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Letters to the editor

A recent press release announced the continuation of Tourism Whistler's "outsourcing" of their reservations business to the Intrawest-owned Resort Reservations Network.

A recent press release announced the continuation of Tourism Whistler's "outsourcing" of their reservations business to the Intrawest-owned Resort Reservations Network.

As a former manager at one of Whistler's leading hotels, I recall distinctly the concerns that many of my superiors and peers had over the potential for a conflict of interest when this business partnership was initiated. The recent press release indicated that these concerns were taken into account during the proposal and review process(es) and that the level of transparency of the aforementioned process(es) was deemed sufficient to quell those initial concerns.

I was not privy to the negotiation, review(s), or the various proposals put forward, however I tend to agree with Mr. Gord McKeever that a company owning accommodation, selling competing destinations, and managing a supposed "unbiased" reservations source presents the potential for a perceived conflict – whether it exists or not.

Case in point: In my current capacity as a manager for a competitor of ResRez (although not of Tourism Whistler – we are a member and therefore a "partner". Confusing isn't it!) I ran a couple test reservations this morning to compare rates etc. Pretty standard stuff in the accommodations and reservations industry. Of the dates randomly selected (four different months) on ResRez, the Intrawest-owned First Tracks Lodge appeared in the first position on the lead page three times. In addition, the fourth time it came up in second position, with the Intrawest-owned Legends occupying the sixth (and last) spot on the lead page. Furthermore, with the shifting of ResRez's groups sector to the United States, you now have (aside from a couple unemployed Canadians) a person or persons in Colorado (I confess, that's hearsay) selling Whistler!

In no way am I suggesting that there is conflict here, after all travel agents sell Whistler from a myriad of locales, and of course, we are a small town with limited accommodation during certain dates. Another random set of dates could yield different results. However, when we talk about people’s perceptions, therein lies an opportunity for persons who have not been privy too, nor researched the selection process, to develop an opinion as to how he/she thinks the system works (or doesn't). I am inclined to believe the good folks at Tourism Whistler, however, as mentioned in my introductory paragraph, I fully understand and support Mr. McKeever’s statements regarding this issue and I encourage everyone to continue to question any and all actions that impact our amazing resort.

Ian Ward

Whistler

Keep ALR, views intact

I am writing with regard to BC Rail’s preliminary rezoning application for their parcel of land located on Prospect Street adjacent to the Meadow Lane Townhomes.

As an owner of one of the townhomes that backs onto the subject property, I am in opposition to the potential rezoning of the one residential estate lot to a 15-lot subdivision for the following reasons:

Pemberton’s 1999 Official Community Plan (OCP) acknowledges floodplain residential development as "being the most cost-effective and feasible option for meeting housing needs in the short term." Due to the flood threat, the OCP also states that areas "outside of the floodplain are considered the priority long term residential area for the Village." With federal/provincial capital grants becoming available and higher property values making upland development financially viable, floodplain developments should be discouraged.

The subject property abuts onto the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and its current zoning is consistent with the OCP in that "The Village will seek a land use and density transition between ALR and non-ALR lands by…accommodating large lots sizes with a series of semi-rural subdivision standards for non ALR lands." The potential BCR rezoning to a 15-lot subdivision is a departure from the stated OCP policy.

Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Fisheries has a series of guidelines regarding the urban/agricultural interface, one of which states that a buffer be situated between a residential development and agricultural land. The BCR property as it is currently zoned acts as an ideal buffer between the ALR and the Meadow Lane Townhomes. Should the potential BCR rezoning be supported there would be no buffer between the BCR residential development and the ALR.

The one residential estate lot zoning was achieved as a compromise solution between Mayor and Council and the residents several years back. At that time residents were clearly not in favour of multiple lots. In consideration of the potential 15-fold increase in the density, this position remains true to this day. Council support of the potential proposal without resident backing would be a renege of the existing agreement.

The potential development could generate approximately one third more traffic along Prospect Street. This increase and associated noise will negatively impact residents.

