Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of Feb 2nd, 2012

Liquor survey needs input


Whistler Community Services Society is being contracted by the B.C. government to gather information about alcohol consumption in municipal facilities and to create a MAP (municipal alcohol policy), which will be presented to council at the end of March.

Addressing the context of alcohol use is key to addressing alcohol-related harms in a community. Context refers to the condition in which alcohol is consumed (i.e. conditions of sale of alcohol in specified facilities; service practices; training of servers; and so on). Municipal governments have a role to play in setting or improving some of these conditions. One of the tools available to local governments to address harms related to alcohol is the development of MAPs, a well-defined process to assist local governments to effectively manage the use of alcohol in municipal facilities in order to reduce hazardous alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms, and liability.

WCSS is in the "information gathering" stage. This information includes your opinions on whether you would think there should be alcohol service at some municipal facilities, if so, under what conditions and/or should Whistler eliminate the ability to have alcohol served at facilities. As well as the survey, WCSS is meeting with stakeholder groups from the community including business and property owners, RCMP, by-law, healthcare providers, schools, sporting teams, licensed establishments, restaurants and caterers. We hope to provide every resident with a voice; this is your opportunity to speak to the issue. The survey link is available on the front page of www.mywcss.org under Municipal Alcohol Policy or MAP survey.

As well, we would greatly appreciate it if you would consider disseminating the information on the survey link to your friends and family, or on your Facebook page! This is the opportunity for Whistler residents to have a voice in the potential development of alcohol policy in the community.

Lorna Van Straaten, executive director, Whistler Community Services Society


Highway dividers a must

I would like to express my condolences to the family and friends of Mr. (Shafiqur) Rahman. In a few short seconds we lost a Whistler Ambassador doing his job due to an unnecessary head-on collision.

I ask again for our planners to revisit and lobby for dividers on any section of road that can accommodate such protection.

Jim Horner


Busting Whistler's Traffic Gridlock

Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 was the worst gridlock I have yet experienced here in Whistler. It took me a full hour to move a customer a distance that would normally take five minutes or less.

Eventually he decided to jump out of the taxi and walk the rest of the distance through heavy snowfall to reach his destination at the Westin Hotel. It also took my brother three hours to drive from Whistler Village to home at the base of Mount Seymour in North Vancouver that afternoon.

I'm sure many people experienced the same problems as no matter what road you were on heading down from the village to Hwy 99, or coming down off the bench, all routes were bumper-to-bumper and moving at a snail's pace or slower.

This variable dynamic is weekly in winter and normally happens on Saturday and Sundays between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and during our major holidays. This no doubt causes many problems for all in the transportation business including taxis, buses and local transit, as well as for those that may be trying to get to work, or those trying to conduct work like our snow clearing services etc.

Here is a thought to put out to all and a possible solution to ridding ourselves of Whistler's rush hour traffic congestion and gridlock. All those drivers with a vehicle not involved in conducting business during this time that are born on a odd year could depart or move within Whistler on a odd hour 3:00 p.m. to 3:59 p.m., 5:00 p.m. to 5:59 p.m., and all those born in a even year could depart Whistler or move within Whistler on a even hour 4:00 p.m. to 4:59 PM, 6:00 p.m. to 6:59 p.m. This would hypothetically reduce congestion by 50 per cent and allow a much more fluid movement of vehicles during these peak traffic times.

It would also reduce wasteful automobile emissions, lower everyone's stress after a great day on the mountain, and give our many local eateries the opportunity and reason to offer a Gridlock Buster Special as a pre-departure incentive to those standing by to leave.

This would only be effective if everyone gets on board, so spread the thought around and remind each other during these times (text! text! text!) and talk about busting Whistler's traffic gridlock. Who knows if it works well in a place like Whistler, it may one day be the answer to rush hour congestion and gridlock in many big cities the world over.

Brian Wolfgang Becker


Sorry for sudden snooze

Much like Luke Brandon — the lucky guy who was given a second chance — I also feel asleep behind the wheel last week (Pique Jan.26, 2012). For me, however, the warning signs weren't there. My head was not bobbing and my eyes weren't heavy.

For whatever reason, I was suddenly overcome with fatigue, as if a wave was washing over me, and before I could even think about pulling over my eyes turned to lead and that's the last sensation I remember before they popped open again just in time to witness the front of my car slam into a highway road sign.

Yet unlike Mr. Brandon I didn't get off with a slap on the wrist. I was served with a ticket for "driving with undue care."

Don't get me wrong. I truly am grateful that I didn't kill anyone else or myself, but I'm fed up with getting punished for telling the truth.

It's a sad commentary when others tell me I should have blatantly lied by stating a deer darted into my path, or that I suffered an allergic reaction and had a sneezing fit.

For heaven's sake, I was wearing my seat belt, which saved me, had not a drop of alcohol in me, and was adhering to the speed limit. So where's the undue care?

I've filed a dispute of this ticket and, if unsuccessful, I may be kicked off the road for good, all due to an extraordinary physical event, which has never happened to me before. I'm sorry for the sudden snooze, but do I deserve this kind of justice?

