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Whistler municipality wants residents to be prepared

Council briefs: Emergency Preparedness Week; VSO institute ready for first year; more letters on trails-use debate

Can you survive for three days on your own in the event of an emergency?

That's what Whistler wants to know as the municipality prepares for Emergency Preparedness Week.

From May 3 to 9, Emergency Preparedness Week will attempt to increase awareness about individual, family and business preparedness in the event of an emergency.

People need to be prepared to cope on their own for at least the first 72 hours.

"While most people recognize the importance of being prepared, surveys have shown that less than half take the steps needed to be prepared," wrote Erin Marriner, emergency program coordinator in a report to council.

"The goal of Emergency Preparedness Week is to bridge this gap between knowing and doing."

The municipality is encouraging people to take three simple steps to be better prepared. They are: Know the risks; make a plan; get an emergency kit.

Among the activities planned for the week is a display at Nesters from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday May 3 as well as a distribution of "Recipe for Disaster Preparedness Cards."

Among the checklist items for being prepared at home are: Enough water for three or more days; manual can openers; flashlights with extra bulbs; small amount of cash in low denominations; insurance policies; drivers license and passport; essential medication.

To learn more go to

VSO Institute lays groundwork

It's called "a match made in heaven."

That's according to Christin Reardon MacLellan, education and community programs manager with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), as she gave a presentation on the new orchestral institute coming to Whistler this summer.

The "match" she's referring to is the pairing of the summer institute in Whistler, designed around a three-year partnership.

It's called the Vancouver Symphony Orchestral Institute at Whistler (VSOIW). Organizers had hoped to entice about 30 students to Whistler for a weeklong music course. In the end, 90 students from around the world applied, from Japan and Singapore, the U.S. and the U.K. and across Canada; 70 were ultimately accepted.

"We've accepted as many as we possibly can," said Reardon MacLellan. "I think that's a great sign of what's to come in the future."

She outlined parts of the program that will take place over the week, during which the VSO orchestra will be in residence in Whistler, readying for free performances at Whistler Olympic Plaza.

The students, who will range in age from 15 to 25 years old, will attend master classes with VSO musicians, will perform in chamber music ensembles, and will be able to register for private lessons from faculty members, among a host of other things.

Acting Mayor Andrée Janyk, who sat on the learning and education task force charged with looking at opportunities like this for Whistler, said: "I find this personally rewarding."

The VSOIW will perform on stage at the end of its week in Whistler. Stay tuned for more information on the July 5 performance.

Trail debate continues with more letters

More letters from concerned citizens on the matter of restricting uses on trails have been sent to the committee level for discussion.

On Tuesday night, council referred the ongoing correspondence to the Recreation and Leisure Advisory Committee.

The flurry of letter writing comes on the heels of a request from a citizen at the last council meeting, via letter, for council to consider some "hiking only" trails, suggesting the Riverside area as an ideal spot.

While there was one letter in agreement with that position this week, several more people voiced their concerns.

"Restricting use would be a step in the wrong direction for Whistler, since Whistler is seen as an example of a community where multi-use works," wrote Sharon Bader. "These are the easiest trails in the valley and are therefore a very important part of the system."

She went on to add: "Consider better education through signage and trail design to mitigate any potential conflicts."

The next recreation and leisure committee meeting is set to take place on Thursday, May 7.