Letters to the Editor for the week of February 26th 

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Cell tower infrastructure inefficient

I've been listening to this (cell tower) debate for a while and it has nothing to do with health and safety or network capacity: it's all about money.

I own an independent telecommunications company based right here in Whistler. We build wireless networks for rural and remote communities and provide essential communications services for people and businesses that have no cell service or access to the Internet.

If you absolutely have to have communications service on your cell phone in a concrete parking garage someone has to put an antenna in there. Just like if you want to have cell service on the other side of a mountain, someone has to put an antenna there too.

If you want the antenna on the other side of the mountain to reach your phone through two levels of concrete in a parking garage (yikes!) then it has to be a really big antenna.

The solution to increased demand for wireless services is to put smaller, low-power antennas in smart places and leave the big antennas on top of the mountains. If each community were to build one open network — (not three or more competing private carrier cell networks) it would be possible to extend the community network and allow people to fill in coverage in parking garages, basements and malls etc. by having a small, unobtrusive antenna installed.

In the old days the original public phone companies and power stations transformed the 20th century and successfully built infrastructure for our communities providing water, electricity and phone services. Now these services have been privatized and left to the telecommunications industry, which is a tough business.

Did you ever wonder why you see three towers on top of a hill, or why your cell phone bill is three times more expensive than it should be?

Each cell provider builds its own towers, and its own fibre network and will not share its infrastructure. This is a terrible and inefficient duplication and waste of resources and a failure of public policy.

I also have a hive of bees in my backyard and the bees are doing just fine.

Davin Peterson BSc.Eng

Base Technology Ltd.


Empty bowls filled

On behalf of the Whistler Pottery Club I would like to extend a big thank you to the local businesses and individuals who contributed to the success of our second annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser held at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre this past Friday, Feb. 13.

This event was a huge success; local potters contributed well over 130 beautiful bowls that took centre stage as the guests selected their favourite bowl, a Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre staff member welcomed us to their world class facility with a Feast Song, guests dined on the delicious soup offerings and bannock from local chefs while gazing at the stunning views of the Lost Lake woods and local mountains from the SLCC's Itsken Hall.

The hard work and generosity of the local community in Whistler and throughout the Sea to Sky corridor was inspirational, everyone truly "opened their heart to fill an empty bowl" in our local community.

As a result, we raised $4,352.11 for food banks in the Sea to Sky corridor — Whistler Community Services Society Food Bank, Squamish Food Bank and Sea to Sky Community Services Society's Pemberton Food Bank.

A very special thanks to our event partners, the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and their amazing staff, especially Judith Thompson and Denise Hughes, for sharing the beautiful venue, the delicious bannock and for working so hard in the planning, organization and execution of Empty Bowls. We truly could not have done this without you!

Thank you to the local chefs, businesses and individuals who contributed in support of this event: The Four Seasons, Alta Bistro, Westin Grill & Vine, Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre and Whistler Golf Club for their delicious soup offerings, and Roots for their contributions.

A big thank you to our celebrity soup servers who took time from their busy schedules: Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Anne Popma, Suzanne E. Greening, Cheryl Skribe and our MC, Vincent Massey.

Thank you to local potters for the generous silent auction donations. The donations raised an added $430 in support of our club.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to those that volunteered at the event, and contributed behind the scenes to assist us in getting the word out and in helping out to ensure it ran so smoothly. Thanks goes to: Pique, Whistler Question, Whistler FM, and the Community Foundation of Whistler.

In addition to showcasing what a kind and generous community we have, this event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the work of our talented local potters and a big thanks goes out to them and the Whistler Pottery Club members who contributed and assisted.

We plan on holding this event next year and we hope to see everyone back again for Empty Bowls Whistler, 2015!

Margaret Forbes and Kathleen Tennock,

Co-chairs, Whistler Pottery Club

Terrorism bill terrifying

In your last issue (Pique, Feb.19) Mr. John Weston, our Member of Parliament, presented Prime Minister Harper's talking points for the new anti-terrorism bill.

He wrote: "The government's most important duty is to ensure its people security," and, "But, in a sense, there is no conflict; the two objectives — security and freedom — are not really in conflict, they are co-dependant. Without one, we cannot have another."

