Letters to the editor 

Time for a summit on education

Re: Sending education to the corner by Crawford Kilian ( Pique May 6)

When I first became a school trustee some 12 years ago I was privileged to hear John Ralston Saul speak about Canadian education and the vision that the founders of our education system had. It was a passionate speech and it spoke to the uniqueness of the vision - that every child would be afforded the same quality education no matter where they lived. This is the essence of Canadian public education. Interestingly the history of education is a central theme in Canada's social, economic and political history.

As a school trustee this is what I reminded myself constantly when I was forced to make tough financial decisions that affected our students. Slowly I sense we are forgetting the purpose and the uniqueness of our public education system. It is something to be treasured, to be valued and I must ask myself are we weakening the public classroom in its ability to be successful by sending public dollars to private education institutions. But I must also ask myself, are we weakening the public education system by allowing it to be run by one interest over the other? I am referring to the constant conflict between government, districts and educators. And finally, I always had an uneasy feeling that when we integrated special needs students into the public system that it was never truly thought through in terms of funding and classroom needs, thus creating a constant tug of war between perception and reality.

Is it not time that we, government, school trustees, parents and educators come together at a Summit on Education and reaffirm our Canadian education history, the need for a strong public education system and then together establish a vision, mission and goals for the 21st century? I would further suggest that this vision could not be altered through political whim. A strong vision and mission will bring children back to our public schools.

It is worth a try because the conflict between school trustees and government, educators and government that plays out in our newspapers and our boardrooms is not creating any solutions.

Andrée Janyk

Whistler

 

Asked and answered

You ask a question and the answer is obvious (Sending education to the corner, Pique May 6). The government is typically giving away the store. They are doing it now just as they did when they were called Social Credit. Private schools' only purpose seems to be to teach kids to pass exams, not to learn, and to be indoctrinated into their way of thinking. This is not how things are in the public schools.

Taxes should not ever go towards funding private schools. This only gives a subsidy to the wealthy. It is the same thing as reducing income tax for the un-needy and invoking sales on the needy, the most unfair and inefficient method of filling the coffers for the people's obligations.

Terry Smith

Garibaldi Highlands

 

Can't do it all at once

RE: May 5 article by Jesse Ferreras "Winds of Change not tackling public intoxication, RCMP says"

Public intoxication is but one symptom of a challenging, complex and persistent social issue. The Winds of Change is concerned about all facets of drug and alcohol addiction issues in our communities - including public intoxication. There are many actions we would like to take, like developing a sobering centre that can act as a service hub for individuals with chronic or severe addictions. Unfortunately, some actions are more immediately feasible than others.

Our action priorities for 2010 are to:

· Host an annual wellness gathering in the fall;

· Recognize the contributions of local individuals and programs to creating a healthier community;

· Provide monthly information about addictions and healthy living to the community;

· Monitor and analyze addictions service levels, impacts and gaps within the valley;

· Support local groups with funding applications that promote healthy lifestyles; and,

· Leverage the core funding of Winds of Change.

These priorities reflect a balance between strengthening the overall social fabric of the community as a whole and targeting specific service needs. We will do all of this in 2010 with $12,500 - our core funding contribution from Lil'wat Nation, Village of Pemberton and Area C of the SLRD. Although this is a small amount, it reflects a huge commitment by local governments to work collaboratively together. We are sincerely grateful for their support and for the in-kind contributions of all of our Steering Committee members - including the RCMP. Collectively we will continue to look for opportunities to fulfill our broad mandate. Suggestions (and resources) are always welcome - creating conflict where none exists is not.

Sheldon Tetreault

Chair, Winds of Change Steering Committee

 

A real legacy for Whistler

In this post-Games world we now inhabit, one can easily be dismissive of the time, effort and resources required in hosting the event. One can often be
engaged with others in debating the pros and cons of the entire process.

In the aftermath of the Games it is easy to be cynical. What I find somewhat surprising, maybe due to my low confidence in political process, is actually witnessing the emergence of Whistler as a centre for high performance sport in areas that we had previously seen only minimal activity.

For the first time ever and as a direct result of the Games/Own the Podium/ Legacies Now/Whistler Legacy Society programs we now have young British Columbia athletes coming here to actively participate in training camps.

This past week, both the B.C. Nordic Ski Team and the Callaghan Valley
Development Team participated in a five-day on-snow training camp utilizing the higher elevation trail network in the Callaghan Valley. The early morning conditions were exceptional, even by world standards!

These facilities, once combined with those of the soon-to-be-completed
athletes' village sport and accommodation venues will provide a permanent
home for many young Nordic skiers and others wishing to advance performance in their chosen disciplines on a year-round basis. As a result, Whistler will soon be the home town of many more dedicated athletes.

Even the most cynical among us must admit... that is a Real Legacy.

Brad Sills

Whistler

 

Dig in, really

So the majority of our council is digging in their heels on the Olympic Party. Really? I admired you for digging in your heels on pay parking. As unpopular as it was, you believed it was for the benefit of the community. But this? Really?

You think we should feel better because it is hotel tax being spent and not property tax. Really? We actually want you to spend ALL the money wisely. Really.

Ralph wants the silent majority to speak. I think they have. I actually don't think Whistler has a silent majority.

You challenge the naysayers to see how much fun it will be. Of course it will be fun. How can a $96,000 party not be fun?