Resident’s quality of life will be negatively affected in several ways. As the houses on the BCR property could be permitted to be approximately one story taller than the Meadow Lane townhomes due to the allowable developable floor area and the legislated flood control level, privacy and views of surrounding mountains and up the Pemberton Valley will be compromised. In addition, the existing natural vegetation on the BCR property acts as a defacto hedgerow full of bird life, adding immeasurable value and peace to the residents’ lives.

The quality of life in Pemberton and in particular at the Meadow Lane Townhomes is one of the main reasons why I purchased in this community. While I recognize that development is necessary, it must be managed carefully so as to not ruin the elements that make this place special, or simply, the reasons for being here. For the reasons stated above I do not support the potential rezoning.

Thank you for seeking residents’ input on the potential BCR proposal. I hope you will take these comments into consideration when reviewing the proposal.

Suzanne Pearson

Pemberton

The Eckhard Zeidler letter (Sept. 19), suggests the Cayoosh resort is in an "inappropriate location". Maybe, when tied to Lillooet; but not however, when accessed from D'arcy. Furthermore, while one may be mildly piqued with the observation that Whistler could be regarded as the "hub" of the regional ski area, I think the word is best reserved for the greater regional transportation hubs.

A study of maps of the SW corner of the province identifies these Hubs as follows:

1. Mission. This town is in direct line with N-S transportation corridors of the U.S. Pacific Coast, and it is coincidentally, equidistant from Whistler via the Sea to Sky Highway and via Sasquatch Road and Billygoat over Wedge Pass.

2. Meslilloet Mtn. Complete with glacier, located on the Indian Arm route from Coquitlam to Squamish.

3. North Vancouver. Three small ski areas and etc.

4. Squamish. Accesses to Garibaldi, and the valleys of the Ashlu and Elaho, and Brohm Ridge, with a potential alpine real estate play similar to Whistler.

5. Whistler-Blackcomb-Callaghan. Already a hub for the threateningly typical strip development from Horseshoe Bay to Pemberton, and a base for accessing Lillooet and Elaho valleys on the EW bearing.

6. Pemberton. Accesses Meager area, Bridge River Valley, South Chilcotin, D'arcy, Duffey Lake (Cayoosh Trail).

7. Lillooet. Forever identified as Mile 0 of the Cariboo Trail. And is also the hub for Bridge River, Melvin Creek, Pavilion and Lytton.

In all this, hopefully some restraints to development will be legislated, for at least the "grey areas in between" – as Edgington of SLRD has it.

Wayne L. Mulherin

North Vancouver

Congratulations to our councillors for their common sense approach to the backyard firepit issue. My hat’s off to you once again for your collective wisdom in allowing the wieners and marshmallows to continue to roast when conditions permit!

Anton Horvath

Whistler

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the some 50 people who attended the panel discussion on the writing life with Timothy Taylor (Stanley Park), Steven Galloway (Accession) and Laisha Rosnau (The Sudden Weight of Snow) at the Spruce Grove Field House last Friday night. The panel discussion was followed by readings by Timothy Taylor and Steven Galloway and was part of the Whistler Writers Group’s (The Vicious Circle) second annual writers workshop and mini festival.

Readings by Laisha Rosnau and workshop participants took place on Saturday night at the Cabin at Base II and again was well attended by members of the public. Sixteen writers from Whistler, Pemberton and the Lower Mainland attended the full weekend workshop to present their work, secure feedback and attend lectures specific to moving their work forward towards publication. The public events gave the writers involved in the workshop, a real live appreciative audience. A writer can't ask for anything more.

This event was made possible through the generous support of the Whistler Real Estate Company, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the Question. Because of this sponsorship we were able to draw the type of speakers that are considered to be some of the top emerging Canadian writers in the country, secure locations for events that showed off our mountain community and provide one scholarship to a deserving high school student to attend the workshop at no cost. Thank you. We couldn't have done any of this without you.

