Letters to the Editor for the week of May 3 

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Council gets crash course on speculation tax 

The last time a group of academics descended upon us to help "govern" B.C., things didn't turn out so well.

The wasted '90s are the hallmark of bad ideas brought to us by people who should have never been allowed to get near power and waste our precious taxes and time.

And now? They have returned.

Recently at a Resort Municipality of Whistler's council meeting, UBC's Tom Davidoff, co-author of the BC Housing Affordability Fund, told council that the long-term effects of the speculation tax are unknown and added, "I don't think anybody knows."

Great—a housing and tax policy that alienates both housing property owners and those who need to rent housing being implemented without any idea of what might happen.

Since the implementation of the laws provincially, property sales are down, prices and rents are up. They are three for three and exactly opposite of the intended policies in every respect.

Davidoff did mention supply in that, yes, more would probably be a good thing but (had) no ideas on that front. But builders will not invest in more housing for any purpose when the future is unpredictable so the policies are really four for four.

So we do see a bit of what the future holds. Can it get worse? I don't think anybody knows. Stay tuned.

Clay AtchesonNorth Vancouver

No plastic grass, please

I would like to thank the nine people that wrote letters to Whistler mayor and council opposing the artificial turf field. All of you had the same theme. It wasn't a problem with youth soccer or the money. It was about the environment. How admirable. Although you are perfect strangers to me, I would love to meet all of you someday. To the mayor regarding April 10's council meeting—it was not my intention to insult you or council. Please don't look at it that way. It was a simple observation that if putting solar panels on Meadow Park recreation facility is one direction on the environmental compass, putting 82,800 square feet of plastic on Bayly Field out in the elements of the sun and wind and freezing temperature where it disintegrates into the environment is quite another.I do apologize to the mayor and council for coming into this discussion late, lying in front of the bulldozers is late, too, but that's democracy. Sometimes it's messy. I am very encouraged by the reassurances of municipal staff since the April 10 council meeting that containing the waterborne plastic pollution is definitely under consideration.

A simple and inexpensive perimeter structure should be able to contain 100 per cent of the waterborne plastic pollution that will come off this field in its 12-year lifespan, at which point I fully expect that instead of being replaced with $900,000 worth of plastic, it will be replaced with an organic grass field.

Lyall Fetherstonhaugh Whistler

Runway success

The 2018 Graduating Class of Whistler Secondary School put on an amazing "Through the Ages" Fashion Show on April 19.

They showcased fashion from the Roaring '20s to modern day using clothes gathered from an eclectic set of hoarding parents and some local businesses!

Thanks to all those who lent clothes. Thanks also to all the bakers who supplied a yummy bake sale and the myriad local businesses that donated prizes to a huge silent auction.

Money raised will go towards the 2018 Grad Class Legacy Project and the 2018 Prom, ensuring all graduating students are able to enjoy this celebratory evening in June.

The grad class appreciates the caring community that has raised them and after seeing them organize and perform in this event I'd like to say, "Watch out world, the next generation are ready for action!"

Nancy MacConnachie

Whistler

Building a better playground

On behalf of the students, teachers and the Parent Advisory Council of Spring Creek Community School (SCCS), we'd like to say a huge thank you to the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation for its generous support!

A WB Foundation grant helped our school buy nine bright, durable modular benches for students to engage in creative play, and to rest in sheltered areas.

The yellow and blue benches are part of a larger master plan for schoolyard naturalization and improvements, to create the right type of play and play/learning areas, which are shown to support physical, social, emotional and cognitive development while also reducing bullying, vandalism, and other negative outcomes in school yards.

This is an important project for SCCS because the school is on the smallest lot in the district for its population of approximately 400 students.

Thank you again for helping us build better learning and play areas for our children.

Katherine Currall, PAC chair

Dan Wilson and Rebecca Wood Barrett, parent volunteers and the PAC Schoolyard Improvement Team

MAC welcomes new members

The Mature Action Community Society (Whistler MAC) held a successful Annual General Meeting in the community room of the Whistler Public Library on April 9, 2018.

At this time, we would like to thank exiting board members Sue Lawther and Joan Richoz.

Sue was a long-time board member who steered the Mature Action Committee—a voice for senior's housing—to the Mature Action Community—the voice of Whistler seniors advocating for programs, social activities and services for those wishing to age in place here in Whistler.

Joan joined us for one three-year term helping us navigate the rules of governance to take our society from the old BC Societies Act to the new one.

Together, Joan and Sue were a force to be reckoned with and we will miss their guidance on the board.

We are welcoming three new board members this year—Dave Ashton, Michael d'Artois and Kathy White, who has been an interim director since last August when Joan Pitman moved to Vancouver with her husband. Our new board roster is: Dave Ashton, Bob Calladine, Rosemary Cook, Michael d'Artois, Janice Lloyd, Dawn Minett, Bob and Stacey Murl, and Kathy White.The topic at the AGM that garnered the most interest and discussion was the new rental building for seniors being built on Lot 10 in Rainbow this summer. There will be 20 units in the building of varying size. Layouts for the units should be available soon.

