Letters to the Editor for the week of Nov 20th 

click to enlarge After low voter turnout at this year's municipal election, one is left to wonder if the lack of election signs played a part.
  • After low voter turnout at this year's municipal election, one is left to wonder if the lack of election signs played a part.

Signs and low voter turn out?

This year's election was marred by low voter turnout, and one has to wonder if the lack of election signs had something to do with low turnout as well?

Sure, it's great for the environment, but visible signs engage voters in discussion and do bring out the vote.

Costas Panagopoulos, professor of political science at Fordham University, did a study a few years ago on the effectiveness of political election signs and bringing out the vote.

"Before New York City's 2005 mayoral election, Fordham University professor Costas Panagopoulos decided to take his curiosity about the effectiveness of signs to the streets," (states a 2012 Slate.com online article).

"In the only known randomized academic experiment on the subject, Panagopoulos matched 14 pairs of Manhattan voting locations with similar turnout levels in previous elections.

"In each pair, he randomly designated one location as a control and the other as an experimental treatment: a small group of volunteers were dispatched to a nearby intersection, where they stood for 11 hours on election eve with white 2-foot by 3-foot signs with 'VOTE TOMORROW' written in blue.

"Once the polls had closed, Panagopoulos checked the numbers of votes cast in each of the 28 districts, and found that the ones visited by his sign-wavers had 37 per cent turnout, nearly four points higher than those that didn't.

"Panagopoulos attributed that boost to the value of a quick reminder and speculated that seeing one's neighbors publicly promoting the cause might instill a sense of social pressure to vote."

As they say, apathy during elections favours the incumbents.  The mayor got that right.

Patrick Smyth


Thanks for job well done

It looks like the new council may not be so cohesive as the last.

It's a shame so few Whistler citizens voted this time.

We had a very good team for the last term. They were not career politicians, but they saw the need for change and were willing to commit three years of their lives to the community.

I would like to personally thank Duane Jackson. I know he worked very hard at the job, brought a lot of skills to the table, and always kept a sense of humour. I also know that he will continue to contribute to the community whenever and however he can.

John Konig


Every election is important

I just wanted to offer a hearty congratulations to our new councillors, Sue Maxwell, Steve Anderson, and Jen Ford — you all ran great campaigns and can hold your heads high as you roll up your sleeves and get down to work.

Congratulations also go to Jack Crompton, Andée Janyk, John Grills, and Nancy Wilhelm-Morden — the trust Whistler has shown you for another term is extremely well deserved, and the new councillors are fortunate to benefit from your experience.

While I'm certainly disappointed that I'm not able to serve this term on council, I think I'm most disappointed that after weeks of 11 candidates, two newspapers, one radio station, and Shaw TV all working hard to get people to carve 20 minutes out of their day to cast a ballot on a beautiful Saturday, not even 2,000 people showed up to vote on Election Day (2,303 in total including advance polls).

If you wait until you're angry about something before you'll take any interest in your community, then you're only reacting to something you couldn't be bothered to take control of before it affected you.

The fact is, who gets elected to council affects you even if it isn't exciting, just like eating vegetables.

While I'm still against the forests of individual candidates' signs, perhaps next election the municipality can have a few general election signs to remind people that they should be looking into who to vote for. It was sad to see a bright pink garage sale sign on Lorimer at the highway, but no indication of an Election Day.

In any case, I also wanted to thank those who supported my campaign, it means a lot to me that nearly 1,000 people felt this political newcomer would do a good job on council. It was quite an experience running, but I feel that Whistler is in good hands for now, and have high hopes that the future will continue to improve for Whistler. Now bring on the snow!

Pete Crutchfield


Feds protection of salmon abysmal

I would like to say the way the letter from the minister of fisheries started off was rude and arrogant (Pique "Letters to the Editor," Nov.13).

