Letters to the Editor for the week of June 16th 

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - Part of one of the systems in Cheakamus
  • File Photo
  • Part of one of the systems in Cheakamus

Cheakamus DES heating system study

The residents of Cheakamus Crossing were sold a bill of goods, a heating system that was supposed to be environmentally friendly, extremely efficient and very economical. It's turning out that the DES heating system is the complete opposite!

The WDC and the RMOW can conduct all the studies they want but the facts remain that this system was not going to work from the get-go. The feedback from many qualified expert contractors who have made service calls is that the system was doomed from the start. Eric Martin said, "I think there are things that could've been done better."

Whether the service maintenance is organized by the stratas uniformly (as Eric Martin and Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden suggested) or by individuals, there are no qualified contractors who can get the system working properly, not even the contractor recommended by the Whistler Development Corporation to do all the work while still on warranty.

Residents have paid dearly for extra service, premature failure of parts and additional utility costs. For those who haven't been affected yet with breakdowns and excessive costs, it's just a matter of time. It's time for another poll of the 180 Cheakamus Crossing residents stuck with this DES system.

Questions for the RMOW: Why should the residents be guinea pigs for an experiment gone bad? Who should be responsible for excessive costs? Why don't they consult with the many contractors who have worked on the DES system for their opinions or reports? Why don't they listen carefully to the Cheakamus Crossing DES committee? What actions are they going to take to rectify the problem? Why has it taken so long to respond?

Of course, the mayor and Council would like to avoid at all cost to having to admit that the decision to install this experimental system was a huge mistake and would also like to avoid having to pay anything toward helping the citizens of Cheakamus Crossing with the financial dilemma that they are struggling with. This huge mess is being carried mainly on the backs of people who require subsidized housing to be able to remain in Whistler and fill the jobs that keep this town alive. It is an absolute disgrace that our local politicians are not accepting responsibility for the mistakes that were made by the previous administration.

Peter & Pat Dagg

Pack it in and out

Whatever happened to the practice of pack in/pack out camping?

Why do we even have bear-proof garbage cans at recreation sites?

Campers should be taking everything with them when they leave, that would be the pack out part!

Almost every year a bear has to be shot/killed/destroyed in the area of Strawberry Point because the bear is conditioned to scavenge for food at the beach, at the campsites, and up by the bear-proof garbage cans.

While much of what's discarded consists of empties, and broken disposable camping equipment (a shame in and of itself), there is also food scrapes, and garbage that smells of food.

Bears get rewarded by this carelessness, and ultimately return, and some become aggressive.

The "next" group of campers may be the most environmentally aware campers on the planet, but by then it doesn't matter, and those campers lives can be at risk.

So, these selfish irresponsible campers are not only endangering the bears, they are potentially endangering all campers as well.

Please pack in/pack out, or try this one on, party it up/clean it up.

I also have some recommended reading for campers, a book called How to shit in the woods by Kathleen Meyer.

And so long as campfires are permitted would it kill you to burn your toilet paper?

Peaceful thoughts and happy camping.

Paul Palmer
Lillooet Lake Estates

Enough with the pointless lobbying

I'm getting a little tired of reading about the Whistler Chamber of Commerce lobbying the federal government for changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP).

The TFWP is a Band-Aid solution to the worker shortage. Temporary foreign workers (TFW) can only work on limited work permits (180 days) and employers have to prove that there is affordable housing available, or the employer must provide housing for the TFWs.  

Employers can't provide enough housing for the current workforce in Whistler, so how are they going to house TFWs without displacing Canadians?

I would love to see more articles in the Pique about the Chamber lobbying our municipal government to crack down on Airbnb, increase staff housing/WHA, lobbying our provincial government for increases to public transit services to Squamish, Pemberton and Mount Currie, and changes to the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program.

Let's get our priorities straight and start lobbying for changes that will actually have a positive impact on Whistler's current workforce and allow us to better attract and retain Canadian workers.

Emily Myles

Congrats on the accessible parking signs

I wanted to send a big thank you and congratulations to the Whistler Medical Clinic for finally updating the accessible parking signs by removing the term "handicapped" and showing an active person using a wheelchair.

I encourage the RMOW and other businesses to follow suit.

