Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of June 15th


Many hands helping in cenotaph move

Thank you for reporter Braden Dupuis's lovely story about our team's efforts to move Whistler's cenotaph to a new, more prominent location (Pique, June 1).

It's been a gratifying effort, but I would like to clarify that the generous Canada 150 grant we received was, in fact, a partnership between the Community Foundation of Whistler (CFOW), the American Friends of Whistler (AFOW) and the Canada 150 fund.

We are grateful to, and wish to acknowledge the important role, the CFOW and AFOW played in our successful application.

Both groups make substantial contributions to the quality of life in this amazing town and I wish to publicly thank them. 

Anne Townley

First-responder parking

I was astonished to learn that there has been a change in the long-standing parking policy for our police and firefighters.  

Until recently, on-duty first responders could park their personal vehicles in slots adjacent to the fire hall and police station.  

Now, those spots are allocated to municipal vehicles, while the slots these vehicles previously used that were in front of the municipal hall have been converted to pay parking.  

It's hard to fathom the wisdom of collecting a few extra dollars in parking revenue, resulting in our first responders having to find parking (presumably pay parking) while they are working.  

I not only feel this is disrespectful of the men and women that put their lives on the line to ensure our safety, but it also presents a practical problem, as there is no close overnight parking available.  

I strongly urge the municipality to rescind this decision and allow our firefighters and police convenient access to their workplaces.

David Waterman

(Editor's note: The Resort Municipality of Whistler sent this email as a clarification of the situation: "The lot in front of the public safety building is approved for emergency and RMOW vehicles.  On-call emergency responders will have access to parking when responding to an emergency. Employees with regular scheduled shifts are responsible for providing their own transportation mode and space.  Municipal Hall has always been paid parking, but there will be an increase in available spots for the public.")

We can do better

First, thank you to those who took the initiative to move the Whistler Cenotaph. Your efforts are appreciated.

Having been lucky enough to see many of the Canadian War Memorials throughout northern France, Belgium and Holland, I've often thought we could do better in Whistler and it's nice to see your efforts come to fruition.

While this may not be the most pressing issue in town, we are tempting fate and should be doing a better job of keeping the shoulders of Highway 99 clean. The problem is prevalent enough that calling them hot spots seems inadequate.

No cyclist or user should have to ride on the white line to avoid the rocks, sand, and debris currently occupying large stretches of the highway.

It's not fair to drivers or riders, so let us use the entire available buffer. I don't know which sections of the highway have been cleaned or not this year, but if they have been cleaned it's of insufficient quality.Whether you're a fan of Ironman/Granfondo or not, our community is filled with cyclists and those training for their big event — surely we can increase the safety of all those using our highway and roads by sweeping them more often and taking greater care while doing so?

Yes, this has a cost but the status quo could have a much larger cost.

It's ironic that the day before (Ironman) sweepers clean the shoulders (but those are actually the days that) cyclists don't use the shoulder to ride. Let's not tempt fate any longer. 

Dave Duncan

Club coaching a gift for life

Thank you Brandi Higgins and the Whistler Sea Wolves Swim Club.

The month of June marks the end of activities for many. End-of-year parties, recitals and exams are the rites of passage before kids can let it all go and enjoy the short two months of freedom before starting it all over again.

For my son Jacob, June marks not only his high-school graduation but also the end of his career as a Whistler Sea Wolf swimmer.

This September, he will no longer be one of two senior swimmers (along with Kat Kranjc) in the small but growing club, as they are both moving on to swim for university teams in Ontario.

As hard as it will be to see our son move across Canada, it will be equally hard to leave the amazing community the swim club has become. With Brandi's unwavering leadership, a dedicated board and parents that help to make it all happen, the Whistler Sea Wolves have become a force to be reckoned with.

A small swim club with a huge heart and so much to offer.

More than a coach, Brandi has become a confidant, advisor and friend to Jacob. As he would say, an extension of our family.

