Letters to the editor 

This week's letters

This letter was addressed to J. Walter Cowlard, R.P.F. of Weyerhaeuser. A copy was forwarded to Pique Newsmagazine.

The Village of Pemberton requests you to come before council to discuss your proposed cut blocks 800-5 and 800-6 located in and around the community watershed of the Village of Pemberton.

Pemberton Creek is the vital water supply for more than 3,000 residents and supports a large Coho salmon population. The presentation given by Bernice Patterson at our Council Meeting # 1091, on July 6, 2004 failed to outline major issues, which need to be addressed before any further action is taken in our community watershed. These issues and concerns are:

1. The need for a Geo technical Report:

The hillside above Pemberton creek has very thin soils or moss over rock with a high probability of a slide if logged. This slope has a history of slide activity and the damage to Pemberton Creek would have great consequences to the community.

2. The need for a Creek Assessment Report:

The Pemberton Creek supports many fish species including; Coho Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, Cutthroat Trout and Dollyvarden. The proposed cut blocks contain many seasonal creeks that carry nutrients down stream to the fish. To log in the riparian zone of these upper creeks would upset the balance of water temperatures and affect an integral part of the fish habitat.

3. The need for a study on affected Wildlife Habitat:

The proposed logging area provides habitat for many wildlife species including Black Bear, Deer, Bobcat, Marten , Cougar, Eagle, Raven, and Spotted Owl.

4. The need to assess First Nation Values:

The location of the proposed cut blocks is well within the traditional territory of the Lil’wat Nation. The proximity of both blocks 800-6 and 800-5 to the Pemberton Creek provides a high probability of CMT trees and warrants a study.

5. The need for a Fuel Management Plan:

The fire hazards caused by logging practices, which leave slash behind, need to be address. The slash left in the previous cut blocks of Timber Licence #0741 is now a fuel problem. The Wildfire Threat Rating System developed for the Squamish-Lillooet forest district gives the Pemberton area a high wildfire threat rating and is a serious concern to the Village of Pemberton.

6. The need to present an Access Management Plan:

The presentation at Council was not clear as to whether the access road Br. 800 was to be constructed or not. The verbal presentation mentioned the use of helicopters instead of building the road, however the written forest development plan indicates a road and bridge location over Pemberton Creek. If the logging plan is to use helicopters, the access plan needs to identify the drop zone for the logs and the safety plan for general public, who use the trail system below the cut blocks.

7. The need to address Environmental Noise Issues:

The use of helicopters in the proximity of residential neighbourhoods and the downtown core will affect the quality of life for Pemberton residents. The timing of helicopter logging will also have a negative effect on tourists who will experience the loud noise.

8. The need for a Visual Management Plan:

The presentation to Council did not provide detailed digital terrain modeling of the proposed cut blocks. Will these cut blocks be consistent with the Sea to Sky LRMP or the landscape units consistent with the objectives of the LUP? The need for detailed images for the public to review is very important to the public process.

9. The need to review the Integrated Water Management Plan:

Logging in the community watershed has great impacts on water quality and the safety of our drinking water. Do the proposed cut blocks 800-5 and 800-6 meet the requirements of the Community Watershed Assessment?

The Village of Pemberton would like further clarification on the above issues and invites you to present your findings. We consider the risk to our community values as very high compared to the limited timber values that exist in TL #0741.

We hope your co-operation with the Village of Pemberton will extend beyond these current issues.

Mayor Elinor Warner

Pemberton

Silent partners

Last week the Pique thoughtfully reported on the new Whistler Welcome Centre, the dramatically increased visitor numbers and the benefits this facility inures to Chamber members and the community at large.

Among several contributing partners that make this happen, chief among them is the Resort Municipality of Whistler. RMOW, through the hotel tax, funds the lion’s share of the staffing cost for the centre.

Studying Visitor Info Centres across Canada one finds chronic under funding and rampant jurisdictional in-fighting (read dysfunctional politics). We are fortunate at Whistler to have a mechanism that can fund these success stories, and a silent partner that knows how to make them happen.

Brent Leigh

President,

Whistler Chamber of Commerce

We were a bit surprised that Mr. Tom Thomson chose to write a letter to the editor criticizing the mayor for driving a hybrid Honda Civic in the Canada Day parade, since he was informed at the event that the mayor was asked to drive the car to promote car-sharing, the resort community’s newest sustainability initiative. We are nonetheless grateful, since his letter gives us a great opportunity to advertise it again. For free!