Back in 2011 it seemed that (former federal Finance Minister) Jim Flaherty was more than happy to tell Canadians he was cutting ($57 million by 2014) from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). The second thing he seemed so proud of was the cuts to Environment Canada. So telling us that the government is committed to spending $54 million to bolster environmental protection is laughable at best.

When the minister of DFO mentioned the aquaculture sector, to some of us that spells conflict of interest. It seems that the government is focused more on the aquaculture than wild salmon.

So far the moratorium for aquaculture development in the Discovery Islands is still in place, but there are new farms that are going into our oceans in other areas.

It is expected that the government provides funding for new programs to support recreational fisheries conservation activities through partnerships with community groups, projects related to Pacific salmon in B.C., it's part of the government's job!

The revenues collected from the conservation (postage) stamp were fought for by the sport fisherman because it was originally designed to put the money back into the fishery. Without the sport fishermen putting pressure on the federal government there would be no money, so sorry, no credit there to the government.

It's true that we need hatcheries, but for the most part we only need them because of the lack of environmental protection, like the fisheries act being watered down. If there were more environmental protections there would be less need for hatcheries, so we could spend the money elsewhere to help our fish.

For example, because of the $50-plus million dollars that was cut from the DFO budget back in 2011, we could maybe provide more enforcement. The government closed down five or seven offices of DFO back in 2011, so at the moment we have one and a half (yes, half) officers from the Fraser River to D'arcy. How is it possible to protect our fish from anything with that kind of manpower?

The minister also mentioned that DFO has listened to the Cohen commission and is implementing some of those recommendations.

So far after two years and over $30 million dollars of taxpayers money, (one) yes, one recommendation has been implemented. There are 16 recommendations.

The wild salmon policy that was written over 25 years ago hasn't even been fully implemented and the Cohen commission is going down the same road in that regard as nothing is being done.

If I were running for re-election (John Weston) I would stop claiming to be the one that had the prime minister OK the Cohen commission. Over $30 million spent and no result wouldn't be something to brag about.

The Fraser river had 20 million fish that did return to spawn, but five million of them didn't have homes to go back to because the Polley mine tailing spill destroyed the rivers and lakes.

There was over 100 million litres of contaminated water spilled and the mining company Imperial Metals Corp. hasn't been fined, and if they are it really won't be enough to help out with any kind of recovery program.

The fish are not like us in that if their homes are destroyed they can just go live somewhere else — they just die out. So you see, 20 million seems like a lot but it's not unless they all spawn.

If the government was serious about protecting, enhancing, conserving and rebuilding wild salmon in B.C. they would be doing all they can, instead of less. There wouldn't be four ex-ministers of fisheries (two Conservatives and two Liberals) voicing their concerns regarding the lack of response for our wild B.C. salmon.

They wouldn't be asking why the Fisheries Act has been watered down, so it doesn't protect our fish but rather enhances oil, gas, logging, farming, and hydro dams.

Geoff Gerhart


Pique celebrates 20 years

The family just keeps getting bigger, and better just happens naturally.

I think I can count on almost one hand the colleagues that I remember seeing at the 10th anniversary party, and I am much more than happy to still see them every day when I walk in the office in Year 20 of the Pique. I'm sure there are many other workplaces in the world where that number would be zero.

It's been a long, bumpy, yet amazing ride to Year 20 for Pique. It seems it's all still the same, and we all still love the bejeezus out of this place.

I am more than honoured to show up to work every day. Happy to hear about everything Whistler. Happy to hear about everything that myself, and so many other amazing people got to do over the weekend, or even just a Tuesday night.

I'm also honoured that now, even after a little bit of a change, everyone is still simply here to do the best job, and carry themselves in the highest and most honourable manner possible. Sure, mistakes happen, we're human — and yes, we will still save a few pages just to stir the pot.

Thank you Pique Newsmagazine.

Jon Parris


Is the time for prayer past?

With regards to Whistler gathering at the Cenotaph on November 11, and the many fine thoughts in the summary prayer, I for one question the addressee of that prayer.

