Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of July 5


Time to re-focus on priorities

I am very disappointed in some of the decisions made by mayor and council during the past couple of years.

For example, the recent takeover of the job done by the Whistler (2020) Development Corporation, the ridiculously expensive roof at Gateway Loop, the artificial turf soccer field just to name a few.

The recent approval of $2.7 million for an artificial turf soccer field is a blatant example of misallocation of our tax dollars with disregard of other more urgent needs and priorities.

Yes, artificial turf might be nice to have and might extend the soccer season for a few days each year. However, if grass fields are good enough for World Cup soccer, then why is grass not good enough for Whistler kids?

If artificial turf is needed that badly, what is wrong with a user-pay system or fundraising by the soccer club? Further, the way this expenditure was passed by council smacks of conflict of interest—if not technically, then morally.

Councillors who have ties to the soccer club and/or children on soccer teams should have recused themselves from voting. I assure you I will not vote for any of these council or mayoral candidates in the Oct. 20 election.

Given the loss of direction of the current mayor and council and their lack of spending priorities, we should all reflect on this before we vote in the next election.

I think it's time for some serious housecleaning.

Robert Cessford


Whistler's safety net has a new home

Hats off to the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) and all those who support it and work there!

There are many things that are very special about our community—the WCSS is the cream that rises to the top of our list.

Between the Re-Use-It and Re-Build-It Centres, the stores generated from the sale of donated items, an incredible $1,567,486 on 83,049 transactions—that's a sale at the till every two minutes! It's hard-dirty-relentless-work done with a smile and warmth by managers Paul Rehel, Lori Pyne, and their dedicated staff—with all funds going to support the safety nets of our community such as the food bank, counselling services, and so much more.

The WCSS moved into its brand-new $3,813,709 building last week and the excitement at the AGM was palatable. So far, the building project has received generous donations of $1,170,072 from 22 individuals and businesses, including recent contributions of $175,000 from Glen, Lynn and Ken Mason and $100,000 from Dave and Linda Den Duyf. Those are in addition to previous donations of $150,000 from Nesters Market and $100,000 from Eve and Charles Chang. Whistler Blackcomb Foundation (WBF) has stepped up with a $400,000 contribution to the project. WBF has donated almost $1 million to the WCSS over the past two decades, but the $400,000 contribution is the biggest single donation yet!

With Jackie Dickinson's appointment as head of WCSS, and past chair and 2015 citizen of the year Anne Townley back on an already-strong board the future looks bright for Whistler and the WCSS.

Congrats and happy fundraising!

Stu and Carol Munro


Road and trail safety

With elections approaching, and campaign time starting, it's a good time to put some residents' thoughts on the table.

Another summer is approaching, and we are lucky that we didn't have any big bike-car incidents so far.

Don't wait until we have one to start rethinking some things.

Riding rules are so complicated today that even locals can't follow them.

In our village today, we can see a 20-ton bus sharing the road with a family that is biking, including a five-year-old struggling to stay straight on her two little wheels.

Cars, trucks and buses not only have technical inspections and insurance, but also their drivers have a licence and rules to follow. Bikes don't.

Years ago, it was just common sense, and so easy to understand (plus safe for both parts): Cars go on streets, bikes go on the Valley Trail.

Jorge Ravenna


School-tax affects everyone

This letter is in response to Joel Barde's column "The millionaire homeowner revolt has become embarrassing," (Pique, June 28).

Fortunately we can afford the increased so-called school tax, but in our Vancouver neighbourhood of West Point Grey, as in West Vancouver, there are very many older, modest-sized homes inhabited by seniors who bought in at $60,000 in the 70s, or later at say $350,000. They never were and still aren't wealthy people. 

Sure they can defer their taxes, but likely they hope their improved equity caused by global forces will benefit their children or grandchildren who want to buy homes, not pay taxes. 

Moreover, in our neighbourhood, there are many single parents who feel they may have to sell as they cannot afford the new tax. Selling is not the panacea it appears. In Vancouver, it can mean an almost lateral move price-wise to get into a townhome or apartment. And who wants to displace their kids to new neighbourhoods unless forced to? 

Home equity is worth nothing but expenses and taxes until you sell, and when you do sell it doesn't necessarily improve your financial situation unless you move to a rural—non-resort—area. By that time you might be looking at senior care! Look into that: not very available and very expensive (see the series in the Vancouver Sun, which began June 23). 

It's easy to slam the "rich." Try looking more widely at other people affected by this tax. Someone on pension is not going to find the extra money without cutting out some other essential from their budget. 

Ronnie Tessler

Whistler and Vancouver