Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of July 23rd


Leave firefighting decisions to the professionals

(In response to a July 16 "letter to the editor," fighting the Boulder Creek fire let me say) the professionals at BC Wildfires use a fire ranking system to prioritize and deploy available resources to safely fight wildfires.

The information is available on its website. Hard decisions have to be made by these experts when resources are taxed.

The current Boulder Creek fire is classified as an interface fire, meaning it represents an immediate danger to people with structures in the fire's path and is therefore a high priority.

There is an evacuation order in effect nine kilometres up the Lillooett/FSR — close to the farming population of Pemberton Meadows!

The Elaho fire, although larger with some old-growth trees, is not an interface fire and is located in an area of steep terrain with limited access, dense forest. Firefighting efforts are significantly hampered by falling trees.

The Upper Lillooet Hydro Project is just one of the structures in the path of the Boulder Creek fire and has been evacuated. They are not receiving preferential protection; it is just the best use of the resources now. The site is currently being used by wildfire crews to attack the fire, focusing their full efforts on stopping the spread of the fire, containing it, and establishing a perimeter. Once contained the ground crews can move in to extinguish the fire and move to the next fire.

BC Wildfire crews have been deployed non-stop since April. They are sent to prioritized fires and can work 14 days straight. Their shifts are up to 15 hours, in extreme heat, smoke, on steep terrain and in dangerous conditions. They live in isolated fire camps where they sleep and eat for the few hours they are not working.

They have three days off before they can be deployed again.

These firefighters deserve our support. They have no political agenda, bias and show no favouritism.

Leave the decision making, as to where to utilize the available resources, up to the professionals and support their decisions.

Please thank a forest firefighter — they are protecting lives, forests and property as best they can.

Glenn Bayliss

Campaign a success

On behalf of the Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce board of directors, we extend our thanks to all the businesses that supported our "Lucky Bastard" campaign for the Pemberton Music Festival. The campaign was an unparalleled success — last year our downtown was empty, this year, our shops and restaurants were brimming with people.

Your participation helped us bring hundreds of festivalgoers into town with the Chamber shopping shuttle, and connect with thousands of guests on the festival site. They loved the "Lucky Bastard" tattoos and were thrilled to be welcomed as honourary locals.

We knew that the campaign wouldn't appeal to every local, but it knocked the socks off our target market — young adults here for an epic music festival weekend. And that's exactly what we set out to do.

A huge thanks also to our shuttle bus providers (the Black Squirrel, the Lil'wat Nation and Douglas First Nation), our Chamber info booth and tattoo volunteers and the Pemberton Music Festival team for facilitating our participation.

Last but not least, we send out a big Pemberton cheer to everyone who proudly wore their "Lucky Bastard" T-shirts through the weekend. You demonstrated awesome Pemberton community spirit and contributed to the festival fun.

We can hardly wait for next year.

Garth Phare, president
Pemberton and District Chamber of Commerce

What was the Chamber thinking?

Pemberton Chamber of Commerce — what were you thinking?

The definition of a "bastard" is "someone born to parents not married to each other." It is a derogatory term used also to describe an unwanted or unliked person, a reprobate, miscreant and/or nuisance.

Is this how we really want to represent our community and welcome the festivalgoers?

In attempting to appeal to our young festivalgoers you have insulted many more people who actually live here and support your businesses. I had to explain to my six year old, who likes to read all signs out loud, what this word meant and that this word should not be used, especially at school, as she would end up in the principal's office.

Instead of a principal's office the Chamber should have to answer for its decision in another way. Perhaps the president should step down and apologize to the customers that he may have to win back?

I know that I will be saving my purchasing of certain products until I get to another community who thinks before they plaster offensive signage all over town.

Michelle Whitlock

Lake is not a bath

The Pemberton Festival came and was amazing, safer for campers and festivalgoers, had great traffic management, great music lineup. 

(On) Saturday my son and I went on our weekly mission to One Mile Lake — fun until festivalgoer after festivalgoer arrived, got thigh deep at the beach with shampoo bottle and/or soap in hand, and proceeded to wash hair and brush it clean.

That was gross.

I'm all for the festival and its improvement every year, so let's make sure my swim area does not become your shower drain.

Mauro Nunez

Great Lake Cleanup success

On behalf of the community, we would like to thank the following people who were instrumental in cleaning up the lakes this year. Everyone volunteered their time, and it was 750-plus pounds of success. This year, being Year 3, we have made a significant difference to the five gems we have in the valley.

I have visited ski resorts all over the world and many of them claim to be four-season resorts. In Whistler our claim is a real one, with five extraordinary lakes each with their own distinctive personality!

This year we got a little further in showing some respect for the environment and putting a smile on the face of these gems.

The divers who make a habit of cleaning up lakes in B.C. said the lakes (Alta Lake in particular), looked very healthy in terms of healthy fish life near the bottoms of the lake.

Thanks to everyone who showed up and did such a great job. I know that in Alta Lake we removed rusting propane tanks and conveyor chains from an old mill that must have been in the lake for more than 50 years!

The team of divers did an amazing job, In addition to the propane tanks we removed two derelict boats, one off the bottom of the lake that had been there for some time.

Beer cans and beer bottles continue to be everywhere, but a lot fewer than previously.

What seems evident are two things:

1) There is a real level of caring about the lakes and what needs to be done to restore the lakes to some resemblance of their natural state.

2) After a few years there is a major improvement in terms of both the type and volume of garbage retrieved.

To have these natural assets (Alpha, Alta, Nita, and Lost Lakes) being swimmable for significant periods every year in a valley surrounded by magnificent mountains is extraordinary.

We had the best day!

Big thanks go out to Henry Wong with his six other divers (John, Alex, Jackie, Chris, Otto and Martin), the Nita Lake crew (Nancy, Sam and Theresa), Eric Wight and the Backroads Whistler crew, Whistler Fire Dept. crews, Brian Xhignesse and the RMOW crews, Whistler council members (Steve Anderson, Jack Crompton [and daughters], Sue Maxwell, Duane Jackson and Andrée Janyk, Pique Newsmagazine's Braden Dupuis, Cole Reade, Emily Wood, Bruce Watt, Theresa, Marta Pelloiler, Carmron Lackey, Cormac O'Brien, Takio and Mayumi, Julia Long and all the other volunteers.

And a special thank you to our generous sponsors HI-Whistler, Nesters Market, Creekside Market, IGA, Crepe Montagne, La Bocca, Nita Lake Lodge, Escape Route, Fat Tony's Pizza, Subway, Backroads Whistler, Starbucks (Creekside), Sass Designs, Roland's Creekside Pub, Rexall (Marketplace), Senka Florist, The Adventure Group, Tim Hortons, and the Spaghetti Factory.

Thank you to everyone involved, and see you next year!

Roger McCathy / Kimiko Taguchi
The Great Lake Clean Up organizers

Nice try, Mr. Weston

Who is our MP, John Weston, kidding?

His recent announcement of funding for upgrades to the Tenderfoot Hatchery ("Local salmon hatchery receives $500,000," Squamish Chief, July 16), while welcome, is so obviously timed right before the election that it can only be an attempt to hoodwink Sea to Sky corridor voters into believing Stephen Harper and his government give a whit about fisheries.

Their record of favouring industry over environmental protection is consistent and undeniable. In a 2011 letter to the Feds, later obtained through Access to Information and leaked to the media, a consortium of oil-and-gas lobby groups told Mr. Harper and his government that six existing pieces of legislation — the Environmental Assessment Act, the Species at Risk Act, the National Energy Board Act, the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Protection Act and the Navigable Water Protection Act — were "outdated" and onerous for the petrochemical industry and its pet projects.

A mere four months later, through their omnibus 2012 budget Bill C-38, the Tories handed their petro-friends everything they wanted on a silver platter. Most egregiously, the Fisheries Act — legislation that had served Canada's environment well since the mid-1970s — was significantly weakened.

Instead of prohibiting the "harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat," as before, industry now only has to show its activities do not cause "serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery."

C-38 was, of course, just one part of the Harper government's so-called "war on science," which has also included deep cuts to federal habitat protection staffing here and elsewhere.

After the changes occurred, Mr. Weston talked about trying to "bridge the distance" between the corridor and Ottawa, setting up meetings with local First Nations and fisheries groups. But mostly, those who care most about our corridor's fisheries have been frustrated by the Conservatives' appalling lack of commitment to real, science-based habitat protection.

I'm happy that the local hatchery is getting some much-needed love, but compared to the across-the-board, long-term damage being done through the Harperites' actions, this money is far too little, too late.

David Burke