I spoke to my mum, back home in ol' Sweden, the other day. She was a bit confused. Not because of her age, she just turned 27 for the 35th time, but because of a program she had listened to on the Swedish radio.
They were broadcasting from Whistler and the subject was, "Is Whistler prepared for the Olympics?" First out to be interviewed were the politicians and the people in charge, and they said everything is under control. "We know what we are doing and it's only minor problems to be solved and we are gonna do it together, within the community, to make the best Olympics ever."
However, what made her confused was when the reporter turned to the locals, "the Whistlerites," the very people that make up this town, and they told him something different. People are forced to move out of their houses. There isn't enough accommodation. The childcare has gone down the drain. Even if the people in charge actually know what's going on, the rest of the community are not told. Their stories were basically totally opposite of what the politicians had said.
So I had to explain to her that the reporter probably spoke to some grumpy locals in town. Of course the politicians in Whistler listen to people of Whistler, the very people that elected them, and of course they do all they can to work for the whole community.
Or... do they?
Together in a leaky boat
After recently posting a concern about rent in Whistler, it seams I am now a local celebrity. Maybe people do listen to me beefing and complaining about trying to make your way in this town. After all, we are all in the same boat.
But then again, Ryan McKeeman recently wrote that his favourite option was to pack 15 people into a four-bedroom house. Seriously, do owners ever wonder why their place gets trashed?
And then there are the owners who advertise their place for rent upwards of $3,000 and ask for a professional couple to rent it. Are these people of the planet? There are not a great deal of professionals here in Whistler. And the ones that are here, own . The rest are professionals that work for the mountain at 8 bucks an hour.
Gee whiz, I would hate to see how much you would earn if you weren't a professional.... maybe 3 to 4 bucks an hour.
Whatever happened to the spirit of skiing and living the mountain life? This town is quickly losing its spirit. You can no longer live to ski; you live to survive in this town.
And if you do live here full time, there is no high and low season for you. There's just the seasons that come and go... but you still have to pay for the winter greed every time it comes around.
Where is the municipality on this one, I ask? Or are the so called professionals there too busy renovating there own homes to rent there suite out to the next sucker?
I guess Lot 3 trailer park is the go for me and Mr. McKeeman. Is anyone else interested in bringing the spirit of fun back into this town before it's too late? I will bring the marshmallows, who's coming?
Liberals have long way to go
Last Wednesday Tzeporah Berman presented a compelling case for a serious commitment to replacing our greenhouse gas economy with a green one. It offered an alternate view on the need and support of the Liberals push for IPP diversion of river power projects than that presented the week previous by Rafe Mair and Joe Foy of Saveourrivers.ca and WCWC.org. In a nutshell Her argument is that we in B.C. have a resource that must be used, along with others, to replace fossil fuel power sources if we have a hope in hell of arresting or even slowing the climate change juggernaut that is undeniably happening.
I tend to think that Tzeporah Berman is right. All alternates to fossil fuels that are currently practical to develop must be considered, but under what terms?
The Liberals have given us every reason to believe that whatever their ultimate goals are, they have already concluded that the entire wild salmon ecology of the Georgia Strait basin is something of a writeoff. What other conclusion can a rational person come to considering their abysmal and utterly unjustifiable coddling of the salmon farm industry and its destructive effect on our wild salmon stocks?
Will this philosophy extend to the IPP hydro gold rush? The power generated appears destined to flow to the U.S. Are we about to lose sovereign control of our resource to foreign corporate interests under the terms of NAFTA chapter 11? It sure as hell looks like it.
Considering the existence of a $28 million communications bureaucracy, the Liberals are doing a lame job of answering these questions. And one gets the feeling that at best they consider us too dumb to worry us with the details, or perhaps as Jack Nicholson would say, "We can't handle the truth."
Anyone capable of tabling Bills 30 and 42 (centralized land use decisions and gag law respectively) can't place much value in the term "By the People, For the People." Perhaps they really are nothing but corporate lap dogs, as much evidence suggests.
I voted for these guys once. They have a long way to go to convince me to do it again.
Three strikes against Campbell
Gordon Campbell wants my vote for the third time, but I'm not sure he's earned it.
Strike 1 - He lifted the moratorium on salmon farm expansion, threatening B.C.'s wild salmon, ignoring the pulse of the people and the warnings from experts. Please Google Living Oceans Society.
Strike 2 - He gave away our future affordable electrical security by privatizing publicly built generators like Kemano.
Strike 3 - Shortly after promising to keep B.C. Rail public, he sold it to Canadian National Railway; now an off-shore company.
I could go on.
Mr. Campbell's Liberals like to remind us of the NDP's fast ferries fiasco.
That well intentioned but doomed investment was meant to train and provide future jobs in B.C. It was the wrong design - so order the right one from Germany?
At least the mistake had an accountable cost.
Wild salmon - priceless.
Electrical security - priceless.
B.C. Rail - under investigation.
Carbon tax - politically correct name to sneak in another grab.
Respectfully, all politicians enter the ring with a passion to improve the land and people they love. Unfortunately there are a lot of very talented lobbyists along the way. Power corrupts. It is like osmosis; some politicians get more arrogant the longer they are in power.
Personally, I am going to surprise my right wing peers and risk my vote on Carole James, hopefully the first female premier in B.C.'s history.
Do your homework people. Ask the hard questions and be sure to vote. It is the only minute of real time you get to have a say in our children's fishless, inflated future.
STV not so stupid
Terry Smith (A stupid idea, Pique letters March 12) wrote that STV is such a "stupid idea" because "Who would want their vote for one party transferred to another party for whom they did not vote?" This statement is wrong. He repeats it in his letter of April 9 th . (Why STV?)
With STV there is no transfer unless the voter wants it by ranking candidates on the ballot. If Mr. Smith doesn't want to transfer his vote then he just ranks only one candidate. There is no obligation to rank more than one. Simple.
The voter decides the transfer. How is that stupid?
As for Mr. Smith's plea for proportional representation - it's not on the table. Asking for it now and rejecting STV is actually supporting the existing first past the post system, which Mr. Smith claims he wants to change. The old system was rejected four years ago by the 58 per cent majority of voters in favour of STV. If we don't change the system now, election reform of any kind will be set back for decades.
Keep up the momentum for electoral reform by voting for STV now.
STV balances needs
Sadly, Terry Smith refuses to learn a little bit about STV and instead prefers to spread misinformation. If only he would accept that 161 randomly chosen British Columbians from every walk of life spent a year learning from experts, debating the issues, and consulting their fellow citizens to come to the conclusion that our current system is really bad and that STV is the best alternative, better even than pure proportionality as he suggests.
For the record, STV is proportional in that it produces governments that reflect voters' preferences, but fortunately it is not so proportional that it gives seats to fringe parties as he apparently would wish. Under STV, there is a minimum threshold for candidates to achieve if they are to be elected, therefore preventing a party with two per cent of the vote getting two per cent of the seats. This keeps fringe parties out.
Sadly, he also doesn't realize that if you don't mark a preference for a candidate that you don't like your vote won't get transferred there - your vote will only get transferred to those you prefer if your first choice doesn't get in. It's clear that Mr. Smith needs to learn more - in STV you don't place Xs on your ballot, just numbers ranking your favourites.
Choosing a voting system is no easy job, but fortunately the process that led to STV was a very good one, and it balances the needs of British Columbians - proportionality, local representation, and more choice at the ballot box.
Farewell to a friend
By now I'm sure that all who knew him, know that last week Stu Archer passed away. Stu was found in his home by a friend whom he was supposed to play golf with that day.
Stu was, to all who knew him, a reservoir of goodwill and good times. This positive energy was constantly spilling over and converting everyone he came in contact with. Whistler Blackcomb's electrical department was blessed by his presence and is a stronger, functioning family unit because of it.
Stu was a mentor, who trained all the apprentices that came through our doors. That training was both technical and psychological in that Stu imparted electrical prowess and the art of engagement in equal measure. The latter was a lesson taught by a master, because no one could engage with people like Stu. He would walk into a room and instantly change the mood. From the frustrated fry-cook to the discontented office worker, whoever needed electrical assistance also received a positive attitude adjustment when Stu came to call. Whether it was a story of his storied past, the telling of a joke he just heard or a friendly workplace jab, that raspy, mischievous voice of his would have you laughing in no time.