Dave, Brandi's husband who shares a passion and history in swim racing is often a part of an unspoken package deal — pace bunny for the senior swimmers, coach, motivator and one who can encourage and banter for fun like a teammate before a swim meet.

The passion, commitment, and love of swimming shows in these two amazing people every day they set foot at the pool, whether it's daily practice or a weekend away racing.

I don't know what the future entails for our kids leaving this small mountain town and moving on into the big world. I do know, however, that the love and level of coaching here cannot be beaten, and that the drive and passion of swimming has been passed on to my son.

I can say with confidence that these graduates have been given the tools needed to pursue their dreams, not just in sport, but also in life.

I know that we, his parents, and Jacob as well, will look back with fondness and appreciation for the care and knowledgeable coaching, mentoring and friendship that Brandi has given over the years.

Thank you so much Brandi and Dave for being such amazing people! We look forward to seeing the continued success of the Whistler Sea Wolves Swim Club.

Christine Spierings

More needed than reaching out

Reaching out to others is one of three aspects of "reaching out" that generates our human spirit, and it's not naive to believe if we take that activity to the extreme we can end the activity which taken to the opposite extreme causes terror.

But it is naive to believe we'll discard the beliefs that divide us into the communities that weaken humanity.

Discarding our beliefs would require an increase in realized mental capacity and acquired knowledge, notwithstanding our mental capacity hasn't increased since Adam.

We see our potential in small acts of kindness but they are slingshots against our army of cruel giants. 

Doug Barr

Speak up for salmon

Stewardship Pemberton Society would like to express our deep concern regarding recent cuts to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) programs, specifically those to the Resource Restoration Unit (RRU), Stream-to-Sea, Education Coordinator and Technical Support.In Pemberton, through both the Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA) and Stewardship Pemberton Society, we have been actively engaged in the Salmon Enhancement Program (SEP) for over 40 years.

We operated the historical Birkenhead River Hatchery and more recently, we ran the One Mile Lake Nature Centre.

These programs have connected our communities through education, outreach, restoration, enhancement and conservation. The resulting education of thousands of children in the region from long-lasting connections to the environment through the hands-on (Salmonids in the Classroom) programs have been shown to persist through their lifetime. Since the inception of SEP, we have restored thousands of square metres for in-stream and riparian habitat for rearing and spawning salmon, which continue to provide benefits today, none of which could have been completed without the partnership with the RRU.

The restoration unit lends expertise such as advice, design, survey and materials. Who will now maintain and ensure the extensive infrastructure will continue to function without this staff?

Without DFOs involvement, many of these projects will fall into disrepair creating a risk to the salmonids that have come to rely on these habitats.

Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) simply aren't set up to take on this risk. None of the projects would have been funded or completed, despite the very experienced and engaged NGOs, without the in-kind support from DFO.

Every dollar spent on DFO restoration biologists, education coordinators and technical-support staff is leveraged by our groups, creating an undeniable and significant return on the DFO investment.

Similarly, DFO could never accomplish its goals of protecting salmon through education, conservation and restoration without the support of NGOs throughout B.C. Wild Pacific salmon are an important fabric that binds the tapestry of our communities along the coast and inland.

They are an important economic resource for many communities.

Pacific salmon are arguably a keystone species that we must restore, conserve and protect not only in the marine environment, but also in the vital rearing and spawning habitat of our inland waters, ensuring their well being and the well being of the hundreds of other species that their health is tied to, including us.

As communities we cannot do this alone. We urge you to contact Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, as well as your local politicians and voice your concerns.

Stand next to us to ensure Pacific salmon are protected now and for many generations to come.

Dawn Johnson, executive director, Stewardship Pemberton Society; Veronica Woodruff, chair, Stewardship Pemberton Society and director at Pemberton Wildlife Association; Allen McEwan, president, Pemberton Wildlife Association

(Editor's Note: Last week, it was announced that the Salmonids in the Classroom program has been granted a one-year reprieve from elimination. The DFO will reassess the future of the program at a later date.)

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