'The Little Four' redux
A few years ago, I wrote a letter in the wake of International Women's Day recognizing four unsung women heroes of Whistler. It was a response to an article "Women Who Rock Whistler" that recognized the amazing accomplishments of Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Sue Adams, Barrett Fisher and Maureen Douglas.
It was a great article but at the time it reminded me of a trip to Africa where all everyone talked about was the "big five." I found on that trip it was equally important to recognize some of the lesser known or out-of-the-spotlight animals and I found myself looking for my "little four," equally amazing animals that also deserved the limelight.
In my letter on the Pique feature (Pique, March 20, 2016, "Women who Rock Whistler"), I chose to recognize four Whistler women that I felt were overshadowed somewhat by our "big four" but who are also deserving of our attention. And I really need to spotlight here that nothing about my "little four" was "little." They rock Whistler just as strongly, loudly and incredibly as our "big four!"
Dee Raffo's great article this week "Rising Regardless" highlighted seven women who like the "big four" before them are doing amazing things in the valley (an article Dee could have written about herself BTW!). I love that these rising stars in our community are getting the attention they deserve — it's so great.
And it got me thinking about my "little four" again this year, women who really inspire me with their leadership and commitment to our community who may not always get the attention they deserve.
So for 2018, I would first like to recognize Susan Holden. She organized the truly magically Raising Our Voices event at the Maury Young Arts Centre to celebrate International Women's Day. What a night! And to top it off, it generated a lot of funds for the Howe Sound Women's Centre, a social service that sadly needs our funds more than ever.
Speaking of social services next up I want to give a shout out to Cheryl Skribe of Whistler Community Services Society. As Whistler has grown and become more expensive, we are seeing way more demand on our social services and it feels good to know Cheryl is leading this organization. (Editor's Note: Skribe is stepping down in June.) It's not sexy work (although some of my costumes from Re-Use-It Centre could be called that... well actually, no they can't), but it is so important as our community is not immune to the problems of the world.
Next up is a fun one. Years ago, I remember a girl at the video store in Marketplace (back when we rented videos) who always had a recommendation of the latest, greatest movie that you had never heard of. All her picks were great. Fast forward to the present and suddenly this same girl is the acting director of the Audain Art Museum! Can you say mind blowing? Wow — so great! So proud of you, Brianna Beacom (whose full-time job is as associate director of operations at the Audain) .
And lastly (and sort of cheating as there are two of them), I want to recognize Councillors Jen Ford and Sue Maxwell for standing up for yourselves and what you believe in. Politics, even locally, is a hard road and I am glad that both of you have your hands on the wheel that is steering Whistler into the future.
So there you go four (sorry five... I could probably pick 100!) more amazing women who help make our community as amazing as it is.
And hey, can we celebrate International Women's Day every day? The women of our community deserve it!
Pay parking discouraging
As a tourist, I feel that the practices of the private parking companies (in Whistler) are really discouraging American tourists.
Are we are being unfairly targeted by these parking companies who advertise 30-minute free parking IGA lot and then drop a $55 ticket on your car. Can someone please crack down on this practice?
Makes one never want to return to this ski resort.
Follow their lead
British Columbia should follow Washington state's lead by removing salmon farms from the ocean.
The Washington state legislature recently passed a bill to have all salmon farms removed from the state's ocean waters by 2025. In doing so, it recognized how important wild salmon are, and acted to protect them from sea lice and disease pathogens that get transferred to wild salmon from these salmon farms.
With sockeye salmon stocks returning to the Fraser River and locally the Birkenhead River at all-time-low numbers, the future of these iconic salmon is grim with the risks posed to them by salmon farms.
Let's hope that B.C. Premier John Horgan will do the same!
We need to protect our wild salmon stocks and make them a priority ahead of farmed salmon, that threaten their future.
Logic hard to understand
On Dec. 19, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) proposed, and council resolved to proceed with, a rezoning for a 74-unit, employee-restricted rental apartment building on a two-acre site currently zoned for a single-family home in Nordic.
Among other things, this site at 2077 Garibaldi Way has only 15 metres of frontage and is accessed between two single-family homes off the end of a single-family cul-de-sac and the proposed density is more than double that of most townhouse developments in the area.
On Tuesday, March 6, the RMOW administration advised against, and the RMOW council ultimately resolved not to proceed with, a rezoning at Nesters Crossing that would allow Whistler businesses to increase accommodation within their own premises for their own staff from one suite to four suites.
Nesters Crossing is an industrial subdivision with lots ranging from 0.75 to 4.2 acres each adjacent to a lit Valley Trail.
The logic is hard to understand and accept.
In Nordic, the administration and council are OK with seriously compromising the nature of a single-family residential zone. At Nesters Crossing, the administrator and mayor are very outspoken in their opposition to a very modest (one to four units) increase in employee housing by businesses within their own premises for their own staff because they wish to preserve the nature of an industrial zone.
Both above decisions are nonsensical! We the residents and taxpayers of Nordic deserve better! RMOW and council should be ashamed of themselves!
