Letters to the Editor for the week of September 27 

click to enlarge PHOTO BY EMMA HAGGAR / TOURISM WHISTLER - Setting up camp The growing popularity of Whistler's SkyWalk Trail, pictured, is causing major headaches over parking and illegal camping for nearby residents of Mountainview Drive.
  • Photo by Emma Haggar / Tourism whistler
  • Setting up camp The growing popularity of Whistler's SkyWalk Trail, pictured, is causing major headaches over parking and illegal camping for nearby residents of Mountainview Drive.

Take action on Mountainview Drive

As long-time, permanent residents, we are very happy to have watched the evolution of our community into a world-class resort.

We are also appreciative of the incredible amenities that the tourism business has afforded our community.

However, we are asking that equal consideration be given to the quality of life for our residents.

We have reached the tipping point. The fabric of our neighbourhoods is being changed.

As an example, our formerly quiet Mountainview neighbourhood has morphed into a parking lot, picnic and campground complete with a porta potty due to the Skywalk Trail.

On a recent long weekend there were 45 to 50 cars and vans, with half parked illegally in contravention of the bylaws.

Most concerning is the safety issue and fire hazard. When we were operating under an "extreme fire" alert we had people cooking breakfast on open-flame camp stoves.

As well, access to two fire hydrants was impeded. If there were to be a fire, the engines would be challenged getting up the street and reaching the cul-de-sac.

When I called the bylaw office to lodge a complaint I was asked if I was familiar with the situation at Joffre Lakes. I was warned that the situation we have experienced would only escalate due to social media.

This is unacceptable and there needs to be a solution. We are also aware that we are not the only neighbourhood being impacted.

Our solutions for a basis of discussion would be:

• A weekend shuttle service from the village parking lots from June 30 to Sept. 1 (remember Lost Lake and the chaos before the shuttle was implemented? Seems to be working);

• Limit parking on Mountainview Drive;

• Enforce the existing bylaws with tickets (not warnings) and/or towing with safety issues (hydrants) at stake;

• Ensure all social-media communication references village parking/shuttle service.

We look forward to solutions for all neighbourhoods that have been negatively impacted.

Janet Hart and Robin Crumley
Whistler

Spring Creek community centre says thanks

The little community building just up from the school in Spring Creek continues to be a hub of support and programming for the Whistler community.

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation Social Service Centre is home to three important local non-profits; Sea to Sky Community Services, Howe Sound Women's Centre and Zero Ceiling. Only our friends at Whistler Community Services have moved to the new Nesters building.

On a very rainy Epic Promise Sunday a skilled and enthusiastic volunteer crew from Whistler Blackcomb arrived by the bus load to rejuvenate the building. Working all day, they achieved an incredible amount—landscaping, and painting inside the building. 

We are extremely grateful for the support of Mei Madden, Cynthia Buck, Epic Promise, Vail Resorts, and the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. Thank you to every Whistler Blackcomb employee that came and volunteered their time and energy to ensure we have a wonderful, welcoming home for ourselves and those we serve.  

On behalf of Sea to Sky Community Services, Howe Sound Women's Centre and Zero Ceiling, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Chris Wrightson
Co-executive Director, Zero Ceiling 

A GranFondo tale

My name is Gernot Dick, rider No. 3588.

On Sept. 8, at 6:30 a.m. I stood in the starting line-up for the Whistler GranFondo for the first biking event of my life. I was nervous—very nervous, chilly, and it was still dark with rainclouds above. Was I dressed properly? Should I have had a bigger breakfast? The other guys have two water bottles, I only have one. I do have clip-on shoes—they have clip-on computers!

Looking back, this journey started a few months earlier in the bike shop. Let me tell you about it.

"You are 83—you don't need a bike like that," said the owner of the bike shop at the time. Those words really made me feel self-conscious. 

"You also don't need clip-on shoes."

"Yes, I do," I said, not quite certain what he meant by clip-ons. I have never had the experience where the owner of a shop would not sell me the more expensive item!

He pointed to another bike. "Get that bike and you save yourself a lot of money."

"But it is bright red and the saddle is different," I said. 

He looked at the ceiling as if he were searching for words. "The saddle, everything is different. It's a normal bike for a man like you."

At least he didn't say old man.

"I don't want a normal bike," I said.

"Well, keep in mind what I tell you, because that giant bike might kill you," he said.