The Whistler Car Sharing pilot program, administered by the Co-operative Auto Network (CAN), is supported locally by AWARE, the RMOW and the WHA. For a one-time registration fee of $25, plus a low monthly fee of $5 to $35, members have joint access to one of two cars parked strategically in Whistler, as well as every other car, truck or minivan in the CAN network; that is 83 other vehicles in the Lower Mainland, Tofino, Nanaimo, Courtenay and Cortez Island, and to 6 in the Victoria Car Share Co-op. Members pay $1.75 per hour to a maximum $21 a day, and a low (17 to 37 cents) kilometre rate. You don’t pay extra for gas. With no car insurance and car repair costs, it’s cheaper than leasing or buying, especially given today’s gas prices. Ask any of the 18 local members. We’ll be adding vehicles as membership grows.

Mayor O’Reilly was the first to register in Whistler and has been talking enthusiastically about it ever since, so we can confidently state car sharing is cost-effective and convenient and hybrids are fun to drive and perform well on Highway 99. The other vehicle is the highly rated Ford Focus, not a hybrid, but good on gas.

Council is supportive of CAN, a measure to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads, thereby reducing congestion, the need for costly road expansion, and harmful emissions. Car sharing joins the resort community’s other transportation demand management initiatives: the Jack Bell Foundation carpooling; WAVE transit; (with the new Rainbow Express service to Rainbow Park – try it!); Employee Bus Passes; the Valley Trail; end-of-trip facilities (coming to the new library facility); free rentals of bike carts at Nesters; and the annual Commuter Challenge (in September, watch for it!).

For more information on CAN, visit cooperativeauto.net or call 1-877-CAN-CARS. For local information on car sharing and everything else transportation, contact Emma Dal Santo at municipal hall at 604-935-8197 or edalsanto@whistler.ca.

Oh, and for the record, the mayor has led the previous Canada Day parades on foot.

Diana Waltmann

Information Officer

Resort Municipality of Whistler

Last Sunday, my brother and I while riding our mountain bikes in the vicinity of the Hurley Pass area north of Pemberton, ran into a couple of other amigos (Guillermo Bright and Paul Fournier) whom we enjoyed the view with before one of the greater descents one can do on a mountain bike around here.

With big grins, we said our goodbyes at the bottom. They drove back to Whistler and I followed about 30 minutes behind.

When I got to Nairn Falls late Sunday afternoon, the RCMP had closed the highway for a bad accident somewhere up the road. We eventually were let through and drove by the accident on a turny section of road just north of Kill Me Thrill Me and the heliport, if that's familiar to anyone reading this.

Not knowing who was in this accident, I drove past and then left Whistler for a few days. When I returned, I read the Pique and couldn't believe who was in the accident, let alone that there were survivors as Guillermo's vehicle had taken a mighty tumble off the road after smashing through a concrete guard rail and was not visible to those driving by.

Not only can I not believe that Paul and Guillermo are still alive, but I can't believe that we allow drinking drivers on our roads anymore. Why do drinkers have rights at all? As an aside, why is it so often that pickups or SUVs are the one's booking it down 99? Paul and Guillermo's would-be assassin, allegedly full of liquid courage, was driving a bigger pickup and was apparently going 160 km/h when he hit the turns and them.

I like the European approach. Three years ago, while in Norway for a really fun wedding, with some really good drinkers I might ad, I was intrigued by the way they approach booze and cars. No one does it. They take buses, bikes, taxis, etc. It's not tolerated at all and if you're caught, you get to spend something like a month in the crow bar hotel. I think you're also walking, using your thumb, or taking the bus for the rest of your life too. That's if you didn't kill someone.

So, if you see a future criminal (a drinker getting into a vehicle) to go ruin someone's life and a few others, do everyone a favour and at least call the cops if you can't stop them. Even if they are a friend. In this country, they'll get off easy anyway but at least we might stop them this time.

Jay Symons

Whistler

I am writing in response to Stacy Kohut’s letter of last week, asking where was the Paralympic presence and recognition at the unveiling of plaques for 11 athletes by Whistler-Blackcomb at Creekside’s World Cup Plaza. Stacey provides a lesson for all of us: To truly be inclusive we must always think inclusive. When we think "Olympics" we must also think "Paralympics" and when we think "athletes" we must include our disabled athletes.

Whistler has a tremendous opportunity to change the way the world considers and includes our disabled population by hosting the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. If we truly embrace and live by a spirit of inclusivity now, imagine where we all will be by 2010. For our disabled athletes at least, I hope it means on the podium. Thanks for the reminder Stacy.

Maureen Douglas

Director of Communications, Sea to Sky Office

VANOC

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