To the perpetrator who punctured my tires as well as my neighbours on the night of Sunday June 19, I can only ask WHY as I did nothing to justify this action.
The act was totally unexpected and shocking to have happened in Whistler. I can only compare it to the hockey riots and how the people in Vancouver felt the next day.
It is further compounded since I took the insurance off my truck (while) I am using my bike.
May karma come full circle.
Thanks for the rescue
Thank you! Thank you!
I would like to start off by saying thank you to all the Whistler Emergency Services. A special thanks goes out to the fire department for all of their hustle.
They got our fire under control quickly and kept it from spreading to the rest of the house. This, from what I understand, was quite a difficult task as the fire was essentially in the middle of the house on the middle floor.
As the ambulance stood by, we were thankful that no one was hurt in the fire.
Thank you to Geoff Playfair and his team for their hard work and professionalism. The house was not a complete loss but suffered heavy fire and smoke damage not to mention water damage.
We would also like to thank the people on Fitzsimmons Road South for doing the neighbourly thing and offering up their houses to us. Emergency Social Services were great in getting us all into the Aava Hotel for two nights until we could sort out alternative accommodation. Thank you for letting us have our dog in your hotel as well.
Let's not forget about the police who did their part in all the action.
And thank you to Dr. Pat Shuen for coming by after the fire to see if we needed anything for our little guy who is one year old. I really appreciate that.
I would like to thank Katrina Frew who is the GM of the Longhorn Saloon for having a fundraiser for our tenants. She went out of her way being the rockstar that she is and organized a silent auction. Thank you to all those who donated things for the auction too. I would also like to thank the Longhorn staff and Adam the DJ for the bidding war that went on and brought in most of the money. You guys were all awesome. The money will be split among the tenants to help them get back on their feet.
Thanks to Walsh Restoration, which was at our house immediately after the fire, helping us organize the things that were thrown into the yard during the chaos. I haven't run that fast since I don't know when trying to save the sentimental things. I now know how it feels to decide on the fly what things are the most important in my life. Now in saying that I do not recommend running into a house that is on fire; our suite was not on fire.
I would like to thank all the people who stepped up to help me during this crazy time as Keith was in Russia within 24 hours after the fire.
Thank you to my in-laws, Tammy Shore, Laurie Booth, Noreen Cecchetto and Zoe Barker for all you have done. Finally, thanks to our son Jesse for being a little trooper when all that you knew for sure is now different.
We are getting used to our new reality now and looking forward to the end, a year or so down the road.
Keith, Marcia, Jesse and Maggie our dog Meszaros
A message in memory
This is a message from the parents, friends, and families of your (Pemberton) community. We are all so sorry and heartbroken for the tragic loss of Corey. We have all been afraid for a very long time that we could lose someone in this way. Our worst fears have been realized.
Corey was such a vibrant young man with so much more of life to live. We know he did not mean for this to happen. We all loved Corey dearly. This tragedy has affected everyone.
In honour of Corey, please know that there is help available. Don't wait until it is too late. To all of you out there, we want you to know that we love you and we care deeply about you. No one wants to relive this heart-wrenching tragedy again. Our wish is that something good will come from this tragic loss. If even one person decides to ask for help, this tragic loss will not be in vain.
We would also like to acknowledge Justin at this time. Even while experiencing his pain and sorrow, he was able to share his thoughts and feelings about his brother during the (memorial) service. It was a very brave thing to do.
A group of concerned people is gathering together to determine what help is available and how people can access this help. Further details regarding this community movement will be forthcoming.
Further to two recent letters to the editor ( Pique June 2 and 9) regarding Tourism Whistler's organization structure and budget; and after subsequent conversations between the two authors, we wanted to follow up with a joint letter.
Tourism Whistler recognizes its budget and employee information could be presented more clearly to better differentiate between the tourism bureau and the organization's independent business units.
In turn, Mr. (Wally) Raepple better understands the revenues and expenses attached to the tourism bureau, versus those attached to Tourism Whistler's self-sustaining operating centres; and that the net income from those operating centres does in fact get reinvested back into marketing and sales for the benefit of members.
Ultimately, though, Mr. Raepple questions the need for mandatory assessments for all members, noting the financial burden to members, particularly to private accommodation owners in these tough economic times.
Tourism Whistler's member assessments are bound by both municipal and provincial legislation. However, Tourism Whistler is empathetic to its members' concerns, and within the confines of that legislation, is prepared to discuss Mr. Raepple's concerns with its Board of Directors.