To me it wasn't giant—it was the same size as all the other bikes. I didn't know that he meant the GIANT Bike Company. Finally, he gave in and I accepted that I was risking $3,000 more and perhaps even my life!

I wondered if I was too stubborn, stupid or both. It started out so simply. All I wanted was to stay in shape for skiing—that is why I moved to Pemberton three years ago, and biking in the summer would keep me in shape for skiing. But, driving from Pemberton to Whistler, I saw people biking uphill—steep up-hills, on bikes with turned-down handlebars. I was curious, so that's why I wanted a bike like that. 

I got on it and started biking from Pemberton up to Birken. Between shifting gears, keeping my balance, being afraid of getting out of the saddle and losing my balance, no road shoulder and close logging truck encounters, I began to think maybe the bike shop owner was right—"That GIANT bike might kill me!"

After a few weeks, I thought I was ready. On a sunny day around noon, I stopped by the bike shop and said, sort of calm and cool, "Today I will bike up to Whistler." The guys in the shop turned their heads toward me—nobody said a word. However, I really felt I was ready for the challenge. After five kilometres, my body wanted to quit— I was tired and really sweating. But, being stubborn and starting to meditate, my mind got me to Whistler and back to the bike shop. 

"Jesus, are you out of your mind. It's 39 degrees—no one bikes on such a hot day!" someone said.

They brought me a chair, sat me down and gave me a litre of water, cold water, the best water I have ever had! On that day I won the argument knowing that being stubborn helps me get what I need. 

In early September, my friend, Roberta, called me and said, "Gernot, did you know that Whistler has a GranFondo?" 

"Grand Fonda, is that ice-cream?" I asked.  I did not know that it was a bike race through the wilds of the Coast Mountains.

On Friday, one day before the race, at the VeloSpoke Expo they dressed me. It took some time, as I didn't know what a real biker wore. The biker pants felt like I had forgotten to go to the toilet. My friend and the sales people were great, making sure I was ready for the big event the following day.

September 8: Having read the "Event Instructions" and "Riding Etiquette," I was ready, standing in the line-up for my first race. With hundreds of bikers around me, I had the most wonderful feeling rushing through me. I hugged the racer beside me feeling overcome by it all. I felt this was not really a race, but a big family event with chatting, laughter and music.

The voice of the announcer sounded through the dark of the morning, helicopters hovered, people waved and somebody sang "O Canada." I loved the feeling of all this excitement, but also I was still nervous, as I had never biked near other bikers.

Five, four, three, two, one ... slowly we started to move, with me right in the middle of it, trying not to come close to another bike.

After the Lions Gate Bridge came a steep climb up Taylor Way. Bikers passed me and I puffed heavily thinking I would never make the time I had written down at home—Vancouver to Whistler in 7:15 hours. 

"Not a chance," I thought. I can hardly get up a city street! What will happen when I get to the mountains? My mind had to get to work. 

I am older, I just need more time to warm up, I thought. Then with my clip-on shoes and 1,000 positive contemplations, my body went through a metamorphosis, and I made it to Whistler.

But, it was also the magic of the day that got me there—that mass of bikers, wonderful people, chatting, singing, bands and drums playing, cow bells ringing, biking through red lights and some shook hands with me, hoping they would also still be biking at eighty-three years old.

During the last twenty kilometres, I passed bikers who had passed me in the beginning. With an endurance challenge it is not important to me how I start, but how I finish. 

My time was two minutes slower than I had guessed, so now I have a two minute challenge for the GranFondo 2019 and a new challenge in my life to keep staying vertical—biking in the summer to stay in shape for skiing and skiing in the winter to stay in shape for biking.

The 80s are wonderful! If the mind can make it important, the body will always follow.

Thanks to all of you for the help and the unforgettable day.  

I was impressed with how perfectly such a complicated event was organized, and the effort that was required to make it happen.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good!"-Woody Allen.

Gernot Dick
Pemberton

National Seniors Day

The Mature Action Community would like to thank Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm Morden and council for declaring Monday, Oct. 1 as Whistler Active Seniors Day in conjunction with National Seniors Day.

The Mature Action Community wishes to invite the whole community to come and celebrate this special day all afternoon at the tennis club on, Oct.1.

Everyone is welcome and admission is free.

Stacey Murl
Chair, Mature Action Community

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