Look both ways
On the day I arrived for my fourth season here in Whistler I listened on the radio how yet again another pedestrian had died on the roads of B.C. I thought to myself, "Nothing has changed."
According to ICBC statistics, British Columbia has an average of 60 pedestrian fatalities per year. Compared with TAC (Transport Accident Commission) statistics, Victoria, Australia has 4.6 deaths per year. B.C.'s death rate is thirteen times higher.
Many pedestrians walk out into the road, crosswalk or not, without a single glance either way, expecting that the traffic will stop. On Sunday there was a woman out for a run with buds in her ears. She ran into the crossing without looking either way. Luckily I braked and stopped in time; she continued, blindly unaware that her life could have ended. Had it been icy, I definitely would not have stopped in time.
The RCMP recommends you look both ways before crossing a street and keep an eye on vehicles that have stopped.
ICBC says in about 75 per cent of pedestrian collisions, the pedestrian has the right of way. However, pedestrians still need to be educated to the fact that right-of-way only applies legally.
Darwin and his survival of the fittest will still look after those that present themselves in front of a moving vehicle without making sure it will yield. Thankfully for the woman out for a run, I did yield in time.
A death rate that is 13 times higher the rate of Victoria is a tragedy.
Be safe this winter holiday season, people.
Hitting an optic nerve
Apart from the unsettled issue of the degree of the risk to health from microwave radiation associated with a 35-metre-high cell tower, this proposed assault on the optic nerve should not be allowed. Whistler is a resort, and a few years ago we were attempting to show the world what green Olympics consist of. Thirty-five metre high cell towers do not belong anywhere near Whistler Village. Put a two-metre tower on top of any of the adjacent mountains.
Don't be NIMBY's - be MOBY DICKS
We must Mind Our Back Yard, Whistler! No one else will!
Take action to stop an outside company, SBA, from building an unsightly, unwanted and probably unhealthy 35m tower at 7196 Lorimer Road and Highway 99.
Do get involved by writing an email opposing this tower.
Investigate what the mayor and staff have been working on since June when SBA's 170-page application was filed by going to www.whistler.ca/antennapolicy.
Critique council at the Dec. 16 meeting, 5:30 p.m. opening Q&A. Learn why we are now in "time trouble."
Kommunicate to federal MP John Weston. He is our only elected official with jurisdiction over this matter. Engage him and do it before the Dec. 24 deadline. He has impending votes to secure in 2015. Write to him at John.Weston@parl.gc.ca and c.c. your views to Industry Canada, and our LUA staff at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Sign the community's petition that is circulating and can be found at www.change.org.
Remember, this is not about cell coverage. There are several equivalent and less intrusive solutions. The proposed location is the cheapest and easiest for the applicant, but they don't live here.
In the timeless novel, the whale Moby Dick wins after a string of unrelenting battles against the whalers. With your action, we can attain similar victory. Whether we achieve ultimate success, (as with our new single engine heliport), or an epic legacy fail (as with the garagemahal), is up to us.
Stan and Lynda Kranjc
The housing crunch
Thanks Phil Mitchell for last week's letter to the editor, for stating what is hardly ever said. Yes, there are lousy landlords, slum landlords, awful people that take full advantage of the housing crunch and charge unethical rents (I can name a few and don't want to go into what it means for the rest of us who have to live next door to some of those units that are party-units and crammed full of people due to landlords not giving a damn as long as they get their money). Shame on those!
And yes Phil, somewhere, there must be good renters out there too (after 17 years of dealing with renters in Whistler and Squamish, I might have finally found some good ones this year, but it's too soon to tell.....).
The Residential Tenancy Branch in BC gives basically all the power to the renters (even if you officially win your case against renters — which I did one year — it's still up to the landlord to chase down the money, good luck, you will not get it!). I could write a book about the losses and damages and nightmares I've been through with renters.
I shall only mention the latest disaster that I'm slowly starting to gnaw my way out of: For the past three years I've rented out a nice 2 bedroom/2 bath for $1750/month (a steal of a deal in the Whistler area!), hoping that a "reasonable rent" would bring me "reasonable" renters. When the renters finally left, I found over $6000 worth of damages (walls & carpets destroyed). Please tell me, just how do you break baseboard heaters, break the fan over a stove, rip track lighting off the ceiling, punch holes into doors, manage to get sunglasses stuck in the motor of a hot tub?) I've moved back into this place (which I regret ever having rented to someone) and still keep finding new damages. The joke of a damage deposit — which is by law only one half of one month's rent — doesn't even come close to the loss. I even have to consider myself lucky, since the renter "voluntarily" paid me $2000 on top of the damage deposit.
The financial loss is only part of the equation. I'm not going to get into the emotional part of things and the stresses that come with that. If I were a richer person, I wouldn't even think of renting my place. I urge anybody who can afford it to not rent to other people. Just don't do it! My nature is intrinsically positive, accommodating and helpful. But if you want to talk to me about my experiences trying to reduce my mortgage payments with rental income, you will find that I am bitter and disappointed and have totally lost my belief in the goodness of people. As for Karma? Screw that! Karma is asleep or doesn't exist. I guess I'm just the "rich landlady" that (figuratively) deserves to be punched in the face.
