Letters to the Editor for the week of July 13th 

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - Chili Thom
  • File Photo
  • Chili Thom

'Make it good 'til the last breath!'

I wish to express my deep and heartfelt gratitude to all who made The Chili Thom Experience a reality and huge success!

It was so wonderfully heartwarming to see so much love for my son expressed by the community of Whistler. He would have been so proud of all your efforts to honour him!

There are so many people to thank. I would like to start off by thanking Heather Paul, Nora Clarke, Feet Banks and Mo Douglas (Arts Whistler) for their supreme efforts to move this project from an idea to reality. The untold hours you put into this project are very much appreciated!

Also a huge thank you to the Audain Art Museum board and staff for providing the venue to showcase Michael's (Chili's) work.

Thank you to Bradley Nichols for curating the display of Michael's timeline at the Whistler Museum.

The donations that came in from these businesses: Sushi Village, The Grocery Store, The Houssian Foundation, Gibbons, the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, and other business and organizations helped to make this a free event (which is how Michael would have wanted it), and it also created The Chili Thom Scholarship Fund to assist budding artists in the pursuit of their dreams!

Thank you to all the budding artists for your beautiful "Chili-esque" paintings in the library and the Long House at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre. I loved them all!

My apologies to anyone whose name I did not mention!

Michael was also an aspiring artist at one time. He had a dream of painting for a living and selling his art to support his dream. I remember one day he told me, "Mum, I want to paint for a living."

Having saved up his money, he was able to quit his job at Sushi Village and the rest is now history. To you aspiring artists out there, don't think you can never realize your dream! Chili did and so can you!

As he would say, "work hard and never give up!"

Although the Chili Thom Experience is now over, you can continue to honour Chili by living your dreams, protecting the environment, getting out into nature to fill your soul, being kind and humble to others, and loving, forgiving and living life fearlessly — "make it good 'til the last breath!"

Thank you again most sincerely to everyone who helped to make the Chili Thom Experience such a huge success! You are all truly amazing!

Maureen Thom

Use your brains, smokers! People, do you not get it?

We are in the midst of a serious wildfire situation in the corridor. We've already had a fire on Blackcomb Mountain on Sunday, July 2, and I still see smokers puffing away then discarding the butts wherever they please.

This could be at the side of a restaurant, in the middle of the Village Stroll, on top of Whistler Blackcomb (even though WB banned smoking on the mountains over two years ago) and throughout the network of trails in the valley.  On July 10, I observed four early-20s females walking on the Valley Trail from the (Riverside campground) park towards Nesters. One of them was smoking and discarded her butt by throwing it into the trees!

After a few select (and harsh) words between myself and these females, one of them (not the smoker) went and picked up the still-smouldering butt.

What were you ladies thinking?

Joe Chau

A festival for kids of all ages

Thank you to everyone who came out to play with us at the 34th annual Whistler Children's Festival!

This past weekend, Whistler Olympic Plaza was transformed into a colourful spectacle of creativity, laughter, and music as thousands of people gathered to experience mainstage dance parties, free activities, and hands-on creative workshops.

The Kick-Off Pyjama Party on Friday, July 7 was a huge hit with parents and kids alike as the plaza filled with families boogying in their pj's and getting excited for the festival.

DJ Ira and Peter GG (a.k.a. "Squidy") got the whole crowd up and dancing in the sunshine and Juno Award-winner Norman Foote closed out the evening with fun interactive songs for the whole family.

Saturday and Sunday saw a range of performances, from beatboxing, magic, comedy, dancing, music, and more, turning the festival mainstage into a hub of hilarity and surprises.

The Whistler Children's Festival is always a great opportunity to show off some of our local artistic flavour throughout the Sea to Sky.

The kids from LB Productions showed off their musical talents and seasoned local performers like Stephen Vogler, Will Ross, Jenna Mae and the Groove Section, and Monty Biggins played kid-friendly sets that got the whole family moving in what turned into a constant dance party.

This festival wouldn't be possible without the support of all of our funders. A special thanks to the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler, and Nesters Market for believing in the importance of this immersive art experience for kids as much as we do.

Thank you also to our local community partners who came out and provided free activities on the festival grounds including arts and crafts, face painting, a Teddy Bear Hospital, button making, obstacle courses, and lots more.

Returning for its third year, the Media Mentor Program saw three kids take on the roles of junior radio host and junior news reporter. Hugo and Xanadu did an amazing job on the radio with MJ from Mountain FM while Serena learned the art of the interview with Alyssa Noel, editor of the Whistler Question.

Through experiential learning and immersion in the arts, the Whistler Children's Festival encourages and facilitates arts exposure and education to kids of all ages.

Each year we are so grateful to our volunteers for helping the festival run and to the performers and participants who make the Whistler Children's Festival such a fun weekend for families.