It is neither necessary to believe in prayer or in any God in order to honour our fallen, injured or serving soldiers, as well as those who served, survived and helped to build our nation.

I look forward to a Remembrance Day when we will not be asked to pray to an imagined great unknown supernatural intelligence that cares about the thoughts of each of us. More positively it will be a great day when we will acknowledge the complicity of such beliefs in the root causes of the wars we are remembering.

I am unsure of just what percentage of Whistlerites are either closeted or open atheists, and suggest that we too can contemplate the sacrifice that our soldiers have made without calling on some imaginary higher power.

I am all for anyone having their private ways of contemplating and honouring our soldiers, but wonder just why the organizers of a remembrance feel that the Christian call to prayer should be public, why we should all be asked to bow our heads with them, or in general why they believe that their way should be everyone else's way?

Al Whitney


Cenotaph needs new home

It is with the utmost respect and good intention that I put forward the following thoughts for consideration.

I am a war baby, born in 1941 and I did not see my father until 1945. But I was one of the fortunate ones as he came home. So many families, for so many years around the world were much less fortunate. It is in the memory of those Canadians, and others who have given their lives or sacrificed in so many and varying ways, that we pay tribute each Nov.11 to those who helped pave the way for opportunities we all enjoy today.

I humbly submit that it is time to relocate Whistler's Cenotaph. The present location in years gone by has served the community well.

The location, in the southeast corner of a usually full parking lot adjacent to the fire hall and police buildings, can be improved upon.

A cenotaph is a memorial that honours a person, or group of people, buried somewhere else and is publicly available and easily viewed all of the remaining days of the year.

There is precedent on moving cenotaphs and the most common argument against such practice is tradition. "We have always had the ceremony there, it should remain there!"

I would suggest that a cenotaph recognizing the names of those men and women who have given their lives in serving their communities and country be readily accessible and visible here in Whistler year round.

Therefore, I advocate the "transferring" of Whistler's Cenotaph to a location in Celebration Plaza. (The Plaza) was fought for and established to be a venue to celebrate Whistler, and all of its achievements. The location is readily identified and accessible.

The traditional parade of colours and personnel has innumerable options. The sight lines and acoustics are unparalleled, so everyone can watch and hear the ceremony, not just a few front-liners. The service clubs, which so generously provide treats after the ceremony, can be accommodated in the Plaza kitchen area. The fire hall can still double as Whistler's Legion.

It is time to continue Whistler's proud caring tradition, but in a venue that for those who served and sacrificed their all, be readily recognized and their lessons be taught and "thanked 365" and their contribution be a lighthouse to all.

The fallen have fought for us and paved the way for us to enjoy the right to vote. Don't let them down.

I would like to thank Brian Buchholz and everyone else who, year after year, give tirelessly of their time and effort to make Nov.11 special here in Whistler

Tom Thomson


New Cenotaph location would allow better participation

After returning from another beautiful Remembrance Day Service, I am wondering if Whistler might have a better location for our Cenotaph?

Right now, it pretty much resides in the Whistler Fire Departments' parking lot, on a busy corner. It is tucked away, and therefore not very accessible to the many visitors that come to Whistler.

Would it not be better over in the Olympic (Plaza) area? Less noise during the service. More accessible for visitors to pay respects. And a nice venue for the service.

I realize that Brian Buchholz and the Whistler Fire Department are the main organizers, and a new venue may not be quite as convenient. On the other hand, the Whistler Singers would have a stage, we could see the Colour Party, veterans and piper approach... I just think it is something we should give some thought to.

I would like to say A BIG thank you to Brian, the veterans, the Fire Department, the RCMP, the Whistler Singers, the piper and trumpet players, the Rotary, all the speakers, Blackcomb Aviation and everyone else who contributed to such a beautiful service.

Bobbi Sandkuhl


Skateboard park upgrade

Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the Whistler Skateboard Association's fundraiser at Creekbread on Nov. 6.