Both Mr. Raepple and Ms. (Barrett) Fisher (president and CEO of TW) appreciate and respect each other's position; and recognize the importance of two-way communication in finding future solutions to today's challenges.
Wally Raepple, Vancouver & Whistler (Tourism Whistler Member)
Barrett Fisher, President & CEO, Tourism Whistler
( Editor's note: Many of the statistics quoted by Mr. Raepple can be found in TW's annual general report.)
Dance alive and well
I would like to pay public tribute to this past weekend's incredible year-end dance production by The Vibe Tribe Dance Centre, "Fairy Rhymes and Nursery Tales."
I was in total awe of the way Whistler's young dancers went out there like veteran professionals, show after sold out show and put their whole heart and soul into giving audiences their money's worth and far more, with performances that were all at once beautiful, deeply moving, laugh-out-loud funny and thought-provoking.
And I happen to know this all came after many weeks and many hundreds of hours of physically gruelling rehearsals and choreography.
Me? I'd be dead after the first show, but I watched these weary young dancers give as good a performance at the last show, as they did at the first. They just do not fail to deliver 100 per cent. And that is incredible.
Whistler can be proud.
As well, we can be proud of the incredibly talented team at The Vibe Dance Centre. This was The Vibe's first year in business (though not their first for producing previous year-end dance shows) and I would like to finally and publicly thank Heather and Jeremy Thom for stepping up to the plate at a time when we were very afraid Whistler would have no dance studio at all.
They did so at great personal and financial risk, and I honour them for their courage and vision, and thank them from the bottom of my heart for all they have given to Whistler's dancing children and adults. Their talent would shine in a much bigger venue, but they choose to make Whistler their home, and our performing arts community is lucky to have them.
Thank you Heather and Jeremy, and your teachers Chantal Smith and Maryna Turturika, and all your wonderful dancers, for giving myself and your audiences such joy, emotion, laughter and pride.
I can't wait for next year's show!
To Canucks fans and Vancouver residents
While much has been written of the riots and destruction following Game 7 Wednesday night, I haven't read anything that reflected my and my son's experience.
We're Bostonians, Bruins fans and proud of both. Following the Bruins Game 6 win, we dropped everything and flew (from Boston) to Game 7 (in Vancouver.) And, like you, we wore our team's colors - an "Orr" jersey for me and my son displaying "Bourque" across his back, revealing our respective vintages.
The Bruins' colors naturally attracted attention and comments - no surprise there. But our experience in Vancouver paints a completely different picture than the weight of "riot" articles in the papers and the video footage on TV.
What follows may not be "news", but I'd like you to know it.
Vancouver, you could not have been more gracious to us. Thank-you for the following; the warm and good natured banter between tables at our pre-game meal at Players' Chophouse, and as the game drew to it's conclusion, the fan support and many, many congratulatory handshakes in section 106, and post game, the several offers by fans in the streets to walk with us to make sure we got back to our car safely.
Ratio of positive interactions to the occasional derogatory comments had to be at least 100 to 1,000 at a minimum.
Boston is no stranger to street violence - the downside of "Playoff Fever."
Following a recent Patriots playoff game, a young college student lost her life in circumstances surrounding efforts to quell excessive post game crowd behavior. And that was following a Patriots win.
What you all experienced is sad and embarrassing, yes. A similar incident brought tragedy to us in Boston. The press is right to cover these scenes.
At its core it is "news."
More importantly, good can come of it if the authorities can figure out how to prevent it from occurring in the future. Individuals can be held accountable.
But those articles and pictures of street violence are not any more indicative of the Vancouver we experienced than the similar craziness that brought tragedy to a young life in Boston being fully representative of our city. That my son and I know first hand.
While saddened that the behavior of few cast so long a shadow, I do want to thank you for a great series and treating the two us so well as your guests.
Hope to see you next year in the finals; we'd gladly come back.
RMOW "Sustainable" Taxation Levels
Today, I paid my taxes at Municipal Hall and was absolutely flabbergasted at the size of the cheques I had to write.
That negative experience led me to do a little research and I documented that the administration under Mayor (Ken) Melamed and CAO Bill Barratt has dramatically increased our taxes during the past six years. In 2005, we had a mill rate of 1.7831 and the 2011 mill rate is 2.5154 for municipal taxes only. That is a whopping increase of 41 per cent. The Consumer Price Index for British Columbia sat at 106.3 in 2005 and is now 116.3 in 2011, an increase of just 9.4 per cent. So, net-net we have had real tax increases of 32 per cent above and beyond the increase in the Consumer Price Index.
