Letters To The Editor 

This week's letters

Goodbye to Uli’s, with love

After spending the past 26 hours with so many great people packing, moving, celebrating 13 great years, and packing and moving more, I find myself unable to get any rest until I set the record straight with not only our loyal customers and good friends, but the town I have grown to call home.

On Sunday, March 6, Uli's Flipside closed its doors.

Uli's Flipside has come and gone twice now. Both times due to, in one way or another, landlords with big eyes and dreams of bigger wallets.

In 1992 when Uli was working as a head chef and living a pretty comfortable life, he decided to take a chance and make it easy for the average guy or gal to keep the Kraft Dinner in the cupboard another night or two and go out for dinner in a town where, in 1992, your options for dinner out were a slice of pizza or a $25 entree. I am all for the slice of pizza or the rack of lamb, but back then if you wanted to go out with some friends, have a two- or three-course meal and a few beers or a bottle of wine, you better have been saving up or pick your night out carefully, because it wasn’t going to happen too often.

Uli was the first one to change all that. The concept was simple: good food like your granny used to make, big ass portions, funky atmosphere, and cheap. And all of this, done with love.

We all used to giggle under our breath at first when Uli would say to us, "did you make that with love?" After a while, we were all saying it, because it worked.

We had 35 seats, and we were lined up out the door most nights. We moved on after a few years, continued to "make it with love" and continued, I hope, to make people happy and at the very least walk away stuffed.

All the people that came to Uli's Flipside and continued to be so very loyal over the years were the reason it was so easy to make it happen.

To the staff over the years, the customers, and the friends of Uli's Flipside, it's always been a pleasure and a delight.

To Uli, thanks for the constant faith, the lessons learned, the friendships made and most importantly, the good food, funky tunes and local colour.

Derek Pasenow

Whistler

Mellow Whistler!

I think Whistler needs to just sit back and take a big breath. The mayor, council, everyone at the municipality, and the whole community at large should take the whole month of May off to chill out somewhere outside of Whistler. Perhaps some kind of retreat that has only one thing in mind – relaxation.

The whole town is infected. We can’t remember what we want or don’t want, where we are trying to go, or where we even left our glasses (they’re on your head). It seems to me that there is so much happening so fast that this town can’t keep up. Whistler needs to clear its minds of all things Whistler, the pressures of developers, businesses, citizens, IOC, elections, and the myriad of other onslaughts to the 2010 race. We are becoming bogged down by too much at once and can no longer think clearly.

That said, let’s approve London Drugs and move on.

Why? (Deep breath) Here we go.

Affordability. Constant complaints about this issue. London Drugs would provide a less expensive alternative for a variety of sundries that both locals and tourists would use. I don’t think the effects would be as devastating on other businesses as many would like to believe. As well, I think they would hire more locals year round compared to the existing businesses.

Visitors with Families. I agree we need family-oriented things to do in this town. The movie theatre is enough for something underground. So far, other options haven’t been viable, and not just in this location. (Re: Mountain World) Losing this space isn’t going to be a big deal. The town needs to think about other alternatives for families without having to hide them underground where they could be in "anytown North America". It’s a bigger issue than this space and needs some real addressing.

Finally, it has been said that we don’t want to offer "the same shopping experience you would get in any commercial centre." This is where we should admit that we are burnt out and need a break. If you saw this clearly, you would simply be replacing something that actually already does exist in commercial centres, (Eddie Bauer & Guess) with something else that also exists in commercial centres (London Drugs).

However, if you look below, I think you’ll see that London Drugs is actually the lesser of two evils. Eddie Bauer boasts 430 Stores in North America with shops in Japan and Germany (www.eddiebauer.com). Guess has countless shops around the world including the U.S., Africa, 13 countries in Asia, Australia, Canada, seven countries in Europe, nine countries in the Middle East, and 11 countries in South America with plans of opening many more (www.guess.com).

There are 62 London Drugs retail stores situated across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (www.londondrugs.com). A family from Mexico, Brazil, Europe won’t have even seen a London Drugs before, making for a more novel travelling experience.

In breath. Hold. Exhale.

Peter Skeels

Whistler

The hypocrisy that is Whistler

The fact that London Drugs is facing opposition doesn't surprise me because this is the hypocrisy that is Whistler. We can't have a London Drugs in the village core but it's alright to have McDonald’s, Subway, Dominos, KFC, Starbucks, IGA, Eddie Bauer, The Gap, Roots, etc. Councillor Wade doesn't want the village core to be the same shopping experience you would get in any commercial centre. Yet we already have that same shopping experience, so why does it matter if we turn an Eddie Bauer and a Guess store into a London Drugs?

I think the residents that most strongly oppose this are the ones that have businesses that might lose money from competition, residents who oppose all large corporations and residents who oppose change of any kind regardless if it benefits the community as a whole. To those residents I would say: we allowed the more destructive fast food corporations to infiltrate the village around our local restaurateurs, some of the worst large corporations are already here and our 2010 bid has cemented the fact that we will continue to grow.