At Arts Whistler, we believe that art makes everything awesome, so it's always fun for us to see so many kids and families engaging in an arts-filled weekend. See you again next year!

Maureen Douglas
Executive director at Arts Whistler

People and bears need immediate help from Premier-designate

This letter was sent to Pique and addressed to the Office of the Premier.

Though your tenure as Premier for British Columbia is yet to formally begin, a pressing issue that is influencing the safety of wildlife and humans alike requires your immediate intervention.

The Conservation Officer Service has recorded thousands of calls regarding black bears already this year, and in May alone, over 100 of the bears in potential-conflict situations were killed.

Both these numbers (represent) drastic increases from previous years, and much of it is related to irresponsible handling of trash, and other human-caused scenarios.

And both these numbers can be reduced — and economic, ecological and safety issues addressed — by creating a more effective prevention and response network.

Conservation officers need more boots on the ground, both so they can provide increased preventative education through investigation and citations to landowners at potential conflict spots, and also so they have time to dedicate to exercising non-lethal solutions to wildlife conflict.

Equally as important is providing municipalities the tools they need through similar efforts: bylaw officers, educational materials, and access to provincial resources (such as conservation officers and other Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations or Ministry of Environment staff).

As British Columbia grows, this problem, created by us, will increase.

An economic and ecologically sound, humane solution lies not in lethal management, but in co-existence.

But without your leadership and support in increasing the funding for conservation officers, municipalities, and other resources, the fatal costs will continue to add up — and that's not the beautiful British Columbia we all love.

Lesley Fox
Executive director, The Fur-Bearers

Grade 7 graduates have fun with a purpose

Congratulations to the graduating Grade 7 classes of Signal Hill Elementary (SHE) and École de la Vallée in Pemberton.

On Monday, June 26 the students celebrated their achievements with a leaving ceremony followed by a dance.

As parents, we are so proud of them all, particularly as they fundraised for several months to hold their festivities and, more importantly, to give back to others.The Grade 7s held various fundraisers and after the expenses of paying for their festivities (graduation, dance, camp-out, grad games, and yearbook), they were able to raise and donate over $4,000!

After much discussion, the students decided to split their donation to address needs in three areas: school, community and the world.

The recipients of their hard work were: Signal Hill Elementary Parent Advisory Council ($1000); La Vallée Parent Advisory Council ($300); Desiree Alexander ($500 – https://www.gofundme.com/3qg3m7s); Pemberton Refugee Response Group ($1000); and iAfrika – c/o Daniel Nduati ($1000, http://www.immanuelafrika.org). Any remaining money will also be donated once all final expenses are paid.The fundraisers would not have been possible without the support and participation of all the Grade 7 students; the Signal Hill and La Vallée school communities, staff and administration; Sue Henry; Lauren Martinello and the rest of the SHE PAC; The Blueberry Man; Michele Garrett-Jones (PSS); Sharon Day; Leanne Hachey; Mel Kish; Nic MacPhee; Barb Mares; Carolyn McBain; Tanya Richman; Patricia Westerholm; and all of our parent volunteers.

Support from our local businesses was instrumental in the success of each of our fundraisers and a big thank you to Pemberton Valley Supermarket, RONA – Pemberton Valley, and AG Foods.

Finally, thank you to the community and families of Pemberton, Mount Currie and beyond! Without your support of our fundraisers, our Grade 7s wouldn't have been able to enjoy so many wonderful things these last few months and they would have missed out on the valuable experience of giving back to those in need.

Jenna Markovic
Grade 7 parent fundraising organiser 

Thank you to supporters of Pemberton Barn Party 

Last month, a sold-out crowd of young and old, locals and visitors gathered at the downtown barn in Pemberton to dance, enjoy a cold beer and a barbeque.

In a few hours, we'd raised $13,747 — half of which has gone to the Pemberton Refugee Resettlement Group to help raise funds to bring a refugee family to Pemberton and half to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research. It's strange how in difficult times coming together to celebrate can feel so right. To quote Alice Walker: "Hard times require furious dancing."

I'd like to thank all the people that made it possible to dance furiously for a while that night. Thanks so much to DJ Rich-A, who got the whole idea going and Marble Canyon who offered to join Richy on stage.

Thank you Kevin Winter of Coast Mountain Brewing for the fantastic beer and Sabre Rentals for the dancefloor and other essentials.

Thank you Scotiabank and the Pemberton Valley Supermarket, which once again stepped up to support a community event.

Thank you AC Gas, the Pemberton Legion and the many hard-working volunteers like Tanya and Mike Richman who worked the barbeque all night and Deb Esseltine who not only served beer but also brought her own bar.  The people in Pemberton seem to love coming together for events like this. Let's keep the positive energy going. The downtown barn is a fantastic facility and we live in a wonderful, generous community.

What the heck, let's dance. 

Hillary Downing

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