Letters to the Editor for the week of May 23 

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The e-bike's time has come

I own an e-bike and enjoyed reading your article on that subject (Pique, "The Outsider," May 17).

The main argument against them seems to be the heavier impact on trails—that is at least polite. I have heard much worse from mountain bikers out in the wild.

I bought my first mountain bike in 1981; back then, there were only three companies producing them. No suspension but 18 gears, so I and others could enjoy the wilds and get home for dinner.

I heard a lot of negative comments back then and the most polite were (that) they degrade trails and scare the horses. Both true. I tried to be as polite as possible, letting people know when I was coming, getting off my bike and laying it down so as not to spook the horse tours etc.

Today, mountain biking is accepted without question, there are trail societies dedicated to lessening the negative impact with proper trail construction, today's suspension makes trail construction possible in very steep terrain and the erosion is undeniable. I bought my e-bike in October 2015. I do not own any other motorized vehicle. I have been riding it to work five days a week all year round. I haven't missed a day and haven't been late once.

In most cases, I can get where I'm going at least as fast as car traffic thanks to bike trails and lanes.

The first winter was brutal, of course, but I have studded tires now so it's not as bad.

I have travelled 5,714.4 kilometres on it the last time I checked. My main complaint is when I hear "f&^*ing e-bike" from a mountain biker who drives a car to work and even drives their mountain bike as high up the mountain as legally possible to help erode trails everywhere. How do you get to the top of ''Full Nelson''?

All the arguments against mountain biking in 1981 were valid, but when enough people felt the experience they decided that it was worth the environmental degradation for a healthy outdoor sport.

If you need to hammer up hills on your mountain or street bike because you don't get enough exercise at work, don't try an e-bike. If you want to get a fair workout and feel a 30 km/h breeze or just bring the groceries up the hill without needing a shower afterwards, try an e-bike.

There is no fighting this machine—it will erode trails like all the other trail users do.

The only question is, are you going to be the last one on the block to get one?

Rob Neaga
Squamish

Why all the secrecy?

I am fed up with the Resort Municipality of Whistler's (RMOW) closed-door policy on providing information, and by a general sense that council is hiding behind closed meetings, especially after verification of in-camera meetings that might not have been needed to be behind closed doors. 

I first asked for a copy of the Traffic Study for the Development Permit for the proposed subdivision and master planned development of District Lot 8078 at the entrance to Function Junction from RMOW on Jan. 11, 2018 at 9:14 a.m. via email.

On March 22, 2018 at 1:55 p.m., I was advised after repeating my request that I would have to file a Freedom of Information Request (FOI).

That's over 70 days to get an answer. 

On March 22 at 2:26 p.m. I filed an FOI.

On March 22 at 4:33 p.m. I received an acknowledgement of my FOI.

On March 28, at 12:28 p.m. I received an extension to my request by 30 days from May 2 to June 13.

I would like to point out that these 30-day requests and extensions are 30 business days. I get that. I have read the FOI Acts of a dozen jurisdictions. But let's look at this objectively. 

It will be almost six months to complete a request if in fact my response is met at all. In that time, the Earth travelled 463 million kilometres through space. The distance from the planning department to the legal department at the RMOW is significantly less. The third parties are in Mount Currie and Squamish. I could walk to Mount Currie and back faster than this FOI is taking.

Notwithstanding and without prejudice, it is my understanding that the traffic study should have to be included with the council package last fall when this development permit was being done. Please correct me if I am wrong.

So, why it was withheld? 

Why did Council approve this development permit without first seeing the traffic study? Or did they see it?

If it was provided then it should be public and it should be provided to me without having to do an FOI. Surely, the RMOW must have asked for the traffic study as part of the application?

If it is part of the development permit application requirement then it should be public information with no requirement for third-party approval to release the document. 

And on the FOI, why would what is supposed to be a public document require third party-developer approval?

I believe in miracles.  As an ordained minister, I know in my soul that things can happen with no explanation and we are blessed by them.

I do not believe in coincidence.

Four hours and 54 minutes after sending my first letter to council, I received a response to my FOI. It was denied.  What an amazing turnaround.  

"The third party in this matter has requested that the records be kept confidential. Pursuant to Section 21(1)(a)(ii) and section 21(1) of the Act, the Resort Municipality of Whistler will comply with the third party's wishes. Therefore, this record is being withheld."

My original questions still stand plus some.

Honestly, I respect Council as part of our democratic process but have to wonder once again why there is so much secrecy in the governing of the RMOW?  We are not talking about national security, are we?  (These are not rhetorical questions).

Star Wars: Episode 1—The Phantom Menace, provides us with a wonderful quote. Palpatine: (Whispering to Queen Amidala) says, "Enter the bureaucrats, the true rulers of the Republic. And on the payroll of the Trade Federation, I might add."

So council members, who is in charge? As a taxpayer, I feel helpless.

