A history of commitment to environment
Re- Warming Thoughts, May 24, 2007
We at Whistler Blackcomb felt compelled to respond to Toby Salin’s “Warming Thoughts” letter to the editor in the Pique’s May 24 edition.
Whistler Blackcomb developed its Environmental Management System back in 1992 to outline a variety of important environmental initiatives including watershed, waste, energy, hazardous materials and wildlife management as well as restoration, and vehicle use and emissions reduction.
In 2007 alone we received four major environmental awards including the National Ski Areas Association 2007 Silver Eagle Award for Fish & Wildlife Habitat Protection; the First Choice Responsible Tourism Award for “Best in Mountain Environment;” the British Columbia Tourism Award for Excellence in Environmentally Responsible Tourism; and we were recognized as the Canadian industry leader in proactive environmental initiatives for the 2006-2007 ski season by Under the Sleeping Buffalo (UTSB) Research, a Banff-based environmental research firm.
To address Mr. Salin’s primary concerns regarding emissions and waste management:
We are working with GMC to address the unique vehicle needs of our staff with the least impactful vehicle. We used to have the Sierra Hybrids in our fleet but found the smaller Canyons to have lower fuel consumption. For 07/08, we will have completely changed our fleet over to the new AWD version of the GMC Acadia, a compact SUV with lower fuel consumption than our current vehicles.
To date Whistler Blackcomb has purchased 32 low-emission snowmobiles, snow cats that consume 18 per cent less fuel and has reduced its vehicle fleet to necessary vehicles only. Our 10-year-old employee carpooling program uses fleet vehicles to transport staff to Squamish and Pemberton after-hours, saving more than 600,000 kg of emissions annually.
Waterless toilet facilities are something that have been tested in the past, the men’s urinals in the Roundhouse winter season 04/05 were waterless and taken out due to guest complaints. However, we are committed to working towards a better waterless solution that can handle high volume and that will be tested again.
To get more information on what Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental stewardship programs are, we urge community members to visit whistlerblackcomb.com/mountain/environment and see the whole picture. We appreciate Mr. Salin taking the time to express his concerns. We are on a committed journey of continuous improvement and appreciate our community’s feedback — both the positive and negative.
Senior Vice President, Operations
Blackwater only the beginning
I thank your paper for your comprehensive coverage of the Blackwater Mushroom Area. This shows a strong community responsibility. A correction in regards to the misstatements (or put less politely, bald lies!) of the B.C. Timber Sales. There is a water-shed issue! There are three registered agricultural and domestic water users drawing their water right at the logging site. Two of these users sustain orchards that are unique gene banks (Summerland and Sannichtown Research centres let the majority of their trees die) that are local exemplars of Quince, giant plum, yellow cherries, to name just a few. Downstream many others draw their water. The Blackwater Creek joins Gates Creek, which feeds into salmon beds and a hatchery. Blackwater is a traditional salmon and trout stream.