You compare this to the Ross Rebagliati celebration. Really? I was there. Surely that party was not $96,000.

I don't think our athletes will feel slighted if we don't have another celebration for them. We celebrated all those achievements at the time with the whole world. The timing for this party couldn't be better. A busy weekend and the day after we have forked over our property taxes. Really?

Bea Gonzalez

Whistler

 

A party closer to the heart

Council wants to spend $96,000 on some clowns, face painting, a pancake breakfast and a parade in hopes of attracting tourists. Really? What are you guys smoking?

How about you give the $96,000 to Rush and some other bands people have actually heard of and have them play a few sets nightly at the new Celebration Plaza. Not only would that be a nice "thank you" to the community for putting up with things like the patch work that has become Highway 99, it will most certainly attract a large group of tourists who otherwise wouldn't give a parade or pancake breakfast in Whistler the time of day.

If you're going to blow $96,000 on a party, at least make it a party worth going to.

Tom Landers

Whistler

 

Old growth being logged

I am sad to have just discovered that the Resort Municipality of Whistler is getting into the business of logging our old growth forests.

That's right! The newly established Community Forest is run by and one-third owned by the RMOW. They plan to log 20,000 cubic metres per year and a large percentage of this is irreplaceable old growth forest. That to me is far from green or sustainable.

Is this to pay off the Green Olympics?

Now the plan is to improve logging practices but the fact is that starting this summer they will be clear cutting old growth trees in the Callaghan of all places. The first area slated is right above the world-admired and famous Whistler Nordic Centre. I hold tourism tenure in this very area and that's why I have this inside information.

It must be stopped!

Sure logging is necessary; go ahead and cut some of the tree farm, second growth, but hands off our ancient forests, it's irreplaceable.

We are a tourist town now, we should know better. Our guests are coming here to see and feel these trees. Now sure, some old growth can be cut if necessary for fire breaks, building flood protection dams, some for development but just for capital gain - NO. Let's wake up fast on this one.

Anyone willing to chain themselves to the trees, please do so. Where have all the hippies gone when you need them?

Allan Crawford

Canadian Snowmobile Adventures

Whistler

 

Alternative perspectives

The past two issues of Pique have seen full articles on the issue of public intoxication in Pemberton. Both articles stemming from isolated comments at one of many public meetings about Pemberton's Community Plan.

So, to be clear, a comment from one person (perhaps two) at one meeting (out of many) is enough fodder for two articles. This is interesting in itself.

These articles got me thinking about a number of things.

1. Take a moment to consider what we call "public intoxication" in Pemberton and what we call "public intoxication" in Whistler. How are they different and how are they the same? What are your values and reactions to the different forms of public drunkenness? How do we, as a society, react to people with problems, with addictions? What role does marginalization play in this reaction?

2. What if, as a society, we were to react with compassion to the people in the parks, view the person as a part of your family and help in whatever capacity feels right for you. This reaction could look like: calling our local police who are very compassionate in their interactions with people with addictions, smiling as you pass someone when they are having a good day, not sneering at someone who is clearly suffering, staying with someone who is passed out until an ambulance arrives to ensure their safety or whatever else feels just for you.

3. What systems support the ongoing substance mis-use in Pemberton? What systems created this mis-use of substances? How did these people who are "repeatedly drunk in public" and "hampering access to parks" come to be here?

4. If a person suffering from addictions were your loved one how would you want their community to react? How would you rather have them approached? As a problem to be dealt with and hidden off the street or as a person deserving of compassion and dignity?

Any one of these questions could provide hours of conversation. I hope they create a more open and hopeful view of a problem than the articles in the paper.

Tanya Richman

SLRD Area C Resident

 

Sign the HST petition, Whistler

I am writing this letter to let people know where I will be in the next week to sign the anti-HST petition. Some people are not aware of the extra seven per cent that will be added to our ski passes, golf passes, food, pretty much everything.

I am behind this petition because it affects my small business. Until now I have absorbed the five per cent GST but now I have to pass on the 12 per cent HST to my customers, which will be about $100. Will this make me busier? I think not.

I, like many residents, am sick of being lied to by the government. Premier Gordon Campbell said he would not bring in the HST. But once we voted him in he brought in the HST.

The media and government tell us this is a done deal. It's not. You have to be a registered voter to sign the petition. You can still sign up at fighthst.com, then sign the petition.

I normally don't get involved in political issues like this but Bill Vander Zalm believes we can win and repeal the HST. Eighty-five per cent of British Columbians don't want it, so now all we need is your signature to oppose it. This is why we vote and now it is our right to say no to the HST.

I say now $105 for a lift ticket will not bring more tourists. This town depends on tourism and with our strong loonie and an economy still recovering we don't need another roadblock to prevent people from coming here. I am about to be a homeowner here and would like my future to be bright.

I will be at the following locations. Thursday the 13 th , Southside Diner 4:30-6:30; Friday the 14 th , Blenz at Marketplace 5-7 p.m.; Saturday the 15 th , Citta's 4-6 p.m.; Sunday the 16th at Roland's Pub 2-4 p.m.; Monday the 17 th at Blenz from noon-2 p.m. Come by and have a coffee, pint or a meal before you have to pay an extra 7 per cent.

Diamond Doug Ryan

Whistler

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