Letters to the Editor for the week of January 3 

  • Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler

The cost of doubling tourism

There is much to comment on in Joel Barde's summary of the federal government report, Unlocking the Potential of Canada's Visitor Economy (which is consultant-speak for more tourists equals more revenue).First, the report said tourist numbers could be doubled by 2030. The only problem is it gives minimal attention to the fact that this huge increase would be attracted to the destinations to which the current tourists go: southern B.C., western Alberta, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec and the quaint relic habitations of the Maritimes.

To accommodate this doubling, it would be necessary to increase tourist accommodation. The report said there could be 180,000 new jobs—what about accommodation for them?To bring all this to pass, the spending on marketing under the Liberals has nearly doubled, but to achieve what?

Encourage more visitors to the prairies and territories (and that's not going to happen in winter). If more tourists do come, they will come for the same reasons the current lot come for.I also note the report favours the idea of tourism clusters. Clusters are not a new idea—like businesses thrive through propinquity. In this regard, I look forward to Whistler Blackcomb's support for Garibaldi at Squamish.

Finally, how I wish the federal government was as enthusiastic for another great Canadian industry—energy.

But I cannot see the government issuing a report about the desirability of doubling output in 10 years and creating thousands of jobs. Government shackles the energy industry by demanding that the carbon footprint upstream and downstream is taken into consideration.

What about tourism? Is the arrival (and departure) of double the number of visitors going to be catered for by solar-powered aeroplanes and electric buses and cars?

Is the increase in emissions to be held against the industry? Furthermore, the provision of water, sewage, gas, electricity and roads to allow for the increase in visitors: is this being considered?

To sum up, the government believes you can't have increased revenues without increased visitor numbers, and is putting the best possible spin on the huge expansion and wilfully ignoring the very real attendant problems and minimizing the complexity of the proposal. Its approach to tourism stands in stark contrast to its approach to energy.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Rod Tindall

Back in the day

With the windstorm and power outage in parts of Whistler recently, plus some of the days with mild temperatures, I can only reflect in wonder on the Christmas Whistler experienced 50 years ago.

One-and-a-half metres of snow on the ground in the valley and -5 to 10 Celsius daytime temperatures were the norm in the '60s—the night of Christmas Day half a century ago saw the temperature plunge to -30 C. Then the power went out.

Rumour had it that the diesel railcar generators at the Mons siding had quit due to the failure to change the fuel to winter grade. It solidified, and that was it ... until after Dec. 27.

Those that did not flee back to the coast, such as our family at Alpine Village condos, huddled around fireplaces and hoped for the plumbing to survive.

(We also heard that) the hot-water-heating system at the Cheakamus Inn burst, having failed to be drained.

This may be somewhat apocryphal as there is no media record of events, just the 50-year-old memories of a longtime weekender resident.

What did happen, for certain, is that the following summer BC Hydro shipped a massive transformer by rail to Mons siding and slowly rolled it to Nesters where the Rainbow Substation was established. Lucky we were to have the main transmission lines running through the valley.

Here's wishing everybody a happy and cozy (time). It looks as if we will be this year, as, "it ain't like it used to be."

Jan Pollak
Alpine Meadows

Reality check

Well, Happy Jack ... I imagine you and council will now be just a little less critical of our neighbours east of us (that) have carried the Canadian economy in part for so many years.

The industry that has provided the opportunity for our local Vancouver skiers and our many visitors to fly to Vancouver and take personal vehicles, taxis or buses up to Whistler.

All or most of those vehicles over the years have run on petroleum products. I would have to think as well, if you were to survey your local taxpayer base in Whistler, (that) many of them have oil and gas industry stocks in their investment portfolios.

That is not even to mention the number of property owners in Whistler that have built their own personal Shangri La or Taj Mahals using very large chunks of our B.C. forests that capture carbon emissions.

(We need to) realize that we have maybe another 20 to 30 years at best of skiing on snow. After that all will be skiing down that mountain on rocks in the cold rain of winter at plus 1 Celsius or about 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

Enjoy that wonderful snow while it's still here!