On behalf of Whistler Blackcomb's electrical department, I'd just like to say thank you Stu, for making the fair times good and the good times great. Jest in peace my friend.
Whistler Blackcomb Electrical Department
Another hit to taxpayers
Why is it the RMOW can spend whatever they want of our taxpayers' money? First they give themselves a raise, then they raise taxes by 19 per cent over three years, then charge us for parking, then get Arc'teryx jackets and then purchase Olympic tickets. I am still trying to figure out how RMOW can justify any of this.
Again, have they forgotten people are suffering in this world economy? I bet that the RMOW parking spots under the conference centre will still be free to them. It is an actual disgrace what is happening in this town.
Whistler loses one of the finest
The last cork has been popped, the last baguette baked, the last plate served and the dishes are done. It's time to pack it up and call it a day.
It is with great regret that I served my last table of happy diners at Apres Restaurant. It has been a long, challenging and satisfying road, but it is time to call it a day. The face of dining in Whistler has changed, and the mastery of Eric Vernice's cooking is no longer appreciated enough to allow us to pay the astronomical rent. Negotiations with the landlord have failed. There is nothing to be done but to pack up the pans and try something else.
By all accounts Apres was one of the most unique dining experiences in Whistler. The restaurant's décor was surprisingly modern. The food was quite simply the best I have ever had the pleasure to serve. The overwhelming amount of people who were amazed by the experience made my job a pleasure.
A very large thank you to those of you who have supported us over the years. Apologies to all those who missed out on the experience. Whistler is not only losing a great chef, but also a great man. It has been a pleasure to call Eric Vernice my boss, and a great privilege to serve his food. A thank you to all the team - best of luck to you all.
Wine Director, Apres Restaurant
More fundraising thank yous
This past weekend was yet another success in fundraising to aid the search for a cure for cancer.
On Thursday night, I hosted A Guys Night Out at my place. A whole bunch of guys were there... some of them I hadn't seen in years... eating great food and drinking cold beer... all in the name of a cure for cancer. Every person who attended A Guys Night Out pitched in at least $30, combined with the generosity of the Grocery Store's donation of food and the Whistler Brewhouse donation of beer, we raised over $550! Thanks to everyone who attended.
For those who were there for the long haul, getting home not long before the sun was due to reappear - Party on!
On Saturday night, the Brewhouse once again stepped up to the plate and plotted off a part of their lobby so that I could set up a stationary bike and ride for three hours! Although the smell of freshly cooked pizzas from the brick oven was enough to make any human salivate, and the sight of freshly poured pints looked pretty thirst quenching, it was the staff and guests of the Brewhouse that made the night enjoyable. In the course of three hours I rode 96 km, and collected almost $300 in donations. Thanks also goes to The Core, for loaning me one of their amazing Keiser spin bikes for the ride.
Why you ask?
In June I will be taking part in The Ride To Conquer Cancer, benefiting the B.C. Cancer Foundation. The ride begins in Vancouver and ends in Seattle the following day, approximately 250 km later. All participants need to raise a minimum of $2,500, but my goal is to raise at least $5,000, thus my two fundraising events this past Easter weekend! If you are interested in learning more about the ride, to register, or to make a donation in support of myself or another Whistler rider that you know is doing the ride, please visit www.conquercancer.ca
Together we will find a cure for cancer!
Dog doo-doos and don'ts
Kudos to Jesse Ferreras for his column about irresponsible dog owners in Whistler. You know who you are: Shame on you!
As a dog owner myself I am appalled at the lackadaisical attitude of so many so-called animal lovers who allow their pets to wander unattended - terrorizing wild life, threatening innocent people, destroying property, and leaving a trail of filthy waste in their wake.
This is nowhere more apparent than the ball fields in Spruce Grove where mounds of disgusting canine excrement litter the area, ironically adjacent to bag dispensers and waste bins intended for their orderly disposal. The faint chance of incurring a token $50 fine is clearly insufficient deterrent for these thoughtless members of our community. Public education, much larger fines, and more diligent enforcement are the only realistic means of curbing this growing menace to an otherwise wonderful community.
Why not create some employment for laid off seasonal workers to police and apprehend the offending animals, with wages paid out of fines collected?