Letters to the editor 

This week's letters

Re: the proposed Ashlu Hydro Project

The Ashlu River Canyon is a unique place. It is currently the target of a company that wants to turn it into a power project. Its environmental value is irreplaceable to all of us who live here and its tourist value is priceless. For those of you who haven't witnessed the beauty of the Ashlu Canyon first hand it is like Nairn Falls, except with a lot more water rushing down over a much greater distance through a spectacular marble and granite canyon. It is the canyon which is the subject area. It ends at the Squamish River, at the 20 Mile mark of the Squamish Valley Road. If you would like to see it drive past 20 Mile Ranch and turn left on the bridge and follow the road across the delta, keeping left, until you come to the twin bridges of the Ashlu. Open your windows and feel the cooling effect of those waters. A few kilometres later, from the deck of the third Ashlu bridge, you can see this natural spectacle. There is a walking trail just past the bridge. You will want to bring a camera.

British Columbia has embraced the idea of generating electricity using Independent Power Projects. The IPP process involves using private money to develop power. It seems like a good idea except the private money buys political influence and the socio-economic partnership can take on a life of its own. When a project is ready to produce it is plugged into the North American hydro grid and becomes a part of NAFTA. Is there anyone who doesn't know about NAFTA? Don't think for a second the turbines could be turned off. Once a contract is signed you must produce power regardless of ongoing negative impacts.

Land and Water B.C., a provincial Crown corporation, manages the IPP process. When LWBC is satisfied with an application they issue a water licence and land-use licence. Currently the Ashlu application is under review by the Crown corp.

The Province of B.C. had established the Land Resources Management Planning Commission (LRMP) to give land use guidance to the IPP process. Their important work wasn't completed before this current rash of IPP applications. Virtually every major stream from Pemberton to Horseshoe Bay is at risk of an IPP project. Some of these projects are viable and are proceeding. The need for regional cumulative environmental impact studies remains. The Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has been put in the position of having to make the final decision on IPP land use. The failure of the LRMP to work effectively placed the Ashlu on the agenda of the SLRD.

In May of this year the SLRD held a public meeting at the Sea to Sky Hotel in Squamish. Although the overwhelming majority of attendees denounced the Ashlu plan the SLRD could not issue a decision because there were outstanding documents required before a decision could be made. The SLRD will hold another, and most likely the final, public meeting on the Ashlu application in late September.

A hydro project in the Ashlu canyon has no long term benefit to the local community and would rob the Sea to Sky corridor of an environmental and truly fabulous tourist asset.

Tom Rankin

Upper Squamish Valley


I’m sitting here watching the Olympics and noticing a strange dichotomy between the ads that are appearing during event coverage and the spirit of the Olympics.

One ad that runs continuously on CBC is a Coke ad that has a room service waiter drinking the heel of a hotel guest’s Coke before delivering it. When the guest opens the door it is unclear whether he was caught but an unhappy guest greets him with "It’s about time". And the waiter covers his actions and comes up with a puerile comment about the room.

While watching NBC I saw an ad from AT&T where a son comes to the breakfast table after staying out later than agreed and when challenged by his parents he blames his cell phone coverage. Whereupon his dad rewards him for his lack of resourcefulness at finding a phone by giving him a new phone which he promptly uses to taunt his unhappy jealous younger brother.

Both these ads portray poor attitudes and if meant to be amusing, certainly miss the mark for me.

The Olympics are supposed to promote ethical behaviour, a spirit of goodwill and a sense of camaraderie among teammates and friends. To watch events split by ads which promote getting away with something or treating people not as you would like to be treated is jarring. Am I alone?

Jinny Ladner



Well after six years here in Whistler, the cost of living, and the prospect of never owning a piece of land has driven us away. Affordable housing is an oxymoron. We are two working professionals and we would love the sprinkling restrictions to apply to us.

Both of us have received awesome career opportunities in Prince George, eight hours north of this "golden" town.

We can eat cheaper, live cheaper and we’ve purchased a five-bedroom house with a pool for $140,000.

Prince George has a population on 80,000. It has changed since I first lived there as a university student back in 1994.

Although I will miss all the awesome people I’ve met here, I will not miss the greed and construction.

My advise to all young couples: get outta town, NOW – unless you have a large down payment or different expectations of living to mine (a piece of grass to mow, a covered garage).

Oh Whistler, you sinister gold-digging mistress. Good bye, you greedy girl.

Michelle Harlington



It was unfortunate to read in the newspaper that there is not going to be a passenger rail service from Whistler to Vancouver until 2006. I used to wonder that if I simply arrived in Whistler with my own train, would someone let me start my own passenger service? Actually I know where I may be able to borrow one. It would simply be a matter of siphoning diesel from a few snow cats and convincing an engineer from Muni Hall to drive. I know one there, he thinks I’m great.