A great deal of behind the scenes effort also took place. Thanks to Brandi Higgins who bought and prepared all the lunches for the two-day workshop and moderated one of the group sessions, to Rebecca Wood Barrett for her efforts in getting the word out to the media, to Pam Barnsely for moderating the other group session, to Cameron Worman at Whistler-Blackcomb for the use of the cabin at Base II, and Kathrine Garrin for helping us with set up at the Spruce Grove Field House.

I am continually impressed by what can be accomplished when people of like minds come together to make something happen. Thank you. Without you, we'd be toiling away on our computers without an audience to hear and appreciate our words.

Stella L. Harvey

Whistler Writers Group (The Vicious Circle)

OWL calls your name

OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) in Delta does a wonderful job saving the lives of and rehabilitating, injured raptors (eagles, owls, hawks, etc). I have been a transportation volunteer for them for several years. As I am not always in Whistler when they need me to pick up a bird, it would be great if we could have a number of volunteers to draw upon in the Whistler/Pemberton/D'Arcy area.

OWL needs people willing to transport boxed, injured birds either all the way to Delta, or to some point in between. Relays can be arranged when necessary. (I have transferred birds to North Vancouver and Vancouver as well as to Delta). Sometimes, birds are transported by air or rail – due to the kindness and co-operation of various operators. Rescues from our area are not extremely frequent, but when the call comes, it is often urgent.

To learn about OWL's activities and needs visit their Web site at www.owlcanada.ca. To find out more about being a transportation volunteer, call Bev or Val at 604-946-3171 or send e-mail to

owl_rehab@telus.net . If you would like to talk to me, my number is in the phone book.

Carol Fuegi

Whistler

We would like to thank everyone who contributed to successful Commuter Challenge kick-off events on Sept. 17. The pancake breakfast could not have happened without generous donations. We’d like to thank: Rotary volunteers for setting up, cooking and cleaning up; Bruce at Nesters for donating pancake ingredients; Chris and Cathie at Hot Box for the coffee and tea; John at Zeuski’s for opening up his patio to us, washing dishes and providing grilling oil; WORCA for loaning us their plates and cutlery; Happy Planet for donating juice; and the Cooperative Auto Network for bottled water.

New this year to the Commuter Challenge was the Coffee Bike Relay in Function at noon and we would like to thank Tony at Slopeside Supply for doing the organizing. Also thanks to the businesses who set up activity stations along the route: Whistler Cooks, Miller Creek Cafe, Market Catering, Wildwood Cafe, Re-use it Center. And thanks to the businesses who competed: Slopeside Supply, Cascade Environmental, Brent Harley & Assoc. and Pique Newsmagazine. And thanks to Marty at Miller Creek and Chris at Wildwood for donating prizes for the winners. Congratulations to the team from the Pique for first place and to the team from Slopeside for a close second.

Thanks also to all those who attended these events and showed their support. The Commuter Challenge will be running until the end of the month. To sign up or for more information, contact us at

thewhistlerway@whistler.ca

Good luck everyone!

Kristina Swerhun & Emma DalSanto

Commuter Challenge Co-ordinators

Resort Municipality of Whistler

I just wanted to say hats-off and congratulations to David (Beef) Malboeuf and Eric Baird for creating and producing the 1st Annual Comedy in the Sky Festival and one of the funniest weekends in Whistler’s history. Whistler enjoyed the creativity and company of some of Canada’s greatest comedians thanks to the assistance of Yuk Yuk’s founder and Artistic Director Mark Breslin.

It is no easy task to produce over 20 events in four days and those guys deserve a standing ovation for their vision, hard work and commitment to great Canadian comedy. Creating a festival in the shoulder season has its challenges, but I am sure that the Comedy in the Sky Festival will establish itself as an international draw as the years go by.

Thanks for all the laughs and we look forward to seeing the Comedy in the Sky Festival grow over the years to come.

Paul Benoit

Dock Daze Productions

Whistler




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