Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of June 22nd

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Bear with me for a moment

It's that time of year again when our furry black friends both large and small make their way out of their winter dens.

They head into the low lands of the Whistler Valley to get their digestive systems rebooted on greens while waiting for snow to melt in the mid-mountain region, where they would normally forage upon natural foods away from we humans.

I have seen a couple sightings already of black bears in the village in the early morning hours, and while it is always great to see them, I know they are there at a potential cost of losing their lives sooner rather then later.

Wildlife professionals say a fed bear is a dead bear! I know from my walk about the village this past weekend that there are people feeding bears either by being uninformed, careless, or just ignorant!

To every pizza joint in Whistler that sells by the slice — please either pick up after your customers, or ask them to put their plates and crusts in a garbage can.

Leaving them out and about just invites a young bear into the village, into trouble and to a possible early death.

Recently, someone from away commented to me on how friendly Canadians are and he followed up with a question: What makes Canadians angry?

I paused and thought about it for about 30 seconds. My answer was a general one and was based on being a Canadian — one who has lived most of my years here in beautiful British Columbia.

(What makes us angry is) people littering and people feeding our bears!

Yes, that is what will piss off Canadians that live in this province to various points of reaction.

So Whistler, a.k.a. pizza town, on the behalf of our furry black friends, how about putting bearpaw prints on your pizza delivery boxes and on your paper pizza plates to remind those in their drunken stupors to eat up their crust and put their empty plates in the bear-proof garbage cans when finished!

Some "simple bear necessities."

Brian Wolfgang Becker
North Vancouver

Video of bear a death sentence?

Many hundreds of us saw the video (on social media) of a Whistler bear opening a van door and climbing it.

Sitting in the front seat, the animal did indeed look funny.

Multiple expletives and use of the word "mate" revealed the country of origin of the photographer. I wonder if he realized that he and his mates were condemning that bear to death?

They should have immediately chased the bear banging pots and making as much noise as possible.

Even singing "Waltzing Matilda" would have been great. They should have given the bear such a fright that it would never again approach a car.

Sooner or later it will (do it again) and a complaint will be made. The Conservation Officer Service will have to do what they do.

(Editor's note: Conservation officers suspect the bear in the video was the same animal that was destroyed in Nordic this week. See story on pg. 23.)

Nigel Mathews
Pemberton

SMART SIGNS

The Get Bear Smart Society would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler for sponsoring three full-size bear cut-out signs. The signs are located throughout town — at the Olympic Plaza, along the Cultural Connector to the Upper Village and at the entrance to Lost Lake across from the PassivHaus. Each sign promotes a few bullet points geared to our visitors to help them be bear-smart while in Whistler. We couldn't have done it without the Fairmont's help. Many thanks to Kate Smyth and everyone who helped make the signs possible!

Sylvia Dolson
Executive Director, Get Bear Smart Society

Phase 2 bylaw draws crowd

Why am I not surprised by (the lead story in Pique, June 6)?

It's because many Alpenglow owners have been knowingly going against municipal bylaw for years and hoping that the "axe" never comes down on them, but guess what... it needs to!

What would the world be like if anyone could just make up rules and decide which ones they'd like to follow? I'm not surprised that there were so many people opposed to the bylaw. The Alpenglow owners called all their fellow owners and got as many down to municipal hall as possible.

This doesn't mean that the community, or the majority of Whistlerites, agrees with them. It just means they know how to assemble as a group!My main issue with the Alpenglow is property values. As a Phase 1 owner, I paid the money to run my property as I see fit. The Alpenglow owners did not.

When I purchased my Phase 1 property, I was tempted by the Alpenglow's lower Phase 2 prices, but knew that gambling with an investment of that size was not worth it. I was not willing to run my legitimate (tax-paying, GST-remitting, business-license-carrying, rule-following) business against municipal rules and "hope for the best."

Now many of these owners are crying foul and saying they should have the higher rental benefits of Phase 1 for the lower capital cost of Phase 2.

Many of the Alpenglow owners took that gamble and went against the rules for all these years and got away with it "pretending" to be Phase 1. It's time to acknowledge that the way the world works best is to follow the rules. If the municipality decides to let the Alpenglow operate however they see fit, then what's to stop me from buying a unit at the Westin or Hilton and renting it on Airbnb?

People love these brands (and will most likely rent my unit) and I'll be buying it at a fraction of what standard Phase 1 units are going for. Is this fair? Where is the municipality supposed to draw the line? I believe what the Aava owners did is correct (with a) centralized front desk for seamless guest experience, rental pool share of profits, advertising as a hotel and running like a proper hotel to ensure guests have a great "hotel-style" experience on their Whistler vacation (and 10 to 12 per cent return on investment sounds pretty good to me!). If not, the entire hotel industry in this town will begin to unravel with owners doing whatever they want and knowing perfectly well that the municipality is too "soft" to do anything about it. Who's ready to start making their own rules in this town? I'm ready to paint my building bright red and green so it's Christmas all year round... Who's gonna stop me? The municipality? (Well, yes! Hopefully they do!)

William Smith
Whistler

Nationals, here we come

We would like to say a huge thank you to Creekbread for its support in our recent fundraiser to help five members of the Whistler Gymnastics Competitive Trampoline Team compete at the Canadian Trampoline Championships in Ontario this July.