The two issues that our three councillors are opposed to are the impact on the village core and rezoning. Due to the expansion of the village over the last decade the village core now extends from the base of Whistler to Marketplace. Therefore the replacement of two chain stores with another chain store shouldn't matter.

The second issue of rezoning from recreational to commercial seems to be a matter of fact. The fact is that an indoor family-orientated recreation area sounds great but has proven not to be economically feasible. Shall I remind everyone of the Rainbow Arcade, Mountain World and Alpenrock? Between the three of these failed businesses we had video games, virtual reality games, pool tables, climbing walls, bowling lanes and various other family play areas. Yet the insurmountable costs of doing business in Whistler, combined with excessive down times, made the consumer pricing unaffordable. In short you could spend less money playing slots in Vegas than you could going to these family recreation spots. Having said that I don’t think anyone would be reckless enough to pony up the dough for a proven failure of a venture.

However, London Drugs in the village core would bring much needed goods and services for both residents and guests, including small furniture, appliances, electronics, computers, parts and repair services. The fact that they are a larger chain means they will be able to offer these goods and services at a more reasonable price than the local merchants who presently buy these goods from large chain stores (Walmart, Superstore, etc.) then sell them to you at an inflated price.

I understand change can be hard to deal with and scary at times, but we should evaluate all the pros and cons and come to a final decision that is the most beneficial to the majority of our residents and guests.

Tim Gorgichuk

Whistler

Would you want it?

Mr. Buckman's passion for Anderson Lake (Pique letters Feb. 17) may have caused him to overstate a couple of points, however, I would hardly accuse him of misinformation. The fact is that sockeye salmon spawn in Lost Valley Creek along with other creeks on Anderson Lake. Just because there are transmission lines and a rail line on the west side of the lake, does not mean that you should desecrate the east side.

Boat traffic is minimal on Anderson Lake and while it is unfortunate that some boaters have no respect for the environment, I fail to see how those arguments have anything to do with the merits of a powerhouse being built in this beautiful pristine area.

To follow Mr. Gunderson's logic (Pique letters March 3) would lead me to conclude that he wants to build a road into every remote valley in B.C. so that firefighters can easily access the area to put out any fire that might be started by some irresponsible jerk.

This is a beautiful area and I ask, would you want a powerhouse built adjacent to your summer cabin?

Gary McDonnell

North Vancouver

Make the most of what you’ve got

I’d like to thank Mike Quinn for his letter to the Pique (Feb. 24). Finally , a voice of reason regarding the Pemberton airport debate. It was refreshing to read a rational argument based on experience and common sense. Prior to that, everything I’d read regarding the future of the Pemberton airport has been an annoying load of bunk. Those with visions of Pemberton as a busy commercial airport should just let it go .

Winter in Pemberton is (usually) characterized by precipitation of all kinds, low cloud, and limited daylight – otherwise known as instrument conditions. Combine these conditions with large mountains on all sides and you have a very challenging flying environment, especially if you’re talking about a 737, whose approach speed is around 270 km/h. And for an air service to survive, they need to keep a reliable schedule in the winter, no matter what the weather conditions, which means they would be regularly flying the approach on instruments. Transport Canada will never approve it. For this reason and the sheer impracticality of it, the idea of scheduled service to Pemberton is unrealistic and should be forgotten.

I’m a pilot, and I keep my plane at the Pemberton airport. As a recreational pilot, I prefer the small airports – the smaller the better, actually. I’ve flown all over B.C. and across Canada and I’ve seen a lot of great little airports in beautiful places, but Pemberton is still the best as far as I’m concerned. It already has so much going for it: Mount Currie as the dramatic backdrop; two golf courses right beside it; its close proximity to the beautiful Pemberton area; a short drive to Whistler; five major valleys intersecting it; a short flight to the Lower Mainland and the U.S., and yet it’s also a pretty short hop to the B.C. Interior. And of course there are the businesses that have been operating there for years: Pemberton Soaring, Pemberton Helicopters, and Coastal Mountain Air. I’m sure that the administration in Pemberton agrees that it really is a gem with huge unrealized potential. But at the same time, I don’t think they can see the forest for the trees. I think the point that is being missed by the people who are supposed to be making the decisions in Pemberton is this: make the most of what you already have!

Unfortunately a huge opportunity for Pemberton has already been blown. If you were to peruse the real estate section of the American Owner & Pilot’s Association journal, you would see a surprising number of fly-in residential developments. Basically, these are small airports, where people can build their home and attached hangar. Yeah, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for those passionate about flying, like myself, it’s paradise, and many are willing to pay big bucks for it. They range from low to high end, but considering the Whistler/Pemberton real estate market, it probably would’ve gone high end. Such a development could’ve netted a healthy sum for the town, maybe even enough for a new community centre. Well Pemberton has the small airport, the beautiful setting, but soon they will also have a sewage treatment plant there. Oh well…

The airport can get quite busy with private, recreational air traffic. Typically, these pilots land, look around at the nice scenery, see that there’s not much going on, get back in their planes and go. That is another missed opportunity. There are thousands of owner/pilots in Canada and many more in the States who are just looking for an excuse to fly somewhere. What needs to be done is simple marketing. These people need to be convinced that Pemberton is the place to come, and then give them something to do when they get here. A simple start would be some advertising in pilot journals, and some courtesy bicycles, or a car available for use when they land. The bikes, and/or car, could be sponsored by local businesses with some incentive attached, like show up at such and such restaurant with this bike and get a discount….or show your pilot’s license and get a discounted golf game. Of course it could go well beyond that, like golf and stay packages etc. While this may not satisfy the visions of grandeur held by some, I think it would be a much more realistic vision for the airport. The Pemberton airport is a small airport, and if its potential is to be developed, it should be as a small airport.

