At a cost
It is always interesting around budget time to read all the differing opinions on how the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) should be spending taxpayer money. I have had the opportunity to live in many places around the world and I consider myself to be very fortunate to have landed in Whistler when I did and that I am able to raise my children in such a healthy and safe environment.
There is very little Whistler needs, in my opinion, other than to ensure what we have is well maintained and safe to use, but there are many things that I would like to see in facilities that I believe would enhance the resort and the lives of residents who live here. In my opinion, having lived in many resort locations, Whistler has done a pretty good job of balancing visitor and resident amenities.
Unfortunately, public facilities come at a cost and for the most part, they never provide a financial return (if they did, the private sector would be building them). As a community, over the years we have added many things that don't make financial sense. For example, I don't hear any comments on the $1.5 million we spend annually on subsidizing Meadow Park, or the cost to upkeep the Valley Trail, or Lost Lake trails, or the funds that go toward supporting the arts, or the cost to rejuvenate the skateboard park, or the funds for the free bus service. All these amenities are important to some in the community and not at all to others, but at some point there were enough people who cared enough to make it happen. As it is with the turf field today, there are many residents who will never benefit from a turf field if it is built, but there are plenty of people who will and, although the cost to build this facility is quite high, the cost to maintain it is relatively small when compared to other recreational facilities.
The field sports that will benefit from this facility are for the most part gender neutral, inexpensive and already have mass participation so there isn't any reason the field won't see great use.
We are very fortunate to live in Whistler and have the existing amenities but there is always something else that could be added to enhance what we have. How about a running track or a decent tennis facility? Hopefully they will all have their day when they are important enough for our community to act on and the time and balance are right, and we will continue to build on our reputation as a world-class place to visit and live.
President and CEO
Whistler Sport Legacies
Pass pricing update
In your March 9 issue of Pique, the story "WB announces 2017-18 pass pricing" states that the "early-bird" senior seniors seasons pass decreased slightly to $829. In fact, the 2016-17 "early-bird" senior seasons pass cost $746 so there is actually an $80 increase.
Safety first? Or balls to the face?!
Recently, the Australian Transport Acccident commission got together with a team of artists and scientists to create Graham, a completely far-fetched model of how humans might evolve if we were specifically intended to survive a car accident. Not just inside, but also as a pedestrian. A giant head and forehead shaped like a helmet set ahead of a fat-filled face. Airsacks between every rib to act like airbags to protect organs. Legs appearing like a dog's or a kangaroo's to easily jump out of the way. In any case, looking at this model is supposed to remind us of how fragile we are. Such fragility is felt pretty routinely when one leaves the house both in and out of a vehicle. But it is hard to argue the safety of driver versus a pedestrian in a collision.
At the recent budget meeting, a hefty discussion relating to an artificial turf soccer field was waged. To the possible value of 2.7 to 4-million-plus dollars. Also not sure how popular lights are going to be with residents and parents having to deal with a child's energy at 10 at night. And while I certainly see the value that Jack Crompton brought up, I simply wonder how Andrée Janyk managed to slide in the issue of safety as an arguing factor and why this is considered a priority in such context. Seems a little far-fetched.
I've spent most of my Whistler life in Function Junction as both a commuter and a resident since the early 2000s. Much has changed — yet so much has not. It is by far the most dangerous place in town to be a pedestrian. And in all honesty, it is a community unto itself. There really is no reason to leave. But there are many to stay in your vehicle. Just this past Tuesday, I had to cross the centre line to avoid a young family of four walking in the middle of the street. They were not anywhere near the newly constructed route, which is barely visible to an outsider crossing the road from the bus stop on the other side of the road in the interpretive forest. And this route ends promptly at the entrance where the train tracks are. Every day, I pass by hordes of people walking on the road with heads in the air gaping at all the hard-to-find destinations while oblivious to the semi-truck-filled traffic barrelling down on them.
