Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of June 12th


Where are the local performers?

What's the deal with the local musicians and Pemberton Festival?

Word on the street is that they reached out briefly months ago, and then nothing. I don't know a local artist who's booked in for this either. Last Pemberton Festival showcased local bands in the beer garden.

Squamish Live has been known to offer this.

Every festival I've been to over the years had local offerings; Warped Tour always had a local's stage, Lollapalooza too... so what gives?

I would think that any large entity coming to this area would want to include the community that lives in the area. Simply put, they're coming to our home and not inviting us to participate? Seems a bit absurd.

My email is fibmedia@hotmail.com. Maybe someone with a bit of knowledge behind this could reach out and explain because I'm not the only musician in the area wondering what gives?  

Monty Biggins


Jam Night is for jammers

Here in Whistler you have a special time and place, Sunday night at the Crystal Lounge. For those of you who aren't familiar with Jam Night, Kostaman hosts a great evening of music that isn't about money or egos, it's not about you, it's about us and them and what can happen when a bunch of people come together and let what happens happen.

I've spoken to some of the talent (who plays for no money) and these guys look forward to playing all week. I've been visiting Whistler for more than five years and make a point of staying Sunday night, and leaving early, ridiculously early, Monday morning so I can come and watch.  

But my experience has been sullied. I've witnessed a few of the musicians insisting on playing solo.

It's a jam, not open-mic night. One of these solo performers asked the other musicians to leave for several songs, the "jammers" walked out, with a few choice words being uttered and killed the nice little vibe happening.

This particular solo performer proceeded to do his thing, and then expressed over the mic to the audience about how hard this room is to play for because no one listens, and then actually hushed the crowd, or at least attempted to.

I was offended by his attitude, and for the first time in a long time left early.   

To be frank, the pop covers he played were not to my taste and I engaged in conversation with those around me, as did others.

I hate to be unnecessarily harsh, but perhaps this is a reaction to what you are doing and not the audience being rude. I've no doubt that audiences can be indifferent; some come out for pool, to watch the game or to have some food and drink.

Moreover, if being a performer is something you do for work, you should think twice about biting the hand that feeds you. I question your reasons for coming to jam night, perhaps you should find a different platform and let jam night be about jamming.

Tom Parker

Memphis, Tennesse

Northern Gateway approval second to national interests

Constituents have recently expressed concerns about the Northern Gateway Pipeline Project.

The ongoing national conversation about large-scale energy projects is broader than the proposed project. The conversation must anticipate other projects that need to be considered in the near future, including Kinder Morgan, LNG projects, and others. The decisions we Canadians make now will open doors, create opportunities, and shape Canada for generations.

During an extensive review process, the independent Joint Review Panel heard from over 1,450 participants in 21 different communities, reviewed over 175,000 pages of evidence, and received 9,000 letters of comment, after which the panel concluded the project would be in the "Canadian public interest," provided it was "constructed and operated in full compliance" with the 209 stringent conditions the panel required.

This includes an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan that "must demonstrate Northern Gateway's ability to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of emergencies of any type and in any geographic region or season." Our government can now accept the panel's recommendations, or turn down the proposal altogether.

No project will be approved unless it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. For our Conservative government's record of commitment to that principle, one need look no further than our recent decision with respect to the Taseko Mine project in northern B.C.

This was an ambitious proposal that would have created thousands of jobs and significant economic stimulus. Our government did not allow it to proceed, after a rigorous, science-based environmental review by an independent panel concluded that the project would result in significant adverse environmental effects that could not be mitigated.

It may surprise readers to know that since 2006 this government has invested $18 billion in the environment toward initiatives such as supporting renewable fuels, and a cleaner and more efficient transportation system, including more than $3 billion to address climate change and reduce air pollution.

This government is serious about ensuring that resources are transported safely, not just with respect to future energy projects, but also with respect to resources transported by the many pipelines and tankers operating in British Columbia today.

That is why we have recently taken steps to develop a world-class marine tanker safety system and further enhance Canada's world-class pipeline safety system.

In my own role as MP, I have consistently advocated for a sustainable approach to the environment and fisheries.

I have pursued this goal in Parliament, at the Howe Sound Community Forum, at the Sea-to-Sky Fisheries Roundtable constituents and I created, and in regular interactions with constituents.