This is unsustainable for me and I am sure most of the citizens of Whistler. As I look forward to retirement I simply cannot afford taxes outstripping inflation by four-fold just so we can tell the world how green and sustainable we are. The fact is, we have completely passed sustainability from an economic standpoint.
I support any and all efforts to hire a new Chief Administrative Officer at something like half of the current CAO's salary and get back to being a small community who loves and cares for our valley without having to pay for the largest hydrogen bus fleet in the world, (three times larger than our needs) and of course the "Garage Mahal" to park and maintain them. Transit should be user pay and not tax supported just like the current administration proposes for parking.
I believe reasonable policies will bring reasonable levels of sustainability now that our big growth period has ended.
I now have to earn over $1,000 per month before income taxes just to pay the property taxes on my residence for which I get nothing more than additional fees and, admittedly, our beloved Valley Trail.
In closing, I only want to say once again that we need to add economic and financial sustainably to our governance here in Whistler.
Let's get real folks!
Kudos to Nancy Wilhelm-Morden for her insightful commentary on June 16, 2011 regarding management salaries in the Resort Municipality of Whistler and her call for belt-tightening, starting with the new CAO salary. As a former President of the Canadian City Managers' Association, and a former City Manager of three of Canada's larger cities (where, in my last position we had far more staff than Whistler even has citizens), it is my view that this argument that Whistler won't get a competent CAO unless it pays an annual salary approaching a quarter of a million dollars is nonsense.
I also noted a related story in the Pique this week about how "Whistler transit needs taxpayer help." News flash - taxpayers already help Whistler transit in a major way by subsidizing every trip taken. Show me a transit system that makes money when you factor in ALL operating and capital costs and I'll show you a transit system that is a figment of your imagination.
The Whistler council and staff need to look at their budgets in an entirely different light. It's not about how you can "find" the money to pay for things you think are important, but rather it is about getting the best value you can given what you can afford. If a transit route is not generating a pre-determined minimum revenue to justify its existence, you don't start snooping around in the taxpayers' wallets to find more money. You shut down the poor performing routes and try and establish the most effective system you can with the money you have at your disposal. If even the riders don't even support a route, why on earth should homeowners?
You don't approach the hiring of a CAO on the basis that we need to offer $225,000-$250,000 to get one. You approach it on the basis of what the job is worth, based on the market and REAL comparable jobs, and you then conduct a rigorous search to find the best available person within your price range. Do you know how hard a business owner in Whistler has to work to make $250,000 in a year (and never mind the additional municipal perks, the pension, the benefit plans etc.)?
Do you think the citizens from whom you extract your annual taxes live their lives by saying, "I would really like a 60-inch television, but I can only afford a 26-inch one, so I guess I'll get the big one anyway and then figure out from whom I'll extract the rest of the money?"
Do the citizens decide that while they can only afford to buy a Honda Civic, they go and shop for a Mercedes anyway; because of course it is a much bigger and nicer car? Get real folks!
Bruce E. Thom, Q.C
Different cultures different traditions
Wearing a bike helmet is not compulsory in most European countries and in Japan, yet it doesn't appear that their cyclists have a high number of injuries. But then over there the average cyclist doesn't use a racing bike and isn't dressed as a Tour de France competitor.
They wear normal clothes and ride at a slow to moderate speed, more often than not on bike lanes separated from traffic or in low-traffic streets where car drivers, most of them bike riders too, are mindful of pedestrians and bikes.
At 14 I was biking from a suburb on the other side of a wide river to my high school in downtown Bordeaux (France). The route took me across the then only bridge in town, a bridge that was a vital link on the national road from Paris to Toulouse and beyond. The traffic was always heavy yet my parents let me use a bike, as there were dedicated bike lanes all the way.
Had biking without a helmet be dangerous my family would have known as several of them worked in the police, others in hospitals. Just like they knew about pedophiles and street-proofed their children and neighbouring children from a young age (it was the late fifties-- early 60s)
Are Gran Fondo participants really allowed to train along Highway 99? If true, this is appalling.
I have never ever seen in Europe professional racers, much less amateur ones, train on national roads (the major roads before the advent of divided motorways). They only trained on local roads or even paved country lanes.
Whenever there was/ is an official bike race- - even a small local one - roads were/are closed to traffic in every direction. The Tour de France did use national roads then - as now - and these were closed for about four hours before the racers zoomed by.
Regular local and long distance traffic had to detour by quite a distance (before the racers came along there was a parade of publicity floats from various well known companies, many of them featuring a famous singer, actor, musician, beauty queen etc.)