Paul and Jane Manning
Who could have ever imagined? A Liberal Environment Minister demanding a national carbon tax and promoting a massively expanded ocean-based bitumen pipeline terminal in heart of the Lower Mainland.
Or the "Paris Climate leader" and our Liberal Prime Minister banning oil tankers on half the coast due to "risk" while promoting a 350 per cent increase in tanker shipments on the other half, where we all live.
Or an NDP government in Alberta (strange enough) threatening all kinds of nasty stuff if we do not agree to risk our entire West Coast ocean ecosystem so the tar sands can be expanded, destroying northern Alberta one acre at a time.
I am pretty sure that Liberal and NDP supporters, a diminishing bunch, did not expect their team to not only take over the right-wing agenda here, but to champion it with such zeal. Remember Conservative Prime Minister (PM) Stephen Harper's Paris target? That "embarrassingly low commitment," or so said our new PM Liberal Justin Trudeau. This feisty new bunch not only kept this target but they will sadly fall well short of it.
Get ready to pay massive penalties...for what exactly?
Now we get to swallow our own B.C. "left-wing government" raising every tax in sight, going ahead with Site C dam, and, wait for it, allowing the pipeline to be built, despite vowing to stop it. Is B.C. Premier John Horgan chained to a backhoe yet? This tool is no doubt in his "toolbox." Not likely.
And MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Terry Beech (MP — Burnaby), and Jonathan Wilkinson (MP— North Vancouver) won't even stand up for us. Heck, they won't even put forth their own opinions, hiding behind their busy schedules and endless consultations.
Beech and Goldsmith-Jones in particular have no opinions. Did they campaign professing no opinions of their own? It is amazing what a few extra appointments and international junkets can do to seemingly strong-willed people.
Good grief. Where do we turn now to get simple, basic honesty? It appears that is just too much to ask our current politicians.
Thank you to a hero
I want to send out a huge thank you to the gentleman who helped my daughter out of a tricky situation last Saturday, March 10, on Blackcomb Mountain. And also a big thank you to his companions who helped calm my fears and made sure my daughter made it safely back to the trail.
Rewind to what happened. My seven-year-old was feeling tired after an awesome sunny day of skiing, so we decided to head down for the day. We were skiing down the cat track from Crystal, and I just made it over the bridge and I got ahead of her, thinking we were pretty much finished the road.
When I looked back, she wasn't in sight. What I saw were a number of skiers stopping quickly, getting their skis off and running to the edge.
I remember taking a moment to think, could they be helping my daughter? Did she fall? Then I heard her screams. This was probably the most terrifying feeling I have ever felt. I felt so helpless.
I immediately took off my skis and started running up the hill — very hard to do in ski boots. I remember calling out to the people to see if she was OK, but I couldn't hear anything. All I saw was concern on their faces.
When I finally arrived, I saw that she was far down, but was OK.
The man guided her up the steep slope to safety, and to me. I was so grateful for their help. Then, in a flash, they were gone.
At that moment, I was in a bit of shock, so I didn't think to get their names or contact information. So, hopefully they read this note and know how thankful I am for their huge act of goodwill and kindness that day.
They definitely prevented a tough situation from becoming even worse.
This event was a reality check for me and a reminder to all parents that the mountain is a big deal.
My daughter is a great skier, but accidents can happen in a flash. No matter what our kids' ski level, we need to have our eyes on them at all times. I should have been skiing behind my daughter that day. That way I could have maybe prevented her fall, or been there to help calm her from the beginning.
We are so lucky to live and play in this area. Don't take it for granted, remember to be mindful of your surroundings, have fun and stay safe.
Pot calling kettle black?
David Suzuki is mistaken to say that my position that "CO2 is harmless plant food," is "anti-climate-science." It is, in fact, solid science.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the stuff of life, an essential reactant in plant photosynthesis on which all life on Earth depends. That's why commercial greenhouse operators routinely run their internal atmospheres at up to 1,500 parts per million (ppm) CO2 concentration. Plants inside grow far more efficiently than at the 400 ppm in the outside atmosphere.
Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts, a report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, cites over 1,000 peer-reviewed studies that document rising productivity of forests and grasslands as CO2 levels have increased, not just in recent decades, but in past centuries.
Increasing CO2 levels pose no direct hazard to human health. In fact, CO2 concentrations in submarines can reach levels well above 10,000 ppm, 25 times current atmospheric levels, with no harmful effects on the crew.
Suzuki is also wrong to write that I doubt "the existence of human-caused climate change altogether." Humans have an impact on climate when we replacing a forest with a parking lot and other "land use changes." And, we probably do impact climate to some extent due to our CO2 emissions.
However, no one knows the degree to which this occurs, let alone if it is dangerous. This is why the group I lead, the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), advocates dedicating most climate finance to helping vulnerable people adapt to climate change, no matter the cause.
Suzuki asserts that misinformation muddying the waters of the climate debate is "unconscionable." Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
Tom Harris, B. Eng., M. Eng. (Mech.
Executive Director, (ICSC)