We are still discussing senior priority points with Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) to confirm the criteria required for consideration.

We have also added questions to the Whistler MAC (www.whistlermac.org) on-line membership application to help us identify those interested in WHA housing as well those wishing to participate in fun events and projects that engage our 55-plus members. The meeting finished with lively discussions about the diverse needs of this community wishing to age in place, as we all enjoyed a social time with cakes and cookies provided by Janice Lloyd.The new Board of Directors of the Whistler Mature Action Community Society looks forward to another term serving the needs of the senior community to the best of our combined abilities. 

Stacey MurlWhistler

A welcoming Whistler

When you hear the words "your son is autistic," there is a moment where your world simply stops.

Fear and insecurity can take over. As a parent, you rise to this challenge and begin a journey like no other. There are worries for sure.

But the biggest worry you have is when your child walks out the front door into the world on their own. How will they be treated? Will people be respectful and caring or mean and abusive? Will they recognize the wonderful and often subtle qualities that make your child so very special, or will they ridicule and shame them?

This terrified me. Still does at times.

However, the warm and supportive embrace Whistler has given my son Levi has been incredible. Regardless of whether he is at school at Waldorf, singing or drumming with a local group, or working at his new part-time job at IGA, the people of Whistler have been simply fantastic.

A special thanks needs to go to IGA for its incredible efforts towards Levi's development as a successful member of the team. He loves his job.

Also to Waldorf, especially Wes Fagan, who has really made high school a great success for Levi.

We are lucky people—lucky to be living in a place filled with such incredible people. Thank you for all the support you have given my son. This has helped to make him the incredible person he is today.  

Perri Domm

Whistler

Rethink artificial playing field

Whistler has long branded itself as (a destination that is) environmentally aware, (a place for) active living (with) clean air and minimum pollution.Since the 1980s, when I first visited, this image (has) held true.The town has grown since then, but in your administrative decisions the environment held up the branding of your town as a (place with) environmentally aware corporate citizen(s).Then recently you (have) seem(ed) to drift away from this image. The problem is plastics. Globally, it is recognized that plastics and microfibres are a major concern.I now hear Whistler council is discussing plastic turf for a soccer field. It is shattering! Destination Zermatt or Whistler?With a plastic soccer field, and all its active toxins it would be a no brainer! Hands down Zermatt wins. (You are) endangering not only your active soccer players' health, the health of anyone around the field, but also the health of your tourist dollars.Reconcile your decisions with your branding Whistler council!

Hoda Ghamrawy

Nelson

AN ALTERNATE REALITY

In the guiding industry, most operations discuss the collective mindset of the group every morning to gain a better understanding of how they arrived at their decisions for the day.

Sometimes it can be "stepping out" when factors in the decision-making process lead the group to believe it's worth raising the bar in the risk they are willing to assume.

The opposite, "pulling back," means that certain environmental or group factors require to step down the risk a notch or two. This can be from anything from higher avalanche hazard to new information to group dynamics and what everyone can handle. 

"Status quo" can occur, which means no new variables lead to a change in mindset, which is perfectly acceptable. A much more rare mindset, "open season," happens when confidence is so high in the conditions and group that you feel you can go anywhere and do anything.

But the fifth mindset, in my experience, has never been discussed, as it is nearly an admission of guilt. Yet it is perhaps the most revealing indicator of a group's collective mindset: Entrenchment.

It is understandable why this mindset does not make it to the official report, for it means that you are bonded to the idea that your thoughts and reactions are not malleable from new environmental indicators. 

I believe this entrenchment mindset is what the Whistler community is currently amidst. For the past 25 years or so the town has been on a mostly upward trajectory in worldwide attention, skier visits, room nights, property values, as well as dissatisfaction among locals as to the quality of their life.

It's an unfortunate circumstance that could very well be at a major tipping point, as locals (including myself) finally say enough is enough and look toward other communities for their next phase of life.

When I try to offer ideas for solutions to the problems we face, I often hear back "Well, that's just the way it is," "that'll never happen," and many other phrases that indicate an entrenched mindset.

It's heartbreaking and unfortunate, but the first phase of recovery is admitting there is a problem at all.

In doing so, everyone in Whistler needs to take a real look in the mirror and ask what they believe are important. Is more money more important than environmental leadership? Is a ski resort on our crown land operated by a foreign public company in our best interests? Are ostentatious structures with cost overruns more important that a roof over people's heads? Are higher property values worth having an empty neighbourhood?

I hope that everyone can begin to ask these questions before the tide turns any more. There is nothing wrong with considering alternate realities, and in doing so there might be hope for a more inclusive and prosperous future for everyone.

Steve Andrews

Whistler

DANCE TEAM GIVES THANKS

The Mountain Movement Competitive Dance Team would first like to thank Pemberton Valley Coffee Co. for sponsoring our winter and spring fundraisers.

Also, big thanks to those that purchased coffee from our dancers or made a donation to support their endeavours. Funds that were raised went towards team uniforms, costumes, competition fees and tuition. We look forward to representing our communities by dancing our best on stage at competitions this spring.

Hayley EdmondsonPemberton

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