Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of April 10th


Whistler continues the party

The Whistler Cup showcases our mountains and our love of skiing to future Olympians and World Cup athletes, as well as their families from all over the world. This event deserves more than a few words and it would take pages to recognize and thank the efforts of the countless volunteers, the efforts of Whistler Blackcomb, and it would be remiss not to mention the host of the event, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, for providing the robust professional setting that surrounds every aspect of this world-class affair.

Even though a culmination of our season would be well served by the Whistler Cup, it doesn't end there!

The World Ski and Snowboard Festival extends our season by inviting the best professional and amateur athletes, photographers and filmmakers on the planet. We were shocked to hear how close we came to losing the Big Air aspect of the Festival.

In a time of tightened budgets everyone at the festival has done more with less and many of the partners continue to step up. An important aspect of the Big Air competition is that it is part of a circuit and if we had missed our spot, it might have taken years (if ever) to regain a position on their calendar.

The Gibbons group last minute sponsorship to save the Big Air is a real example of businesses and the community pulling together to keep the event truly world class.

Anyone who has heard the excitement in young athlete's voices the first time they qualify to compete knows how these events can change lives.

If you've been to any other ski resort at the same time as the WSSF, you know there is nothing happening. No athletes, no free concerts, no celebration of mountain culture and few guests.

Sue (Eckersley) and the crew at Watermark work incredibly hard and constantly create world-class events. The festival is an amazing way to end the ski season. Get into it!

We are getting ready for the inevitable phone calls as we get closer to the end of the season. Any chance we can stay at your place? Do you have any extra tickets? Hopefully the rest of the resort is prepared as well to show off our home.

When you see a volunteer or a sponsor, take a moment to say thanks to the team that makes this happen and most of all, enjoy one of the best celebrations of mountain culture on the planet.

Mike Mills, Rick Clare and Brad Kasselman

Coast Mountain Photography

Best news of the year

I read the Pique today, April 3, and was astounded at the incredible job the current mayor and council have done the last 2.5 years.

To have three years without any increase in the mill rate is quite exceptional, and we residents are deeply thankful of your efforts, and the efforts of (CAO) Mike Furey, and municipal staff.

There has been a significant change at municipal hall during the current administration. Congratulations and thank you.

The second thing I read was that our new fire chief, Sheila Kirkwood, has quite reasonably requested that residents be allowed to burn garden debris during prescribed times of the year and, "hold on to your hats," even have a campfire during low, or moderate, fire danger periods.

These simple joys of living at my house on Alta Lake were taken away from me and others to supposedly fight global warming in 2008, but I could never understand how driving a wheelbarrow of leaves weighing perhaps 20 pounds in my three-ton vehicle all the way to the Callaghan recycling center, and paying $30 for the privilege, ever made sense from a GHG reduction point of view.

So, now my last wish or should I say hope is that these two "best news of the year" items from Council's meeting on April 1 were indeed not an April Fool's joke.

Paul E. Mathews


Not much to complain about

OK, we get it. You (Michel Beaudry, "Alta Sates," April 3) are over Whistler. 

Small, funky resorts with a couple of chairs and no people? There are lots of those out there, and they would love to have your business (or anyone else's for that matter). I am sure they have soul.

Jackson Hole, lots of the old-school still out there doing their thing? Yup, nothing else to do in the middle of Wyoming. And Wyoming? Nice place but no offense, it is kind of in the middle of nowhere.

People visiting and their expectations not met? Rent some fat skis, hire a ski pro. Said visitors will find fresh lines, fresh corduroy, and have a great experience even days after a storm. It escapes me why people come to a huge place like Whistler and do not give themselves the tools to enjoy the actual mountain despite the money spent on transport, accommodation, restaurants, and what have you.

However, all that said, I must thank you for some comic relief this winter. Often when things are really good we laugh and say that we should call you up and complain. There has been some amazing skiing this winter and no lift lines to speak of, even on weekends. Since February, there has been lap after lap of great storm skiing, or face shots off the Peak, even on a Saturday. On a big day 12 minutes is all it takes to get from the back of the Peak maze to sitting on the chair. This past Friday there was 30cm of fresh and more than half of the chairs were empty. You can't wait for the perfect day — you just have to get up there.

It is very bad karma to complain about the rare occasions when there are ''too many people" on the mountain, or the general haplessness of some of the visitors. At the end of the day they are what pay for this fantastic winter playground we get to enjoy. 

And sorry, but from what I can tell, Whistler has been very good to you. Little lost towns do not have journalists writing full-page articles in the weekly paper. More authentic? Unlikely, and I doubt those little resorts can come close to Whistler after the first thrill of discovery has passed. They're not known for the two P's (pot & powder) for nothing.

Whistler is awesome. The mountains are awesome. The town offers amazing amenities for a place its size. Art, schools, a recreation centre, health care, public transport, great restaurants, movies; compared to most other towns, this place strikes it out of the park.  The Valley Trail alone is unbelievable.

