Letters to the Editor for the week of July 19 

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

Nesters Crossing decision short-sighted

Once again, as one of the owners in Nesters Crossing, I am appalled that Resort Municipality of Whistler staff, Mayor Nancy Wilhem-Morden, and Councillors John Grills and Sue Maxwell have decided against allowing the businesses of Nesters Crossing to build a small amount of housing for their staff.

This, despite 15 written and 13 oral submissions at the public hearing speaking in favour of it. Not one person was against it. It appears this group of people has no interest in actually representing the people that pay their wages and vote them into office.Particularly shocking is Coun. Grill's comments that, "These are some well-established companies ... there's nothing restricting them from buying or developing housing elsewhere in the community where it is zoned appropriately."

Please tell me where in Whistler there is land that is both available and appropriately zoned for staff housing? Why does he think that there is a line up of developers trying to rezone their properties for staff/affordable housing?I owned my business in Whistler for nine years and struggled to find staff the last several years like most, if not all, other businesses in town.

We did in fact look into purchasing residential units to house our staff, but the numbers did not add up in this inflated market.

Even with a substantial down payment (around the cost of a house in many areas of Canada) we still would have had to charge exorbitant rent for shared bedrooms to cover mortgage payments, property taxes and utilities. We decided against going this route as we refuse to be like many of the landlords in this town that disgust us by gouging Whistler's core people.Coun. Grills should be ashamed by his comments that come off as ignorant and elitist.Thank you to Couns. Steve Anderson, Cathy Jewett and Jen Ford for attempting to reason with a group that refuses to listen what the people and businesses of Whistler want and need.

Bryce AndersonWhistler

Housing main concern for Restaurant Association

The Restaurant Association of Whistler (RAW) wishes to clarify its position on the proposed National Beerhall application for additional liquor primary/food primary seating, in the former Alpenrock location.

The focus of our organization has, and always will be, about enhancing the guest experience here in Whistler. Our membership enthusiastically welcomes the concept of an indoor recreational space, as this style of entertainment would be a unique addition for the Whistler guests and locals to experience. 

The housing situation/shortage in Whistler has hit a crisis level, due to so many factors (AirBnB, increased visitor volume, soaring rental costs, lack of planning foresight, reno-victions, etc.).

As employers of the second-largest workforce in Whistler, our members are experiencing first-hand the impact of this crisis. RAW is most concerned with the sheer size, scale and volume of the proposed National Beerhall.

The need for 200-plus new employees would only add further strain to an already thin hospitality workforce. As RAW is focused on providing great guest experiences, we are anxious that the fatigue, stress and pressure already present in our employees will eventually equate to an even lessened Whistler-brand experience, which all industries in Whistler have worked tirelessly to elevate.

This month, BC Business Magazine indicated that labour market analysis by go2HR estimates by 2020 there will be a shortage of 14,000 hospitality employees in B.C. to meet projected demands.

RAW members proudly offer attractive, desirable hospitality jobs that draw skilled workers from all over the world. The only thing Whistler cannot currently provide is housing. Simply put, with affordable and stable housing options, we can easily attract the skilled, diverse staff required to fulfil the current hospitality needs.

It is only when all stakeholders (including new business prospectors and the benefitting commercial landlords) join the Resort Municipality of Whistler housing conversation that together, we can begin to build sustainable opportunities for new businesses in Whistler. 

Amy Huddle

President, Restaurant Association of Whistler 

Protecting our natural treasures

Like many aspects of Whistler, we come to discover the various natural and human-made treasures over a period of time.

I had actually been visiting Whistler as a child for several years before I came to know of Lost Lake. At the time, it was really off the beaten path and I gather really somewhat lost.

It is by all means now well discovered, but back then, it was 100-per-cent pristine, and a lake that virtually hardly any humans visited with the exception of the few that knew of it and those that used it as a summer training ground for aerial freestyle ski jumping.

Last summer I visited it—one of my favorite Whistler gems—and found the waters and shoreline looking stressed by human impact. The surfaces showed how we collectively impact nature sometimes without even thinking about how we are doing it.

Sunscreen lotion, being all the rage these days, is starting to create its own layers upon Lost Lake, and while it is responsible of everyone to coat their children and themselves, it would be even more so if people brought sun umbrellas to block away the unwanted UV rays and ease up on the goop that is accumulating with the many that visit Lost Lake daily.

Think about the small frogs, the fish, the ducks and how they have to cope with these chemicals that we introduce into Lost Lake. In addition, think about how amazing this lake once was from every aspect. Imagine what it would have been like to stumble upon it in its purest glory 100 years ago.

We have five well-known lakes in Whistler, all of which have long been treasures in this valley—Lost Lake, Alta Lake, Green Lake, Nita Lake and Alpha Lake. I would like to think that we all collectively appreciate these as some of the natural wonders of this valley. (They are why so many of us) venture to Whistler to visit and enjoy them as much as we do the snow-covered mountains and slopes of winter.