Brian W. Becker
North Vancouver

Let's get serious

If the mayor of Whistler, Jack Crompton, is serious about reducing carbon emissions rather than railing against Alberta, he should ban all overseas visitors who travel between continents to Whistler on a plane.

Can there really be a more gratuitous, selfish, intensive and elitist method of spewing carbon into the atmosphere?

Perhaps this should be extended to ban anyone travelling from outside the Lower Mainland, or even within the Lower Mainland, until such time as there is an electric locomotive that utilizes hydropower.

I really believe Whistler residents and lodging providers should stop heating their homes and hotels with fossil fuels.

Diesel-belching snowcats used to groom the hills should also be banned immediately. I mean, how much carbon is being emitted to groom slopes for latte-sipping, elitist skiers at one of the most expensive, carbon-emitting resorts in the world?

All hypocrites should leave town as well, which would certainly alleviate the housing crisis. 

Michael Hannan 

Look in the mirror

I have stayed in Whistler many times, often several visits per year, with our family. We have recommended Whistler to friends, family and business associates.

I was dismayed to hear of Whistler's attack on the natural-resources sector this past (month).

Whistler enjoys a great economy because people fly and drive to Whistler from around the world. Flying has a huge impact as to fossil-fuel consumption yet Whistler encourages it (with B.C.-taxpayer-funded tourism ads) and I find it the height of hypocrisy for your mayor to encourage first-class air travel to enjoy Whistler (which is as high a carbon footprint as almost anything humans can partake in) while concurrently threatening Canadian natural-resource producers due to oil production.

I hope that you, as community members of Whistler, see this lack of logic and assist in informing your elected, but poorly informed, public officials of their folly.

We all have a part to play in reducing fossil-fuel use and our carbon footprint, but the foolishness espoused by Whistler in the last (few weeks) has simply made the community look idiotic within an otherwise important debate and discussion.

Bryan Slusarchuk

Soiree success

The first annual Whistler Minor Hockey Association (WMHA) Drop the Puck Soiree and Auction was a great success on Dec. 13.

Parents, coaches and friends ate, danced, chatted, laughed and bid on many amazing silent-auction items. Thanks you to all who attended and bid so generously. The event raised nearly $14,000 for WMHA-supported programs such as coach and player development, tournament fees and player scholarships. 

A big shout-out to the organizing committee: Michelle Gemmill, Jeremy Robb, Alison Taylor-Robb, Caronne Marino and MC Kenny Gemmill.

Thank you to Nicklaus North for the stunning venue and amazing service and to the Rutherford Creek Trio for the fabulous live music, as well as all our volunteers for your help throughout the evening.

And finally a huge thank you to the Whistler community and all our silent auction donors for their generosity.

We are so lucky to have such a supportive community. Happy Holidays.

Anita Cote
President, Whistler Minor Hockey Association

Freestyle Viking thank you

On behalf of Freestyle Whistler, we would like to give a big Tusen Takk Viking thank you to all our guests and volunteers who contributed to another amazing Ullr Gala on Dec. 1. 

We would like to thank our sponsors: Glass Vodka, Whistler Brewing Company, Coast Construction, Lonsdale Event Rentals, Mountain FM and Dr. Tom Moonen, Orthodontist. Our amazing DJ, DJ Peacefrog (Michel Chartrand), MC John Smart and auctioneer Ian MacNeil of Glass Vodka. Thank you also to Bearfoot Bistro, Audain Art Museum, Forged Axe Throwing, Coldfire Dancers and Dennis van Dongen for his amazing fire skills.

The generosity of the community has been unbelievable in supporting our local club and getting us one step closer to building a National Training Centre for Freestyle Skiing in Whistler.

Huge thank yous to all the local businesses and individuals who contributed to our live and silent auctions—you have all played a major role in our success and we are very grateful. For a full list of donors, please see our website, www.freestylewhistler.com.

Jennifer Dunn and Julia Smart
Ullr Gala Chairs

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