So if you are really over it... move on. In the meantime, please stop complaining, because in the grand scheme of things none of us here have much to complain about.

Laura Scully


More isn't always better

After reading the recent article in Pique Newsmagazine (April 3), "Back to the old school - Jackson Hole culture still all about the mountains" I applaud you for pointing out the importance of keeping the soul of the mountain experience.

In the few days that (Michel Beaudry) spent in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, recently, (he) quickly captured the spirit of the place that has been carefully preserved through diligent stewardship of the land and a continual focus on the skier experience. 

I have to admit that as a 59-year-old skier, who started skiing at three, following my ski-patrolman dad around the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, I often long for days when the sport was a bit simpler and seemed to be more about the skiing.

There was something special about sitting in the base lodge at the end of a hard ski day with most of the skiers who were on the mountain that day at Sugar Bowl or Squaw Valley, smelling the wet wool and rubbing forearms sore from grabbing the rope tow all day. There was a kindred spirit that came from that raw mountain experience together. Not much of a choice of food other than chili and hamburgers, but that didn't seem to matter.

We were there for the spiritual awakening that came from being high in the mountains with family and a few good friends riding the untracked snow.

Admittedly, luxurious lodging, spas, fine dining, nightlife and shopping add to the attraction of a resort like Whistler Blackcomb to many people who are looking for a great full-service vacation spot.

I just think our expectations were a little off, as we didn't expect the crowds and the necessity to make reservations for everything far in advance.

We were glad Michel... after two days of unsuccessfully trying to hire a guide (they were all booked), took (a) day to show us some fabulous terrain and snow. Thank you. (He) alone made our trip worthwhile.

You see, having a second home in Jackson Hole and skiing there 40-50 days a year spoils my family and me. Our conservation-minded community and privately held mountain resort are ever mindful of the guest experience.

As the average age of the skier increases and their years of experience grows, the quality of the mountain experience, the ability to connect with the soul of the mountains, becomes more and more important.

I'm happy to pay more for lift tickets, or guides, or a snow-cat skiing day to experience the solitude of an uncrowded ski day.  

Whistler Blackcomb is blessed with a world-class mountain and community.

Thanks for pointing out to the great folks in the Whistler Mountain community how important it is to keep a diligent eye on the details of the guest experience.

That mountain experience that will keep your guests talking about their wonderful time in Canada. I just think sometimes more isn't always better.

Dave Hicks

Dallas, Texas & Jackson, WY

Zero Ceiling gives thanks

On behalf of Zero Ceiling's staff, board of directors, and participants, I would like to thank all of the Hullabaloo party-goers, auction donors, sponsors, and volunteers, who came to celebrate and support our third annual spring Scandinave Spa fundraiser on April 3.

From our silent auction, to fresh juice and fine food, time spent in the spa under rain and snow, and beats from DJ Foxy Moron, the night was an astounding success, and raised over $22,000 to support our programs!

Now in its 17th year, Zero Ceiling's mountain-based programs transform the lives of homeless and at-risk youth through adventure, education, life and work experience.

A special thanks goes to the Scandinave Spa for hosting another memorable event at your spectacular venue. We couldn't have done this without you!

For updates about our programs and events, and to find out how you can support Zero Ceiling's programs for youth in the Sea to Sky Corridor and Greater Vancouver visit zeroceiling.org.

Thanks again for joining the Hullabaloo and helping to break the silence on homelessness!

Kasi Lubin, Executive Director

Zero Ceiling

Time for action on unleashed dogs

Over the last 20-plus years in Whistler, I have been bitten, jumped on, growled at, intimidated by and have been just about thrown to the ground by unleashed dogs.

This has happened in the parks, on the valley trails, and on the streets. Once I almost got run over by a bear who was being chased by a dog. I've witnessed small children and adults getting knocked down, or tossed over their handlebars (because of) dogs who've run out in front of them.

Does anyone have any idea how scary it is to be running in the park, and to turn the corner only to come face to face with a large, unleashed, scary-looking dog?

Why is it that everyone thinks that their dog is so perfect that it should somehow be above Whistler's Animal Control Bylaw?

To date, I've said nothing. Until now. 

After an altercation last weekend with two unleashed dogs on the Valley Trail I've had enough. After being crotch-snouted by one of these large, unleashed dogs I said, "You should be on a leash," to the dog, within earshot of the owner. 

Well that "unleashed" a fury of F-bombs from the owner about how I should just mind my own #@*!+ business, etc. (It diminished into me and my friend being bombed with hurtful insults that would not be found in the shining pages of Tourism Whistler brochures). 

Why is it that in a town with a leash bylaw, those who are not breaking any bylaws are treated like they are in the wrong if they raise the issue with an obvious violator?

