Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of April 26th, 2012

Delivering another memorable Telus Festival

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Delivering another memorable Telus Festival

What a "rush" and a great way to celebrate a bountiful winter season; the TELUS World Ski and Snowboard Festival was a resounding success! (The Festival so far... Pique April 19)

Thank you to Sue Eckersley and the entire Watermark Team for doing an incredible job, working tirelessly to deliver another memorable festival. Though ski ballet was not among the many on-mountains events, the World Ski Invitational and the Monster Energy Big Air, were just two of the events contributing to the celebration of sport and mountain culture. Thank you to the Whistler Blackcomb Events Team led by YP, Cate and Seb and all of the frontline staff, on the mountain and in the village, who helped to ensure the incredible atmosphere of the 10-day festival radiated though the resort.

Finally, thanks to all of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival sponsors and resort partners. Without their support, this event would not happen. With over a month left to enjoy this season's almost 14 metres of snow, I'll see you on Blackcomb Mountain!

Dave Brownlie, President and COO

Whistler Blackcomb

Positive start for Whistler University

Whistler U's presentation made a positive and compelling case for a university in Whistler during their April 17 presentation to council (Whistler U looks to council for a sign, Pique April 19). I came away from the presentation truly impressed by the level of research and community consultation the project proponents had already undertaken, and their willingness to adjust and modify their proposal so that it best serves the community.

As an organic farmer and environmentalist, I was also impressed by both the number and scope of the environmental studies that had already been conducted to ensure protection of the wetlands, including one prepared locally by Cascade Environmental. I believe the local impact of the benefits of the environmental initiatives proposed by Whistler U, from building standards, to curriculum, will far outweigh any negatives associated with developing the non-wetlands portion of the Zen lands.

For the record, I have no financial interest or affiliation with Whistler U, I am simply a local resident wanting to go on the record in support of this amazing opportunity for Whistler.

Peter Gorski

Whistler

Leadership on opposing Northern Gateway Pipeline

A brief but heartfelt thanks to Whistler's mayor and council for making the brave and bold move to officially oppose the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project. You truly have your finger on the pulse of your constituents and I personally thank you for it!

Kirsten Reinholz

Whistler

Stop the pipeline

Our mayor and municipal council members should be congratulated for having Whistler join other British Columbia communities who are opposed to having Enbridge build their proposed Northern Gateway pipeline across our province. Doing so definitely demonstrates the leadership and courage we voted for at our last municipal election. It feels good.

Although more than 50 per cent of British Columbia residents are opposed to the "gateway to global warming" pipeline, the pressure from the oil industry, the federal government, the Alberta government and other people who think this plan will provide lots of jobs and cash, is huge. Our own provincial government and the opposition are sitting on the fence. There is also resentment towards council's action in our own community, as was communicated by an editorial penned by a local lawyer in one of Whistler's newspapers this past week.

Make no mistake; transporting bitumen by pipeline or any other means is incredibly dangerous. Ask the people of Kalamazoo, Michigan. They are experiencing a spill of almost a million gallons of diluted bitumen from an Enbridge pipeline into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River.  Surprise, this stuff is extremely toxic and does not float.  It has become part of the bottom sediment, killed the fish and the fumes have made the residents ill. The Kalamazoo community has no idea how to clean it up, neither does Calgary-based Enbridge or the EPA of the United States. One can only imagine the results of a spill of "dilBit" into a tributary of the Fraser River.

Let's stand up with our mayor and council Whistler and defend our environment.

Randy ShawWhistler

It takes a community raise great kids

Students at Whistler Secondary enjoyed another great speaker last week. Sean Aiken presented his story "52 jobs in 52 weeks," (See story on pg.20) and captured the attention of the entire audience. The feedback from the students has been great, and his message about finding the passion in your life and turning it into to a career inspired many great questions. Sean was impressed with the articulate conversation he had with those who stayed behind to speak with him.

The Parent Advisory Council sponsored the event, but we would not have been able to bring Sean to Whistler without the generous support of Whistler Blackcomb, The Fairmont Chateau Whistler and the Bearfoot Bistro. Thank you to these and other businesses that continue to support the students at the Whistler high school. We hear such great things about the students of Whistler Secondary as they make their way in the world, and this is due in part to the generous business community that continues to support our great school.

Caroline Jauvin and Stephanie Reesor

On behalf of the Whistler Secondary PAC

 A big 'thank you' to the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program

I want to extend a huge thank you to the incredible staff and volunteers of the Whistler Adaptive Ski Program (WASP).   

As a result of a chronic knee injury suffered six years ago while skiing on Whistler, I have not been able to ski since and did not think I would ever get a chance to ski with friends and family again.

All that changed this season thanks to the amazing team at WASP who introduced me to the world of sit skiing. Thanks to their tireless efforts, incredible support, skills, patience and encouragement I can now enjoy the freedom of skiing down the mountain once more.