Sorry, but this is pure nonsense! It is an age-old argument of governments wanting to scare people, so that the government can grab more control.

If it were true, then the best states in the world today would be Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea and Iran. You can have absolute security with absolutely no freedom.

I bet, if you had absolute freedom, if there was no state, there could still be a high level of security. Just look at the example of North American native people, for millennia they had no state, no police, yet their social order was highly democratic and free. Until the whites came.

My admiration and respect goes to Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, who was the only Member of Parliament who had the guts to call that law for what it really was: "It's about creating a secret police. It's the death of freedom."

Currently, the terrorists are achieving their objectives. They are indirectly, through actions of the Canadian conservative government, reducing our individual rights.

Also, they are diverting our financial means that are required to deal with real problems, which present far greater danger for our society; inequality, poverty, health care, climate change, youth unemployment and other pressing issues.

We should not let terrorists win!

Drago Arh


Welcome back bears

The bears are back already. They have been asleep for about 3.5 months. They are extremely hungry. There is zero food for them to eat. So they are on their way to Marketplace, the village and your home.

The first bear out will be the first to find garbage. He will be the first one killed. Would you like to be the good citizen and bring all your garbage and pet food inside, or will you be the first citizen who is lazy and kills the first bear?

This is going to be an extreme season again for lack of food and lots of bears looking for that easy meal. Every bear here, even the cubs know where to find human food. Don't feed them, please.

Please let's have a happy bear season, enjoy watching them from the ski lifts or from a very safe distance and let our bears also have a non-confrontational season ahead.

Ryan Doiron


LNG — sharing some facts

As president of the Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, a former ship's captain and a long-time resident of the North Shore, I am compelled to share some facts about LNG shipping safety that lend support to positive consideration of Woodfibre LNG in Howe Sound.

For the marine industry, including the LNG sector, our highest priority has always been safety and security, which is reflected in a truly enviable record of operational safety. The reality is that purpose-built LNG carriers have been plying the world's oceans for 50 years delivering approximately 75,000 cargoes without any major incidents.

In our line of work, safety must always come first and risk mitigation is therefore paramount. For that reason, all LNG import and export terminals are designed with multiple layers of protection and must meet rigorous safety regulations.

As just a few examples, terminals are equipped with spill-containment systems; fire-detection systems; automatic and manual shut-down systems; video surveillance systems and all are operated by highly trained personnel.

Should it proceed, Woodfibre LNG will be a state-of-the art project. LNG carriers will transit existing, well-proven commercial shipping lanes weekly under the guidance of highly trained and experienced marine pilots and accompanied by powerful escort tugs. Any suggestion that the coastal passage or prevailing weather conditions in the area are inherently hazardous is incorrect.

Given that they will be under escort and their relatively low draft whether in ballast or loaded, LNG carriers will generate a relatively small wake at a speed of around 10 knots and are no less manoeuvrable than any other vessel.

Here in British Columbia, our marine industry is committed to providing the highest level of safety, voyage planning, incident prevention and risk mitigation.

In close coordination with our federal and provincial regulators, our industry will seek to ensure that every marine related project, Woodfibre LNG included should it proceed, will bring nothing but positive returns to our communities with no sacrifice whatsoever to our collective enviable environment.

Captain Stephen Brown

President, Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia

Errors and omissions cost the taxpayer

During the last council meeting it became very apparent how reliant the mayor and council are upon RMOW staff reports, assessments and recommendations.  

Caution must be exercised by staff to ensure all measures are taken to be compliant with provincial and municipal law and that personal "interpretations" put forth in recommendations are identified as just that — interpretations, and do not necessarily reflect what is actually written.  

Municipal staff intervention, errors, interpretations and omissions may easily prejudice due process, influence elected officials and thwart a taxpayer's opportunity to examine, question and be heard.

In my opinion, taxpayers may be liable for costs that are not attributable to them, but are put forth in a recommendation by staff.

Unfortunately, due process for a rezoning application was not followed. Staff cannot rely on the fact that the public reads the local newspaper, which is why signage for developments that impact the community are a necessary part of law.

Our elected officials should also be able to rely on the facts presented by staff, even if they don't have the time or opportunity to research each individual motion.

And when the rules are not followed, you must start the process over again.

Milo Rusimovich


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