With that in mind, is there an opportunity for sun umbrellas to pop up like flowers in spring for those that spend the day at the beaches of Whistler instead of coating on the sunblock goop again and again and feeding it to the little creatures that call these small lakes home?

If we do not come to take greater care of all that we love here in short enough time it may all be lost. Whistler's greatest asset is the connection we humans have to the natural environment.

If we all work to take care of that, we will be ensuring nature's and our own future enjoyment of this destination for many years to come.

Brian Wolfgang Becker

North Vancouver

Vail Resorts and 'community news'

I noticed a full-page ad from Vail Resorts in last week's Pique (July 12), offering to give us "VR411 community news"—if only we'll sign up to get newsletters. I've got an alternate proposal for the "Epic Promise" folks: give up on the generic internet pizzazz and get personal and local about Whistler Blackcomb. You already have a viable website/app to communicate with your clientele—whistlerblackcomb.com. Stop fishing for email addresses and just add a blog to let us know how the lift construction projects are going.

This was done very successfully by the previous management team and got the whole community involved and excited about the Peak 2 Peak project.

Or does this not fit the corporate model?

Other information should also be distributed this way. And while you're at it, maybe put a little local care and attention to your website.

The fact that you've allowed the incorrect sequence of video images on the village cam since February indicates that either you don't know, or you don't care, that it's wrong. Stop displaying the current temperature under the title "Today's Forecast." Get rid of the gimmick that makes us expand each day's weather forecast to only add a tiny bit of information that could have been displayed initially. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean that you should do it.Finally, why not change a widget to allow a Canadian province in the mailing address of your credit card reference? We're not one of the 50 states, but can't proceed unless we choose one. I notified you of this problem many months ago, but it still has not been fixed. Not one your priorities, Epic Promise?

Jamie PikeWhistler

A Gateway Loop comparison

Are you scratching your head wondering if spending $7 million on the new Gateway Loop was good money spent for a better "sense of arrival" for our guests?

Are you looking at the cost breakdown and thinking to yourself, well, maybe it is reasonable?

To those that are still on the fence about this, I ask that you do a simple Whistler real-estate search.

Grab a coffee, sit in front of your computer and have a look at the MLS listings.

Be sure to set your dollar parameters from $3 million to $7 million, the original estimate and the final cost respectively.

Especially note the 2018 builds, in case you were confused with the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) suggestion that the original estimate back in 2014 was "during a different construction climate."

Also, let's go from top to bottom of the cost breakdown spend provided by the RMOW.

They have, project admin, site prep, landscaping, roof, electrical, "extras" and design and construction. 

I am sure, dear reader, that you would agree all new luxury-housing projects must meet these requirements as well.

So, a $7 million total spend on the Gateway Loop—let's pick something in the middle.

For a mere $5 million in White Gold, I can have a brand new home, with a roof, landscaping and more! 

"Throughout the 3,500 sq/ft of interior living space you will find 4 spacious bedrooms all with their very own ensuite bathroom, comfortable media room, open concept main living space comprised of the living room, dining room and kitchen areas & a separate 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom guest suite," (reads an ad).

Never mind what you could get for $7 million!

As for "sense of arrival"! Wow! If I were greeted by some of these places, it would be the most amazing welcome of any town I have ever been to!

I have been to many towns that have asphalt parking spaces with a roof.

One other minor point, as we all know, land prices in Whistler are astronomical for the average person. I may be mistaken but doesn't the RMOW own the land that was redesigned? 

Or at the very least, the $7 million budget break down did not include a land purchase line in the price tag?

Think about that. 

These homes you are looking at on MLS, you get a roof, four walls, media rooms, multiple bedrooms with ensuites, open concept kitchens with top-of-the-line appliances, hot tubs, granite this and that, carved blah blah etc. etc., and the land that they come on!

So, was the $7 million spent on the Village Gateway Loop project good value?

I think Jack Crompton could alone run on the fact that he voted against awarding the contracts in this form and it would garner him a win in the next election!

Peter Skeels

Whistler/Pemberton

Thanks for calm, steady help

I just wanted to give a heads-up shout out, to the security guard in the Marketplace parking lot (last Saturday).

There was a huge group of obnoxiously drunk, testosterone-ridden idiots going at each other at 2:30 a.m.

This guy was hugely outnumbered and he handled the situation with a calm strength you don't find every day. He very carefully and calmly controlled the situation just simply by being present, alert and solid.

I honestly was worried for his safety a few times and was ready to call the cops but he handled it. The group dispersed and aside from probably a couple really bad headaches this morning everyone is in good shape thanks to this security guy.

Mary Davies

Whistler

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