The other end of Function is hardly better. Often used as a three-lane road as fully loaded semi-trailers are parked to unload on what is barely a two-lane road filled with hurried contractors, tourists who took the first entrance to Whistler who are slowly realizing they're in the wrong place while messing with they're nav systems, people walking to bus stops around blind corners, gaggles of Crossfitters who can barely breathe, let alone see all the chaos happening around them, and families of babies and dogs weaving through the mix.
This chaos is never going to change, and as Whistler grows so will its industrial heart. Jobs will increase and so will pedestrians and commuters. One sidewalk or even a barrier is a must. Dare I say, it is a priority. This a busy community, and is expanding rapidly; within months, there will be close to possibly 50 more daily commuters as another new building goes up.
Which brings me to my far-fetched point and possible solution. There is already a preferred trail running the length of the community. It even hooks up with the Valley Trail save for a few daring rail crossings. I wonder how many people get lost and ride alongside Nita Lake? I wonder how many people don't want to climb that steep hill? Don't think trains were considered when they made Graham, don't think we'll evolve that far. This trail is also the easiest and fastest way of commuting to the village from Cheakamus. One quick look at a topo map and you'll see how you may not have to arrive at work covered in the remnants of yesterdays toxins.
As great as this trail is, you'll most likely arrive to work covered in something worse than your own sweat. A glorious mix of dog stew. This trail is a favourite of every dog owner who lives here or is lucky enough to be able to bring their best friend to work everyday. That's possibly almost 100 dogs every day. And while everyone tries their best to be a good dog owner, on this trail dogs are often off-leash and often as their owners are engaged in friendly conversation. It's inevitable a few stealthy brown bombers are released and are making their way into the water table. Think about this the next time you rattle down the trail in the spring through the many puddles that exist on such a neglected, well-used commuter trail. It's well past time to make it an offical part of the Valley Trail.
And while I am never going to talk against the value of sport, and as only a second-generation Canadian with British heritage, it'd be hypocritical for me to harsh on soccer, I simply cannot see how the safety of day-to-day life of thousands in this bustling community is getting prioritized and measured against the thought of a young boy dying because he was forced to travel in the relative safety of a vehicle somewhere only to be cleats-up catching balls in the face under the lights after his bedtime. Which I'm fairly certain they'll still have to do anyway as they travel to tournaments all over the province.
15 bald years
First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who took part in the 15th annual Balding For Dollars event at the GLC on Sunday. Whistler, you once again opened your hearts and wallets for kids with cancer and blood disorders at BC Children's Hospital.
The Blackcomb Barber Shop shaved 20 heads, including two women and five elementary-school youngsters, such a great turnout again. Early numbers (and dollars are still rolling in) show that a total of $22,592 was raised, including the monies raised in the silent auction generously put together by the crew at the Crystal Lodge and Suites. This brings the total amount raised through the Whistler Balding For Dollars event since 2002 to over $291,000. We look forward to reaching that $300,000 mark at the 16th annual Whistler Balding For Dollars event.
We couldn't do this event without the participants, our partners (including Whistler Question, Mountain FM, Walsh Restoration, Crystal Lodge, the GLC, and Blackcomb Barber Shop) and, of course, our awesome volunteers that help to MC, handle registration, count money and keep the show rolling. Thank you all!
See you again next year.
Dave and Wendy Clark
Whistler Friends Society
In his March 2, 2017 review, "Slash those burnout blues," Feet Banks wrote: "A lot of people (the elderly mostly, and wankers) tell me that violence is ruining cinema as an art form and that we're all losing touch with the stories, the characters, and the humanity of our movies."
Why the thoughtless vitriol from Banks against the elderly?
Not funny. Not clever.
Hurtful. Hateful. Elder bashing. Ageism.
He shouldn't have written it and Pique should not have run it.
Not free speech. Not tongue-in-cheek.
Just mean spirited and hurtfully dismissive of the "elderly."