Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of August 28th


A Heartfelt Thanks from Spruce Grove fire survivor

When I was wakened by voices calling "Dad, Dad, Bernie, Bernie wake, wake," I got out of my bed to a smoky room and some very odd sounds — whirs and odd suction noises. Was I awake? Was I dreaming? Two worlds collided

Suddenly the reality hit me. I went for the light switch... nothing! I went for my phone (to see with) ... nothing! "Get out," said my awake brain to my asleep brain, so I grabbed at some shorts and ran out to heat — heat and chaos. Naked and barefoot, I sprinted to safety across the street to my neighbour Stu's lawn. Cool...cool... sweet cool. Ouch the burn. Oh...oh...ooooooouch!

Then watching the horror of the house fire ensue — the searing heat, the bending metal, the popping of glass and steel. Thirty years worth of accumulations. The loss was/is whole — skis, bikes, photos, negatives, golf equipment, gone, burnt, toast!

The ambulance arrived and the gentleman tried to touch me.

"Noooooo touch." My back was 100 per cent seared and my feet scorched. I crawled towards the gurney and because I was on a high point of grass, I leaped like a cat on to the gurney so I wouldn't be touched! To the clinic briefly, then off to Vancouver, lost in the morphine drip! Thank you.

The kids are OK. Thank you Buddha, Allah, Yahweh, Ra...Thank you. This brought me joy. My precious children were unscathed. They were whole and safe.

Now what? Whistler Community Services Society helped with immediate assistance — three days in a nice hotel to take care of immediate needs. But then what? The Fairmont Chateau Whistler to the rescue. Providing accommodation for my family for three weeks. Yes, three weeks. WOW! This generosity brought tears to my eye. The staff at the Fairmont golf course has given my daughter Danielle the most amazing treatment; they are a tribute to the Whistler family and I want to thank Nick Droulis, Padriac O'Rourke, Moses Chew, and general manager Norm Mastalir for the way they respond to emergencies with speed and gracious generosity.

It is now Day 16 and I am still in hospital, soon to be released and hope to make a full recovery. Thanks to the amazing staff at the burn, plastics and trauma ward at VGH.

I now have a new definition of pain but also a new one of help and generosity. Thank you Chateau Whistler, OC2, Whistler Community Services and so many others for your pure help and kindness.

Bernie McCaffrey


More McCaffrey thanks

Since we lost our home of 15 years to a fire last week, miracles are occurring all around us everyday!

The amazing people of Whistler have come to our rescue!  The love and kindness this community has shown my family is truly beautiful and has lifted us out of despair and given us hope. 

Rarely in a crisis do we realize when we are in the midst of the something extraordinary!

So from the bottom of our hearts we THANK YOU Whistler! We love you!

Special thanks to:

Donna Dunlop — Open Country Whistler —clothing for myself and three kids and so much more!

Fairmont Chateau Whistler — Norman Mastalir and all his wonderful staff

Jack Nosegard — The Loft Salon 

Vida Spa

IGA — Trevor 

Nesters Market (Ian) and Pharmacy and (Kimberly)

Village Centre Chiropractic and Massage, Andrea Bologna

Inside Out Boutique 

Whistler Community Services Society

Delta Suites Whistler

Wildwood Bistro

RE-Use-it Centre

Neighbours of Spruce Grove 

Chris Armstrong

The Blazers

Lizzy Weisner

Karen, Barry, Megan and Ben Burko

Mitchell Wilson

My family and especially my sister, Stephanie

Adrienne and Al Matteson

And so many more awesome people of Whistler that have donated.


The McCaffrey Family


Spruce Grove Fire

On Monday Aug. 11 my family awoke to the screaming of fire! It was remarkable how hot the fire was and how fast it destroyed the initial house. The fire spread to all three neighbouring houses, one of which was our family's. Our home would not be standing if it was not for the help and support of our amazing neighbours. Using a number of garden hoses and reacting quickly saved our home. Words cannot describe the gratitude we feel towards our neighbours for helping us save our home and for keeping the rest of the neighbourhood standing.

We can't thank you enough! Andy, Ben, Rebecca, Nancy, Chad, Stinky, Chris, and so many others.

Thank you.

The Clemiss Family


Illegal Spaces warrant attention

In response to Braden Dupuis's article "House fire raises concerns over illegal living areas."

One consideration that should not be overlooked is that mayor, council and RMOW staff need to be acknowledged for their continued commitment to providing a framework for homeowners to bring their illegal spaces into compliance. The bylaw revision, which came into effect under this sitting council's direction, provides homeowners with a very viable process for legitimizing certain illegal spaces and, through the process, ensures the spaces are safe to occupy. Safety concerns have always been the driving force behind the local Canadian Home Builders Association's efforts to address the illegal space issue in Whistler, and this most recent unfortunate event only underscores the importance of bringing illegal spaces into compliance. This occurrence was tragic enough with the injuries and loss of property that occurred, thankfully there was no loss of life.

While I can certainly appreciate some homeowners apprehension in coming forth and notifying the authorities of illegal spaces in their homes, I can say, after having worked through the process with several home owners to legitimize their spaces, the municipality has been very helpful and is truly working with homeowners' interests in mind to achieve a successful end result.

