Where was the fundraising?
In the most recent Pique (June 21), in an article regarding RMOW spending, (Whistler's Chief Administrative Officer) Mike Furey was quoted (as saying) " ... we work hard to try and keep our expenditures down on all fronts, including our projects ... " and that, "Overall, I think this council has done a really good job of providing direction around fiscal prudence ..." I would like to challenge those statements given the recent approval by council of $2.7 million for an artificial turf field (ATF). It is incumbent on council to spend our tax dollars wisely, prioritizing expenditures by evaluating the merits of expenditures, especially those related to special projects.
There are many "need to haves" in Whistler: affordable housing, clean water, fire prevention, safer streets (sidewalks and better street lighting) etc. The ATF does not fit the criteria for a "need to have." The ATF is, at best, a "nice-to-have" project. (And there are those who would argue that it is not even "nice to have," given environmental and other factors.)Normally, "nice-to-have" projects are financed through fundraising—for example, the Spearhead Huts Project and many others. Whistlerites are generally very generous when it comes to such fundraising; it's one of the things I like about this town.
Recently, when some residents suggested to council that the Remembrance Day Memorial headstone be moved to a better location, council rejected this suggestion as unnecessary—the old location, while not ideal, was OK and hence they would not use tax dollars to have it moved. So the proponents raised some funds and had it moved to Celebration Plaza in true Whistler fashion.
What I would like to know about the ATF is where was the fundraising? In my opinion, this was a clear example of something that should be financed (at least in part if not entirely) through fundraising, demonstrating the level of community support for the project.Secondly, as I look at my current tax bill due to be paid this week, I note that the increase is not as small as quoted in the Pique: 2.25 per cent in 2018.
This statement is misleading—my effective tax increase was much higher due to a recent substantial increase in property market values. Given that housing affordability is undoubtedly the biggest problem Whistler faces, reducing housing costs should be a priority, including holding the line on effective tax increases.
This is applicable to all residents, including those who rent since landlords simply pass on tax increases to their tenants via rent increases.
Spending $2.7 million of tax money on a "nice-to-have" project like the ATF is simply not justified given the current housing affordability problems.In short, I feel that those councillors who voted in favour of the ATF were not demonstrating prudent fiscal decision-making.
I, for one, will not vote for those councillors running in the next election.
Sandra Jorgenson Whistler
Ear plugs needed
I would like to add my thoughts to the letter from Jim Horner about the noise caused by Harbour Air flying over our neighbourhoods (Pique, June 21).
It is frequent and loud.
Some of their planes are worse than others. Add in the air ambulance, which is a must have, plus the other aircraft that fly over our community at low elevation and we are bombarded with excessive noise.
In addition, if you live in a hilly neighbourhood where construction is taking place, you are subject to the noise of truck drivers using their engine brakes. No signs asking them not to use them.
Finally, when I spoke to a bylaw officer about the early construction noise on a weekend, I was informed that there is no bylaw that prohibits this noise or restricts it to certain hours.
Better get some ear plugs.
Don Hosek Whistler
Say 'no' to heli biking
The Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA) urges public input to preserve the Tenquille to Owl Lake Recreation Area (TOLRA).
For generations, the local community and visitors have enjoyed the peaceful trails, alpine valleys and camping that this beautiful area situated near Pemberton offers.
Blackcomb Helicopters (BH) is applying for a Commercial Heli-biking Tenure, adding six new single-use trails—three of which will be carved out of the TOLRA.
Currently, BH uses the main historic trail (est.1917) and a new artery (Mt. Barbour trail) that connects from an alpine landing zone. By 2020, they propose to increase traffic on this trail by 240 per cent (over 2016 traffic) with three new trails swelling overall numbers to 2,400 rider days just in TOLRA.
A ratio of flights to group numbers, equates to near 400 flights/season—ferrying between four alpine trails. This is a significant increase in helicopter over-flights and cargo of downhill velocity riders. It is impossible to see how the peaceful refuge for humans and animals—won't be negatively impacted.
There is a tipping point at which the experience of where and why we visit a place changes forever.
TOLRA is an increasingly rare alpine recreation area in the Sea to Sky region. The tsunami of tourism pressure has overwhelmed the carrying capacity of many—think Joffre (Lakes)!
The PWA partners with Rec Sites & Trails BC to provide volunteer management and maintenance for the trails and wilderness camps/public cabin at Tenquille Lake. The goal is to maintain a high-quality wilderness experience for hikers/backpackers and self-propelled mountain bikers, while protecting the flora and fauna of the TOLRA.
