Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of March 12th

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The most stoked

There is a huge amount of stoke in the people who live here and enjoy a diverse variety of interests and activities.

I am inspired every day — from the mountain slopes, skate park and hockey rink, to the daily efforts of local people connecting with visitors.

Like so many of you, I share love for these mountains but, after another serious injury this season, I found myself missing out — and I was gutted.

But with the support of an amazing group of new friends, I've started a Women's Freestyle Day on the mountain. We have received a huge response and it is great to see so many female shredders together!

My passion for spreading my stoke to others while on the sidelines led me to connect with the Whistler Chamber's annual #TheMostStoked Instagram contest to find and celebrate the two most stoked people in this town.

If you have something you are stoked on, or if you know someone who spreads the stoke, contact me or pick up some #themoststoked stickers and hashtag your Instagram photos/videos with #TheMostStoked.

It's totally free and fun! We hope to share some of the rad things happening in town and reward Whistler's two "most stoked" with an ultimate Whistler Experience prize of adrenaline packed activities plus VIP World Ski and Snowboard Festival access! If you want to join my female ride days, for skiers/boarders of all abilities, find our group on Facebook — Whistler Women's Freeski Day. 

Sarah Hopwood

Whistler Chamber of Commerce

Choice is a good thing

Statistics can be manipulated to make a point, even an erroneous one, and this seems to be the case in Ms. Lauren McIvor's article concerning provincial funding of independent schools (The Question, March 3).

The funding of independent schools has not changed in 25 years. Since 1989, independent schools have been funded at 35 to 50 per cent of the operating cost in the public school district.

Since provincial funding is on a per-child basis, total funding has of course increased as the number of children in independent education has increased. However, the significant point here is that for every student that enters the independent system there is a proportional increase in funding for those remaining in the public system.

For while 35 to 50 per cent of per-child provincial funding is given to the independent school, the other 50 to 65 per cent remains in the system — but without a child in the system to utilize it.

Further more, this funding is simply for the operational costs of schools; there is no subsidization of the independent schools' infrastructural costs — so all the child's funding in this area remains in the provincial coffers, resulting in a significant increase in available dollars to be spent per child in the public system.

If all the children in independent education returned to the public system there would be a marked decrease in the dollars per child, a catastrophic lack of facilities, and fewer dollars per child to create and maintain these facilities.

Independent schools are an important part of any healthy society of choice.

Many (all Whistler) independent schools are not elitist as Ms. McIvor suggests; many operate on lower budgets and with far fewer facilities than their public equivalents.

Parents often make significant sacrifices to educate their children in such schools, not because they want to "buy" their children a head start in life, but because these schools offer an alternative approach to education that they believe in.

We are fortunate that our government recognizes the importance of choice in this regard, and it is significant that such alternative education is provided by the state in other provinces in Canada, in the U.S., and across much of Europe and Australasia.

Caroline Trench

Whistler

Lil'wat Nation land code

This weekend the Lil'wat Nation will move forward with two historic votes: its first election under a custom election code and a referendum on its land code under the Framework Agreement for Land Management.

Each of these votes represents an important step towards self determination and self government for Lil'wat — they each represent an important step away from the Indian Act, and away from having people in Ottawa make decisions that are essential to everyday life for Lil'wat citizens.

The Custom Election Code was passed by a majority of Lil'wat voters in the 2013 elections, and our hope is that Lil'wat voters will pass the land code in this election.

The Lil'wat Nation Land Code is a set of custom rules to govern Lil'wat's reserve lands — the land code removes approximately one third of the Indian Act and allows Lil'wat to govern its reserve lands without interference from Ottawa. Currently 51 First Nations across Canada are operational under their own land code with a further 61 at some stage of development. The basis for these land codes is the Framework Agreement, which was first signed in 1996 following government-to-government negotiations between Canada and 14 First Nations.

In addition to taking power away from Ottawa, the land code accomplishes a number of other important changes for Lil'wat, it: provides enhanced law-making power and greater legal recognition for Lil'wat Nation laws; provides for more community input and consultation with Lil'wat Citizens; protects citizens from arbitrary expropriation of their lands and ensures that Lil'wat Nation reserves can never be reduced in size; and provides for a clear process for the creation and management of both third party and Lil'wat citizen interests in reserve lands.

The land code is an important step towards self determination and self government in that it puts control over key land management decisions with Lil'wat; however, it is only a step.

The land code is not a treaty and does not negatively impact Lil'wat's aboriginal title to its traditional territory. Lil'wat has never ceded, surrendered nor in any way relinquished its aboriginal title and within the nation and the lands and resources department we will continue to fight to maximize control over the traditional territory.

All Lil'wat Nation voters should have received a land code package in the mail and further information can be found at www.lilwatnationlandcode.com or by contacting the land and resources office at 604-894-2333.

David Dorrans,

Director of Lands, Resources and Public Infrastructure

Mount Currie

Our park – Nairn Falls

I would like to draw your attention to a situation here in Pemberton at Nairn Falls.

For years we have enjoyed going to the falls with our families. A couple of years ago the trees were cut down and a large parking lot was built and paved. Then a large gate was installed.

I would like to know what's up with this?

Our taxpayer money is used to improve the park and then a gate is placed to keep us out?

Now we have to park on the highway to use the park!

Besides being dangerous to those getting in and out of their cars, it seems like an injustice to us, the local taxpayers.

Steve St. Arnaud

Pemberton

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