Letters to the Editor for the week of March 28 

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY MEGAN LALONDE
  • File photo by Megan Lalonde

Time to make choices to stop greenhouse emissions

As I began reading Clare Ogilvie's "Opening Remarks" in last week's Pique (March 21), my level of optimism initially increased.

However, it was short lived as I was drawn to the page adjacent to Clare's remarks. There was a full-page ad promoting heli adventures. There are more ways than many of us imagined to generate greenhouse-gas emissions while in theory enjoying a natural environment.

How ironic that this ad luring people to use a helicopter, a gluttonous, fuel-consuming, greenhouse-gas emitting machine, should follow an article relating the urgent need to reduce our greenhouse-gas emissions in order to save the planet from imminent disaster. This clearly illustrates that profit before preservation is a business fundamental that is nearly impossible to break. 

As I continued reading Clare's "Opening Remarks," I was stunned to read that Councillor Ralph Forsyth doesn't want to pay for the Community Energy and Climate Action Plan coordinator. It is difficult to believe that anyone living in Whistler hasn't experienced the effects of global-warming-related climate change.

If you ski or snowboard, you probably noticed that the Showcase T-bar was moved to the right a few years ago, that so far this season the Horstman T-bar hasn't run, that the walk from the top of the Showcase T-bar to the Blowhole gains twice the elevation that it did 25 years ago, and the Blackcomb Glacier has melted so much there is now an ice cave.

Then there was the forest-fire smoke that cloaked Whistler and much of southwestern B.C. for the last two summers burning 1,385,000 hectares of forest in B.C. last year. That is an area 419 times Whistler Blackcomb's total terrain.

The effects of climate change are all around us and are clearly visible. How could anyone not want to do all they could to stop global warming? 

My initial reaction was, 'Ralph, pull your head out of the sand and deal with reality.' But after a few minutes, I realized that for the sake of the planet, it would be better if Ralph left his head in the sand and got out of the way so that people who truly want to limit—and ideally stop—climate change can get to work.

As 150 Whistler students signed a letter outlining their climate-change concerns, I think we already have a great source of people ready to work on this issue. So it is up to us: Do we maintain our current lifestyles and continue to sacrifice the environment and the planet, or are we willing to sacrifice our current lifestyles to preserve the environment and the planet?

The choice is yours.

Think carefully before you decide what kind of a legacy you want to leave future generations because the one we are currently leaving them is not very appealing or fair.

Bryce Leigh // Whistler

Re-thinking Lost Lake Park use in winter

Walking and hiking are common pastimes for residents and visitors alike. Spontaneous and free, they offer a healthy alternative to expensive skiing.

The Valley Trail system, at one point, leads directly into Lost Lake Park, via Blackcomb Way and Lost Lake Road, and is a scenic destination for many needing an invigourating winter walk. But then people come to a barrier and signage warning of fines should pedestrians continue along the road toward Lost Lake.

This comes as an unpleasant surprise to many people. I share their dismay and disbelief when they find there is no alternative route offered.

The fact that the entire Lost Lake Park lands are reserved for paying cross-country skiers and snowshoers is resulting in animosity, and a feeling of discrimination and deprivation. Local people in particular find themselves surrounded by roads and trails in the area, but with nowhere to go without guilt or penalty.  

This is an issue that can easily be corrected, with minimum cost and effort.

Wouldn't it be (great) if the Resort Municipality of Whistler could use the grooming machines to set a pedestrian path from the end of Lost Lake Road down to the shoreline, with possibilities to permit a short stretch of multi-purpose use along the cross-country track (similar to the portion of Valley Trail between the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, to the Passivhaus, and on to Whistler Village)?

Everyone would be happy, with skiers safely isolated from pedestrians, and all with a recreational goal fulfilled. 

Lost Lake Park has always been open for public enjoyment from April to November, so no access for pedestrians is a winter problem.

Let's trust that winter 2020 will find ... Lost Lake Park open, even if only partially, to non-skiers and snowshoers. This will provide an affordable, healthy, outdoor recreation option currently hard to find, and result in improved reputation as a family destination benefitting everyone.

Dana Wessel // Whistler

Whistler students go on climate strike

Kudos to Whistler Councillor Arthur De Jong for listening and talking to the students who marched in the village on Friday, March 15 in solidarity with over one million students around the world, marking "FridaysForFuture," a school strike for climate.

Youth want elected officials to take action on climate change. Youth want us to work for a more sustainable future. They are not naive about Whistler being a destination resort and our complicity in a dependence on fossil fuels. However, they have some good ideas for action, including educating people from all over the world about climate change and sustainability, creating our own carbon-offset program, saving some old-growth forest.

When I picked up the March 21 copy of the Pique, I had just arrived back from the Climate Reality Leadership Corps Training in Atlanta, Georgia where I had participated in a "FridaysForFuture" event.

Imagine my excitement when I saw the coverage of the Whistler students' initiative! I am looking for a positive response from council.

The biggest kudos go to the students themselves and their organizers, Matthew Ogilvie-Turner and Diesel Kopek. They should inspire us all to work for a better environment.