Although, I am sure that even if I managed to pull off such a stunt, I would not be allowed my own passenger service for two reasons. The first is bankruptcy would only improve my credit rating. And secondly, according to the article I read, CN Rail gets to decide who runs the passenger service. I don’t think he likes me.

So instead of rambling on with my railway delusions, I would like to ask a question about the most important transportation issue facing Whistler.

When is that bobsled track going to be ready?

Bjorn Gimse



Recently a horse and rider were struck by a speeding commercial vehicle in Maple Ridge. The rider was seriously injured and the horse was dragged under the truck, severely mangled and suffered terribly until it could be put down.

The potential for such an accident is significant in Pemberton. Many people are attracted to Pemberton for its rural atmosphere. Horses are a big part of that atmosphere. Passing a horse and rider on the road is not like passing a bike and rider. You can never guarantee that a horse will not startle at something and swing out into the path of a vehicle.

Please slow down when you see a horse on the side of the road and give them a wide berth. Be aware that some parts of the highway, like the bridge over the Lillooet River, have no or very little shoulder on which to ride. To have access to a public river crossing and be safe a horse and rider must walk down the middle of the lane to force vehicles to slow down. Otherwise many vehicles continue to speed by at 100 km/h, inches from the horse.

Drivers, please take the time to slow down, enjoy the sight of a beautiful animal and respect them. Also, town planners please include the horse population, which is amongst the largest in B.C. per capita, when planning such things as bridges and roads.

Thanks to all that slow down.

Shelley Mathews



I would just like to bring to everyone's attention some shady characters that prey on people’s belongings while they are skating in the skatepark.

On the 18th of August I had my bag stolen with all my belongings in it. Black "fifth column" Japanese brand bag containing, ID, cards, cell phone, sunglasses, money, skatepads, etc.

On reporting this incident to the RCMP I was informed that this has happened to many other people.

If using the skatepark facilities please be aware of these opportunists, or if you know who these low-lifes are please contact me at return_bag@yahoo.com and I will give a substantial reward for the return of my belongings. No questions asked.

Mirei Murata



The following is an open letter to Mr. Svend Robinson.

Dear Mr. Robinson:

Since reading of the verdict ostensibly on your criminal charges, I have sat down and reflected on that and I am sending you my ‘Thank You’ for what you have done, specifically:

1) Thank you for introducing the concept that thievery of a $64,000 ring has very little relevance in our justice system.

2) Thank you for making Jean Chretien look honest, Brian Mulroney humble, Pierre Trudeau miserly and Adrienne Clarkson cheap.

3) Thank you for attending an international conference at the taxpayers’ expense after being charged with a felony.

4) Thank you for admitting thievery before the police laid the charge – impeccable timing.

5) Thank you for indicating to the judge that your career was ruined and by extension therefore, you will not run for political office again – until the next federal election that is.

6) Thank you for setting the bar of a new standard of our justice system for oncoming generations which even my three year old grandson can easily clear.

If memory serves me correctly, I read somewhere that you stated you were an atheist. Whether this be true or not, I recommend you read the book of Proverbs which deals mainly with ethics and morals. One verse in particular comes to mind:

"The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is right." (Chapter 21, verse 8)

K. C. Hill



This letter is to thank everyone who contributed to my awesome experience and made it possible to go to the 2004 World Outrigger Canoe Sprint Championship in Hilo, Hawaii, Aug. 7-17.

I just got home a couple days ago, and looking through my photos I get to recap on this amazing trip. From the opening ceremonies, walking in representing the Canadian Junior Girl Team, to the cultural night where we got to see some outstanding cultural dances and shared a little bit of ours, through a line dance. We got to meet people from over 20 countries in less than 10 days.

Special thanks to:

• My team: Amy Ross, Calley Fraser, Kayla Cherry, Leigh Koladka, Sydney Van Loon, my coach Hugh Fisher, team manager Mary-Jane Abbott, chaperons Shelly Fraser, Denise Van Loon and Sue Ross for pulling it together and really making this a memory that will last for ever. "It wouldn’t have been as much fun without you guys."

• Ann Chiasson, Windermere Sea to Sky Realty and Bruce Steward, Nesters Market by pulling through at the last minute to cover some financial costs and for continuing to support the young athletes of Whistler/Pemberton.

• Roxy/Quicksilver for donating shorts and bathing suits to the Girl Team as part of our casual team uniform.

• Dave & Lauren Boyle for letting the Girl Team stay at their very comfortable cottage up at Lillooett Lake for a pre-training camp.

• My grandmothers, GG and Marguerite for being the best fans anyone could have.

• Teammates who allowed me to stay at their home in Pemberton many nights throughout this summer which saved on driving for my family.

• Finally, my family for supporting without boundary my desire to pursue many challenges my heart takes me.

This trip was one of those once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Thanks again to everyone who contributed in any way to make this trip as successful as it was.

Nadine Crowe

2004 Canadian Outrigger Canoe Girl Team

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