Could it be that unleashed dogs in Whistler have become so prevalent that people don't even realize that we are in an on-leash community? Could this problem be exacerbated by the fact that the municipality has almost ZERO signage visible anywhere that would alert and remind people that they are in an on-leash community?

This is not good for business! No tourists (or locals) should be afraid to be on our trails — trails that were paid for by all taxpayers and the development and tourism industry. It is also not good for municipal coffers, as there is undoubtedly a lawsuit waiting to happen.

Here's a simple solution: how about putting a small sign up at each trail head, and at key places within the parks and along the trails to remind people that dogs must be on a leash and that violators will be fined up to $2,000 (as per the bylaw). These signs need not be obtrusive.  

I respectfully request that the municipality do a better job of putting up signage to alert people that dogs must be leashed, so that the trails are safe for everyone and everyone is clear about the rules.

The sooner the better.

Jennifer Smithers


Neighbourhoods need protection from LNH pipeline

I read with interest a recent item in the Pique re the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant which quotes you: "...hear from correspondents from constituents on the issue and many are forming their opinion about the project based on limited information" (Pique April 3)

Please rest assured that my following brief comments are not based on limited information, but rely on extensive resources available online on the risks associated with natural gas pipelines, and also having attended the Fortis open house and speaking with Fortis representatives.

The proposed LNG plant would rely on natural gas being transported in a new 26-inch pipeline using a right of way not yet finalized by the proponents, but that generally would run alongside the existing 10-inch pipe, and would be located very near Squamish residential neighbourhoods and in the Squamish estuary.

Based on the safety issues alone, the pipeline routing should be changed to a route across Howe Sound. Yes, this would likely be at a higher cost, as the proposed compressor station location would also need to change, but would result in greatly reduced risk to the residents of Squamish, I might add, but what is that compared to the cost of the loss of a single human life?

Here is a short summary of natural gas pipeline explosions in North America in recent times:

• The 2010 explosion of a 30-inch gas pipeline near San Francisco killed eight and destroyed about 35 homes — www.sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/tag/san-bruno- explosion.

• Pipeline Explosion Kills 10 Campers in New Mexico. www.abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=96090

• Natural gas pipeline explodes near Otterburne, Manitoba Thousands without heat south of Winnipeg as arctic blast moves in Jan 25, 2014 (CBC News).

• Alberta natural gas pipeline ruptures. Feb 18, 2014 (Reuters) — A natural gas pipeline owned by TransCanada Corp ruptured 10 kilometres (six miles) north of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

The regulator for natural gas pipelines, BC Oil and Gas Commission (www.bcogc.ca), has no regulations in place that would restrict locating a natural gas pipeline in close proximity to residential neighbourhoods, so it will be up to politicians to safeguard the residents' interest.

Herbert Vesely, P.Eng


Put tourism first

Dear Ms. Christy Clark and Mr. John Weston, perhaps one of you can answer these questions, and Mr. Justin Trudeau, perhaps you can pose these questions to Mr. Stephen Harper in parliament?

1) Why do our governments consistently ignore the wishes of the Canadian people?

Are they serving Norwegian fish farmers, or the people of British Columbia who voted them into power? Just look at the facts, courtesy of Alex Morton. She should be our minister of the environment!

It seems we have two governments determined to destroy our West Coast heritage.

Whales or LNG tankers in Howe Sound? Fish farms or wild salmon? Pipelines carrying poison on the Skeena River (Northern Gateway), or the second largest sockeye salmon run in the world?

You cannot have both! I did not move from Ontario to see oil tankers lined up in Howe Sound, Squamish!

2) Why do we have an energy strategy that is oil based when the world needs to get off oil? Yes we need oil, but the world's coming apart with global warming, we have all been warned by the UN. No hiding now! We have electric cars, but no subsidies or encouragement from government to buy them!

We can thank the oil-obsessed (Stephen) Harper government for that!

The people of British Columbia clearly do not want this industrial development at the expense of our natural resources.

We want tourism not oil tankers!!

Robert Dingle


Doggy thank you

My two dogs would like to send a big thank you for the hours of enjoyment they've had along their favourite trail, caused by what I think was someone else's loss.

Months ago we were on a trail near Cheakamus Crossing and came across what I presume was a memorial to a pet with some flowers, two children's drawings and a stuffed toy animal — a beaver, I think.

Before I could stop them, the dogs commandeered the toy and had a great game of chase. Eventually I caught up with them and retrieved the toy, but it was too far to retrace our steps to the original tree.

So... the toy was placed up a tree further along that same trail, and now every time we visit this trail they seek it out, whine to have it, and are allowed a few minutes play before it is again returned to a different tree.

It has been home with us a couple of times for a wash and minor repairs, but if you look carefully you too may find a toy beaver in a tree!

Thank you to the original owners for the fun and pleasure my dogs have had, and may your pet know that its toy lives on with some very appreciative borrowers!

Cadence and Codeine, two playful dogs and Shelley and Ian Brown