Letters to the Editor for the week of February 21 

FILE PHOTO - Toilet Troubles The Whistler Visitor Centre in the village.
  • File photo
  • Toilet Troubles The Whistler Visitor Centre in the village.

Hope there is a budget for cleaning

For sure this (will) not be the first, or the last, (letter) you (will) receive about the $3-million washroom expense/investment included in the last Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) draft budget.

My question is: Did the RMOW consider a cleaning legacy fund included in this amount?

My first impression of the Whistler Visitors Centre men's washroom on any weekend is that it's not good for tourists.

My wife ... told me that (the ladies washroom) was nausea-inducing.

So hopefully these big bucks (will) change not only the architectural design (must be a real Whistler jewel that could be presented at the next Georgie Awards), but also the daily maintenance to keep them usable.

Jorge Ravenna
Whistler

A Whistler love story

My family fell in love with Whistler instantly when we first skied there in 1998.

The snow was perfect, the mountain was the most beautiful that we had ever seen, you could still see a different area every day, and there was a large village that my eight-year-old twin brother and I could walk around.

Over the next 20 years, we flew from New Jersey (and later New York City) to Whistler every single year. Some trips had better weather and ski conditions than others, but our love for Whistler and the magic we felt never faded.

In 2017, on trip No. 20, it was from a laptop in my hotel room at the Cascade Lodge that I messaged a new friend David for the first time.

"Have you gone skiing yet this winter?" he asked, to which I responded, "I'm actually in Whistler right now!"

When I got back to NYC, David and I went on our first date and discussed skiing (and Whistler!) the entire time. Two years later, on Feb. 4, 2019, I was so excited to share Whistler with David for the first time. Little did I know what he had planned!

The first two days involved absolutely freezing temperatures, highs of -20 Celsius. On the second day, we saw a beautiful "sun rainbow" that extended over the chairlift we were riding. David secretly took this as a good sign.

On Day 3, the weather finally warmed up and it was a sunny bluebird day. After getting on the first gondola of the day, and then a brief delay waiting for 7th Heaven to open, we stopped at the top to admire the view.

All of a sudden, David got down on one knee and asked me the most important question of my life. The Whistler magic that I had felt at eight years old, and all of the subsequent years, culminated in the most magical, amazing moment I could have imagined.

We have the most perfectly meaningful memories and pictures from one of the best days of our lives.

"My place" has officially become "our place".

Thank you, Whistler, for a lifetime of happiness!

Staci Feigenberg
New York

Budget week is weak

All week I tried to get some answers to a couple of questions related to the Whistler budget. Simple questions—the simplest being: "Can I please get a list of the potential savings that were discussed in order to avoid a tax increase?"

Then the adventure began. Finance wrote me and told me that without direction from our budget-conscious councillors or mayor, they would not consider any savings—and they have received no such direction to try to save any money. 

This seemed crazy, considering the election speeches made and articles written about fiscal prudence and so on.

I dug deeper, writing Councillor Cathy Jewett and asking if she had a memory of any money-saving suggestions or ideas that were discussed in an effort to avoid another dreaded tax increase. She immediately referred me to the newly minted Audit and Finance Portfolio czar, Coun. Ralph Forsyth. He responded that he was unavailable to meet me all week (budget week) because he was skiing. Maybe Monday?

And Mayor Jack Crompton simply ignored my question (because he knows the answer) and agrees to meet, but he will not commit to doing anything. He has already confirmed to me that he will not direct his staff in these matters, including finding any savings.

Staff tells the mayor how much more cash they need and he raises our taxes to cover it. Now that is simple. Not a great campaign slogan, but simple.

And now they announce a governance committee. Interesting to see that some of people in charge at the time of the bus-loop boondoggle have jumped in to provide some much-needed education on the topic. 

The topic of good governance that is, not the epic fail.

I just figured they were downright terrible managers with no governance skills whatsoever to create that mess. 

They will re-educate me on that now, I guess.

Shockingly, this committee will not focus on whose governance failed us on the bus-loop roof (nice to confirm) or whose governance allowed for $1,000,000 toilets to go unchallenged or whose governance failed to do any work at all to avoid a tax increase.   

Instead, as Jewett said, and I quote, "It's going to be as much about educating residents on how governance works, and how there are certain rules that we have to stay within." Self-reflection be damned.

Seriously. They are planning to educate us on good governance.

Perri Domm
Whistler

Going Green

Thanks for sharing the inspirational stories of people in Whistler who are actively trying to reduce their carbon footprint ("In the Groove With Green Love," by Glenda Bartosh, Feb. 14). These examples are certainly doable but may be daunting, since the concept of an individual having an impact on climate change can be overwhelming. What can make a big difference is having government policies that reward or reinforce those carbon-reducing efforts made by individuals or businesses.

For any community member—longtime local or newbie, old or young (ask the soccer club), one of the simplest actions to take on is to make sure local government and elected officials are fully accountable for the climate change file.

Around the globe, leading municipalities have made major investments for on-the-ground actions that both address and adapt to climate change with measurable results.

Whistler already has a Community Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP), launched in 2016, which includes 94 emissions reduction recommendations plus 40 "adaptation" actions. These were created with the input of 30 well-respected community members from government, the non-profit, business, health, construction energy and environmental sectors.

If we consider this mountain resort community our "home"—and we can't care too much—then we need to use our voices and push council to ensure CECAP becomes a real priority.

Anyone can: stay on top of council agendas, write to mayor and council to take actions on issues they care about, and make sure council has measurable CECAP progress to report on each quarter (or explanations if things are not on track).

Better still, show up at the Feb. 26 council meeting and ask what is earmarked in the 2019 budget to fund CECAP-related projects.

Don't let this plan get buried—it needs to be top of mind and be backed with a budget that drives results.

We can have an impact if we're collectively moving toward the CECAP emissions reduction and adaptation targets. Every community member has a voice. Let's use it.

Diana Mulvey
Whistler

Editor's note: The budget guidelines report that was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb.26, has been pushed to a later meeting. People can ask questions any time at council. To find out more go to www.whistler.ca.

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