These guys run an incredible program and make the seemingly impossible, possible!  I cannot thank them enough for getting me back on the snow and for putting up with me during the learning curve!!

I am already dreaming about next season! Thanks a million!

Justine (Chompy) Sproat

West Vancouver

AWARE GETS NEW MEETING PLACE

Since last summer the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE) has been unable to find a venue sponsor for its public meetings. These meetings had long created a platform for knowledge sharing and debate, with local speakers focusing on issues relevant to the community. Now, thanks to a new networking group for Whistler non-profits, AWARE will be bringing back its public speaker meetings.

The brainchild of the Community Foundation of Whistler, these informal networking sessions seek to create opportunities for local non-profit groups to work together. Each session is loosely based on a topic of interest, with social media and fundraising being topics thus far. As with many networking sessions, the sharing of knowledge and information relating to the chosen topic is often invaluable, but it is from the side chats and meandering of discussions that solutions are created.

It was during such a meandering that the Whistler Museum offered to stay open late to provide a space for AWARE's public meetings. Having the opportunity to share the space of such a fantastic community amenity is much more than we had hoped for. So we want to say a huge thanks to the CFOW for making this possible and to Alix and Leah of Whistler Museum for offering to change their schedules to accommodate us, it is hugely appreciated.

AWARE's public meeting will now be found at the Whistler Museum, on the first Wednesday of each odd-numbered month (six events annually), from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 2, and we will be hosting the Whistler Centre for Sustainability on the role of sustainability planning in Whistler and other communities. The monthly Green Drinks will follow the meeting @ Blacks Pub, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Claire Ruddy

AWARE president, on behalf of the board

Don't spoil our beautiful B.C. with your garbage

I learned some new things over the weekend. Male bears come out of hibernation a month earlier then female bears and cubs. Male yearlings and two-year-old bears prefer to forage for natural food in more populated areas of Whistler because they are not threatened by larger older male bears that they may encounter in more isolated or non populated areas.

I also learned that there are a whole lot of people who don't appreciate anything about the beauty of this place because they seeming couldn't care a less if they throw their garbage out the window of their cars, drop it anywhere in the village, on our valley trails or at bus stops, etc. There are also pet owners that allow their dogs to run free and to drop a load wherever they please. Some of those owners happily leave their pets belongings for someone else to step in, to ride over or for others to simply pick up after them.

Nobody ever had to teach me that British Columbia was beautiful and a place to be cherished! Somehow just looking around compelled me to want to keep it that way for others to enjoy as well. For you people that live here or visit here who fail to recognize where you are and what responsibility comes with your presence of being, it's time you learned something of value.

If you have not got the capacity to learn it or the care to keep British Columbia beautiful, please do not visit us and please do not stay. We here in Whistler and in British Columbia feel very strongly about that which has been naturally gifted to all of us for the appreciation of all who live here and for the appreciation of everyone who visits here.

Brian Becker

Whistler

In vino veritas en français

Mr. Brenton Smith's assertion (Pique April 19) that "nobody in Europe will ever understand that they cannot just have a glass of wine at the nice elegant restaurant" is not quite correct. Laws aren't the same all over Europe yet and, even in one given country, they are allowed variations depending on regional cultures.

For example, in France where there is no bar at locations where real estate is at a premium, especially in big towns, any foreign tourist who would expect to have a wine of glass only at meal times (the only time when restaurants are open) would be told, nicely and with apologies, that it is not possible.

In either cafes or restaurants with a bar area one can ONLY drink in the bar section if one doesn't want to eat food. If one wants a meal one MUST move to the restaurant section. To make it more confusing, any table in the bar area or the outside terrace that is temporarily set at meal times with a tablecloth and cutlery is reserved for customers eating food. There will always be at least a few bare tables for those wanting a drink only.

Not all French cafes (also called bars or bistros... the choice is up to the owner) have a restaurant license. Quite a few don't and are only allowed to serve food items that aren't prepared by a chef in a professional kitchen. They only serve cold or grilled sandwiches, a cold quiche, salad, pastries, etc.  

The name of an establishment will usually, but not always, show whether there is a restaurant section or not. "Cafe de la Gare" is only a cafe (bar). "Cafe-restaurant de la Gare" is a cafe with a restaurant. There are always of course the exceptions that only the natives in a given location are aware of.   

If one orders a drink and/or a sandwich at the bar one MUST consume them right there, at the bar. One is NOT ALLOWED by law to take them to a table inside or outside. Prices can be — by law — different depending on where one stands or sits in a cafe, though not all establishments bother to have three different price lists. Drinking at the bar — often standing — means that one will leave quickly, while sitting at a terrace means that one can stay for one hour, watching the world go by, reading a book, etc.   