It doesn’t end at the airport though, the idea of making the most of what Pemberton has is lacking in other ways. Most people who live in Pemby moved there because of the lifestyle. A huge part of that lifestyle revolves around sport. It’s a sports culture, and a huge part of that culture is mountain biking, but what is being done by the town to make the most of it, or even to recognize its importance? How many of the most popular trails are protected in any way? The revenue generated from mountain biking in Whistler, if you consider rentals, sales, repairs, lift tickets, hotels, etc. must be staggering. Pemberton is in a great position to be a mountain biking destination as well.

Another good example of a market that could be developed is paragliding. Pemberton has massive potential to be a world class paragliding site. Although there are only a handful of pilots presently doing it in Pemberton, there is an estimated 260,000 pilots worldwide, and they love to travel. Across Europe, for instance, there are towns whose economies are largely based on paragliding.

My message for a town council that claims to be "cash strapped" is: abandon the grand visions for the airport and embrace the positive attributes that make up Pemberton’s unique culture. Make the most of what you already have, which is a lot.

Kevin Kutzner,

Whistler

 

Deaths of four officers a tragedy, not a soap box

I would like to urge both sides of the marijuana issue to stop using the deaths of four men to push their own personal agendas. I encourage you all to read the coverage. These men were brutally murdered in cold blood by a man who hated police officers. He was a ticking time bomb who participated in many forms of crime: he stole cars, illegally confined people, stole guns, manufactured moonshine, was found guilty of sexual assault and, yes, grew marijuana. He was feared by nearly his entire community and it was well known that he was a police hater.

Both sides need to stop putting the blame on marijuana. Whether you are asking for tougher laws or legalization neither would have changed the fact that James Roszko had it out for a uniform. He did not care who embodied that uniform, whether they had a family, hopes, or dreams... nothing. Who wore it didn't matter to James Roszko, only the uniform and what it meant to him. Marijuana did not kill Const. Brock Myrol, Const. Leo Johnston, Const. Peter Schiemann, Const. Anthony Gordon; James Roszko did. He decided to commit murder, the blame lies with him, James Roszko.

It seems to be human nature to start arguing, pointing fingers and laying blame, but we need to leave that aside for now. While in the eye of the pain, we need to focus on those who needs us, the surviving family, co-workers and friends.

I am the wife of an active member of the RCMP. Writing this letter through tears I flash on what the families of these men must have felt when they opened their front door to pale faced RCMP officers, hats in hand. It is that knock at the door we all fear. The worst nightmare for us, the children, wives, husbands, mother, fathers of police officers. A nightmare that has become an unimaginable reality for the families of these fallen men.

I can't express how my heart aches for you all. I wish I could be there to hold you. While I don't pretend to fully be able understand what you are going through now, I will be there for the funeral, there to hopefully take on one small part of the pain so you don't have to hold it all.

Brock, Leo, Peter, and Anthony, when I think of you I see the face of my husband. I see men who were active in their community, men with lives, and loved ones, men who had good days and bad days. Even if James Roszko didn't know that there was an individual beneath that uniform my family and I do. You couldn't have known this routine call would cost you your lives and it shouldn't have, you deserved more. For all of you I pray that you are now at peace.

For you James, you were a man possessed of demons. I hope where you are now you are rid of these demons, I hope you too have found peace, and that is all I can say to you without colouring this tragedy with even more hatred.

Bless everyone who has been touched by this.

Bernice Raabis

Pemberton

Just asking…

Squamish just had a referendum about borrowing cash to build new and much needed amenities, including a second ice rink.

Whistler's community is debating the need, beyond the Paralympics, for a second rink in town.

I wonder what the blindingly obvious solution could be....

Why is Squamish, which is screaming out for amenities and investment, being overlooked when it comes to dishing out Olympic legacies?

Alex Wilde

Squamish

Self-inflicted wounds

I restate my case, bashing Americans doesn't pay the bills in Whistler.

The U.S. attacker I referred to in my letter (Pique letters Feb. 24) clearly is Bin Laden, not Iraq.

I specified anti-U.S. opinions are not helping the resort, I said nothing about all the negative community stuff.

Mr. Gorgichuk informs us there are no WMD. Not finding something doesn't mean it does not exist; these implications are far greater than if they did find any. For chilling intelligence, news and analysis on the Middle East I refer everyone to the Israeli site www.debka.com.

Bruce Macdonald

Whistler

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