Letters to the editor 

Comic thanks, what's with paying to park, it's a team effort,
parents say thanks, recycle and reuse, Michael Henderson
on getting out of the park, more on first nations
and on global warming

Smiles, chuckles and thanks

I just wanted to put a huge, smiling, chuckling, load of thanks out to all the people who came out to the comedy for a cause shows in support of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program this past weekend.

As one of the comedians I would like to thank you on their behalf as we all had a great time making you laugh. You all seemed to be having such a good time that it just fed right back into the show and made them two great nights at the GLC.

And I would like to thank you even more on behalf of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program. Our program tries as hard as we can to focus on a person's abilities rather than their disabilities so that we can get them out enjoying the wind on their face in the great outdoors. We are fortunate to have many incredibly dedicated volunteers, but we also need as much financial support as we can get. Some companies, like Scotiabank and Whistler-Blackcomb, have been very generous, but we are thrilled when we can put on events like this weekend's comedy show so that the public can come out and support us as well. (And special thanks to Mike Varrin of the GLC for his continued support.)

It is through your support over the years that we have been able to grow from just offering alpine ski programs to where we can now offer snowboard and cross-country skiing programs as well as many summer programs such as kayaking and biking.

So thank you and thank you on behalf of both the comedians and the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program.

PS: Live comedy is a rare event in this town so keep going out and supporting it when it comes.

Pete Crutchfield

Comedian, member of the Board of Directors for W.A.S.P.


Carrots, sticks and climate

Re: Pay parking raise ire of local driver (Pique, April 5)

Everybody seems to be concerned now about global warming. Yet, when a simple measure is proposed to limit the convenience of operating a device that makes a big contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, the initiative is still met with resistance. Faced with the spectre of pay parking, the indignant motorist asks, “Why does my life have to change?” I suggest the answer is, “So that the climate doesn’t change.”

Technology alone cannot spare us the worst consequences of global warming. We must all be willing to make individual lifestyle adjustments if we hope to deal with the issue effectively. Sometimes necessary behavioural change requires financial “sticks”. But maybe pay parking would be more palatable to the public if combined with a carrot in the form of free transit throughout the valley. Then maybe we’d finally have a large contingent of longtime locals riding the buses, a mode so far principally patronized by visitors, transients and seasonal residents.

Tom DeMarco



Whistler’s Toria

It is really very nice that you used the sports headline “Whistler’s Victoria Whitney turns heads with a fourth place finish”. We keep getting congratulated, but we know deep down that while Toria does it herself, she really has had the support of much of the town.

Real congratulations are directed at the Triathlon Club, the Whistler Bike Team, to the Kid’s Camp crew of her early years, and to the fabulous group of coaches at WMSC who have always helped motivate Toria. All of these supporting adults nurtured and encouraged the competitive spirit she shows.

Congratulations can also be directed to the Sports School program at Whistler Secondary School, where Rod Thompson has always found a moment for Toria even when she has so seldom been at school. Toria has a big heart, she is happy to be “Whistler’s”.

Thanks to a great town.

Al and Irene Whitney



Community support amazing

We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for the support shown to our son, Todd, after his recent biking accident and subsequent hospitalization in Vancouver. We are amazed at the outpouring of concern expressed through visits, phone calls, e-mails, hospitality for our family, and assistance offered in innumerable other ways. The generosity and care of the Whistler/Pemberton community have been so phenomenal that words cannot express the depth of our gratitude. It was much easier for us to return home knowing that Todd continues to have the understanding support of his community while he recuperates.

With sincere thanks.

Peter and Sharon Hellinga

St. Catharines, Ontario


Proud to be a part

If there is one thing that I have learned living in Whistler over the last six years it is that this is the most generous and genuine town I have ever lived in.

Once again this year we ran the “Loonies 4 Leukemia” campaign that collects change for leukemia and lymphoma research. Our daughter was diagnosed two years ago and is living in remission on state-of-the-art medication, so really the research is where we would like to see some money go. With all the varied campaigns for all the great causes supported in the community it was touching to receive the response we did.

