Put athletes before the hype
The collective shouts of joy emanating from Canadians in Prague, Vancouver, Whistler, and beyond, signalled not only the successful culmination of years of work by the Vancouver 2010 Bid Corporation, but also the dawning of what many (especially Gordo's gang in Victoria) hope to be a "new era" in BC.
If we are to believe the powers that be, economic recovery is starting yesterday and the legacies of these games will ensure that present and future generations of BC'ers will enjoy improved transportation systems, new and improved sports venues, and a cash infusion from the hordes of tourists sure to follow post-2010.
I for one believe that Gordo might be on to something for once. It is hard not to get caught up in the excitement, and who (beside the NIMBYS who seem to feel Whistler is theirs because they got here a few years before the rest of us) can complain about an improved highway and additional post-2010 housing in Whistler.
However, lost in the hype of the 600 million dollar highway and the fancy Roots hats, are the foundation of this event the athletes. For every Gretzky, Le May Doan, and Brassard, there are countless amateur athletes across Canada struggling to get by on non-existent or paltry funding and/or part-time jobs.
As many ex-pat Aussies in Whistler could attest, the "wonder from down under" scored 16 golds at their hometown games (Sydney 2000). Their athletes did this with financial support to a tune of $125 million CDN. Canada, even with a larger population base, threw a grand total of $85 million at our team!
With a history of federal "support" like this, it should come as no surprise that Canada has the dubious distinction of hosting both the Summer and Winter Games (Montreal '76 & Calgary '88) and bringing home zero gold medals from both! You can talk about the legacies until you are blue in the face, but three silvers in two "hometown" games sucks by any definition. And before you point to improved totals since 88, consider that most of the success stories were from professionals (mens hockey in '02) or from athletes who succeeded DESPITE this lack of funding. Ask them about their bank loans, car washes, part-time jobs, etc.
If the 2010 Games are to be a true success, the same players who stepped up to secure this bid need to ensure that we start funding our amateur athletes now!
I challenge Chretien, Paul Martin, Shiela Copps, Gordo et al. to step up to the plate and demonstrate that their involvement was/is more than a photo opportunity in Canadas colours. After all, there are athletes currently living below the poverty line that would like to have their chance to wear those colours with pride 6.5 years from now.
Get into the Olympic spirit
With the decision finally made, the fence has disappeared, and we are now all on the same side. Like it or not the Olympic torch is on its way!
Even though I am not a past or future Olympian (that age thing!), I believe it is true that the pureness of the Olympic/sport movement is seeded in our childhood. Think back to those days playing a child, what was your role playing sports with your friends was it scoring the game-winning goal, was it setting the new world record, was it performing flawlessly your skill, or was it just the thrill of being in the moment, in your own mind.
I am almost certain of one thing though, you were not a kid who hung out on the sidelines criticising the rest of the group for being so childish. Kids just dont do that, they get into the spirit and they get involved.
Whether you are staunchly opposed to or fully for the Olympics being hosted it is time to refresh your memory. There was a time in the not-too-distant past where each of us said either privately or publicly that that if we were to host the Olympics "I would like to see (fill in the dream blank) as a result of our efforts, commitment & sacrifice to the cause"
Well the time has come to stand up for what your heart said. You owe it to yourself to become involved in the movement, to protect your interest, your investment and your future in your community. It is much easier to make course corrections going with the current than against it so hop in the boat and grab a paddle.
There is a spirit in all sports. I feel it in each one I play. We must free ourselves from our adult prejudices and fears, apply our knowledge and hindsight to create instead of destroy, and be a part of the solution instead of complaining about the situation.
Let the spirit of the games move you, your dreams inspire you and your courage lead you. Commit yourself to protect your dream. "Genius has boldness, power and magic in it," said Goethe. Commit now to making the dream a reality!
Remember, every game is what you make of it.
Put Whistler back in Games
Congratulations to us all. Now that we have secured the Games I propose, after a respectful pause, that we invoke the "dumb rules don't count" clause and resume promoting the Vancouver-Whistler games.
We were an equal partner in the bid, we will be sole host of the Paralympics, and we will be hosting medal presentations and a significant number of athletes, associates and press for the duration of the events.
With the exception of the opening and closing ceremonies, for many who participate, Whistler will BE the 2010 games. For much of the rest of the world, with this type of event the name on the logo is the memory. This revised labelling would significantly improve our long-term economic benefits from this great adventure, as post-Games more people are likely to want to visit Whistler to ski than visit Vancouver to skate or curl.
Thank you Mayor and Councilors for opening up the Nita Lake development to public discussion. As a champion for Whistler parks and green spaces I believe this development site must include waterfront green space for the following reasons.
1. Whistler has a definite need for ore park spaces spread out through the community. Parks are crowded. When school is out and the weather is fair, youve got to be competitive to stake out a towel spot.
2. This sites location is centred in the middle of a densely populated area. People can step out of their doors, walk a block or two and they are enjoying a pristine gem of a lake. This is an important factor to the quality of life for everyone.
3. This Nita Lake waterfront site is a limited resource. It is the last waterfront opportunity for park space to be developed. Once it is paved over it will be lost forever.
Because it is perfectly located between Alpha and Alta lakes, a park on Nita would create a green belt linking the three lakes.
A Nita Lake waterfront park would be a legacy that would benefit Whistler residents and visitors for generations to come.
Please write to the mayor and councilors before the July 16 meeting and ask them to reduce the size of the proposed building, set it back from the lake and create waterfront park space for all to enjoy.
Put the muni out of (Internet) business
Simply put, the Muni has absolutely no business competing with local companies in a high-risk business like the Internet. Who is the genius at RMOW hiring the people that keep coming up with these high technology white elephants? Are they going to financially compensate the locals who were making a living providing public Internet access?