We raised over $2,000 that night and the excitement in the air was palpable. We understand there are many questions to be answered in regard to the future of the Whistler Skatepark, and we look forward to not only representing the local skateboard community, but to also share any and all information to the public as it becomes available.

If you made a bid on a prize and haven't picked it up yet, please reach out via info@whistlerskate.com

A huge thanks to Creekbread for hosting us, and to all of our supporters and sponsors that helped make the event possible — Off Axis Designs, Gnarcore Media and Underexposed Agency Ltd. with event logistics.

We had tons of prizes and support from Whitegold Snowboards, Birdhouse Skateboards, Monster Energy, G-Shock Canada, RDS Skate Supply, Billabong, Robs Auto, VonZipper, The Sk8 Cave, The Boardroom, Howe Sound Brewing, Herschel Supply Co., Sandboxland, The Circle, Evolution Whistler, Burton Snowboards, Art school skateboards, Skullcandy, HEART FILMS, Prior Snowboards & Skis, Duh Bolts, DOPE, Showcase Snowboards, SPY, Keep 6, OK Skateboards, El Furniture Warehouse, Dave Campbell, Benny Stoddard, Brian Hockenstein, Millennium place, Whistler Arts Council, Tapley's, Buffalo Bills Bar & Grill, The Longhorn and Garf's.

We had custom art from Darren Camplin, Kris Kupskay, Dave "Pepe" Petko, Stan Matwychuk, Whitegold Snowboards, Brian Caissie and Mark Kowalchuk.

The volunteers: DJ Praiz, Aaron Maksymec, Brad Broughton, Mark Trinidad, Mike Jones, all the groms that helped with raffle tickets, 101.5 Whistler FM, Pique, The Question, the municipality for attending and all the individuals that donated prizes and everyone that came out and supported.

We look forward to working with the municipality and the new council members to help them understand the importance of a skatepark upgrade, but also very much need the community's support at council meetings.

Skateboard parks and facilities are no longer considered alternatives to mainstream sports, rather they are now universally acknowledged as legitimate spaces where people of all ages can enjoy themselves and practice a rapidly expanding sport in a safe manner.

But the construction of a skatepark — or in this case reconstruction — is not an easy, or cheap, task and donated funds will only go so far.

We look forward to creating and sharing our vision for the possibilities of a modern, up-to-date skateboarding facility in Whistler with the coming council, and trust that the significance and importance of this crucial next step will be shared among all the stakeholders involved.

The Whistler Skate Park has a long and storied past, and in no small part has contributed to the fantastic growth of our community.

Alas, the current state of the park is both sad and unfortunate, and steps must be taken immediately to ensure it does not fall into further disrepair. We very much look forward to working on this exciting project and ensuring that reconstruction not only takes place, but represents the needs and demands of both the local skateboarding community and visitors alike.

To be involved add yourself to the WSA Facebook group or check www.whistlerskate.com for the latest news.

Lenny Rubenovitch

The Whistler Skateboard Association

Transit's long history

Congratulations to Glenda Bartosh for her column about the Whistler hydrogen buses (Pique, Nov.13). Another sad example of the provincial government's total disinterest in public transit.

The 17th century buses that Glenda mention were powered by horses, of course.

What is interesting is that this first urban public transit system had five lines, each with a fixed itinerary and schedule, set fares etc. Unfortunately the Paris authorities quickly restricted its use to middle-class people (notaries, lawyers etc.) so the system could not expand and only lasted 15 years.

The inventor was Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, scientist, writer, philosopher, and more. He was one of the inventors of the first mechanical calculators, and is better known for his work on barometric pressure, the probability theory, and much more.

He is one of the writers that French high school students dislike (I did) as their immature minds can't appreciate the beauty of his writing and the depth of his thoughts.

Urban public transit started again in earnest in the early 19th century. Omnibuses, as they were called, where still horse-drawn. So were the first tramways, with the difference that the trams ran on rails. Not too long afterwards horses were replaced by electricity.

J-L Brussac, Coquitlam

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