Spring Creek Elementary, Alta Lake and Whistler Secondary School all participated in the campaign by bringing change to donate, and at this point Spring Creek is only slightly behind last year’s total which made them the top fundraising school of 480 participating in Canada! Thank you to the many children that emptied their own piggy banks and collected change door to door. And to Miss Penny and all the other teachers who gave so much time and support to the campaign.

Over 20 businesses participated by carrying boxes, including Boston Pizza, who also sponsored the pizza part for Spring Creek, Lululemon, Whistler Dental Clinic, Whistler Physiotherapy, Re/Max Realty, Art Junction, Whistler Medical Clinic and Dr. Janice Carr, Mountain Paint, WERC, Whistler Village Church, the i-Host crew, Delish and the Grocery Store, the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Past Lupino, Whistler Reception Services, the Whistler Question and Riverside Campground.

The North Shore Credit Union counted all the changed donated for free, making them truly wonderful corporate hometown stars.

And finally, upon hearing of the campaign, Susan Shrimpton and the skating club went to bat and got involved in soliciting, delivering and picking up boxes from helpful companies. Thank you to all who took boxes in an effort to raise some money for this cause. Our heartfelt thanks to these groups who really know what volunteering and compassion are all about. I am proud to live here.

Lorna Van Straaten

Parent Co-ordinator

Parents for Patients/Loonies for Leukemia



Some advice for all

My dad has always been interested in recycling. Now I know why. When I turn on the TV at night and flick through the channels I always seem to pass by the news and hear another sad event in a new part of the world. People are killing and dying in Iran and Iraq everyday. Many countries, including the U.S and Britain, are causing pain and sorrow for oil. Oil is not a renewable resource and is going to run out quickly. We are going to have to find another way to travel and heat our homes or our world is going to end sooner than we expected.

Each day most of the world drives to work or drives to their daily activities. Driving has just become part of our everyday life and that is going to have to end soon, or global warming is going to get worse and worse. Who knows, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, our most valuable tourist draw, might not get any snow and that would lead to disaster.

If we could only find another way to travel and stop using oil. Other issues come to mind in this area. The garbage. We all want to make money fast, so the big companies use more than enough packaging to make their products look big. They normally use plastic, which cannot be recycled and just makes the dumps bigger. We just ship our garbage away to make more room. But have we ever thought that it leaves us and just goes somewhere else and makes another dump somewhere bigger? And normally that dump will just burn the trash, and that causes global warming. Everything is just one big circle that always leads you back to the pollution of the planet and which in turn leads to the solution.

Bike or walk to work if you can, recycle as much as you can and, most importantly, be nice to the environment.

I am going to leave you with words from my six-year-old friend who once starred with me in a movie that was in the 2001 Filmmaker Showdown. Quoting Raven Morin: “Garbage is all stinky and everyone leaves it on the planet and it is bad for the planet and it is bad for the animals. So could you please stop doing it people? I wish you could but I know you don't understand me.”

Aleea Dahinden, age 11



The end of a great run

As many who were close to me knew, I was planning to transition out of my Recreation Programmer position by the end of 2007. The interim manager of facilities and general manager of our department were notified in writing of not only my intentions to resign effective Dec. 14 th of this year, but my overall dissatisfaction with internal structural changes being implemented. I thanked management for a great eight years but stressed that for both personal and professional reasons I would be working with them in ensuring a smooth transition as I departed by ends year. However, on Friday, Jan. 26 th I was asked to hand in my keys, handed eight weeks pay, and asked to leave the Meadow Park Sports Centre immediately.

I debated long and hard about the pros and cons of writing this letter but after careful consideration I decided it was the just thing to do. In addition to providing closure, I felt that this sort of educational piece could inspire others who have been released from an organization that they had served proficiently for years.   To those of you I say, “there is a better path for you”.   “Reap the rewards of these new adventures as you are worth it.” Take pride in knowing that this is not a reflection of you. It is a quick fix by organizations in response to budgetary restraints and not to the overwhelming contributions of its employees.