Bobbie Rathbun // Climate Reality Leader Roots of Empathy Instructor, Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium

Raising Our Voices success!

Wow! The fifth annual Raising Our Voices for International Women's Day, a fundraiser for the Howe Sound Women's Centre, was an incredible night.

While final fundraising figures aren't in yet, we already know that the event was a huge success. Eighteen female-led acts performed in one epic night of community, music and celebration to support the Howe Sound Women's Centre.

Forty-one performers donated their time and talent to this event. The performances were incredible. Heart-felt solos, a five-member a capella performance, a six-piece string group, a seven-piece guitar ensemble, and several full bands provided something for all tastes.

Performers lit up the Arts Centre stage with excellent show support made possible by incredible Arts Whistler staff and volunteers.

This year's performer experience was taken to the next level by the support of Arts Whistler and the talented stage crew, many of who volunteered their time. This crew made us sound better and feel more confident. Thank you Dean Feser, Tom Graham, Tim Smith, Rajan Das, Stephen Vogler and Matt McInnis.

Both Arts Whistler and the Howe Sound Women's Centre provided staff and resources to plan and execute this event. Thank you to Mo Douglas for elevating the show with your MC expertise, Imogen Osborne for running the event, Stephanie McColm for managing a hectic stage, Anna Lynch, Giselle Wolfe and Rebecca MacKay for keeping the audience happy and the bar stocked!

HSWC staff and volunteers led the fundraising initiative and showed up early and stayed late to ensure the event's success. Arts Whistler and HSWC have demonstrated, two years running, what a great partnership looks like.

More than 400 community members came out to support the event. I can't wait to find out what was raised; people were very generous! Thank you. See you next year!

Susan Holden // Raising Our Voices event organizer

McConkey lives forever

March 26, 2019 marked 10 years since the passing of one of the best, if not the best, freeskier of all time.

McConkey lives forever.

Barry Danton // Squamish

World Championship Thanks

From Feb. 25 to March 9, the 2019 BMW IBSF Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Championships were hosted by Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

There were many bodies behind the scenes that made the most prominent sliding sport event outside of the Olympic Winter Games happen—notably those who made safe and fair sliding for all nations happen.

To all the Whistler Sport Legacies guest services staff, cleaners, snow plow guys, shuttle drivers, thank you so much for your time.

To the track medical responders and race doctors, your work, care and attention was professional and wonderful as always.

Once again, the track crew at the Sliding Centre proved why they are considered among the best in the world particularly by the athletes—thank you for the awesome ice prep making it safe, fast and pretty with your hours and hours of work.

To those high up in the tower, many thanks for keeping us on time and entertained!

Finally, to the Whistler officials crew, an outstanding job by everyone, which has garnered high praise from athletes, coaches and the IBSF. Bobsleigh Race Director John Rosen and myself cannot thank you enough for your dedication, professionalism, energy, and kinship. It was my pleasure to work with you all.

Diana De Man // Skeleton Race Director

Train safety should be questioned

Train safety is a big issue. As it should be.  Safety in general should always be a priority, especially for a sector that, literally, rolls through all our neighbourhoods carrying all forms of hazardous and dangerous loads.

Assessing the safety of something can be hard. We generally look for key indicators of safety first. Like cleanliness, safety vests, hard hats and training. These things make us all think that safety is also a priority for "them," be they the police, fire fighters, construction workers, banks or even rail workers.

One thing must also be considered when assessing the safety of something, or in fact the culture of safety that surrounds it: Does it look and feel safe? Is there an overt effort to maintain safety? Fair observations, for sure. So let's consider how safe you feel, or how safe something is, when it is totally plastered with graffiti.

Would you feel safe when the police car pulled up and it was covered in spray bombs and graffiti tags? Maybe even the police logo is totally covered? How about that fire truck with a few dozens tags and pieces on it. Or, how about a UPS or FedEx truck covered in multiple layers of illegal graffiti. Safe service?

I am in the graffiti-removal business. Have been for 22 years. Simply put, things that are managed well and kept safe are not completely covered in illegal graffiti. This is a fact.

The frequent derailment of trains that race through our Canadian communities, completely covered in illegal graffiti, are simply not safe. Look at them. 

There is a reason this is the last frontier for graffiti removal. This is literally the only sector in Canada that does not give a hoot about such a simple safety initiative as cleaning up your act. 

In some cases, the graffiti actually covers the detailed information on the contents of the rail car. Don't need to explain how this could be problematic.

With more oil shipments on what obviously appears to be a very unsafe system, we should all be worried.

Have a look for yourself.  

Perri Domm // Whistler

Credit where credit is due

The teams of groomers on both Whistler and Blackcomb have now set a new high on standards for grooming.

The acres and acres of seamless corduroy that greets us each morning is simply awesome.

Groomers, your skill abounds, and management, thanks for letting those skills surface.

Thank you all.

Tom Thomson // Whistler

Gender parity, as long as it's pink

I enjoyed Cathy Goddard's article "Reel progress: a push for gender parity in the entertainment industry," (Pique, March 7) which started with the line "Progress has been made."

Progress everywhere except with the Pique production decision to paint it pink. (Cue eyeroll.)

Nina Moore // Whistler

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