Letters to the Editor for the week of January 23 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis

Stick up for the planet

We're living in a climate emergency. Instead of talking, we need action—right now! We must stick up for the planet!  

[There are] ways we can do that: 

• Stop using single-use petroleum products like gasoline and diesel. While imperfect, electric vehicles provide a cleaner alternative;

• Come together as a community and change the climate conversation. We need to focus on the "cost of living" (living: as a person, a town and a planet);

• Whistler should declare a climate emergency and impose an annual Climate Emergency Tax (CET) of $250 to $500 on every property in the municipality.

The proposed CET would be used exclusively by BC Hydro to create, maintain and deliver free power to the Sea to Sky region for electric vehicles. By establishing a massive network of Level 3 DC Fast Chargers—making it possible for drivers to charge their cars, SUVs, and soon, pickups, semi-trailer trucks, delivery vehicles and buses, anywhere, at any time, without waiting—this would empower the local Whistler community to make the change to electric vehicles. 

This would have a secondary benefit: it would significantly lower living costs, making it more affordable to live in Whistler and British Columbia. It would save the average driver thousands of dollars annually, money spent on gasoline/diesel—at the cost of $250 to $500 per household. Additionally, it would demonstrate how serious Whistlerites are about doing what we can to combat climate change. Visitors will be inspired when they see how we're lessening not only our local footprint, but also that of our guests' footprints, who often arrive by plane.

Does $250 to $500 per household seem too drastic? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. We wouldn't be the first community to do something at such a high cost.

Case in point: In 1941, in Banff National Park a dam was built, which raised the water level by 30 metres on Lake Minnewanka, submerging the village of Minnewanka Landing. While drastic, this was necessary to provide the power needed by the wartime industries in Alberta to help win the Second World War. 

Like winning the Second World War, we are at a crucial turning point in history and need a dramatic move equivalent to something as "insane" as building a dam and submerging a town.

With Whistler's track record of changing the game in so many ways, we're the damn town to do it.

By putting our money where our mouth is with the CET, when cities, provinces and countries see how Whistler has created an infrastructure program with a publicly owned entity, they will follow suit, as it is a win/win for the community and the planet.

By committing to the CET and its development, this will put the Whistler consumer in the driver's seat—instead of being pawns to companies like we currently are with the oil industry—setting an example for other communities to follow. 

If things continue to develop as they are, soon enough electric cars will be as expensive to fuel as petroleum is now. Where do those profits go? Into the pockets of companies and their shareholders. This would be turned on its head with the implementation of CET. 

The people of British Columbia own BC Hydro, so the CET wouldn't go into corporate coffers, but into the needed infrastructure of building a better future for our province and the world. 

What about those who don't believe in climate change or who don't care about the environment? 

The best way to get people to make the change is make it free to fill up. Be cheap, be environmentally sensitive, believe or don't believe in climate change, it doesn't matter. 

Who wouldn't want to cut their transportation costs dramatically, spending $4.80 to $9.60 a week versus thousands of dollars annually? It's a no brainer, and that is what needs to happen to push drivers to make the change, making filling up free. Stick up for the planet for less than the cost of two fancy coffees a week.

Leading this charge will have a domino effect: the more electric vehicles sold, the faster the price drops, making "going green" more affordable. 

It'll soon be cheap to be environmentally sensitive. All that matters is that we—as a community—act now and stick up for the planet.

Whistler is known for its trailblazing and enacting the CET would set Whistler apart once again, showing the world we are leaders in combatting climate change.

Let's lead, and then hopefully the rest of the Sea to Sky's local governments, the province, the country and the world will follow our example.

Ken Achenbach // Whistler

Epic hot air?

As I celebrate my 10th winter in Whistler, I am thankful for all the amazing people who are now friends, the incredible natural playground at my doorstep, and the engagement opportunities to ensure the future of this beautiful community.

Of course, access to the playground comes at a cost.

Looking back, our family has spent about $50,000 over the past decade for services that enable access, and yet a tiny fraction of that money has been invested into programs that protect nature.

[Whistler Blackcomb's] Epic Promise isn't achieving anything close to what is needed, and we are running out of time.

It's both the little things and the big things that get under my skin. The fact that on a busy weekend, disposable cups are often all that can be found, and staff throw up their hands apologetically when asked.

Waste management needs to begin much higher up the operation than simply separating what's left on the tray.

From the ethically sourced products in the gift shops to packages promoting buses over cars, there are countless ways for Whistler Blackcomb to demonstrate real Epic Promise leadership.

Why isn't it part of everyone's job at Whistler Blackcomb to achieve sustainable business operations, and why aren't managers held accountable for climate action key performance indicators?

How can the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) require more of Whistler Blackcomb to achieve our Community Energy and Climate Action Plan objectives, and where are the community engagement opportunities promised by the RMOW last November?

Thanks for the thoughtful piece last week in the Pique on the impact of flying ("On the fly: Contending with our—and the ski industry's—reliance on flying," Jan 16. www.piquenewsmagazine.com). I hope to see more of this kind of critical climate crisis coverage.

It's clear to anyone paying attention that the real costs of the ski industry will be paid for by our children. Yes, we should all be taking personal action to reduce our carbon emissions, but the government and companies we support through taxes and purchases bear significant responsibility as well.

Let's make 2020 the year that we demand better. Write to Whistler Blackcomb: EpicPromise@vailresorts.com, write to the RMOW council: corporate@whistler.ca. No one else is going to do this for you, and no, you don't need to be an expert. Do it today.

Randi Kruse // Whistler

Tackling the tourist we don't want

G.D. Maxwell has been captured by that small, exclusive group of long-term residents who believe Whistler is only for people like themselves (Maxed Out, Jan.9, www.piquenewsmagazine.com).

Commoners who don't bike or ski and aren't dressed in the latest Arc'teryx are not welcome.  

He dismisses those who come for the day to enjoy the mountains as "Tick-Box Tourists," definitely a species lower than himself and his special friends.

Get out of your bubble, G.D.

Christine Lattey // Whistler

Above and beyond

I was scheduled to teach the 10 a.m. Sunday Funday class (Jan. 19) at Meadow Park Sports Centre, but due to freezing-rain conditions the No. 10 and all northbound buses from the village weren't running at the exact time I needed to be travelling there, leaving me stranded in the village.

Michael, the northbound 20X bus driver, went above and beyond to make sure I got to work on time.

It was thanks to him that Sunday Funday was able to happen, and on behalf of myself and the Meadow Park members that attended the class, thank you, Michael. You're the best!

Louise O'Brien // Whistler

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation