Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of August 3rd

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WBuses still parking on Blackcomb Way

I notice that the RMOW has applied an oil-like substance to the gravel shoulder where the buses are parking in an attempt to stop the dust kicked up by the large vehicles.

This attempt has only been partially effective as dust still rises from the gravel. I would like to know what this substance is and I would also like to see the environmental impact report that says it's OK to apply this material to an area that drains directly into the adjacent wetlands.

Further, I would like to see the traffic-safety report that says it's OK for buses to make a U-turn on Blackcomb Way at the entrance to Montebello, endangering pedestrians and bikers on the Valley Trail, traffic on Blackcomb Way, as well as residents entering and leaving Montebello.

Additional signage has been posted advising buses not to idle their engines. What about their back-up beepers and the diesel fumes when they arrive and depart? (And they're not always abiding by these signs.)

At the regular council meeting on July 18, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said, "the situation is temporary."

Since that time, more resources have been used to spread the oil-like material on the shoulder and post new signage. This doesn't look very temporary and is inconsistent with the message we received at the council meeting.

An otherwise beautiful summer is being degraded for residents of Montebello I, not to mention the potential reduction of property values.

In short, "Band-Aids" will not rectify this situation, as it remains intolerable for buses to park adjacent to this residential complex.

Please let me know when this "temporary" situation will end and buses will be permanently removed from this area.

Judith Cessford
Whistler

Water restriction bylaw needs re-think

We understand that the municipality is considering the implementation of water restrictions for the summer of 2018 (Bylaw #1538). While we agree with the general principle of water restrictions we make the following comments for... consideration.

The importance of installing and maintaining public landscaping is, and should be, important to the Resort Municipality of Whistler and without proper water use, it can be costly. This was certainly evident recently when several of the large trees installed in the new village entry and bus loop died, and needed to be removed — a waste of municipal taxpayers' money.

Like many property owners in Whistler, we have spent several thousand dollars installing and maintaining the landscaping on our property. We enjoy this landscaping and having the correct amount of water to maintain it is important.

Landscape installation and maintenance can be costly and only with adequate water usage can costs be controlled and the properties can reflect the standard that the municipality sets for itself in the village, its parks and public spaces. For a homeowner, it is equally important.

We noticed that the bylaw to be considered was drafted in 2001 and appears very similar to the bylaw of the City of Vancouver. The character of Whistler is very different from that of Vancouver and the bylaw that relates to Whistler should reflect that difference.

Whistler is not a large urban area with thousands of homes with large grassed areas. Whistler homes are scattered throughout a forested area many with no formal landscaping. Water bylaws should reflect this difference.

In discussing this matter with landscape suppliers as well as installation companies and irrigation companies, in general, they all suggest that shorter, more frequent watering times are more appropriate than the proposed times noted in the bylaw. Doing so could meet the water usage proposed in the bylaw and ensure the public and private landscaping throughout Whistler can be installed and maintained.

More specifically: 

• Consideration should be given to all civic addresses being able to water landscaping seven days a week and twice a day, but for no more than 30 minutes each time (Section 4).

• Consideration should be given to the same hours of watering as noted in Section 4. In addition to washing motor vehicles, consideration should also be given to hand watering landscaping as long as there is a spring-loaded hand shut off (Section 6).

• We must assume that "Level 3" restrictions will only be implemented when water reserves are extremely low. Is there criterion to determine when Level 3 should be implemented and if so, reasonable notification must be made available to the public so that the installation of landscaping can be altered? Section 8 should allow for the hand watering of landscaping as long as there is a spring-loaded hand shutoff.

• We also assume that issuance of a permit under the conditions noted would not be unreasonably withheld. Perhaps additional wording to reflect this should be included.

We trust that our concerns regarding implementation of Bylaw #1538 will be considered.

Joe and Sandra Redmond
Whistler

Bus parking raises questions

(Editor's note: This letter was sent to Pique and addresses to Whistler's mayor and council.)

On Monday, July 24, I viewed the video recording of the July 18 council meeting with specific interest in the issue of commercial, long-term, motor coach parking on Blackcomb Way.

Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden stated that: "There was extensive public consultation leading up to the implementation of a number of transportation issues/resolutions July 1st, however, I can assure you that the bus parking along Blackcomb Way is, in front of Montebello, is temporary. Staff is considering alternative solutions for the bus parking and it's not going to happen tomorrow, but it will happen in the near future."

She also said, "I can't comment on how quickly it's going to happen, but it will happen. And as far as the consultation, it was extensive as far as the environmental thing. Yes, we hear your concerns. We're not just going to push the parking down the street in front of Montebello 2, it will be addressed as quickly as we can."

Thank you for the response to community questions. As a Montebello 1 owner, I respectfully request the mayor and council provide supporting details to the mayor's remarks, specifically regarding the "extensive public consultation."

I never received any information about, or invitation to, participate in a public consultation evaluating a proposed change of zoning of Blackcomb Way to commercial motor coach long-term parking usage. I would have assumed Montebello 1 owners would be included in your outreach, no?

I'd like to catch up on this due diligence phase of the consultation process and kindly request that the mayor's office disclose:

• The consultation plan including timelines of when Montebello 1 owners were invited to the public consultations (how much lead time was provided? What time of day were invitations distributed? Door-to-door? Mailbox drops?);

• A sample of the consultation communications provided to Montebello 1 owners (and the community at large). What were we supposed to receive? Which populations in the community actually attended and participated in the "extensive public consultations" and what percentage were Montebello owners?

• Transcripts from the consultations. If the transport strategy document was presented and discussed, it, along with the mayor's remarks (to do with), "it was extensive as far as the environmental thing," yearns for more information.

Where are the commissioned reports (including findings) on noise pollution (the engine and human noise levels are horrific)? On air pollution? When were reports conducted? Who was appointed to conduct the reports and (just to ensure bias is mitigated), who funded the reports?

Also, where are the commissioned reports (and findings) on impact to pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle safety consequences due to dramatically reduced visibility at the already precarious entrance/exit of Montebello on/off Blackcomb Way and the Valley Trail?

Where are the commissioned reports (and findings) on impact to the environment, including wildlife management (including bear management), due to significant increases of roadside dumping of food (I have witnessed this) and other matter all along the shoulder of Blackcomb Way and within yards of my premises?

What study was conducted on fire risk directly related to a substantial increase in cigarette disposals in a dry, wildlife and nature preserve area, particularly in light of the fact that there are no facilities for cigarette disposal for drivers or persons associated with this new parking arrangement? Did you know the driver's cigarette smoke wafts directly into my home?

Moreover, I would be grateful for evidence of the thought process pertaining to how and when other village locations were evaluated as options for the relocation of this commercial motor coach long-term parking.

Specifically, what other locations were considered, what criteria was used, why were other locations eliminated as options?

What factors led the Resort Municipality Of Whistler to determine commercial motor coach long-term parking along Blackcomb Way is the "best and most suitable" use for the shoulder of this busy thorough fare?

Sadly, one surmises that the policy change was a knee-jerk reaction to an opportunistic approach to garner greater parking revenues. This short-term city planning directive is indeed befuddling. Blackcomb Way is not a commercial motor coach parking facility. There are no toilets, cigarette disposals, trash receptacles, facilities for heat (drivers are expected to sit in their coaches in the winter with engines off? What is the plan for monitoring all this? What is the enforcement plan?)

On the matter of optimizing revenue for the RMOW, might we be enlightened with disclosure of the revenue analysis and net effect considering increased parking revenue (that's the reason behind moving coaches to Blackcomb Way), minus reduced property tax revenue (surely the affected Montebello 1 homes will be dutifully reassessed to reflect true current (effective July 1) value declines from the commercial motor coach parking now abutting our homes).

Thank you for listening and providing the above information. How lucky we are to have a passionate and committed community that cares deeply about Whistler and protecting what Whistler stands for.

Leslie Taylor
Whistler

Lyme Disease a serious issue

The recent article on Lyme disease, whilst interesting, was misleading and at times, I believe, plain wrong (Pique, June 22).A number of years ago it was noticed that there were a lot of children with aching joints near the town of Lyme, Conn. It was thought to be a form of Still's disease (juvenile rheumatoid arthritis). It was then realized that this was a new phenomenon and was named after the town: Lyme disease.

Roger Tory Peterson, the famous ornithologist was born in Lyme.Ticks aren't insects! They are members of the subclass Acari, which in turn are part of the class Arachnidae.These are arthropods, related to scorpions and spiders. They have been around since the Mesozoic Era.Whereas the advice on primary prevention was useful, implying that the disease is easy to diagnose is misleading. It can be but the causative organism of Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi is a type of bacteria known as a spirochaete, which is elusive. The other spirochaete disease, which has plagued mankind for eons is syphylis which has three phases, primary, secondary and tertiary where the nervous system is attacked.

