Letters to the Editor for the week of June 14 

  • Image courtesy of the Resort Municipality of Whistler

Right decision on artificial turf

Thank you to council for voting in favour of the artificial turf field (ATF).

A special thank you to Martin Pardoe, manager of (the Resort Municipality of Whistler) parks planning department, who presented a well-prepared, evidence-based report on the options and the tender. The benefits of an ATF, in this climate, outperform a grass field tenfold. Yes, like most of our sporting equipment and associated clothing this field is made of plastics.I appreciate the idealistic opinion of the three councillors who voted against the motion (Sue Maxwell, Jen Ford and Cathy Jewett), but I feel they have unfairly targeted this project in the war against plastic.

Will those councillors be consistent in their future voting against projects that contain significant plastic such as resident housing projects (vinyl windows, engineered flooring, piping, electrical components, engineered wood), sewers and water system upgrades, which all extensively used plastics?

Will those same councillors cease to use modern sporting equipment and clothing, cars, busses and airplanes?

Will they and those few dissenting members of the public continue to retire their plastic skis and boots semi annually? Those personal choices are not recyclable—so that can only adorn the fences at the Re-Use-It Centre or end up in the landfill.Yes, let us all reduce or eliminate single-use disposable plastics, but I for one, am not going back to hickory skis and a cotton jean jacket.

The ATF has been approved for construction, let's focus on the big picture and in the spirit of Andrée Janyk, referee, play on.

Crosland Doak

Looking to the future

Olé Olé Olé Olé—some World Cup cheers to the new field replacing the dusty, gravel pitch on top of the plastic covered, decommissioned garbage dump at Bayly Park.

This gives our youth a recreation centre without a roof.

Thank you to staff, council and all those who have volunteered both within and outside of Whistler Youth Soccer Club, for helping bring this project to fruition. It's going to be a fantastic community asset for youth and adults alike—from ball sports to so many other user groups, giving a reliable and consistent place to recreate.

Advantage youth—your town has just increased your access to sport—enjoy.

PJ O'Heany 
Whistler Youth Soccer Club President

Address plastic pollution now

The east African country of Kenya recently banned the use of plastic bags.

Mere possession of the bags can result in a hefty fine. They are doing something about the problem whilst we sit back and do very little.

Recently, I loitered with intent at the checkout of my local grocery store and observed the shoppers. About 75 per cent used plastic bags only, some used both plastic and reusable and the minority had natural fibre reusables. The shoppers came from all walks of life, cool dudes, not so cool dudes, teachers, doctors, councillors, RCMP, everyone.Why does the fact that a whale died recently with so much plastic in its stomach that it couldn't feed mean nothing to people?

In some parts of the world where local water is unsafe, they give you chilled bottled water. The plastic invariably ends up in the ocean.

In New Delhi, they have a number of bulldozers working around the clock trying to control the plastic mountain. Strangely enough I saw the uncommon Siberian Rubythroat (bird) hopping around amongst the plastic probably searching for the reeds that used to grow there.

The idea that the plastic we deposit in recycling gets turned into gear for outdoor stores is largely a delusion.We are all responsible for this mess and we have to solve it soon or we are going to have so much plastic micro particles in our systems that we may as well be plastic ourselves.

Nigel Mathews

Avi-bags for workers needed

I would like to express my hopes that WorkSafeBC will also recommend heli-ski guides wear avi-bags.

It's tragic that this is not already the case.

Jim Horner

Plant sale success

The Friends of the Library would like to thank everyone who came out last Saturday "Juneuary" morning (June 9)—we had a very successful plant sale event.

We would like to thank the RMOW and Out on a Limb for the crates of tulip bulbs, Nesters for the flats of gorgeous annuals and the green-thumbed Friends who coddle plants in April to be ready for June. Thanks also to David's Tea for the urns of hot tea—much appreciated this year.

Thank you again for the librarians who advertised and hosted us. The library square is a wonderful venue and the sales were brisk, but no fundraiser is possible without the organization, good humour, trucks and strong backs of our volunteers.

Thank you again for making the plant sale a success. See you next year.

The Friends of the Library meets on the third Wednesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

Christy Auer

DES still a concern

Owners of Basalt Living have reason to be concerned about being forced to connect to the District Energy System (DES).Promoted as a system that could save up to 90 per cent in energy consumption (i.e. more than zero per cent and up to 90 per cent), DES was to become the alchemy of green energy by transforming waste water into hot water for Olympic and Paralympic athletes and, in so doing, put Whistler at the forefront of the sustainable/green movement. But from the onset, the system was acknowledged as a pilot project (i.e. "experiment"). 

The designation of the program as a pilot project implied problems could and should be expected. To identify any issues, the HVAC specification called for a tenant-reporting system to be put in place for heating problems, as well as requirements for contractors to provide five-year written warranties against faulty workmanship and 20-year written guarantees against manufacturing defects for all materials installed within concrete slabs and toppings.

I have yet to find any evidence that either a tenant-reporting system or five-year warranties and 20-year guarantees were put in place.The consultant retained by WDC to conduct a forensic investigation described the DES systems as not revolutionary or leading edge while expressing a bit of disappointment by the completion documentation, the lack of detail on the procedures used for startup and commissioning and the lack of final Operating and Maintenance Manuals. The consultants' latter comment contradicts the persistent position of WDC since owners first took possession that all the information needed to operate and maintain their DES systems was available online.After the 2010 Olympics and Paralympics ended, Whistler had a gold-medal opportunity to learn from the Olympic DES experience and lead by example by making a long-term commitment to green energy and sustainability through the implementation of a program of continuous refinement of both existing and future DES installations.

At the very least, Whistler could have provided a resource base to offer information to owners and developers on upgrades, replacement options, system settings and modifications intended to simplify the system to maximize energy efficiency and life span of the components.

But aside from the delivery of a long overdue technical manual and a too little, too late, two-phase tuneup program, for which some items were either not done or not completed, Whistler has elected to opt out, leaving owners feeling frustrated, anxious, abandoned; left alone to fend for themselves.

David MacPhail

BioBlitz thanks

The Whistler Naturalists' 12th annual BioBlitz was a success last weekend thanks to our hardy scientists who persevered through Juneuary weather. We were so pleased to host over 70 local and visiting scientists whose combined calibre continues to amaze us.  

The event started last Thursday and Friday with BioBlitz scientists going into classrooms, with some bringing live critters, and all bringing their enthusiasm and knowledge of nature directly to local kids.

Scientists also shared why and how they became biologists and the things they are working on. They presented to 22 classes and over 500 students at Spring Creek, École La Passerelle, Myrtle Philip and Whistler Secondary.A huge thank you to wildlife biologist Bruce McLellan who kicked off our presentations with a fantastic overview of "The Complex World of Grizzlies and Wilderness." You know you're hearing from a knowledgeable source when they've tracked an individual bear for 32 years!

On Saturday, scientists scoured Pemberton looking for all the species they could find. On Sunday, they were in different Whistler locations including Brandywine, Emerald Forest and the Wildlife Refuge. Results from the weekend are now coming in and the results will be collated by the Whistler Biodiversity Project and available online within the next few weeks at www.whistlernaturalists.ca.

The Whistler Naturalists would like to thank all the scientists and local volunteers, plus our key sponsors: Community Foundation of Whistler, AWARE, Resort Municipality of Whistler and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.We would also like to thank all the organizations and businesses that contributed to the event.

Kristina Swerhun

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