Embracing change 

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For most of us change is not easy to accomplish or to adjust to.

For many years Whistler has been working to change the vibe of the May long weekend from one of violence, vandalism and rowdiness to one of safe, family fun.

And if reports form the weekend are to be believed in Year 3 of the Great Outdoors Festival the change may be taking hold.

Town centre was pretty quiet this weekend even at 2 a.m. when the bars got out, and the clusters of roaming youths looking for trouble seemed fewer and farther between than in previous years.

Changing behaviour is difficult because it is complex — but one thing most know from experience is that punishment and threats alone won't work.

Whistler can't just have more police and zero tolerance for unlawful behaviour. It must also reward good behaviour with fun things to do and entertainment worth attending.

Did we hit the right balance this year? Perhaps. But as always this is no time to sit back on our laurels. We have been taking baby steps in many ways and while that is a tried and tested approach, it doesn't guarantee that tough times are over for the May long weekend.

It was noticeable this year, for example, that the offerings on the adventure sport side were almost non-existent. Crud to Mud was cancelled, and the Great Snow-Earth-water Race, the Jump Jam in the bike park, and The Cheakamus River Extreme Kayaking Race were left off the program this year.

What were on offer were all the types of activities Whistler plays host to all summer, fly fishing, SUP, tree-top adventures, the Whistler Valley Trail run, cycling, tennis, beach volleyball, yoga, adventure movies, concerts and more.

In other words it was a great introduction to what the resort offers on any given weekend.

There was still plenty of partying to be had but the hooliganism of the past seems to have passed us by in 2016.

In the vein of misery loves company it was interesting to read in this week's Province about the problems of Stave Lake on May long weekends.

"Stave Lake has also become synonymous with ATVs, shotguns and recklessness," writes The Province.

Said Mission RCMP Sgt. Shaun Wright, "With the illegal and dangerous behaviour that's occurred up here over the years, really there's a culture that's developed.

"And there's a phrase that you'll hear from a lot of people up here: 'Anything goes at Stave Lake.' And that's really the culture that needs to change up here."

Sound familiar?

Let's celebrate that this May long weekend may be the turning point for Whistler, but let's also stay creative and continue to reimagine what this and other long weekends can mean for the resort.

Speaking of change... Pique this week welcomes to its pages cartoonist Greg Perry. An editorial cartoonist for 25 years, Perry is syndicated in more than a dozen newspapers across Canada. I have no doubt that you will enjoy his wry wit and satirical comment on issues both near and far.

It's with a heavy heart that Pique bids farewell to our long-contributing cartoonist Adrian Raeside, who is retiring. I know I will miss him greatly.

His bio tells us that he began drawing cartoons on washroom walls as a kid and was in fact expelled from his first (and last) art class at the age of 15. Born in New Zealand he moved with his parents to England, then to Canada. Raeside tried his hands at many a trade before his satirical streak and the gift of his art landed him his first contracts as a cartoonist.

He began drawing editorial cartoons for the Victoria Times Colonist in Victoria, B.C. in 1979. The paper let him go last year.

His editorial cartoons have been reprinted in hundreds of publications worldwide — never one to shy away from shinning a light on the absurd or simply telling it like it really is, his retirement from the world of editorial cartoons will leave a void in this great commentary vein.

The Whistler resident is more than just a cartoonist. He founded and operated an animation company in 1988 to animate editorial cartoons for CBC Television and has created, directed and produced dozens of animated shows for Turner Broadcasting and Children's Television Workshop and others.

He has also published 16 books.

You can still enjoy his humour at www.raesidecartoon.com... but as a colleague stated so accurately this week Raeside isn't gone, he has just gone into a state of suspended animation.


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