This week's letters to the editor

I’ll pass on 2010

I would like to thank Colin Hansen, the minister responsible for the Olympics, for making my decision to be nowhere near Squamish during the 2010 Winter Olympics very easy. The idea of paying B.C. government employees to “volunteer” has led me to the conclusion that if I were to vollee for the Olympics the closest I could hope to get to the Games would be directing traffic or picking up trash. As someone who has spent countless hours donating my time to the community of Squamish, to have VANOC say that this proposal will bring "workers with valuable skills to the volunteer pool" is an insult to the work I have done, as well as to the hundreds, if not thousands, of residents of Squamish who freely give of their time to make this town a better place year in and year out.

If anyone were considering volunteering for the Olympics consider the difference those 21 shifts that VANOC requires you to volunteer would make over the next two years if you were to volunteer for a local Squamish community group instead. There are countless organizations in town that could use those donated hours to make Squamish a better place to live once the Games are over.

Time and time again over the last few weeks I’ve heard the question: "What is Squamish getting from the Olympics?" Woo-hoo, we are getting VANOC to rent office space so that they can suck more life out of Squamish’s already overtaxed volunteer base because we historically are a giving community. What an insult, especially since the official Olympic mascots Huey, Louie and Duey could not even be bothered to show up at the press conference for this big announcement last week.

What else is Squamish getting from the Olympics? If you are to believe the rumors about the traffic plan, no private cars will be allowed on the highway unless you are a resident of a community along the highway. All tourist traffic will be in buses. How many of those buses will be stopping here in Squamish? Where will they be stopping? I can just hear the conversations now on the bus with the tourists from France or New Jersey. "Wow honey, did you see all those fast food franchises?" "Yes dear, and there was even a Wal-Mart. We’re going to have to go back and visit that town on our next vacation." Meanwhile all the local Squamish business owners are standing on the side of the highway waving signs saying "Y’all come back now."

So in closing I am urging any Squamish resident who is thinking of volunteering for the Olympics to take those 21 days VANOC is requesting and instead give 21 days work over the next two years to a local Squamish community group where your time and experience can benefit the community in which you live. Then rent out your house for as much money as someone is willing to pay, take three paid weeks off work for a trip to somewhere you could not normally afford to go, and send Colin Hansen and VANOC a postcard thanking them for making your trip possible.

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