Though not difficult, the effort of hiking/pedalling into TOLRA is its saviour. Taxiing significant numbers of "resort downhill park riders" into this sensitive alpine environment is simply incompatible.
PWA acknowledges helpful support from Blackcomb Helicopters for their current use, but the PWA prefers not to have heli-biking in TOLRA at all, or the very least, a daily or seasonal cap close to 2016 numbers with no additional heli-biking trails.
Voice your opinion.
Forests Lands and Natural Resources (FLNRO) is welcoming comments from the public regarding this tenure application. The deadline for comment is July 19. The Lands file is found at #2411936.
To see the very short, edited application and map* click this link: https://arfd.gov.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=55367.
Near the bottom of the page under "End Decisions" you will see "To comment on this application please click (here)."
Also email comments to Nicola Bickerton, R.P. Bio Authorization Specialist, District Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development at Nicola.Bickerton@gov.bc.ca.
Dave Harkley Trails Coordinator, Pemberton Wildlife Association
Water conservation in Whistler
The RMOW is telling me I can't wash my car while an average-sized residential pool with a surface area of 400 square feet could lose as much as 38,000 litres of water each year due to evaporation. How many outdoor pools and baths do we have in Whistler?
Here is a cool calculator to determine loss of water from a pool https://www.americanleakdetection.com/diy-leak-tests/swimming-pool-water-loss-calculator.
The problem in Whistler isn't lack of water, it's an infrastructure designed for a smaller population and smaller visitor numbers.
The fire department needs water more than anything, and we must not forget that. Maybe instead of blowing money on the Parkhurst Lands, the never-finished bus loop and shiny new cars, we can build up our water systems?
Remember that when you comment on the Official Community Plan.
Oh ... and I washed my non-motorized vehicle today as per Stage 2 regulations. There is no limit on water usage for that. I strapped my bike on the roof of my car and gave it one hell of a dousing.
Patrick Smyth Whistler
First Past the Post has saved Ontario for now
My, oh my, that was a shallow argument to support such an eye-catching headline "Doug Ford and the petty politics of revenge," (Pique, June 21). Especially as the writer Andrew Mitchell's objective was to try and guide the reader to a conclusion that a government formed by unelected, and therefore unaccountable members, is somehow better than our current system of constituent elected representation.
Using Ontario as the example of some sort of proportional representation is very interesting. Had Ontario used proportional representation a couple of weeks ago, the result would have meant a likely coalition of NDP and Liberals. Together, they could have completed the Liberal mission of turning Ontario into their version of a nanny state while eliminating Ontario as the business engine of Canada.
B.C. voted against changing our current first-past-the-post system in 2005 and again in 2009, so why are we wasting time and money going at it again? The reason is simple: the NDP was not elected to govern B.C., however, when given a chance to form a government the party needed the Greens to establish power.
The NDP/Green coalition was bought by the NDP on the promise that they would launch yet another attempt at electoral reform. This was solely to please Green Party leader Andrew Weaver, who would pretty much be the only beneficiary of any change to our current parliamentary system.
Further, it is nonsense that Canada or its provinces swing hard left or hard right; that is why the Ontario NDP did not win the election. First past the post came to the rescue to help Ontario to at least position itself to stop the downward spiral for now; hopefully it is not too late.
People will vote the way they wish during the upcoming election reform referendum; such is their right in our hard-earned democracy. Hopefully the voter makes an informed vote and does not depend solely on Mr. Mitchell's twaddle.
For those who want more information to help you inform your own decision, you can start to find it here: https://www.nobcprorep.ca.
Dix Lawson Whistler
As a participant in the recent Whistler Bioblitz (and in several before that), I would like, on behalf of myself and others who were there, to express my sincere appreciation to Bob Brett and his team, who so expertly balanced innumerable jobs and assisted so many experts in so many different disciplines, drawing them all together into a successful meeting which augmented our scientific knowledge of the biodiversity present in the Whistler area.
Believe me, all these scientists appreciate an opportunity to visit the area and explore its biota.
Over the years, Bob and his team have been instrumental in increasing our knowledge of Whistler's living things from an insignificant level to the current number of almost 4,000.
This makes Whistler one of the better-known areas in the country: a fact of which we should all be proud.
Bryce Kendrick, PhD DSc FRSCSidney
Pemberton's strawberry tea
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our community for the continuing support of our Strawberry Tea.
As always, Pemberton Valley Supermarket stepped up and supplied us with items to make our day a success.
Thank you to Pemberton Museum for letting us host our tea on their grounds.
And a shout out to our friends who lent a hand to deliver all those desserts about town. Our members stepped up and worked together to make it all happen.
It is a pleasure to work with all of you.
Linda Welsh Pemberton