Letters to the Editor for the week of May 26th 

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May long weekend surprise

Well, that was pleasantly unexpected!

What a refreshing change to the May Two-Four weekend. But before everyone goes patting each other on the back and congratulating themselves on a job well done, let's not hang up the work that still needs to be done. One quiet year does not mean we have succeeded in taking back our town. 

Whether it was the less-than-desirable weather, the increased police presence or the Vancouver Province's front-page story "Whistler Braces For Mayhem," all were probably mitigating factors for a sane long weekend. 

I hope to see the efforts that have been put forth to improve the Victoria Day long weekend continue next year to ensure that we didn't just get lucky this year. 

It'd be nice to see locals not needing to feel like they need to leave town to enjoy the first long weekend of the summer season.

Colour me skeptical, but it'll take more than one good May long weekend to convince me that we've solved the gong show for good. This was just one small victory in the overall battle to reclaim the village from those who'd rather cause trouble on one long weekend in May than enjoy all that Whistler has to offer. 

But it was definitely a satisfying victory!

Kevin Mikkelsen

Thank you from Safe Zone and Red Frogs

After being in the village every night on the May long weekend offering tea, cookies, hot chocolate, couches to sit in and a safe place to relax, handing out Freezies and water, we want to express how thankful we are for everyone who helped out making this possible to do. A huge thank you to the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Tourism Whistler, Re-build it Centre, David's Tea, Starbucks and Moguls. Without your contribution and goodwill, we wouldn't be able to make this happen. And thank you to all the volunteers who baked cookies, decorated the venues, prayed for a safe weekend and were present at the Safe Zone and Red Frogs! Yours was a positive presence in the village! Thank you!

Let's take Whistler back to what it is: a beautiful place where you don't have to walk around being afraid.

On behalf of Whistler Community Church & Red Frogs,
Jon Pasiuk, Hakon Kalvenes & Josh Ayling

School district faces $633,000 shortfall

It is nearing time for all of us to decide to keep or lose something understood globally as critical to democracy: public education.

First, the painfully obvious: governments collect and spend a lot of money. B.C.'s Liberal government spends a great deal of money on its priorities — billions go to oil and gas companies annually through various kinds of subsidies, for example. Private profit is a major B.C. Liberal priority for your tax dollar. The Calgary Oilmen's Club raised over $2 million for the B.C. Liberal Party at a single event a couple of years ago. The industry and the Liberals, well, they just get along. The Premier's bank account does pretty well by it too.

At the same time, a shrinking percentage of the provincial budget is spent annually on public education. More and more funds go to private for-profit schools — $341 million of your tax dollars in 2016.

Meanwhile over 270 B.C. public schools have been closed since the Liberals took office. Since then public education has been cut in half as a percentage of the provincial budget. It was nearly a quarter of the budget, now it's a bit more than one-tenth. Public education is a B.C. Liberal priority — a priority for dismantling. That is what is being done here in beautiful British Columbia.

School District 48, largely because of an arbitrary "administrative clawback" added to the downloading of even more new costs, faces a substantial deficit next year even though the district keeps growing.

In a growing school district one would think funding would increase; obviously, there are more students to serve and besides, there are higher costs every year simply through inflation.

But not here, not next year, not for public education. That is not how it works anymore. The truth is, it isn't supposed to work anymore. It does not matter that the government claims that it has a budgetary surplus. For public education there are only cuts.

From a teacher's perspective, I wouldn't mind the 18 to 35 per cent salary increases next year for district personnel who already make double the average teacher's salary quite as much as I do if services to students in my school weren't being gutted at the same time. That's a salary increase B.C. teachers can only dream about. We'd be making almost as much as teachers in Alberta, in Ontario, in... all of the other provinces that don't offer the best education in Canada. That's been here in B.C.

For many years, B.C. teachers have advocated for adequate resources for public education. We have spent tens of millions of our own dollars in that effort since the B.C. Liberals came to power, in court cases and in lost wages when we've been forced into job action trying to slow down the cuts.

We are very pleased to see that School District 48 plans to write a letter this year to the Ministry of Education about funding levels. The cutting has gone too far. We have been saying so for a long time. Just about everyone is saying it now.

Soon, very soon, the parents and electorate of British Columbia are together going to have to make a decision. Is the promise and dedication of public education — doing everything possible to create a fair start for every child, rich and poor — still important? If so, someone is going to have to convince the government. That's not one of its priorities. Eliminating it is.

Are we OK with that? It's about time to decide.

Steve Lloyd
President, Sea-to-Sky Teachers' Association

Fort Mac Flapjacks

A huge thank you to the entire Sea to Sky community for supporting the Flapjacks for Fort Mac fundraising breakfast at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa on May 18.

We had an excellent turn out and raised nearly $1,700, all of which is being donated to the Red Cross' Fort McMurray campaign.

Because it is going through the Red Cross, the amount will be matched by the Canadian Federal government as well. We are so fortunate to be a part of such an amazing community, one that gives help to others in times of need.

Lisa St-Amand, Director of Sales & Marketing
Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa

Book sale bonanza

Another successful Used Book Sale, put on by the Friends of the Whistler Public Library, was held on the May long weekend. A total of $4,669 was raised through generous donations from those who came, saw, and bought their summer reading. All funds raised will go to fund library needs.

As usual, this event involved a team of dedicated volunteers who gathered, sorted, transported, and worked the sale. Thanks go out to them all: Susan Annand, Bob and Sally Calladine, Heather and Brent Matthew, Gary Pringle and Alison Hunter, Elly and Pat Johnston, Stephanie Murray, Laura Puckett, Stella Harvey, Victoria Crompton, Janice O'Mara, Nicki Valentine, John Richmond, Simone Crichton, Annette Williams, Leslee Wake, and Rick Reid.

Heartfelt thanks also go out to IGA Marketplace for allowing us to hold the sale in the front of the store, and to TD Canada Trust and Nesters Market for being collection depots. We could not do this without you!

As always, thanks go out to the people of Whistler who generously donated books to the cause, helping to recycle and raise funds for our beloved library.

Until next time, happy reading!

Moe Richmond, Maureen Chaddock, and Jane Reid
Co-Chairs, Friends of the Whistler Public Library

Highway bottle neck needs upgrade

I welcome any Sea to Sky Highway upgrades through the town of Lions Bay.

I would like to remind the minister of transportation of the narrow, windy two-kilometre section north of Lions Bay between the Brunswick Point scenic lookout and Loggers Creek.

This is by far the stretch that has caused the most loss of life and extended road closures during the past eight years.

As one who often thinks out of the box, I would like an engineer to look at the feasibility of creating a northbound lane tunnelled through the hard rock in this section. If possible, such a northbound lane tunnel design would also solve the narrow bottleneck north of Porteau Cove.

Jim Horner

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