Dana Elliott, physical therapist

Always a collaborative leader

Congratulations to Whistler Arts Council as it rebrands itself as Arts Whistler. Bravo! 

But what's new is sometimes old. Just for the record, the arts council always has been "a collaborative leader in arts and culture in this community" since Day 1.

That's the only way it could have survived and been as successful as it has been all these years.

The development of art and culture in any community is nothing if not a highly collaborative, cooperative, social undertaking. To heighten this aspect as Arts Whistler moves forward is so much the better. 

Glenda Bartosh
Founder, Whistler Arts Council

Making Howe Sound a park not the answer

Recently you had published a (Letter to the Editor, June 9) on turning Howe Sound into a National Park. This may sound positive at first until you experience it.

For example — let's consider Long Beach on Vancouver Island, where one could go for a true wilderness experience, at least until 1975 when it was turned into a National Park.

Here I used to be able to go as I willed, drive upon the wet beach, build a bonfire and camp-out under the stars. Now I pass it completely and drive straight to Chesterman Beach — outside the park reserve — where I can be "human."

Let us consider what Howe Sound would look like as a park: There could be a toll booth in the middle of the highway, a kilometre or two from Horseshoe Bay (half-hour lineup). There might be no more parking alongside the highway and hiking to your favourite beach cove or waterfall. Now, you will have to park in designated areas only. You will have to make an online reservation months in advance. Let us not forget the toll and unforeseen fees.

A drive on the highway on any given summer weekend shows the ski to sky corridor is already at recreational capacity. But once a park was designated, there would be far less opportunity. You would be under watchful scrutiny,  bending a blade of grass or breaking a twig of bush could bring  a verbal scolding and a fine.

We need to encourage more development on the other side of Howe Sound.

This will mean the building of more roads and, with them, increased recreational opportunities. Vancouver's huddled masses are yearning to be free.

Andrew Lytwyn

Woodfibre LNG will be one of the cleanest

The name-calling and hyperbole in this letter are completely out of line with the respectful and open dialogue Woodfibre LNG Limited has been engaging in since the Woodfibre LNG Project began nearly three years ago (Letter to the Editor, June 9, "A Move Towards National Park Status Needed.")

Let me take this opportunity to provide your readers with some facts. Because of our purchase of the old Woodfibre pulp mill site near Squamish, thousands of truckloads of contaminated sediment and wood chips have been removed from Howe Sound. As the project moves forward, we are committed to creating a "green zone" around Mill Creek, which will help improve fish habitat.

On land, we will remove invasive plant species and plant native plants. By doing all of these things, we will help to create an ecologically functioning habitat, one that will support the revitalization of Howe Sound.

We're also powering our facility with electricity from BC Hydro, instead of natural gas. This will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 per cent, and make Woodfibre LNG one of the cleanest LNG facilities in the world.

All of these decisions have been reviewed and validated by qualified experts through three environmental assessment processes, which have resulted in environmental approvals from the federal and provincial governments and an Environmental Assessment Agreement with the Squamish Nation.

Have a question about the Woodfibre LNG Project?  Visit Woodfibrelng.ca

Jennifer Siddon
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications
Woodfibre LNG Limited

Rotary thanks

To our amazing friends at the Rotary Club of Whistler and Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium — we cannot thank you enough for coming together to support the Whistler Public Library with a second successful May Long Weekend Pancake Breakfast.

You are champions of literacy and generosity in our community. Your vote of confidence in supporting the library is both heartfelt and inspiring as we go forward in fulfilling our vision to "Inspire Wonder."

There is nothing better than gathering our community together on a sunny morning, at the start of family-friendly weekend to share a little breakfast on the front step of Whistler's living room.

In addition, this event would never have been possible without the additional support of our local Nesters and Tim Horton's whose donations provided the essential pancake batter, syrup, and warm cups of coffee.

From the library staff and Board of Trustees, thank you all for your hospitality!

Elizabeth Tracy

Words and wisdom in schools

As teachers and students make the mad dash to the end of the year with a sense of glee (and hopefully, feelings of accomplishment!), we would like to congratulate the Grade 11 and 12 classes in the Sea to Sky corridor for engaging in the Authors in the Schools Program.

