Letters to the Editor for the week of March 19th 

click to enlarge SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • shutterstock.com

Border should be closed to U.S. tourists

This letter was addressed to MP Patrick Weiler and the Resort Municipality of Whistler and forwarded to Pique: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on March 18 that non-essential travel across the the Canada-U.S. border would be temporarily restricted.

I urge you to impress upon the Prime Minister to close the border to U.S. tourists in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to implement fiscal measures to support precarious workers and the tourism industry during this time.

Whistler is at risk of becoming an uncontrollable hotspot.

Washington state has become the centre of a major outbreak. Keep in mind that most U.S. tourists from Washington are travelling directly to Whistler. This is their No. 1 destination in the province. We love them. They are our extended family. But we need to make smart decisions so that the Canadian healthcare system, particularly in B.C. and the Sea to Sky, does not collapse under the weight of cases.

We have no hospital. All serious cases will have to be transported to Squamish and Vancouver. We are a small town. We often have fewer residents than tourists during busy season. We don't have even close to the capacity to deal with our own citizens falling ill, nevermind visiting tourists. 

Further, most of our staff here are temporary workers, and many are closely packed into dorms, staff housing, and rentals with often two or three to a room. We also have a good number of workers living in vans and campers. 

Note that I am not suggesting closing the borders to U.S. trade (of course not). But we in B.C. cannot afford to bear the brunt of the situation in the States as it becomes worse—and it is getting worse.

All told, this is the recipe for a healthcare disaster.

We will need support. The global economic repercussions will be severe—unless we act quickly to support each other.

I encourage the Liberal government to immediately implement a 30-day moratorium on bill payments (as they've already done in France); provide debt and rent relief for those without sufficient income; and provide a permanent Universal Basic Income, with particular support for precarious workers who lack employment insurance or extended health benefits, scaled to existing income levels.

In this town, where contract work is king, that's most of us.

tobias c. van Veen // Visiting professor, Quest University

We will survive

Geez, it has been a week. It kind of feels as though Whistler has collectively torn its ACL. It's a serious one, a Grade 3 tear; or 300 even. It's bad. We're out for the season, down for the count.

The good news is, we can do this. We've done it before. A friend or coworker gets banged up doing any number of the activities that people do in our town and what do we do?  We help them out—bake them cookies, pick up Samurai Sushi, give them access to our Netflix account, lend them our moonboot.

We support them when they're in need because they support us when needed. So now here we are, in need en masse, and although the vast majority of things are currently out of our hands, there is one massive underlying thing that is not: the kind of town we want to live in.

We have the choice of how we're going to support one another and define our town on our terms.

We're all in the same mountain-surrounded boat now, and yes, things are going to be incredibly uncomfortable for a while; like sharing-a-bed-with-your-uncle uncomfortable.

Once all of the seasonal staff makes their exit from the valley, with more of a disheartened fizzle than a bang this year, here we will remain, because this is our home. We will stay and experience this awkward discomfort together and wonder what the future will hold for Whistler, a town that has put each and every single one of its eggs into one neatly organized, tourist-packed gondola.

But wait, there's more good news! We are now presented with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a mulligan. A do-over, but only if you act now.

Things were getting a bit too insane to carry on as they were anyway, no? During this time of discomfort, we have been gifted ample time to reflect on how we could perhaps revive the better parts of Whistler that have gone by the wayside with its tourists, tourists, tourists, now, now, now way of sustaining.

With tourists no longer skewing our vision, let us turn inwards to determine what kind of town we want to live in, because make no mistake, this choice is most certainly ours to make.

I'm excited and eager to see what we have in store for Whistler. Let's all make the choice to, first and foremost, resurrect Whistler as the kind of town we want to live in and see to it that our "after" picture renders our "before" picture but a small image in our rearview mirror.

And when the days get real tough, which they undoubtedly will, always remember that things could be worse. We could be living in Toronto.

Stay well out there.

Kate Turner // Whistler

Pique can do better

It was with anger, disbelief and shame that I read the recent "advertorial" segment (Pique, Feb. 27) about how amazing Concord Pacific is for our town and what great community members they hope to be...just as soon as they force out a few businesses owned by people who actually helped build Whistler into the incredible and successful place it is today. 

Back in the 1980s, Whistler could have gone either way. Super-high interest rates stalled the construction of the village and locals actually had to volunteer to finish building the Conference Centre. Everyone banded together because they believed in this town, this lifestyle, and this community. And when they wanted to live it up, they went to Sushi Village, or Black's, or one of the other few restaurants in the unfinished village. Those restaurants were not very busy, especially in slow season, but they toughed it out, propped up by local community support and by their own grit and belief that Whistler was worth a bit of sacrifice. And everyone was in it together. 

To see, over 30 years later, a big company come in and attempt to use a legal loophole to force some of those community builders to sell their business for nickels on the dollar is not really surprising; the snakes and the eels will always slither to areas with the most food, but to see the community paper run their advertorial is depressing and infuriating.

I love Whistler and I love this newspaper; it's literally built my career. And that is why I feel I have to write to say, we can do better, Pique. We need to do better because I believe Concord Pacific is trying to railroad our friends and neighbours out of their livelihoods and legacies.

Feet Banks // Whistler

A big thank you

I want to thank the very generous and helpful men at RDL Rentals at Blackcomb Day Lodge. What amazing service!

[Recently], I was meeting a group of old friends for my first ski in years, putting on my 20-year-old ski boots, when a plastic boot popped!

I walked into RDL asking for some duct tape, but they made my day by lending me a whole new pair of ski boots (and adjusting my bindings and doing a wax!). Wow!

They were incredibly knowledgeable, conscientious and courteous. I never would have made it without them.

You can be sure that I shall recommend them to others, and be returning there myself.

Jackie Smith // West Vancouver

Interactive Map

Today's COVID-19 cases in Canada

Click each province to see the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, recovered patients, and tests administered...more.

© 1994-2020 Pique Publishing Inc., Glacier Community Media

- Website powered by Foundation