Letters to the Editor for the week of December 24th 

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Ancient cedars hikes complete

The Ancient Cedars Trails Project has been successfully completed.

Many thanks to the volunteer effort of many community groups for their great work. The trail system, parking lot, outhouse, directional signs, roads, walking bridges, water culverts, etc., have all been improved and up graded.

The project was carried out by many volunteers from several Whistler organizations: The Rotary Club of Whistler, the Alpine Club of Canada, Whistler Blackcomb, The Adventure Group, the Cheakamus Community Forest and the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO).

There has been great cooperation and support by the "The Adventure Group," which is the commercial recreation operator in the area. The provincial MFLNRO has been very generous with funds and support for the past three years.

The volunteers from the Rotary Club of Whistler, the Alpine Club of Canada and the Whistler Blackcomb Habitat Improvement Team (HIT) have put many volunteer hours into this project.

The project could not have been completed without the financial contribution of the Whistler Blackcomb Enviro Fund, the Rotary Club of Whistler, the Cheakamus Community forest and the provincial government.

Twenty years ago, the Ancient Cedars trail system was first developed by the provincial government to protect and preserve a wonderful stand of large old-growth cedar trees. This project was imagined, promoted and accomplished by Don MacLaurin, a well-known community supporter, local forester and long time member of the Rotary Club of Whistler.

Today, a hike to the Ancient Cedars is a very popular trip, with locals and tourists alike. There are 50 to 100 hikers a day in the summer months. Everyone is welcome to visit this new and improved natural unique ecosystem.

Bridget Daley

Rotary Club of Whistler

Planning for the future

Our parents and grandparents had the foresight to support the construction of a network of hydroelectric dams that now supply us with some of the cleanest, lowest cost electricity in the world.

They electrified B.C. and positioned us nicely for the economic success we enjoy today. Now it's time for our generation to add to that hydroelectric network and pay it forward by building the long planned Site C dam.

Although Site C will not supply all of the electricity we're going to need in the future, it will provide the new firm energy supply that will allow us to maximize the contributions from other renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and low head hydro.

With a little bit of effort and political will, B.C. could easily be 100 per cent powered by sustainable, green, renewable energy and still have plenty left over to share with others not so fortunate to have the renewable energy resources we have here in B.C.

Jessica Verheyden

North Vancouver

Thanks to WB Foundation

On behalf of the staff and students at Whistler Secondary School, I would like to thank the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for its generous support this fall.

This contribution will help facilitate additional learning experiences for students in the areas of Outdoor Education, Science and Technology, and Sports.

As programs continue to grow at Whistler Secondary, the WBF sponsorship continues to provide our students with the means to achieve under an umbrella of academics and athletics.

Similarly, the Foundation's support provides our students with an appreciation of how this, and many other cooperative organizations further the betterment of our school community.

Again, thank you very much for your support. 

Nolan Cox, principal

Whistler Secondary

Merry Christmas!

This time of year we celebrate blessings with family and friends. It's also a time to remember those less fortunate and those who serve and protect us, especially Canadians in uniform at home and abroad.

This year, our riding has a gift for the rest of Canada. An initiative launched right here in West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country by BC Senator Nancy Greene Raine and me, National Health and Fitness Day, was passed as an Act of Parliament on December 10, 2014. The Bill reflects the values of people I represent, encouraging a healthy lifestyle for all Canadians.

As we reflect on the gift of health, let's also be grateful for good memories and look forward with hope to a great 2015.

My wife Donna and I wish you the best for Christmas, and for a happy, healthy New Year.

John Weston, M.P

Drinking and driving — from an emergency room doctor

One of the hardest part of my job as an emergency room doctor is telling family members that their son, or their daughter, or spouse was killed, or suffered life changing injuries, because of something as senseless as drunk driving.

What are the statistics?

Despite having some of the strictest drinking and driving laws in Canada, sadly, drinking and driving is still a problem in B.C. today and the stats are staggering.

On nights on the weekend more than one out of every 15 drivers has been drinking. One out of every six drivers we see in our hospitals who has been in a crash has been drinking. And one in four fatal collisions involve an impaired driver.

You don't have to be an emergency room doctor to know that alcohol impairs judgment, slows reflexes, and makes people uncoordinated.

Some facts you might not have known

• The risk of getting in a crash increases after just one drink.

• Studies show that judgment (such as decisions on whether to stop or go on a yelllow light) is affected at low levels of alcohol even though the driver may not seem or feel drunk.

• The risk of crashing is double at alcohol levels above 0.05 per cent (the level at which penalties begin in B.C.) and becomes much higher at higher alcohol levels.

Certain drinking drivers are at an even higher risk. Young drivers are inexperienced drivers. Their risk of crashing is higher to start with and increases rapidly as their alcohol level goes up. Some drivers may still be impaired, and have alcohol levels above the legal limit, the morning after.

How can you remain safe?

The best way to avoid impaired driving collisions is to completely separate drinking from driving

• Your alcohol level depends on how much you drink, how fast you drink, whether you've eaten, how much you weigh, and other factors.

• Drinking drivers are poor judges of their blood alcohol levels or degree of impairment. The fact that someone "doesn't feel drunk" does not make them safe to drive.

The take home message, so you, and everyone else, can arrive at home, safely, if you drink, don't drive — any alcohol will increase your risk of crashing.

Dr. Jeff Brubacher

Emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital

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