Letters to the Editor for the week of January 17 

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY JEFF SLACK
  • File photo by Jeff Slack

Questioning further commercialization of Crown assets

I spend a fair amount of time in the backcountry year round and its commercialization has been a closely watched concern of mine for many years, so I was a little dismayed as I flipped through this year's first edition of the Pique and came across an advertisement for guided trips to the Wendy Thompson Hut offered by Mountain Skills Academy & Adventures.

I have no ill will towards this company and would have recently been a customer myself had it not been for a conflict of schedules.

Although I consider myself a libertarian at heart, I believe that the tenure system, introduced two decades ago requiring commercial operators to hold tenure when operating on Crown land, has prevented conflicts and abuse of terrain that is seeing ever-increasing usage.

It appears to me that some operators are treading into gray zones, or are contravening their tenure contracts, as there seems to be little enforcement.

I recall that several years ago, an operator in my neck of the woods was offering heli-assisted ski touring as part of their operation. This company is not a heli-ski operation and from my research into its tenure application, there was no mention of providing this service.

When a single outfit is arranging for helicopter transportation to the top of tenure-designated ski runs and is providing guides, accommodations, and meals, I fail to see how this is not heli-skiing.

I was delighted to see that this service is no longer being advertised and I hope that it is no longer on the menu.

So now I am a little confused as to how a company can offer commercial ski tours based out of alpine huts that are on Crown land and are managed by the non-profit Alpine Club of Canada.

Perhaps both of these companies are operating within the law; however, I see a conflict in both examples.

As the population of this corridor continues to grow, let us tread lightly with the further commercialization of this magnificent resource so that it is not lost forever.

Phil Hey

McGillivray Falls

Something's gotta give

With the bluebird sunny day (on Sunday Jan. 13, came) the day skiers from the Lower Mainland.

Don't get me wrong, we want your business but when it comes to (the increase in) traffic at the end of the day, it disrupts the flow in our small mountain town.

What's the solution? I don't know, but here's one idea that we had during the (2010 Winter) Olympics—(we had three lanes along the highway) and it worked, sort of, for the (Olympic) shuttles had their designated lane.

I think two lanes south would be a start. Since the highway is owned by the province, it would be nice if it could help us since we make so much from tourism here and it's not slowing down for the rest of the season.

It's almost like we need traffic flaggers from Village Gate to Function Junction to help speed up the flow of traffic exiting town.

When traffic is backed up I think of restaurants like Rimrock and Red Door that have (patrons with) reservations for 5 p.m. (who) can't make it because the taxi, or their car, is stuck in traffic.

Same with the buses and shuttles, as they go off schedule, making people late for work.

So something has to give and I really hope the new council can come up with a long-term solution to eliminate the Creekside crawl. 

Doug Ryan 


Water for sale?

I'm asking the Mayor of Whistler Jack Crompton to send Vail Resorts a letter protesting its sale of water in a plastic bottle for $4.15.

I don't know if these are being recycled and if not are filling up the landfill.

The energy and petro-chemical costs for a one-time drink are inexcusable.

Maybe the village should consider banning drinks in plastic bottles and raising the price to encourage metal-can returns.

Anyway, this skier is voting with his feet.

Too much rain and your skiing is too expensive.

Also, remove your signs about it being a family resort. That is, unless your children are camels.

Paul Filteau


The right type of guest?

I know many letters have already been written about our mayor's recent faux pas on sending a climate-change letter to a Canadian fossil-fuel company), so I will be succinct.

We spent years promoting and selling our beautiful valley and mountains to anyone and everyone, using phrases like world-class, always real and many others. 

We, as a community, were encouraged to welcome the world, and we all benefited, my family included. 

That the world arrived and we should be surprised, I find comical.

Having worked at many top resorts all over the globe, and having been involved in a Winter Olympics before our 2010 Games (I was not involved in those Games), I find it interesting that no railway option was built for "the greenest Games ever."

The fact is that we (workers, locals, skiers, et al.) really have no other alternative getting to and from the resort for work or play other than commuting using the highway.

To point fingers at corporations, companies or highway users does nothing but distract all of us making good decisions and finding solutions on a pressing issue that affects not just Whistler, but the entire Sea to Sky corridor, Vancouver, and beyond.

It is time get on message of what we present, and represent to the world.

Perhaps a public relations firm would be a good use of tax dollars, considering comments from current and previous elected officials?

Common sense dictates that if we sell a product in a competitive market, we should not and cannot be particular in who buys it. 

It seems in Whistler we can, unfortunately.

Paul Andrew Rossi 


A world leader can taint an entire country

It was not expected. Polling hid the truth. A big country now led by a surprise winner. A country now alienated on the world stage. Traditional allies turning away. A leader showing affection for despot leadership. A leader filled with contradiction and hypocrisy.

Division stoked with dog-whistle politics. Sexual misconduct allegations ignored. A border clouded by misinformation and a growing backlog. Cabinet buddies making millions. Donations maxed out with support from foreign-state actors in closed-door lobbying dinners. Core promises abandoned. Debt amassing at staggering levels. Ethics breaches routine. Daily denial of universally accepted facts ... and more.

And this is just in Canada.

Perri Domm


Saluting the snowplow

I enjoyed the recent issue containing your list of Best of Whistler (Pique, Dec. 27, 2018). It certainly seemed comprehensive: from pot to pizza to realtors and dentists.

However, recent heavy snowfalls have prompted me to think there is a glaring category omission important to all of us with homes in Whistler: the crews who operate snowplows and clear our driveways.

In that context, I would like to nominate Wilson Patchell. For myself and most of my neighbours, there is no more reassuring sound on a snowfall day than that of Wilson's plow making its way down Panorama Ridge in Brio before we are out of bed.