Steve Cormier


Vote needed on Pension Reform

There seems to be a special virus going around occasionally afflicting some Canadian politicians. Our ex-Mayor (Ken) Melamed had it, our ex-Premier (Gordon) Campbell suffered from it, and now our P.M. (Stephen) Harper caught that bug in Switzerland. At the Davos Economic Forum he announced that he would cut future Old Age Security (OAS) benefits of Canadians. The symptoms are hallucinations and the belief that one can spring on voters some drastic agenda items even if such items were not in the election platform.

So Mr. Harper wants to start dismantling our excellent security net? Should I and other people my age be worried? My current OAS pension is not going to be affected, he says. Can we believe him? Maybe, sometime in the future, if push comes to shove, he is going to cut these benefits to everybody in order to pay for expensive fighter jets, so we can attack and bomb small countries that have done nothing to us, and that we can have more jails to put more people into them. My only hope is that in 10 years we, the seniors, will be a significant political force and maybe we will vote the Conservatives into oblivion if they follow the course, that according to one TV commentator, makes the right-wing of the U.S. Republican party look like boy scouts. Mr. Harper would do well to remember (Brian) Mulroney and the fate of Progressive Conservative Party.

He justifies that the payments for OAS will become unsustainable, as they will increase from the current $36 billion to around $105 billion in 2035. (That is an) enormous amount that, at the first glance, can scare a lot of people to believe that Harper may be right. This is nearly a 200 per cent increase. But statistics are what someone wants you to believe.

Instead of taking into the account just the increase in the number of retirees one has to take into the account the growth of GDP, inflation, growth of productivity etc. Just compare this with ballpark figures from 1986 to today. OAS payments in 1986 cca $13 billion, Canada GDP cca $500 billion, OAS as the percentage of GDP 2.26. OAS payments in 2010 cca $36 billion (this is before claw-back), Canada GDP cca $1.6 trillion, OAS as the percentage of GDP 2.25. Nominal OAS increase was 175 per cent, real zilch. Mulroney was the prime minister in '80s and he tried to pull a similar stunt to de-index pensions but was smart enough to back off.

To our Twitter generation, which usually does not vote or care about anything, I would suggest studying history and learning from it, so that one day they would not have to say: "They came for striking unions, then they came for the sick, then they came for the seniors, then they came for the environmentalists, then they finally came for the middle class and then one day I was a member of one of these groups and they came for me as I did not speak out."

Do we need a pension reform? Definitively. But first everybody in Canada needs to participate in a long discussion and come up with better alternatives, and then Mr. Harper can put his solutions in the election platform and if he wins, I will applaud him.

Drago Arh


Enbridge Solution?

Canada currently imports 930,000 barrels of oil a day. The goal of the Enbridge pipeline is to export 525,000 a day to China. Confused? It gets better — Russia loses the equivalent of a "Deep water horizon spill" (4.9 million barrels) every two months!

My solution: Stop importing the stuff Canada!

There is no need to build the pipeline after all — see solution above.

China needs jobs, and oil, so why doesn't Russia let them come and fix all the leaks, and then China can receive 4.9 million barrels from them every two months as a thank you.

John BuchananSquamish

Where was the funding announcement?

The intent of my letter was not to denigrate the good work of the Fisheries Roundtable (Pique Jan.19, 2012). My letter was written to condemn the marketeering "newspeak" used by the Fish Farmers Association, and through frustration at the DFO minister's lack of response to the Cohen Inquiry's discovery of positive lab test results for an essentially man-made virus that infects wild salmon.

Where was the funding announcement for that? Instead we learned that four fish farms have been granted $800,000 to build landlocked tanks.

Julie Malcolm


Food Bank says thanks

In December the Whistler Community Services Society Food Bank launched a new fundraiser called Dine and Donate. Participating restaurants and cafes were given materials that allowed them to remind patrons of the food bank's need in the community, and provide customers with an opportunity to donate while they dine. A lot of businesses helped out and made this fundraiser a success.

We would like to thank Whistler Printing for working with us to supply the necessary materials, Amelie from Calypso Design for creating them, and Vincor and Aura Restaurant, who contributed prizes to the cause that we used as an incentive for servers and cashiers to speak with their customers about the program. We would like to thank and congratulate Gail Steele from Roland's Pub. She blew the other servers away with the number of donations she received for the Food Bank.

Of course, for this program to succeed we needed restaurants and cafes to participate. Thanks to Roland's Pub, BBQ Bob's, Samarai Sushi, Doc Branigan's, Tandoori Grill, La Bocca, Crepe Montagne, Fifty-Two 80 Bistro and Lounge, and Sidecut for participating.

Though we made a little less than we would have hoped, we did still make just over $1,300, which will purchased a lot of food. Fifty-Two 80, Sidecut, and Doc Branigan's have decided to keep the program going, and help support the Food Bank over a longer period.

If other restaurants or cafes would like to help raise funds for the Whistler Food Bank please call the Food Bank Coordinator at 604-935-7717 or email foodbank@mywcss.org to learn about the Dine and Donate program and other possibilities.

Sara Jennings,

Whistler Community Services Society,

Food Bank Coordinator