We would like to thank the following businesses for their generous donations as well: Eco Chic; Aloha Whistler; Whistler Baskets; The Brewhouse; Rosie's House; Southside Diner; Scandinave Spa; Creekside Market; Marketplace IGA; Starbucks; Subway; Whistler Pilates; Nonna Pia's; and Whistler Sport Legacies.

We also really appreciate all those who came out to support the cause and enjoy delicious pizza.

We are so incredibly fortunate to live in such a supportive community that encourages and inspires the youth to challenge themselves and pursue their goals.

Gabby, Sydney, Gigi, Joe and Jett
Oros team members

Locals should get parking pass

I read with concern yet again how the resort municipality has spent copious amounts of tax dollars to come up with the so-called 2017 Transportation Action Plan.Is it just me or does the poor local resident always get shafted when it comes to parking and overcrowding issues in this town?When my neighbour goes on holidays for a few weeks, he's a downright scumbag for renting his house out on Airbnb, and I am the good guy for reporting him for doing so, (not cool) when all he is trying to do is make ends meet in this overpriced town.

Now, the same Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) that is trying so hard to look like it cares about its tax base and has put on its thinking cap to come up with (a plan based on) grinding the locals a bit more and banning them from driving to the village to shop unless they pay the same as a tourist.

What on Earth are they thinking?

The problem is not the locals — it's the big players in this town going unchecked and everyone, including the RMOW, Whistler Blackcomb and the hotel industry are becoming so greedy that the very culture of our town is fast becoming an endangered species.First and foremost, without the locals Whistler is just another sterile ski town with its big show-pony homes sitting empty most of the year like Aspen and Telluride (in Colorado), etc.

Without the locals, the guest experience will falter, and so on and so forth.

The tourism dollars will dry up as the boomers trade in their skies for battery-assisted bikes and we will have bylaw running traffic duty on the future Valley Trail — but that's another issue.Case in point — people come to Whistler because it is cool. Take away the "cool" and all the people that bring the cash to town will stop coming.On a recent visit to Byron Bay, Australia, which is another cool place driven by tourism, they have dealt with overcrowding issues without making its residents feel victimized. Its solution was to implement pay parking everywhere within a four-block radius of the main town, but gave local residents an annual parking pass to park anywhere.Whistler could do the same, pay parking everywhere, and if you are paying into the tax base you get a parking pass — simple. The pass could have weekend, peak-time restrictions for sure, but everyone gets to park either by paying upfront or by investing in Whistler full time, i.e. by being a local.

Colin Horn
Whistler

Laoyam Eagles thankful for trip to Hong Kong

The trip to Hong Kong for the Laoyam Eagles Dragon Boat Team was unforgettable, and was made possible because of the contributions of several people.

We are grateful for the donations we received from Paul Vacirca and Rona, and from Phil Dunbar and the Slow Food Cycle venue, Eddie's Corner.

We would also like to thank Pemberton Valley Supermarket for allowing our paddlers to participate in their grocery-store card fundraiser.

A big thank you to our sponsor, the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival, for the free race entry, transportation, and accommodation throughout the trip.

Our team had the pleasure of paddling with the Houston Heat in the Laoyam Qemp open and women's crews, and we wish them good luck in all their future races!

We were accompanied by some wonderful parent chaperones, who went above and beyond in their duties. These parents were exceptional. Kerry Chow was always right where he was needed, and helped us all get through the trip in good spirits.

Karen Tomlinson, your organizational skills have impressed us once again. We don't know how you manage, but we thank you.

A special thank you to a man who has been a constant inspiration over the years: Hugh Fisher. It is an absolute honour to call you our coach. Thank you for everything.

Sarah McLeod
Paddler, Laoyam Eagles Dragon Boat Team

Pemberton Dance Studio thank yous

Pemberton Dance Studio would like to thank all the dancers and their parents for the dance production, The Answer, that took place on June 18, 2017.

Sincere thank yous to Whistler Arts Council's Rebecca Piper, Dean Feser, and Vanessa Finnerty with the event organization.

Thanks also to Pemberton and District Community Centre — with special thank yous to Angela Barth, Dan Cindric and Cheryl Southall for supporting dance education and for children in the Pemberton community.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped us bring The Answer together: Sabrina McDermott; the Kauffmans; Allison Megeney; Nicole Brink; Tracy Graham; Jane Leone; Marie-Claude Godin and Thomas; Rachael Milner; Jana Katrichak; Claire Fuller; Misun Lammens; Sharon Day; Melanie Black; Ellie Graf; the Booths; Amica and Jay  Audenart; Jessica Heiberg; Nicki Dumba; Tory  Kargl;  Christina Neill; Kate Buchanan; Veronica Hampshire; Lindsay May; Shannon Paul; Elena Aranguren; Veronique Hamel; Anna Ovanessian; and Trish Belsham. Thank you for your tremendous support and great spirit backstage. Thank you to Gruff Goat Dance Theatre and Trish Belsham for your spectacular performance and collaboration in dance.

We feel blessed to live and play in a great community with so many people caring for each other!

Anna Kroupina 
Mount Currie

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