A Pemberton Senior says thank you
Christmas is a busy season for the seniors of Pemberton and the surrounding communities. Our calendars are full with invitations to participate in a variety of activities and enjoy some delicious early Christmas dinners. This past weekend our generous hosts were David Lunny and Maureen Baird. Once again they opened their wonderful lodge on Ivey Lake to over 40 fortunate seniors. Drumkeeran House was beautifully decorated and we dined on a gourmet meal, prepared and served by our hosts and their staff. Carols were sung and we celebrated the festive season in true Scottish style, in the tradition of our hosts. Next evening we were served a delicious Christmas feast in the Legion. Our hosts this time were the Pemberton Lions Club members and Anita Burlington and her choir entertained us.
Throughout the year our community organizations, government and businesses support us in many different ways. Examples include: monthly seniors programs (speakers & IT coaching) at the library; activities and meals coordinated by community centre staff and funded through a UBCM Arts & Culture grant. The Lion's continue to provide us with a trailer for our gym equipment and fitness program.
Fran Hopkins, Vancouver Coastal Supported Housing Coordinator, does a wonderful job of planning a monthly calendar and coordinating activities. She works hard to ensure as many seniors as possible participate. Throughout the year she has advocated for seniors on numerous occasions and has worked with the Pemberton Valley Seniors Society board and Village of Pemberton to apply for grants to address specific needs for our senior population. She has also facilitated the sharing of activities with the Mt. Currie elders and seniors in Whistler.
As one of these fortunate seniors, I would like to say a personal word of thanks to all the people who work so hard to make living as a senior in our communities such a positive experience.
Teens in the media
Through S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, Grade 8 English students at Whistler Secondary did a unit on how teens are represented in the media and found that they are disproportionately represented as trouble-makers and bullies. To rectify this, students constructed their own meaning of a hero, researched teen heroes, and wrote articles on teens going above and beyond. Below are some of the stories they found about amazing teens.
Brianne Aldcroft, teacher
The amazing night!
Everyone was so happy when Marcos saved the day.
One evening in September 2012, Marcos Ugarte was doing his homework with his dad at their Oregon home. Suddenly they both turned around and saw huge orange flames roaring outside one of their neighbour's homes.
He was asking around to all the neighbours if anyone knew if all the family members were outside. They discovered that there were only four people out of five people outside. Two adults and two kids. One child was missing.
It was the eight-year-old boy who was trapped on the second floor in the house. As soon as Marcos found that out he wanted to go and try to save the boy. The smoke and heat managed to keep the elder Ugarte out so it was all up to Marcos.
Marcos was looking around and trying to find a way he would be able to get up to the second floor. He spotted a ladder and he climbed it. He found the boy and led him to the ladder. They both came down safely.
Everyone was so pleased with Marcos, but he wouldn't really consider himself a hero. It was just something he did without thinking.
Marcos is one example of a hero. We don't need to look very far to find others in our community. Here in Whistler we have so many heroes. We have lots of athletes that have achieved great things. Some have won medals and some have even gone to the Olympics. These people have inspired me to always work hard and believe in yourself. We are very lucky to have such people in our community.
Reality show Mythbusters helps teen save life
Recently in the media, young adults have been represented as unpleasant beings. On Oct. 19, 2007 young Julian Shaw may have shown us another view on the average teenager.
These actions took place at the Lisarow train station in Australia. Julian had been waiting for his train after school, which seemed to be running late. That's when he spotted 54-year-old Mark O'Dwyer stumble off the platform and fall two metres down onto the tracks below.
With no hesitation Julian sprung into action.
"I jumped on to the tracks lifted him off the ground and put him on my shoulder — he was heavy, but there was enough adrenaline rushing through to help me," stated Julian, who was in Grade 9 at Lisarow High School.
As the train was rolling in "just a couple metres away," Julian hauled Mr. O'Dwyer under the tracks and rolled him beneath the train station platform, just as he had seen on the educational reality show Mythbusters.
"(As the train roared past) the noise pierced your ears and there was a suction that pulled us in," said Julian, but he held on tight and pulled Mr. O'Dwyer safely alongside himself. Julian Shaw saved Mr. O'Dwyer, and put his own life at risk to do so.
Mr. O'Dwyer, a resident of North Gosford, Australia was very grateful of the actions the young hero. Mr. O'Dwyer suffers from a medical condition which caused him to faint and stumble into grave danger.
"What an amazing young man," said Mr. O'Dwyer, recovering from the two metre fall, which caused three fractured ribs, a back injury, a damaged knee, a fractured shoulder and general bruising.
"I was very emotional (afterwards), I gave him a hug and thanked him for saving my life."
Later on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007 the association of Shining World Heroes went to Lisarow High School and presented a Shining World Hero Award to Julian Shaw for his selfless, heroic act.
Some may say it was a miracle that Julian's after school train was late, but without teenage Julian Shaw's noble and selfless act, Mark O'Dwyer may not have survived this dangerous incident.