I would support an energy project that delivers jobs and opens markets for Canadian energy exports, but only under stringent conditions that reflect the kind of principles expressed above.

Looking to the expertise of the Joint Review Panel on the matter, I know this government will seek a resolution, which is in the overall best interest of our country.

John Weston, MP

West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country 

Doggie warning

I wanted to say thank you to some very kind people who helped my mom and I the other day.

We were taking a walk by the River of Golden Dreams. It was a hot day, and I was getting so thirsty, so I decided a dip in the river was a good idea.

Now, I'm not one of those dogs that can jump into water from on top of something. No dock jumping for this girl. I need a flat spot from where I can walk in. I found one, and in I went.

It was really cold, but it felt so good. Problem is, the river is flowing super-fast right now, and while I am a good swimmer, at 12 years old I'm no spring puppy anymore. I got swept downstream!

I tried hard to fight the current and swim back to the flat spot, but I just couldn't do it. The bank was lined with big rocks right along there, and I knew I wouldn't be able to climb them. I started to panic and swim in circles and got swept further downstream.

My mom was freaking out on the bank and calling to me, but I could not get to her. I started getting really, really tired. My mom loves me so much I know she would have jumped in and saved me, but she doesn't swim very well (clearly not a dog in a former life).

This went on for quite a while. It was looking bad and my life flashed before my eyes I swear. Then guess what? This group of people walking along stopped and asked my mom if I was OK.

She asked them to help, and they did! A bunch of them started calling me, and some went to the flat spot where I went in, and were encouraging me to get there. I was exhausted by now. One of the men took off his shoes and socks and was actually ready to get in that cold water and help me — what a kind man. But luckily, all those people shouting to me really helped me to stay strong. I managed to get to the flat spot, and was finally able to walk out. Phew.

My mom was so relieved and happy she is worried she may not have said thank you properly. So for my mom and I, I am saying a huge thank you, and sending doggy hugs and licks to those nice folks.

Sorry if I soaked you when I shook myself. I am also warning my dog pals (especially those of us of a more advanced age) to be careful where you swim in the river right now.

Sophie McGaw


Unimpressed Spectator at the 4x4 rally

I am writing this for all the spectators that love going to the 4x4 rally.

I am a long-time Pemberton/Birken local and have attended the rally since I was just a small child, back in the Birken days... back when you could guarantee that the trucks would be running on Sunday morning on time.

Over the last four years at the new location for the rally I have noticed every year that the partying becomes more important on Saturday night than getting to your truck on time to start the races on Sunday morning.

As this is a family event I show up to the races with my overly excited kids in tow for the event to start at the advertised time of 11 a.m. By 11:30 a.m. the kids start to get anxious and run around. By 12 p.m. I start hearing, "when are they going to start mom?" And by 1 p.m. they are ready to leave without even seeing a single truck run.

I understand that it isn't an expensive race to go and see, but let's face it, if it weren't for the spectators there wouldn't be racing.

How would the general public feel if they went to watch a hockey game that was scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but didn't start until 9:30 p.m.?

This year there was an astonishing 60 entrants, I believe. That's awesome! What an amazing turnout! I was really excited to watch them, but with a start time at 1 p.m. on Sunday we left at 7 p.m. without seeing all the trucks run.

If you're going to have that many entrants you need to be stern on a start time to make sure that the spectators can watch the entire event at a decent time.

It's pretty bad when even some of the racers have to leave to get home for work the next day before the race is even over. They don't get to see the awards get handed out, or even be there to receive their own awards.

I think it's time to be stern with the drivers — Sunday morning if you're not at your truck for the posted walk around time — your truck doesn't run. Simple as that, just like it used to be.

Michelle Boag


Feeling left out in Pemberton

With the pending referendum on the proposed multisport complex days away I am puzzled as to why the residents in Area C are being left out of this important community event?

The Gates Lake Community Park had several open houses to involve that local community in that project, and rightfully so. Yet somehow the first phase of a multisport complex, which would benefit so many including those in Birken, has had little if any public outreach from the SLRD.