And although the existing bylaw amendment is not applicable to every conceivable condition, it does address a significant number of properties, which in many cases can quite easily be brought into compliance.

I encourage homeowners to take advantage of the bylaw amendment which facilitates this process of bringing illegal spaces into compliance. At the same time, I encourage the municipality to broaden the scope of the existing bylaw amendment to include properties other than detached and duplex dwellings in order that we can achieve improved safety conditions in these properties as well.

David Girard


Illegal Spaces Task Force Committee

Sea to Sky Canadian Home Builders Association

'Move Israel or Max to Florida' — Response

I've never done this before (that being write a letter to the editor). But I have to take exception to the letter written last week by Jim Clark.  

So G.D. Maxwell, in his typical stylistic fashion, writes a column that in no way takes sides in a terrible conflict... but instead rationalizes (no matter how fictional, and seemingly satirical) a plausible solution to said problem. And he is compared to a member of the SS? The Nazis?    

Sir, your attitude is an enormous part of the problem. I know that there are a great number of people who do not understand the history of the region (and you do have to go back a bit further than 1972, 1967, 1948 and even 1917 to get an understanding of how they got to this place. My stupid degree in history drilled that into my head). But to basically insinuate someone is a Nazi or veiled "anti-Semite" because their opinion does not go along with the talking points of the "mainstream media" (or let's call it one side) is as crazy as Hamas launching rockets against one of the largest military forces in the world and expecting to win.  

We do seem to live in a world where public opinion tends makes the rules. But this is one opinion I'll at least try to argue against.

Neither side is right here. Both forces (Hamas and the Zionists) are fighting for their own agendas over the bodies of dead kids, moms and dads. Our media just decides which kids are worth more, the Muslim ones or the Jewish ones.

I do admit though, it is a great way to manage a side in the debate. Instead of actually considering all of the facts and arguments, and try to come to an actual understanding (if you even can in this situation), call those who disagree with you a racist and compare them to one of the worst regimes in modern time. Yep, that'll fix 'em.

I'm with Max on this. If we did not subscribe to worshiping the "chair," those who worship "table" would never be a threat (sorry, my own analogy). But hey, that's never going to happen in my lifetime.   

You can take sides. I won't. This issue is way more than black and white.

Next time you want to call someone names, do it with better ammo.

Chad Oliver


Outrage over Max's 'Peace in our time'

My husband's parents escaped from Hitler in 1939, his grandfather was in a concentration camp for a time but luckily the family was able to bribe a guard and he was released. The rest of my husband's family were last seen being loaded on the trains to the concentration camps where they perished.

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel, gruesomely documents the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe in the '30s via propaganda and newspaper articles similar to the articles you published. Shame on you!

Anti-Semitism is once again on the rise in Europe, especially in France, where many Jewish families are choosing to immigrate to Israel because of the anti-Jewish climate.  Now I can add Whistler, Canada to the list of places where Jews can no longer live in peace.

Linda Moldauer

Bellevue, WA

Welcoming Wildflowers

Thank you to the muni gardeners! Thank you for the beautifully kept grounds and flowers around Whistler. In particular, I need to thank you for the exquisite wildflower garden at the corner of Whistler Way and Hwy. 99. This spectacular flower arrangement has brought so many smiles to my face, as I pass it everyday. It has bloomed and changed a hundred different ways throughout the summer.

What a wonderful and fitting way to welcome both visitors and residents alike to our spectacular village. I appreciate it.

Kennedy Raine


Response to Mr. Weston

I take exception to Mr. John Weston's extraordinary scolding of the District of West Vancouver Council over their unanimous motion to ban LNG tankers from Howe Sound. A few facts:

• In 2006-7, Steven Harper's government disallowed passage for LNG tankers, through Canadian waters, into an LNG import facility proposed for Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine. The stated reason: "LNG tankers and their highly-flammable cargoes pose an unacceptable threat to the populations along their route."

• In 2008, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed a resolution urging the federal government to ban LNG tankers from the Georgia, Malaspina, Haro and Juan de Fuca Straits.

• In May of this year, the federal government ceded control to B.C. of the environmental assessment (EA) for this plant.

• More than 1,400 citizens around the Sound have expressed their opposition to the proposed plant.

• SIGTTO (Society of International Gas Terminal and Tanker Operators) is an industry group of the world's LNG companies (except Woodfibre LNG). SIGTTO safety standards state that LNG plants should not be located in narrow inland waterways, like Howe Sound, containing conflicting commercial, recreational and ferry traffic.

• At a recent meeting with Federal Transport Minister, she fielded questions about LNG policy and Canada's voluntary regulatory framework "TERMPOL" for navigable waterways. Her answers showed how little she understood the safety issues and international LNG safety standards.

West Vancouver Council has every right, indeed obligation, to express concern about projects, like Woodfibre LNG, that will affect its citizens and property.

Eoin Finn

Bowyer Island, Howe Sound

In last week's story "Mobile Medical Unit provides additional coverage for Crankworx," Pique incorrectly indentified Peter Hennecke as a physician. He is a former Military Operating Room Nurse, who is clinically active working out of Vancouver General Hospital. The Pique regrets the error.