to seeing you at Literary Leanings 2007 (February) and the Whistler Writers Festival 2007 (September).

Stella L. Harvey




Ken would appreciate this

Thank you to the individuals involved in donating the medical monitor (for patients) to the Whistler Ambulance crew. This monitor will allow us to assess patients quickly and accurately while on calls. This has been a very thoughtful and generous gesture.

We are greatly indebted to all who took part in the Ken Quon Memorial race/ride. Particular thanks to Tom Thomson, Gary Baker, Tim Pugh, Cynthia and Jim Chan, Buffy Woods, Francis and Ann Chiasson, Chris Wetaski, Brad Skerritt, David Rushbrook, WORCA and all the volunteers who made the event, and thus the donation, possible.

Ken Quon was an active, participating, caring member of our community. This medical monitor will aid us in providing care to people in need. Ken was always trying to help others, and knowing Ken he would be happy having this equipment as his legacy.

Thank you, Ken.

Scott Hepworth

Crew members, station 224,




Where’s the buzz?

Just read your column, and I agree there is no Olympic buzz in this town, and why? Because there is no visual evidence of any infrastructure that makes people say, “Oh wow look at that, is that for the Olympics? Wow!”

The Callaghan is completely out of sight and always will be except for signage likely to come. The luge is simply not visible unless you hike part way up Rainbow look across Alta Lake and crane your neck to see an ugly (white you say) tube going downhill, to where?

The Olympic village to be is also out of sight to the visitor arriving by car etc. So it's difficult to get impressed or buzzed because there is no Olympic Disneyland buzz to be had.

Furthermore what Whistler is missing is an "entrance", a "wow" of a welcoming structure of sorts, the first place people stop to take a picture coming in to Whistler, the place they've heard so much about and are about to experience, only to see a gas station first when they arrive.

In regards to real estate values in Whistler, it is my opinion that with the addition of having to weather the expected downturn in the U.S. economy (a good portion of our market), without that missing pre-Olympic Disneyland "buzz", nothing will change much in the next while.

Casey Niewerth.




Entertaining stuff

I’d like to thank Pique’s editor for printing all the "boo hoo I’m leaving town because its not affordable" letters as of late. You couldn’t pay someone to write more entertaining stuff. I get a good laugh each week; especially from the guy who thinks local realtors are responsible for creating the sale price of homes. That’s a good one.

I certainly had no delusions of entitlement to subsidized housing when I moved to Whistler. It’s one of the most amazingly beautiful places on earth, attracting wealth from all over the world. Yes, this wealth runs up the prices, but that wealth also creates opportunity for people to be able to live and work here. People cannot expect the good life to be handed to them on a silver platter without some sort of sacrifice.

The RMOW does more than any other resort community (at its own financial peril) to provide top-notch quality affordable housing. How many publicly subsidized homes come complete with granite countertops/steel kitchen appliances and are within walking distance to world class skiing?   The boo hooers need to move back to the real world to appreciate the lavish nature of affordable housing in Whistler.

People, get out and celebrate your good fortune of having the opportunity to live your lives in this wonderful place called Whistler, for you will be kicking yourself when you find out what the real world has to offer.

Toby Salin



A time to move forward together

I would like to comment on the upcoming all-member meeting of Tourism Whistler next Tuesday, Sept. 26. I believe there will be three kinds of people that will come to this meeting:

1. The people who have enjoyed the best of what Whistler has to offer and they are the ones who think that what is happening now is part of a cycle. The good times will roll again soon, with one magic word: Olympics! We call them the optimists.

2. The people who feel Whistler will never experience its heyday again, unless we do something quickly. “We will get worse before we get better,” they said. We call them the pessimists.

3. The people who just got here and never experienced Whistler’s heyday, so they think what is going on now is normal. A shortage of labour is normal, bad weather from time to time is normal, and the majority of the employees will always be transient people, so it is normal to recruit and to train the new people all the time. We call them the realists.

Either you are an optimist, a pessimist or a realist; we all have the same reality to face in Whistler: We cannot go backwards . We should all get over the arguments on what started this resort in the first place, or what caused the downturn this past couple of years, or why many young people do not come here to work anymore.

Our only choice is to move forward, seize the opportunity and face the challenges ahead. We all then have one simple task in reviving the tourism industry for Whistler: We need to provide what people are looking for nowadays with their vacation . Isn’t that the most important topic that we should focus our discussion on?

Is it that difficult to figure out what people are looking for with their vacation nowadays? Sure, we can form all kinds of sub-committees or hire consultants to figure that out for us. I’d say before we do all that we need to ask the businesses in town what they want to do. Giving them the answer before we ever ask them will only create apathy and make people suspicious of one another. When we ask questions, please remind them that we all need to be constructive in this discussion. All the optimists, the pessimists and the realists out there need to be heard but we will need free thinkers to formulate the solutions. From what I have heard, this resort was created by free thinkers and free spirited people. So I think it won’t be hard to call them for help in this moment of need.

Jay Wahono



Numbers should be in public domain

In response to Barrett Fisher's letter last week, I am writing this to help spur dialogue about Tourism Whistler's role in the community. I am a new small business owner in the tourism industry, but since my business does not require an office, I am ineligible for membership of this "member-based" organization.

I am not very concerned about this because the type of "consumer" tourist that TW tries to attract differs from my marketing plan, but there are several services that TW provides that I believe should be publicly driven. One example of this is research. I am currently seeking funding from lending institutions, and a major determining factor of how seriously my business plan is taken will be in the statistical research I provide.

I could pay the $500 affiliate fee to get this research from TW, but when start-up costs are limited and I have to choose between building a website and receiving some research that may or may not help me, I am going to choose what is most tangible for my business. I do not think that this town's lifeblood industry should be kept behind closed doors. The municipality should administer the research and the results should be public domain, free for anyone who is curious. It would not only stimulate growth, but would make our industry much more transparent, allowing a platform for dialogue that, as Ms. Fisher stated last week, "Fosters new ideas and creativity, generates healthy debate; and ultimately makes us stronger as both a community and as a tourism destination."

Since my business's status prevents me from voting or being a member of the TW board, I will use this opportunity to propose a lofty initiative that will benefit everyone: Tourism Whistler should sell the Whistler Golf Club to the municipality to build resident housing. We could start with the driving range, which is the biggest waste of land in the resort. The 500+ people on the waiting list, myself included, would be relieved to finally have a home. We could even include a revenue generator such as Ken Achenbach's surf park idea. This may sound like a pipe dream, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Land has become such a crucial commodity in this town. A golf course in the centre of town is no longer necessary.

If driving room nights is TW's mandate, then now is the time to give up some desperately needed land to the people who really drive tourism in Whistler; a happy, friendly, and productive local workforce.

Steve Andrews