Letters to the editor for the week of October 25th 

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Get bear smart

Last week was the one-year anniversary of Jeanie's death, Oct. 20, 2011. Whistler's most iconic black bear was destroyed by conservation officers due to concerns for public safety: Jeanie had been reported to have entered two restaurants on the week of her demise. She is survived by her cub, Jeanette.

In my 10 years of following human-bear conflicts in Whistler, I've never seen such a disheartening year. (This year four bears are dead.) In 2011, 25 per cent of Whistler's black bears were destroyed because of human-bear conflicts. One quarter of the population was eliminated. Half were due to car collisions. The other half to human (and businesses') carelessness and ignorance.

Please educate yourself. Try Bearsmart.com for information.

Landlords, educate your transient winter tenants. Fall and spring are the most active times for bears. Recycling is the same as garbage. Leave it out and bears get shot. Restaurants, powerwash your outdoor grease bins and garbage containers on a regular basis. Staff, use them properly. Regular public, close all bin doors at waste stations. Don't leave anything sitting outside. Call landlords if garbage sheds need maintenance.

Do not pose for a picture with bears. Make noise. Yell and holler when you encounter them. Let bears know that human interaction is a negative experience. Keep our wild, wild.

A bear's intelligence has been likened to that of the great apes. I remember one incident where a Whistler bear not only learned to turn a doorknob to get into a garage, but he figured out how to turn the knob in the opposite direction and then pull the door (instead of push) to get out again – not a coincidence, he came back the second day and repeated the incident. Once a bear finds a reward, they will come back again, year after year, even if there isn't a reward a second time. So we have to get it right the first time.

Do it for Jeanie. And more importantly, do it for the approximately, 75 remaining bears here in Whistler. This is all just a part of living and doing business in this town.

Nicole Fitzgerald


Business community says thank you!

On behalf of the Whistler business community, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate its resort partners on their success in securing three iconic announcements for the resort in the last couple of weeks.

First of all, thank you to the Resort Municipality of Whistler for being supportive of the vision presented by Mr. Michael Audain to establish a private museum in our community. It is an unbelievable honour for Whistler to host Mr. Audain's extensive art collection and our council's decision to embrace the opportunity will expand our cultural offering and attract a significant number of visitors to our resort.

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