Unfortunately in Pemberton, recreational and leisure services are a joint responsibility between our two local governments. The relationship between these two governing bodies must certainly be broken if they can't come together to present the true tax implications of borrowing $4.8 million.

At least the village has made a strong effort in communicating the facts to village residents. If you go to its website you can access a significant amount of information pertaining to the proposed field house and the reason for the referendum.

Most importantly, it took the time and surveyed the village residents to determine what the community is looking for when it comes to recreation. The result of that survey is one of the reasons the referendum is being tabled in the first place.

The village has also made it clear that the other reason it is moving on this issue now, even though the SLRD won't participate, is because there is currently a willing partner in the Hill Academy that can assist in paying for the operating cost of such a facility.

Whether you are for or against additional recreational facilities in our community, or taking on a $4.8 million dollar loan, it would be a mistake if this opportunity with the Hill Academy was not explored and simply ignored by our elected officials.

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's vote, the results would be easier to digest if it was a true reflection of the Pemberton collective. The SLRD should have asked all Area C residents if they wanted to participate in this referendum and not assume otherwise.

Scott Schober

Pemberton North

Careful consideration needed for vote

On Monday, June 2, I went to the public meeting at the Pemberton Community Centre to get some information about Pemberton's recent hot topic: the upcoming referendum to approve or reject the borrowing of $4.8 million to build a field house backed by a parcel tax of $230, plus a portion of the maintenance cost paid by business and property owners for the next 30 years.

On my walk home I was contemplating the information I received and the consequences this might bring. When I stopped at the supermarket to pick up a few things, I realized that many of the sale items in the produce section were sold out... perhaps a sign that the people of this town need to stretch their dollars.

As I walked on I figured that 30 years of paying $230 is about the equivalent of $650 in increased property taxes yearly if paid over the next 10 years. I also thought of my friends around the globe that own property here, and are already paying the highest residential tax rate, and was wondering if our town will lose them sooner than later if approved.

But most of all I was thinking about this: You can vote if you don't own property in Pemberton, but are over 18 and a Canadian citizen. This could be scary if more than 50 per cent of the voters don't own here.

You can't vote if you are a permanent resident of Pemberton, but not a Canadian citizen, regardless if you own property here or not.

A few days later I also learned that you couldn't vote if you own a business in Pemberton held under a company name unless you also reside here.

While these municipal voting regulations are constitutional they hardly seem fair, and are not as inclusive as in many other countries. They might determine future tax implications and the future of our town.

If you still don't know whether you should vote "yes" or "no" in this Saturday's referendum, please remember that if you own, or plan to own, you will pay this parcel tax until the year of 2045 if the project goes ahead.

For many residents this means for the rest of their lives unless they sell and retire elsewhere.

I have already cast my vote.

Margit de Haan


Pemberton's financial juggling act

This Saturday is our chance to vote on whether we want to add a flaming bag of basketballs to our financial juggling act. Get informed! The Village has posted lots of information on how we got here, and what is in the rec centre plans, but little on the upcoming non-negotiable balls that will be added to our act next year. We've asked for this information many times over the past month and in absence of answers, here is my best guess/research:

Water rates are increasing to start building reserves and even out the rates. This means our residential flat rates will increase by 7-10 per cent each year for five years, bringing the average price from $1,100 per year to $2,200 per year by 2019 (search on Pemberton website for KWL report to read about this).

We need a new water reservoir, regardless of what happens with the rec centre. $1.2M for this, let’s assume (as per KWL) four per cent interest over 25 years. That is about $100,000 per year to collect through our frontage tax, which is more than double what we are collecting this year. What is frontage tax you ask? Take a look at your property taxes — in addition to the flat rate each residence pays, there is a rate per metre of street frontage. For our fairly average-sized house near the high school that is $81 this year. So make that $160-plus next year.

Talking dollars — let’s not forget the existing $5.5M debt on the current community centre until 2031, roughly half of which is the Village’s to carry. That was not included in our current quoted debt load. And there is a new fire truck coming plus possibly more money towards building reserves for emergency water/sewer repairs.

Let’s remember the big picture when voting on Saturday. The rec centre is a nice-to-have while these other increases are not negotiable. Perhaps we should do a bit more work on our partnership with the SLRD before we commit to such a big debt?

Niki Vankerk