Letters to the Editor for the week of November 29 

  • Photo by Mike Crane/Tourism Whistler

Whistler still has the vibe

Life is dynamic, our environment changes, people morph with their priorities and landscapes are altered with the influx of our population.

The spirit of Whistler locals, however, is unique in that it has remained the same, which I witnessed on my last visit several months ago.

Close to 30 years ago, I moved to Whistler when I quit high school in Ontario and finished my diploma through correspondence then wrote my exam at Myrtle Philip Community School. I am claiming to be the first high-school graduate in Whistler, as Pemberton was the only option for teenagers back then.

Over the 15 years of living in the mountains, the locals have always had an ambience about them. They are conscious of the environment, enjoy various sports and have a genuine appreciation for gorb-ies (goofs on rented boards), international working visa holders and the homegrown locals.

I have worked and lived in many places on this planet and the Whistler locals are an incredibly tightknit community, which is unique, and which I had the pleasure to experience again on my recent visit. I was truly inspired by many of my Whistler friends when I was able to experience the good-karma flashbacks from the days of skiing with buddies, listening to great live music, and having the fun dinner parties that were once a common occurrence for me.

Now that I am an outside visitor looking in, I want to thank you all for keeping the spirit alive despite your challenges of urban encroachment, the city-slicker invasion, and a higher cost of living.

Cherish the great quality of life that you have and remember that it is a result of your daily contribution to the karma bank, which distinguishes Whistler locals as a great group of people.

Many communities around the world should be inspired to become like you, as you have kept your small village together with your kind, spiritual energy. Have a safe ski season!

Scott Jeffreys

Pot shop should not be in town centre

I attended a meeting where the Pemberton Village Council (discussed) a new retail cannabis storefront in the heart of Pemberton's town centre. While council has deferred making a decision on the Pemberton Hotel Cannabis Licence referral ... I would like to publish my thoughts in this letter. 

I am of the opinion that allowing a retail cannabis store in our town square may not best serve the health or positive future of this community.

Often, I stroll past the empty space that is slated for the new cannabis store and think, "This is such a great space and could be used for so many purposes ... boutique butcher shop, computer repair/sales/cell phone store, live/work artist studios, etc."

But, no ... this retail space may very well become a Pemby pot shop. And it is not on the outskirts on Aster Street, or in the mall across from the fire hall, nor in the Industrial Park. It is right in the town centre less than 150 metres from the place where our kids walk, conjure, and hang out every day at lunchtime, after school, and on weekends.

It is less than 150 metres away from the community barn, right next to a brand-new neighbourhood, which I would assume is family oriented. It is also beside the bus stop that many of our teens use at least three to five times a week and would have to share with folks who have just frequented the shop via bus to purchase pot.

The council stated that they have imposed a 150-metre minimum setback from schools and other public spaces where youth congregate, but they certainly are not following their own guidelines and rules.

One councillor suggested that perhaps they should hold off for a bit to gather some data on how Canada's new legalized marijuana way of life plays out and what effects we might see on our nation.

Meanwhile, I noted Mayor Mike Richman said, "Legal cannabis is a fact ... it's happening." The mayor is correct and I believe many do share an opinion of, "let's accept it and see what happens." 

I have absolutely nothing against the recreational use of cannabis by adults. But the effects of drugs is a growing epidemic with the youth in this country and cannabis is considered (by some) a gateway drug that could lead to the use of more dangerous drugs—especially among kids.

Of course, it is on us as parents to communicate with our kids. But allowing drugs to be visibly marketed and available for purchase in the main town centre of our community, in my opinion, makes them appear to be safe, cool, a societal norm, and will expose our children to them even more.

Is this our goal?

I would like to see Pemberton consider all the possible impacts this could have on our children and the overall 360-degree health of our village.

Please keep the recreational sale of cannabis at more than an arm's length.

A store in the Industrial Park would make more sense in my opinion.

Lori Patrick

Support for cancer patients

In light of the Greyhound bus lines reducing service in British Columbia, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) wanted to take the opportunity to reach out to any people living with cancer who may be impacted by this withdrawal of service. No matter where you live, CCS is here to ensure that no Canadian has to face cancer alone.

Like other British Columbians, we were concerned when we learned of Greyhound's decision to reduce service in the province. We know that the bus service provided transportation for people facing cancer who had to travel from rural areas to larger city centres for treatment at a lower cost than other transit options.

If you need us, regardless of where you live, here's how we're ensuring that you don't have to face cancer alone:

In some communities in B.C., CCS is partnered with the Freemasons Cancer Car Program to help people with cancer receive rides to and from primary cancer treatment appointments, such as chemotherapy and radiation. 

Our travel treatment fund can help by providing financial assistance for low-income individuals who need to travel for cancer treatment. Additionally, if you need to fly to treatment, CCS continues to connect people with cancer with Hope Air, which provides free travel for people with cancer who meet their eligibility guidelines (see hopeair.ca for more information).

We understand that a cancer diagnosis can make you feel alone and raise many questions and concerns, whether you are living with cancer yourself or caring for someone who is.

CCS also offers a number of non-transportation related programs to help support Canadians living with cancer. Through our Cancer Information Service, CCS can connect you with cancer-information specialists who can answer your questions and provide reliable cancer information. 

If you'd like to speak with someone who has been through a similar cancer experience to you, then our Peer Match program will pair you with a trained volunteer who can provide you with the support you need. You can also join our online community—CancerConnection.ca—if you have cancer or are caring for a loved one with cancer and want to connect with people going through similar experiences. And if you'd like to offer support to people with cancer in your community, CCS offers peer-support-group facilitator training to help start and sustain community support groups.

No matter where you are or what type of cancer you're facing, CCS is here for you. For more information on any of the programs or services, or if you have any questions about cancer, please call us at 1-888-939-3333 or visit cancer.ca.

Andrea Seale
Executive director, Canadian Cancer Society British Columbia & Yukon

Supporting education in Kenya

The Pa-moja Club at Spring Creek Community School held its first fundraiser of the year on Thursday, Nov. 22.

We organized a movie night with popcorn, baked treats and beautiful Kenyan crafts for sale. Fun was had by all.

We made over $900 to help pay the tuition for our Kenyan student, John Wachiro, to attend his last year of secondary school. In Kenya, the government does not pay for secondary school. Many families cannot afford to send their children to secondary school, so their education ends in Grade 8.

Spring Creek Pa-moja Club (Pa-moja means "together" in Swahili) has been learning about animals and education in Kenya and raising funds to support both since 2014. We would like to thank the students, staff and parents at Spring Creek who helped and attended the movie night and supported Pa-moja activities.

Jane Millen, teacher at Spring Creek
Vicki Swan, volunteer Pa-moja Club, Spring Creek

Sending athletes to Gymnaestrada

The Oros Gymnaestrada Team is going to the World's Gymnaestrada event in Austria in July 2019.

There are 19 Whistler athletes on the team. As you can imagine, it is an expensive adventure and we are doing a lot of fundraising.

We held a "Kids Night Out" on Friday, Nov. 23 and invited children to come and enjoy the gymnastics facility in Cheakamus. They ate pizza, played games in the gym and did some arts and crafts. It was a great night with 24 children attending and having a lot of fun.

We were so lucky to have the support of Functional Pie Pizzeria, which provides pizzas for the participants. The pizzas were exceptional. Thanks also to Tami and Karin for spending the evening in the gym to oversee the event and our Gymnaestrada volunteers.

We are so lucky to have such great coaches and athletes. We hope to hold this event monthly after the winter break.  

Katie Faerge, event organizer

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