When goodness comes from something gone wrong
This past week I celebrated another birthday and, as I usually do, I took the time to count my many blessings.
But in the days that followed there were two events that made me realize how I am truly surrounded by a lot of goodness.
I work part time at the Visitor Centre and I am a volunteer Summer Mountain Host. Every day, I meet happy people on vacation and it is usually very easy to make them even happier. I think I have one of the best jobs in one of the best places in the world.
But I also get to witness unfortunate circumstances as well: people who have lost wallets, cameras, smart phones, even passports, or others who have suffered some other misfortune while visiting Whistler.
For many of these upsetting occurrences, reported to myself or any of my colleagues, there isn't a positive outcome, which leaves me feeling as if I've failed our visitors somehow. But this week I was involved in two situations that had positive results.
On Tuesday, I was riding down the Whistler Village Gondola at the end of my shift as Mountain Host with two other hosts. Two frantic guests also boarded the gondola with one of the two explaining that he had lost his wallet. As we would all probably do in the same circumstance, he couldn't think clearly. The three of us all showed empathy, asking the right questions, until we finally determined it must have been left at the pizza place where they had had lunch before riding up.
One of the hosts, Bruce, took out his smart phone, found the telephone number of the restaurant and put the guest on the phone. The wallet was there and the guests spent the remainder of the trip down to the valley calmly enjoying themselves.
Then on Thursday at the Visitor Centre, a homeless man from Mount Currie who was trying to get to Squamish asked us for help. It was late in the day, and all our calls to either WCSS or even the RCMP did not provide a solution.
Our goal was to get him to the Helping Hands Shelter in Squamish, but we were not convinced that putting him on a Greyhound bus on his own was the best solution.
In the end, my supervisor, Shannon, and I decided to drive him down there ourselves. Shannon lives in Squamish and I would take the Greyhound bus back to Whistler after getting this person in need to a safe place. All went as planned.
Then, when I was getting the bus back to Whistler and explained to Don, the Greyhound driver, why I was down in Squamish, he let me ride for free.
These experiences have confirmed that I am so fortunate to live in this community of kind and helpful people.
Things do go wrong in this beautiful place, and I know a lot of people who do everything to try and make it right. Most of us work in the hospitality and tourism industry, which demands a positive attitude towards good service.
But I like to believe that this is just who we are.
Just after 6:30 p.m. on Sunday evening, I was travelling on my motorcycle north along Highway 99 just by Green Lake when a black Mercedes SUV decided I was too slow (I was travelling at 70kpm), so the single driver honked once and, when I didn't speed up, pulled out on a blind, double-solid line corner and attempted to pass me.
I was shocked! From my position I could see two on coming cars.
Just then I can only assume that the driver also saw the on-coming cars, and so swung back into my lane — and into my outstretched motorcycle boot. This action pushed my bike away from the vehicle and toward the concrete divider.
I managed to keep my bike upright and the SUV then accelerated away at over 90kpm (I know this because I was so pissed off I chased for a moment).
I pulled over and called in a description and what I could remember from the licence plate.
I have been riding motorbikes for many, many years and am a very good rider — the SUV driver is nothing more than a self-entitled, wreckless idiot.
Had it ended with me crashing my bike, he could have left my three sons without their mother, my brother without a sister, my mother without her support system... the consequences of such careless and unskilled action are massive.
Do us all a favour — learn to drive! Just because you can go fast, doesn't mean you should. You clearly have no idea how to drive, so I suggest you take some lessons — if you have the courage to dispute my allegations; my contact information is on the file about your illegal and dangerous driving practices with the Whistler RCMP.
Call me, we'll chat. Really.
RMOW misses the boat
Some people have warned the Squamish Nation and the Lil'wat Nation (the FNs) not to kill the Whistler goose that lays the golden egg.
The question is: whose goose and whose egg?
The FNs have seen little by way of benefit from the massive urban development of the resort. After being displaced from the land and marginalized to reserves, the FNs have been subject to extreme poverty.
The Well-Being Index developed by the Government of Canada is clear on this point: Whistler scored 90/100 while the community of Mount Currie scored 59/100.
The FN's first toehold in the RMOW was only precipitated because of a slow recognition of legal rights in the courts and the pressure to avoid a public relations disaster at the 2010 Olympics. So the FNs were welcomed into the fold... sort of.
The Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre — while a crown jewel for cultural awareness and pride — is a financial albatross. The naming legacy also important for recognition and awareness doesn't generate any revenue.
There were definite benefits that accrued during the construction phase of the Games, but since that time only the 300 acres of fee-simple land offers any kind of sustainable economic development potential. Even these lands, however, are restricted in their potential by local government and the location of the lands themselves (the land in the Callaghan Valley for example).
Yet FNs have incredible socio-economic catch-up to do and few development opportunities that present like Whistler. So yes, I guess you could say there might be an economic development agenda. In pursuing that agenda, do they care that some of the vested interests among the Whistler rich and famous suffer as a result?
But are we locked into a win-lose situation? No, but this is where the leadership at the RMOW (with the OCP) and Whistler Blackcomb (with the renewal of the Master Development Agreement) are completely missing the boat. The ruling on the OCP, coupled with the Tsilhqot'in decision, opens the door for the municipality and WB to ally themselves with the FNs.
Together, they could leverage their significant legal and political clout to pressure the province to ante up a settlement that fully integrates the FNs and makes them dependent on the economic sustainability of Whistler.
In so doing, the values that Whistler wants expressed in its future development would appeal to the FNs. In light of this, it's entirely counter-productive to appeal the OCP decision.
The appeal means that the RMOW and the FNs continue down the path of frustration and conflict. At the end of the path the FNs will have little interest in doing anything for the sustainability of a community that has shut them out.
They might be very happy to kill the goose. And with the incredible legal leverage they now have over all Crown lands they may just have the cleaver with which to do it.
Ironmen for Canuck Place
On Friday, June 27 the Pan Pacific Whistler Ironmen for Canuck Place Children's Hospice held a Spinathon in Village Square and, despite the rain, raised over $3,000 towards its $10,000 fundraising goal.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our generous bike and class sponsors, to all those who attended a spin class, to The Core for allowing us to use their spin bikes and instructors throughout the day and to Ash McMillan who completed all seven spin classes in a pink tutu!
We are grateful to each of the following partners for their generous donations – Pan Pacific Whistler, Gibbons Life, Whistler Construction Company, Origin Design and Communication, Michael Wallent, Bill Geddes, Whistler Skydiving, Saladworks Canada, Rona, Don Prins, Bananamay Bodyworks, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Slope Side Supply, Ziptrek EcoTours, Canadian Wilderness Adventures, Helly Hansen, Whistler Village Sports, Buffalo Bills, Starbucks Coffee, Uno Digital Printing, Sea to Sky Couriers, Ric's Grill, Lululemon, Fanatyk Co, Four Seasons Resort Whistler, John Blok, Andy Robinson and Christine Suter.
Our next fundraiser will be a hog roast this Saturday, July 19, from 5 p.m. at Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub. Tickets can be purchased for $30 in advance, with $10 from each ticket, being donated to our cause. There will be a couple of B.C. beers available with $1 from each purchase being donated and Ruckus Deluxe will be playing at 8 p.m.
The Pan Pacific Whistler Ironmen for Canuck Place Children's Hospice are two associates from Pan Pacific Whistler, and two husbands of associates, who will be competing in Ironman Canada on July 27.
Not content with just running in the race they have also set themselves a target of raising $10,000 for Canuck Place Children's Hospice! All funds raised will be donated to Canuck Place Children's Hospice.
You can find us on Facebook (Pan Pacific Whistler Ironmen for Canuck Place Children's Hospice), or follow us on Twitter (@ppwironmen).
Once again, thank you all!
Zoé Martin, on behalf of the Pan Pacific Whistler Ironmen Team
Thank-you to the Arts Council
Thank you for the Whistler Arts Award. It really pushed me to do my best and it meant a lot that I won this award. I truly appreciate all the hard work and time you put into this community. Thank you for bringing the joy of art to Sea to Sky.
Sierra Grant, Grade 8
Whistler Valley Trail Run says thanks
The 23rd Whistler Valley Trail Run was run by a few dedicated souls on Sunday, June 15. The clouds and rain held off and we had another run in the sun!
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who helped us present Whistler's longest-running (no pun intended) event once again!
We would like to extend our deepest thanks to our organizing committee, and those volunteers who have come out year after year to support us and keep the trail safe for all of our participants.
We thank our sponsors the Resort Municipality of Whistler, Pique, the Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Creekside Market, Blenz Coffee, Creekbread, Whistler Source for Sports, Samurai Sushi, Thornhill Real Estate, Nesters Market, Duncan Munroe from Salomon and last but not least, Rocky Mountaineer for the last minute donation of a trip for two on the Sea to Sky Train, which was fittingly won by the young fellow who took the 5km race.
The funds from the Whistler Valley Trail Run go to the Whistler Youth Foundation, which is part of the Community Foundation of Whistler. Last year's event raised $1,500 for grants to youth programs in Whistler and beyond. The youth members chose WORCA Dirt Camps for kids in financial need and the Body Image Program by WCSS youth workers for Grade 9 students at Whistler Secondary.
Thanks a ton and see you next year!
Wanda Chalk, Race Director
Many thanks to the sponsors, volunteers and 70-plus cyclists who supported the annual Bicycles for Humanity Summer Solstice fundraiser ride on June 21.
The route took riders from Rainbow Park to Pemberton and back to the park for a delicious BBQ.
Thanks to Pique, Whistler Village Sports, Cardinal Meats, Pepsi and Frito Lay, Probar and Creekside Market.
Raffle draw prizes generously donated by Peak Performance Physio and Massage, Merlin's, Pemberton Meadows Golf Course, Innovative Fitness, West Coast Float... and a special Grand Prize, Will Routley's very own KOM Tour of California jersey!
All funds raised go to the grass roots Bicycles for Humanity organization, which ships used bicycles to Africa for much needed transportation.
Find out more at www.bicycles-for-humanity.org and come join us same time next year!
Janet Brown and Greg Newton
Paddlers say thanks
The Pemberton Canoe Association would like to thank the Pemberton Women's Institute for its generous donation to our paddlers going to the BC Summer Games.
We appreciate the support for our young flat-water paddlers to compete at this wonderful event that they will remember for a lifetime.
This donation will go a long way in reducing the cost for these paddlers and their families.
Karen Tomlinson for the PCA board
Ode to my boss
Normally a boss is someone you hate, who gives you a hard time when you're running late.
They don't really care about your opinion at all; they'll do it their way because it's always their call.
They'll yell at you for the tiny mistakes you make — whinge along aimlessly, and blame you if a problem is awake.
But not my boss — she's not all those things; she's much, much worse. Just kidding!
She's really a lovely person at heart, whom you can have a laugh with and won't judge you from the start.
She's bat-shit crazy, but in a very good way, and that's why I love coming to work every single day.
She's given me advice that I've needed to hear and I'll be grateful for that every day, month and year.
So this is a thank you to my boss "old hag Liz," who will kill me for writing that, but it is what it is.
"Little brat" Sarah Phillips