Here is a quick refresher for RMOW staff: Your job is to cost-effectively provide us with water, sewage and garbage disposal, roads and maintenance thereof, parks and maintenance thereof, public safety, fire suppression, policing, building code enforcement, tax collection and operating expense reductions. Thats it, job description complete. Forget the venture capitalism, leave the rest of it to Joe Public and Bill Business. The best government in a free society is MINIMAL government.
I guarantee a municipal wireless Internet network business model will crash and burn.
Re-Use-It prices too high
Im writing to say that I am outraged with the prices at the Re-Use-It Centre.
Everything is way over priced, its ridiculous, do they think that we are rich or something?
I went last weekend and they were asking $25 for 2 chairs and matching side table that had been spray painted gold and were not in the best condition. Also, a bureau that had been painted red was $35 I could buy a new one for $50. An old shirt was $8 because it was Billabong.
The point is that theyre getting this stuff for free.
I said that it was too expensive and tried bargaining but they responded that they were only volunteers and that they have programs to pay for. What the hell does that mean? What programs? Does that give them the right to rip us off? Something has to be done, the cost of living is enough up here, dont up the prices on used, free stuff thats donated.
On behalf of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, I would like to thank three unsung heros of the Vancouver 2010 Bid Olympic. Maureen, Debbie and Tina from the Whistler office worked countless hours on our behalf and made a difference to secure the bid.
By including organizations like ours along the way they truly included all Whistlerites. Without them we could not have fed you all pancakes last week on decision day and enjoyed such an outpouring of community support. Thanks ladies.
Whistler Mountain Ski Club
A Canada Day ruined
Canada Day is the one day of the year that you get to do what ever it is that makes you feel Canadian. I chose to do the one activity I enjoy the most, rock climbing at Whistler's Nordic Rock.
My illusion of Canada's friendly and trusting way of life was shattered when my pack full of expensive climbing gear was taken from the top of the cliff as I scouted around the rock. The most insulting part is that earlier in the day I smiled and nodded hello to the two individuals who would later rob me of my possessions.
With the exception of a couple pairs of new shoes the gear was somewhat old, but what I will miss the most is the sentimental value of the equipment which had brought me some of the best times of my life. That equipment had seen me through expeditions to seven countries and taken me to the remote places in our own great country.
For the two miscreants who grabbed my pack, did you think because it was not locked to something it was free for the taking? I don't know where you came from but hope you return there soon.
P.S. By the way, that constant uneasiness you feel is the good people of our community on the lookout for you and my gear!
Do your part for the bears
As Whistler moves toward official Bear Smart status, community involvement becomes an integral and critical component of our success.
The J.J. Whistler Bear Society, in partnership with many individuals, businesses, RCMP , council and municipal staff have worked hard and contributed countless hours and resources to make this community bear smart.
We still have work to do. It will be vital, in the coming months and years, for everyone to be an active participant in the bear smart solution. Community support will allow us to move forward on initiatives that will ultimately create an environment of peaceful co-existence among bears and humans.
The community of Whistler has been using non-lethal alternatives to manage bears since 2000. During that time, bear destruction has been reduced by an average of per cent.
Non-lethal Bear Management uses negative conditioning to modify undesirable bear behaviour without destroying the animal. By using an arsenal of rubber bullets, pyrotechnics and pepper spray, bears are taught to stay away from people and their property. Utilizing human dominance, and demonstrating a body posture and vocalizations that speak the language of the bear, officers can command the bear's respect and re-instill its natural wariness for humans. This approach capitalises on the bears innate tendency to avoid conflict and fit into the natural dominance hierarchy. The bear is not physically hurt it is a psychological experience that re-instills their respect for and hence avoidance of humans.
Bears must be taught to respect humans and human territory. This is a trait that bears have lost over time through poor management strategies and a generally submissive reaction by humans. We have baited bears with a food reward into human settlement areas and then punished them with death for accepting an easy meal.
In order for our non-lethal bear management program to be effective, human-bear conflicts must be dealt with promptly. Police, bylaw officers and conservation officers have been trained to respond to these conflict situations using various non-lethal strategies. Non-lethal strategies have proven very effective and do not compromise human safety or the welfare of our bears.
However, for the program to be effective, bears that exhibit inappropriate behaviour must receive a negative response far more often than receiving a positive food reward. Each incident the bear gets away with contributes to the conditioning process and the bears eventual death sentence. To report incidents of conflict or availability of attractants, please call 604-905-BEAR (2327).
Whistlerites have an amazing opportunity to be part of a change in the way that bears are managed in B.C. and North America. The highly successful programs developed by J.J. Whistler Bear Society for Whistler are being adopted by other communities province-wide and there is a growing interest in them from within the United States. This is a very exciting time for bear management and the community of Whistler is leading the way. The J.J. Whistler Bear Society thanks YOU for making it possible!
You can learn more about these programs at: http://www.bearsmart.com/bearsBackyard/Alternatives.html
J.J. Whistler Bear Society
More parks for Creekside
Hurray we are hosting the 2010 Olympics! Now it is really important to show the world we value our environment and we share the beauty of our park space surrounded by mountains and lakes with those form all walks of life.
The Creekside of Whistler has only one small flat park area with a tiny playground. It is in desperate need of expansion. The area proposed for the Nita Lake Lodge Development is the most sensible area left to expand the Alpha Lake Park. I hope that council will consider the possibility of more park space now, before it lost forever.
The public hearing at Millennium Place on Wednesday, July 16 is the public's last chance to voice their wishes over this area.
I encourage the public to come and support more park space, once its developed it is too late and we lose the enjoyment of the area forever.