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Letters to the editor

Yellow, yellow (envelopes) everywhere and not a place to park. Sunday last the village was packed with people. The day parking lots were full, people were driving up and down waiting for someone to leave. The pay sites were full.

Yellow, yellow (envelopes) everywhere and not a place to park. Sunday last the village was packed with people. The day parking lots were full, people were driving up and down waiting for someone to leave. The pay sites were full. The Marketplace lot was full and many, many cars had yellow violation envelopes on the windshields, slapped on the minute the two hours was up.

It is probably safe to assume that the owners were not in Squamish but out and about spending money in Whistler. We would like to call ourselves a destination resort but, at this time, on a holiday weekend there are thousands of day trippers here.

There is a two hour limit on parking; by the time they wander around the village, buy a couple of T-shirts, browse the book sale at IGA and have lunch two hours quickly speeds by. The memory they take home is of the $30 parking ticket. Thirty dollars they are not spending at Whistler shops.

It is not fair to the merchants to have the lot filled with day skiers, but two hour is way too little time. A little leniency would go a long way if the bylaw absolutely cannot be changed.

Sylvia Brandt

Whistler

 

This letter was in response to Brenda McLeod’s letter, published in Pique May 9.

The board has received your letter of April 30, 2003 concerning the proposed modified calendar. Thank you for taking the time to make your views known and providing suggestions to the board. The board has been struggling with the challenges of making decisions which result in improved student achievement. As you have pointed out in your letter, the financial resources provided to school districts have not kept pace with negotiated or legislated salary increases and inflationary pressures. This has meant that more than ever the budget process has been an exercise of attempting to establish the relative value of the various services provided both in and outside the classroom setting. Our process is still underway and has involved many considerations including:

• Reviewing the various programs and services offered in the district to ensure the board understands the scope of programs and services offered at each school and the support offered through the central office;

• Developing an understanding of the legal framework within which decisions have to be made (collective agreement requirements, School Act, Labour Code etc);

• Review of areas where service can be reduced with a view to keeping as many resources as possible in the classroom.;

• Review of areas where we could consider offering service in a different and more cost effective manner;

• Review of additional sources of revenue, including selling some assets.

The board released a financial statement for the International Program April 9, 2003 and I enclose a copy of your information. This information can also be accessed on the board's Web site at www.sd48.ca

In addition, the board met with our MLA Ted Nebbeling in March and has written a letter to the Honourable Christy Clark asking that the government provide funding to meet increases in district costs.

The board is interested in receiving thoughtful suggestions with respect to alternative ways of meeting the challenge of diminishing funding for our students. We will continue to explore options to address the issues facing the education system

Amy Shoup

Chairperson

School District No. 48

 

Re: Be true to your school

I am writing in response to letters you have received from concerned parents regarding education. I strongly urge parents to become involved in their children’s school Parents Advisory Council (PAC). Attendance at our school’s PAC meetings is poor with 6-12 parents at our monthly meetings. Myrtle Philip Community School (MPCS) has over 300 families with 500 children at the school. Next year we will have two elementary schools; already the Spring Creek PAC is at work. The Ministry of Education has given parents an opportunity to be a part of the school planning process through the School Planning Committee (SPC). We need parents to represent us on the PAC, SPC, District PAC and in election years as trustees on the school board.

It is obvious that our education system is going through a crisis. Things we took for granted when we went to school are now considered luxuries. Positions such as Vice Principals, Phys. Ed. teachers, Librarians, Music teachers, Counsellors and please don’t even ask me about French, have been completely eliminated or severely cut back.

This next school year, in School District 48, we will have approximately the same dollars to spend as this year (provincial government policy), yet our district will have another school to operate. To achieve this S.D. 48 has to cut somewhere else. This school district is also trying to respond to parent concerns regarding class sizes. There is no maximum class size from Grade 4 and up in our province. Other districts are closing schools to free up more dollars, but we have a growing population and have to go the other direction. Our provincial government negotiated a teachers’ contract and did not support the wage increase with funding. In the long run this means fewer teaching positions, therefore bigger classes and creative budgeting – hence the 20 day proposition. The 250K that the school district hoped to realize was to be used for reducing class sizes and paying for increased operating expenses for the new Spring Creek Community School. As much as I would like to see smaller classes, I wonder if this is too great a price to pay.