Students from Squamish to Mount Currie studied two books by local authors Stella Harvey (The Brink of Freedom) and Katherine Fawcett (The Little Washer of Sorrows). They read and dissected the stories with their teachers, and discussed the books with the authors in school presentations.

You may be thinking, why run the program? Don't the schools already teach reading and writing? The Authors in the Schools program brings real, live professional writers into corridor schools to talk to students. Our belief is that students who get to actually meet the writers of the books they're reading will not only be inspired to read and write more, but to tell their own stories.

Today's reality is that everyone needs strong literacy skills; they are the foundation for a lifetime of learning, clear communication, and understanding our world and humanity.

We're proud all of our featured authors are Canadian: Eric Walters, Kenneth Oppel, Kelly Mellings and Lisa Moore. We're proud to host authors who are Métis: Patti Laboucane-Benson; and First Nations: Richard Wagamese, Joseph Boyden, Katherena Vermette, and Richard Van Camp. And finally, we're honoured to include authors who hail from our own backyard: Sara Leach, Sue Oakey-Baker, Katherine Fawcett and Stella Harvey.

The Authors in the Schools program would like to thank the teachers, teacher-librarians and principals for their enthusiasm and commitment to this program.

Pat MacKenzie is our volunteer extraordinaire.

We are very grateful for our champions the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and Telus, for generously providing funding. Thank you also to the Whistler Museum, which partnered with the Whistler Writing Society to bind all the pages of this book together.

Rebecca Wood Barrett
Program Manager, Authors in the Schools


The Whistler Waldorf School would like to thank all those who donned their cowboy boots and hats and came out and contributed to making our 10th Annual Whistler Spring Soiree 2016 a stomp'n great success! 

June 4 was a perfect evening and 100 guests were welcomed to a beautiful private home atop Blueberry Drive, with the music of the Sea to Sky Symphony filling the backyard.

As always, the gathering was an amazing mix of school and local community. New friends and old bellied up to long tables, told our stories of Whistler life on the range, and carried on into the night on the dance floor under the stars (or at the card tables!). 

Every year this event is made possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses. Delicious "grub" was donated and prepared on site with cowboy panache by Caramba, the Longhorn, the Four Seasons Resort and Spa, Tandoori Grill, Aphrodite Organic Cafe, Samurai Sushi, Lucia Gelato, and Nesters Market.

A stocked saloon kept guests busy sampling crisp rosé from Nesters Liquor Store, and fine selections from Mission Hill and Whistler Brewing. 

A big thank you to all of the local businesses who supported the evening events and live and silent auctions. There are too many to mention so please watch for our posters and posts on Facebook. 

Such incredible local support is key to growing our Whistler community in the most positive ways and we are forever grateful for everyone's contributions. It was cowboy magic! 

Laurie Grant
Whistler Waldorf Soiree Committee 

Bike to Work/School Week success

The Sea to Sky Clean Air Society would like to thank everyone who participated in Bike to Work/School week this year, as well as all of the amazing volunteers and sponsors who made the event a huge success!

This year a total of 492 riders (159 teams) took part in Whistler; 288 riders (88 teams) participated in Squamish; and 58 riders (18 teams) took part in Pemberton. Additionally many schools throughout the region participated, including hosting their own Celebration Stations and bike decorating booths, with Valleycliffe Elementary; Mamquam Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary and École Les Aiglons having the highest percentage of students participating, which won them a Cora bike rack for their school.

Congratulations to prize winners Monica Urbani, Melanie Keam, Peter Suke, Andrew Bythell, Brooke Carere, Lucas Scorda, Ben Kineshanko, Tristan Rayner, and Naomi Radawiec.

Thank you to the sponsors: the province of B.C., ICBC, BC Transit, Exodus Travels, Acro Media and BC Hydro, who made this event possible across B.C.

A huge thank you also goes out to all the local and regional sponsors — Nesters Market, Starbucks, Pemberton Valley Supermarket, Richer Health, Green Moustache, Corsa Cycles, Sandbox, Skiis & Bikes, Bike Co., Scandinave Spa, and Republic Bikes.

We are grateful for the support of all the community partners too — the RMOW, the Village of Pemberton, the SLRD and the District of Squamish.

We hope everyone continues to ride their bike year round, and we look forward to another successful Bike to Work / School event next year!

Kim Slater
Sea to Sky Clean Air Society


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