And he is back later in the day to tidy up the driveways.

He is a pillar of reliability and our winters would not be the same without him.

Cam Avery


Under reporting reality

I listened to a few of those year-end panels that discuss the year's stories, the good, the bad, the ugly and the under reported. Only two panellists thought the most under-reported story was the fact humanity is about a decade away from the tipping point into certain climate catastrophe. Not even the other panellists concurred.

I read with interest what happens to other people who drink and couldn't help seeing the experience as a metaphor for what we are doing to Mother Nature. The greenhouse gases we continue to pour into Her system are raising Her temperature. Each year, Her forests become more "acutely inflamed."

The land left is unable to "absorb water and nutrients" and consequently dies. The increasing heat is melting ice caps which raises ocean levels, is diminishing mountain glaciers thus drying up life-giving rivers, and is sucking more and more "moisture" directly from the land turning it to dust.

The gases mixing with the oceans are creating acid that is aborting the flora and fauna in the "womb" of Mother Earth. We are the "free radicals" who don't know how to stop looking for ways to kill Her "cells."

To answer the first part of Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall's question (Pique, "Opening Remarks," Jan. 3, 2019), humans drink and not incidentally are trashing our life-support system for the same reason.

It is our instinctive reaction to the fact there is no answer to, "Why am I?"—the question of meaning that gave birth to humanity 200,000 years ago. Drinking is one of the ways we try to fill the void. Pass me another drink so I don't have to think.

Fortunately for individuals, there are other ways we try, like our continuing democratic self-destruction which, however, is unfortunate for humanity because "divided we fall."

To answer the second part of Bishop-Stall's question there is no cure for a hanger, only prevention.

Sadly, it looks like the next 10 years will be "one last toast..." for humanity. We might be able to turn ourselves around but if we are "patient" and set "short-term goals" the best we can hope for is a New Year that is not as unhappy as it will probably be.

Doug Barr


Sharp-eyed lifty

I wanted to send out a very heartfelt thank you to the lifty working at the top of Garbo chair Sunday, Jan. 13.

My day would've been over before it started if it weren't for your sharp eye noticing my toecap fall off of my bindings. Even more incredible was that you were able to find the screw bit in the snow! Without you, my day riding in the sun wouldn't have happened, so a huge thank you to you!

Kate Turner


The closing of Loka Yoga

As a current and 10-year permanent resident of Whistler and a 20-year part-time resident prior to that, I am writing to express my heartfelt thanks to Tina James and Loka Yoga for the extraordinary contributions they have made to the residents and community of Whistler and its surrounding communities over these past 10 years.

In my opinion, Tina and Loka Yoga have not received the recognition that they have earned and deserve for their selfless and untiring work in this community over these years.

I continue to be surprised that Tina has never been nominated for a public-service award for her contributions to so many important organizations in Whistler and the surrounding communities.

Tina was a volunteer ski patroller for many years. She has been a staunch supporter of Bear Smart Society and while it was under the guidance of Sylvia Dolson, was instrumental in raising the largest amount of funds to create programs that continue to help protect citizens from encounters with bears and help bears to continue to thrive in their natural environment.

As an animal-rights activist, Tina has supported the work of WAG in communities north of Whistler and has also helped stop the suffering of animals both in Whistler, the surrounding communities and other parts of the world.

Tina and her staff helped raise funds and goods for the residents of Fort McMurray when their community was devastated by forest fires a number of years ago. She and some of her dedicated staff continue to visit Fort McMurray to offer yoga classes to provide physical and emotional support for the residents there and she continues to be invited to hold yoga classes there.

Tina and Victoria Grace, one of Loka's long-time teachers, have often been called upon to comfort families grieving from the loss of a loved one and to help individuals cope with end-of-life situations.

Tina has done amazing work in building a close and loving relationship with First Nations communities north of Whistler. She promotes their inclusion and participation in cultural and spiritual events in Whistler and has regularly, by invitation, participated in cultural activities in the First Nations communities north of Whistler. She is considered a beloved member of their community.

Tina is an extraordinary, dedicated and very experienced yoga teacher who always gives 100 per cent of herself and has been instrumental in creating one of the best and strongest yoga communities in Whistler, in Canada and in all of North America.

She is highly regarded in the yoga world community and she is beloved by her mentors and students alike. She attracts to her Whistler workshops and to her retreats held in Canada, the U.S., England and India, the best yoga teachers from India, the U.S., England and other parts of the world.

With her genuine love for yoga and her kind and generous spirit, Tina has created a lineage of dedicated yoga teachers that are helping others transform their lives by studying and practicing yoga and by adopting peaceful ways of living with compassion and without harming. Tina lives her life selflessly, realizing that we are all connected and by example, her students and devotees continue to realize and live that connection.

It is difficult for me to accept that smaller businesses that practice karma, cannot survive in Whistler beyond eight years due to astronomical rent increases implemented by landlords when rental agreements are up for renewal. When the wonderful store Merrell had to close its St. Andrews Way location a number of years ago due to significant rent increases initiated by the landlord, many Whistler residents were dismayed and disappointed. Tina was also forced to close her studio location there for the same reason and ended up moving to her current location at Nita Lake.

It is a significant loss to our residents and visitors alike to lose a local business that has been an excellent tenant for over 10 years, has always paid its rent on time, has created jobs and provided value and services to our community and has supported so many other local businesses and organizations for so many years.

I urge you to not support landlords and businesses that do not serve our community. If you care about this community, please continue to support Tina James and Loka Yoga and together we may find a solution so that Tina and Loka can remain and continue to grow with us in Whistler.

Nina Allinson


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