Help us help you. Our PAC meets the third Tuesday of every month school is in session. Too bad you missed this month’s meeting. Our next meeting is also our AGM – June 15 at 7 p.m. at Myrtle Philip Community School. We have free childcare available at all our meetings. Also, please support our school raffle – the PAC financial support in the school helps to focus the school budget on education while the PAC can provide for the frills like performers, computer supplies and library books.

If you are concerned enough to write letters make sure they get to the decision makers such as Christy Clark, Minister of Education, Ted Nebbeling, our MLA and Gordon Campbell, the premier. I can e-mail you the contact information, if you wish. The staff and administrators in the schools want what we want – the best education for our students.

Cathy Jewett,

Chair,

Myrtle Philip Community School PAC

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Garry Watson for his unflinching determination to resolve our tax situation. Not to ignore any of the other parties who continue to work hard on this matter – thank you also. Garry has been a "strategic social architect" for our community since before our inception and we do not thank him enough. Thank you, Garry.

Drew Meredith

Whistler

 

On Oct. 31, 2002, the Cariboo Prospector served British Columbia for the last time. Attached to the front Budd Car was a cardboard sign that read "Final Run 1914-2002." On that final journey a person suffered a heart attack and a ceremony was conducted by the natives in Seton Portage. Fourteen days afterwards, one of the conductors passed away. He had served 40 years upon that train.

Last week, Vancouver City Council approved a rail link to Richmond and the airport. Soon it will be possible to take public transportation from the airport to Lonsdale Quay and then take a 30-second walk to the BC Rail tracks. Its looks as though we had a public service taken from us just in the nick of time.

The passenger service was the only form of alternate transportation in the Sea to Sky corridor. It is unfortunate that it not only had a poor schedule, but the fares were higher in the Sea to Sky then everywhere else that train went. It had the potential to be one of the cheapest forms of public transportation. It was completely funded by the profit of the freight services. During the 1990s, the freight services made approximately $40 million annually, while still spending five million each year to give the people of British Columbia a public service.

In 1999, BC Rail had a profit of $34.1 million, but there was a "special charge" of $616.5 million for a total loss of $582.4 million.

Then in 2000, now paying off a massive debt, BC Rail had a profit of $6.2 million, but then received a "special charge" of $13 million for a total loss of $6.7 million. The next year, BC Rail suffered a loss of $6.9 million and then received another "special charge" of $100 million, for a total loss of $106.9 million.

And finally, in 2002, while carrying an increasing debt, BC Rail managed to make a profit. And except for those last two months, BC Rail was still spending $5 million annually for a passenger service to carry people from North Vancouver to Prince George.

Now our railway is to be sold. The Ministry of Disinformation will guide the public into thinking it’s the right thing to do. And as a tourist service, your children will be forced to watch billionaires ride by upon one of the most scenic railways in the world. As Ted Nebbeling said in one of his letters "we cannot afford it." And as a privately owned passenger service, we cannot.

Think about that the next time you drive down the highway.

Bjorn Gimse

Whistler

 

As the season for burning permits has been come and gone again in the municipality, I must take this opportunity to ask that there be consideration of a cessation to the issuance of Burning Permits prior to the next season.

At this time permits are issued spring and fall, as you know, to allow for the burning of garden refuse on residential sites. This burning is extremely difficult to live with as the community comes close to build out. Riding your bike down the Valley Trail enveloped in smoke is not a healthy activity.

The Canadian Green Consumer Guide indicates that backyard bonfires are illegal in many communities as they are not environmentally friendly. If I may quote from that publication, "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 benzopyremes as cigarette smoke." This would also indicate the immediate need for municipal composting as we cannot legally compost in the municipality due to bear concerns.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

L. K Shoup

Whistler

 

Our kudos go out to our dear friend Sig Doppelmeyer for creating the new sign on Falcon Cresent. He forged the copper letters himself and took the initiative to be a creative and proud citizen of Whistler, where he lives part-time. If each of us put a personal beautifying project of love into this valley during our stay here, this piece of heaven will remain a treasure. Way to go, Sig!

Paddi & Christopher Moore

Whistler




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