Chronic Lyme disease is a poorly known entity and the definitive tests aren't available in Canada. Some think that it is not dissimilar to tertiary syphilis.

Terrifying images of previously fit young adults in wheelchairs come to mind.One thing that is widely known is that if the patient is treated aggressively with antibiotics almost as soon as the tick bites, a cure is almost certain. The trouble is that in such an early phase, tests are unhelpful, so today's teaching of evidence-based medicine discourages such blind treatment.There may be a mere 10 cases of Lyme in B.C. annually but one of those could be you.If our leading scientists are of the opinion that ticks are insects, one wonders what else they think.

Nigel Mathews
Pemberton

Surely wages can be higher?

In the late 1970s I was hired full time by a temporary work agency in Toronto. I worked in many factories and warehouses and it was quite interesting.

While some foremen were good to their staff, even the temporary ones, others were nasty. One day, in one factory, the conveyor belt got stuck. Obviously, we couldn't work. After one hour, the foreman shouted, "pretend to work... move the boxes right and left on the conveyor." 

My boss in the agency trusted me to tell him what factory or warehouse was dangerous — the last thing he wanted was for one of his workers to be crushed by a machine, and be told, "You didn't actually visited the work site" and have a lot of grief. 

I made $10 an hour, working a minimum of 40 hours a week. Obviously, he charged the clients more, but they didn't complain. 

Things were much cheaper then than now. One week's pay was enough to pay income taxes and rent a big furnished studio — weekly cleaning and fresh linen included. 

That studio was the whole top floor of a grand Victorian house in Toronto's Annex...

I was close to the best blocks on Bloor Street.

If companies could afford to pay $10 to $20 for blue-collar workers in the 1970s, why can't businesses in Whistler, Vancouver, etc. pay $15 today? 

J-L Brussac 
Coquitlam

Thumbs up for biking feature

This letter is to congratulate tobias c. van Veen for his Pique article July 27.

The guy can write. He gives a good picture of the intensity of the mountain-bike culture here, the depth and the history of it, as short as it is.

Thank you for the excellent, informative, respectful reporting, as well as the photos that accompanied the article.

I have read articles about the mountain-bike culture in places like Cumberland, B.C., which gives the little town a personality and a curiosity to visit.

This article did the same for me and I live here!

Jeff Heintzman
Whistler

New dock thanks

The Rotary Club of Pemberton had the pleasure of teaming up with the Village of Pemberton to try to make some community wishes a reality.

Through previously conducted surveys there was identified a desire to have improved swimmer access to the east side of One Mile Lake.

This section of lake gets great afternoon and evening sun, yet was previously a floating walkway, part of the One Mile Lake trail, and shared with cyclists, runners and walkers.

The Rotary Club of Pemberton, through funding support from community supported events such as the Barn Dance and the Rotary/Chamber Golf Tournament, was able to coordinate the transformation of the "teen dock" zone by re-utilizing the existing floating sections and building a new fixed trail to the shoreline. 

This would not have been possible without help from the following organizations: Scotiabank — the major sponsor of our fundraising events; Whistler Welding — fixtures and anchors were very generously donated by Sandy Ryan and Dave Townley; Continental Pole — lumber was supplied by Sue and Drew at a discount; Rona — Reg Walser and the Rona team provided the transport to move the timber; and Barr Plastics — provided a discount on the swim ladders.

The Pemberton Interact club — these young members of the community — came together during a busy time to help install dock anchors and transport the timber across the lake. Thanks to Sarah D, Jesse B, Erica V, Calvin S, Caleb K, Conner W, Sam T, Jonathan R, Maya N, Garnet, Elaina A, Jenny S, Alisa M , Galen T, Ty B and Chris R.

Walkway Installation was by Schranz Contracting with volunteer help from the Pemberton Rotary members Steve Hitchin, Dan Cindric, and Phill Read.

The Rotary Club of Pemberton could not take any credit for this if it wasn't for Phill Read, without whose initiative and drive this project would not have happened.

Also a big thank you to Veronica Woodruff of Ecofish, and Lisa Pedrini and Tim Harris from the Village of Pemberton.

As Phill said, "It was a pleasure to serve the village and community with this excellent project, which we trust enhances the enjoyment of all at this natural park facility."

Dave Den Duyf
President, Rotary Club of Pemberton

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