Now working as a Community Schools Recreation Programmer for five elementary schools and one high school for the Gladstone Family of Schools (Vancouver School Board, East Vancouver), I wanted to take the time to formally say goodbye to the great little resort community and its diverse families I grew to love over the past eight years. All of you hold a special place in my heart and I truly have enjoyed watching your children grow up in a number of programs that I have gotten off the ground in my tenure with the RMOW.

Of course, I never thought I would be writing an editorial piece to say goodbye to the families of this great community, but given that my conveniently titled “pay in lieu of notice period” wraps up at the end of March, the timing I felt was appropriate. It was a great run and it is the families, community groups, and partners that I have worked with that won’t be forgotten. Whistler will always be a second home to me, and it is that sense of family that I will remember fondly and treasure.

Michael Henderson

Community Schools Programmer

Gladstone Family of Schools


Our collective future is the issue

In response to the letter written by Joe Bako (A familiar script, Pique March 29):

If you think that conquest by deception, guile and force is par for the course, that is a pretty sad statement about your expectations for humanity. I’m not being naïve about the way the world works, I’m saying that the issue is as much about deciding what we, as a society, would like to see happen in the future as about recognizing what happened in the past. No one is disputing that we are all here to stay. The question is, what kind of society are we building for all of us?

The fact is that our aboriginal brothers and sisters live in greater poverty, have less access to relevant education, have generally higher rates of illness, and a shorter life expectancy than non-native Canadians. Their poverty is not due to “laziness” or a weaker work ethic — the ethnographic and historical record shows that First Nations dominated early colonial economies — but is rather due to historical injustices, institutional inequalities, and dispossession of their lands and resources. Talking about “stolen lands” is really a way of talking about needing access to the resources, lifeways, and sacred places that are meaningful to aboriginal peoples.

The colonial government (until Canada grants the right of self-determination to First Nations it remains a colonial government) has tried assimilation, with disastrous results — just look at the residential school debacle. Aboriginal people are voicing what will work for them, and it is time to listen.

Robin Anderson



Action speaks louder than words

Is global warming a global emergency?

Yes it is, and it is being recognized as such more and more.

On March 19th, Avaaz campaigners hand-delivered a 100,000-signature climate change petition to the environment ministers of the world's most polluting countries and it worked. The chair of the meeting, Sigmar Gabriel, German environment minister, waved the petition in the air, calling on his fellow ministers to act — and they agreed that climate change would be the #1 issue at the G8 summit in June.

Closer to home, Whistler2020 is recognizing climate change and global warming as the most important challenge Whistler has to face while moving toward sustainability. As mentioned at the first Whistler2020 meeting of the 2007 task force process, sustainability presents challenges and opportunities. As our resources decrease and population increases, there are greater chances to hit the wall of the funnel and the room for quality of life decreases. For ski resorts, the biggest wall is climate change. Like quantity of fish affect the fishery industry, the number of skier visits affects ski resorts and climate change represents a real economic threat to Whistler.

March 23 and 24, Hilltrip presented the first Energy Film Festival in Whistler at MY Millennium Place. Over a hundred movie goers and concerned locals, enjoyed the 15 documentary films and speakers in the two-day mini-festival aimed at providing an entertaining way to educate the public about global warming and inspire the audience to action.

I would to thank all of those who attended the event and who are becoming part of the solution. A sincere thank you to Western GeoPower, Nesters, Eco-Everything, Clif Bar, Twice Shy and everyone at MY Place without whose support, the festival would not have happened. Thank you also to the Sierra Club, AWARE and Council of Canadian for their effort to make our world a better place. Finally, I would like to thank Sarah Valentine for helping create the festival, as well as Dean Harris, Sophia, Angie Nolan, Sara Jennings, Kiran Pal and Giselle Trepanier for volunteering their time and passion for the environment.

Now, let’s get down to some actions, because in the end, actions speak louder than words.

Marie Fortin

Hilltrip, Whistler


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