All restaurants MUST post outside, near the front door, a choice of several set meals, each for a different fixed price. Hotels and stores — including luxury ones — must also post their prices (Near the door for a hotel, in a window display for a store).

In the winegrowing region of France I come from, drinking a glass of wine outside meal times is not really done. One drinks beer or any one of a variety of before-meal or after-meal drinks that some foreign tourists may confuse with wine.

Not all restaurants in France that serve great food are elegant. My relatives have taken me to very popular places that were an old ramshackle farmhouse with rustic furniture and dogs running around the dining room (in all legality).

Many bars and restaurants in Europe — not just in France — are proud of a decor that hasn't changed for generations.   

By the way, Quebec culture in terms of food and drinks and their laws are different from those in France and other European francophone countries.

What Europeans tourists to Canada will NOT understand is having to pay taxes and tip in addition of the posted price of a meal.

They are always included in the price of a food item or drink or set menu and will be itemized on the receipt.

Mr. J-L BrussacCoquitlam

Missing Women Commission public policy forums

It is time for the people of British Columbia to lend their voices on how our most vulnerable women can be made safer.

Along with the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry hearings, we are set to hold a series of six important public policy forums as a component of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry Study Commission.

These forums will be held in downtown Vancouver from May 1 to May 10, 2012 and will focus on how to improve the safety and security of vulnerable women. More information can be found by going to the commission's website at www.missingwomeninquiry.ca.

The Public Policy Forums need the input, feedback and ideas of the people of British Columbia. While the information gathered in these forums is not considered evidence relevant to the testimony put forward in the hearings, your input will provide me with proposals for change and related contextual information that will help to inform the writing of my report.

We need to hear from you — as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and friends. We need to hear from you as a person, as a fellow human being, as someone who cares about improving the safety and security of vulnerable women who are still at risk today. We need you to tell us what you feel needs to be addressed, improved upon and changed – so a report can be produced that has practical, effective recommendations that can be implemented in the real world that we live in.

While space is limited at the public policy forums in Vancouver, there are many additional ways to participate. The forums will be live streamed via our website at www.missingwomeninquiry.ca you can provide your feedback via email at participate@missingwomeninquiry.ca or send a letter to us at #1402 – 808 Nelson Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2H2.

We are asking the good people of British Columbia to stand up and tell us what you believe needs to be done to help save the lives of vulnerable women at extreme risk.

Wally Oppal, Q.C., commissioner Missing Women Commission of Inquiry

The Point says thanks

The Point Artist-Run Centre Society would like to thank all of those who helped make our Summer 2012 fundraiser at Creekbread a great success and a great time.

Starting with the artists themselves who brought the lodge to life with their live music and painting: The K Band (Toshi, Kaori, Kaede and Sakura Kawano), Susan Holden, Jono Reichardt, Simon Stribling, Aude Rey, Rajan Das and Peter Vogler, as well as Ben Ashby and Steve Clark of WMN.FM Radio for kicking things off with a live broadcast of The Breakdown. Painters Christina Nick, Stan Matwychuk, Vincent Massey and Lisa Geddes, working in 15-minute segments, created a fascinating mural, "Morphology", that was raffled off at the end of the night. Thanks to the generous winner from Britain who donated it to The Point.

The long thank you list to local businesses and artists who donated auction items is a testament to the generosity of our town: Whistler Wired Vacation & Property Management, Whistler Brewery, The Fix Bicycle Products, Canadian Snowmobile Adventures, Whistler Film Festival, Short Skirt Theatre, David Buzzard Photography, The Flip Side, Katmandu, Whistler Backroads, Christina Nick, Whistler FotoSource, Hugh Kearney, Vincent Massey Pottery, Creekside Market, Blake Jorgenson Gallery, Angie Nolan, Brother Twang, Wim Tewinkel, Dusty's Bar, Leslie Anthony, Escape Route, SMD Auto, The Daily Planet, Re-Use-It Centre, Rob Ebbs (the Carpenter Guy), Marcus Samer (Ryders Eyewear), Duhb Linn Gate Irish Pub, Whistler Chocolate, Stephen Vogler, Penny Eder (White Dog Studio Gallery), and Finn Saarinen.

Thanks also to Tim Smith and Peter Vogler for expertly handling the sound, to Andrea Mueller for the awesome poster, Angie Nolan for organizing the silent auction, and Claudine Morchain for being there whenever called upon. Finally, thank you to everybody who came out to enjoy the evening and support their local artist-run initiative, and to Creekbread for supporting local non-profits every Tuesday night.

All proceeds will go toward summer programming at the former hostel, including Saturdays at The Point, the 1st Annual Flag Stop Theatre & Arts Festival, and the Work-in-Progress artists series. We look forward to seeing you at The Point on Alta Lake this summer to enjoy the heritage lodge and beautiful park through the lens of a vibrant local arts scene.

Stephen Vogler

The Point Artist-Run Centre Society