Patrick Smyth
Whistler 

Talking bikes and history

The Whistler Museum would like to thank everyone who helped make the third annual Whistler Mountain Bike Heritage Week a success; it wouldn't have been possible without your support and participation!

Special thanks to our speakers Todd Hellinga, Dan Raymond, Brett Tippie and Bjorn Enga, and to our many sponsors.

We'd also like to thank everyone who came out to all of the events.

We're looking forward to next year already!

Allyn Pringle
Events and community manager Whistler Museum & Archives

Buck Cancer raises $20,000

On April 28, another successful Buck Cancer fundraiser took place at Dusty's, raising in excess of $20,000 for Families Fighting Cancer in the Sea to Sky.

There was the signature mechanical bull, live music, an amazing silent auction, raffle and 50-50 draw enjoyed by the enthusiastic crowd. Lots of fun!

The evening was made possible by a long list of volunteers, donors, sponsors and supporters whose generosity is very much appreciated.

Our organization continues to give assistance to children, or parents of dependent children living with cancer with the Sea to Sky community's continuing support. Families Fighting Cancer in the Sea to Sky would like to shout out a huge thank you! For a complete list of our supporters please visit our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FamiliesFightingCancerInTheSeaToSky) or our website (familiesfightingcancer.ca ).

Michelle Williamson and Lisa Geddes, co-founders
Whistler

BOOK SALE SUCCESS

The Friends of the Whistler Public Library would like to thank the generous Whistler community for supporting our recent Giant Used Book Sale. We raised over $4,100, which will be contributed to our library for programs and resources.Special thanks to our enthusiastic volunteers who promoted, collected, sorted, transported and sold books, and to Alix and John Nicoll for generously providing our worksite.

Our appreciation also to IGA Marketplace for allowing us to hold the sale in front of its store, to Creekside Market, Nesters Market, TD Canada Trust and the Whistler Library for being donation sites, Pique Newsmagazine for its advertising and to the library staff for their enthusiastic assistance.

Please visit the Friend's Plant Sale on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the library's plaza. Herb pots, lettuce pots, perennials, bulbs and annuals will be available.

Happy Summer Reading and Gardening!

Susan Annand and Marianna Orr
Whistler Library

Artificial turf field unbelievable?

The more I discover about the (artificial turf field) project the more unbelievable it becomes!

First, let me address a letter by Mr. Roger Soane (president and CEO of Whistler Sport Legacies) (Pique, "Letters to the Editor, May 10).

Whistler Sport Legacies, an organization awash in federal and provincial taxpayers' red ink is not in any position to support a plastic soccer field. The $2.7 million cost is being paid for by Whistler taxpayers. I would like to respectfully point out (that he should) remember, (since he is) a director at large of the Whistler Youth Soccer Club, which hat he is wearing when signing letters.

The reason for the plastic field put forward by the proponents is that this will provide an extended season. I was mistakenly under the impression that the present fields were used from spring to fall seven days a week and bursting at the seams, hence the need for a new field. I have just discovered recently this group uses the fields until the 23rd of June. They do not use them again for regular programs until early September. This is a 10-week period when it sits largely idle, generating no revenue. What a more perfect time to play soccer than a warm summer evening instead of spring snow storms and slush.

The irony here is that in promoting youth health, the soccer club wants to introduce plastic pollution into the very environment these youth will inherit. Sushi with thousands of plastic micro particles, anyone?

Not up on how massive a threat this is? Go to CBC.ca and search plastic pollution. Our esteemed local journalist Leslie Anthony has written two articles on plastics pollution in the Pique this year alone.

Now, if the soccer club played in the summer, we would not need a plastic field—a grass field would suffice. Grass fields do not wear out given proper maintenance. The field at the park in front of my family home in Vancouver was installed more than 50 years ago and has never been replaced.

So we are building a polluting plastic field consisting of ground up old tires and 82,800 square feet of single-use plastic that costs over $3 million more because it's not convenient for the soccer club to play in the summer?

How, mayor and council, did you approve this project that is so far removed from all the studies and public meetings undertaken since 1975 to guide you?

All the environmental studies distill into two sentences: Protect the environment, enhance the environment. You have done neither.

Where in the OCP, Natural Step or Whistler 2020 documents does it say putting plastic grass down ... is permitted?

This plastic project should have been rejected on those grounds alone and not got past Square One given the obvious other choice—organic living grass.

We need less not more plastic in the environment. If this goes ahead then Whistler ceases to be an environmental leader, as you lead by your actions not your words.

So mayor and council I urge you to review this project.

To everyone who is concerned about the pollution this plastic field will cause the environment and who wants organic not plastic please continue to write letters to mayor and council at corporate@whistler.ca.

The decision as to the type of plastic is to be decided at a June 5 meeting. That is to say they haven't bought it yet.

Lyall Fetherstonhaugh
Whistler

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