Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of March 26th


One for the ages

I have an admission to make. I am having serious difficulty admitting that I am a senior. I can ski as good as I skied when I was 30 and Whistler keeps you young.

I do not like the label "senior." It also means somebody higher or better in ranking, as in senior partner. Even less I like the label "mature." Mature is the status of fruit before it starts decaying. This is a sad and brutal truth of the state of affairs.

I would prefer to be called "extra young." I found this expression when looking at ski pass prices in Chamonix. Excellent marketing gimmick.

But this is not about labels. It is the conflict of generations we are facing. It has been predicted that there will be a serious conflict between retiring baby boomers and younger generations. Boomers will be numerous and will have more political power and younger generations will be hard pressed to support this old bunch. The conflict has already started. It is being used for neoliberal policies of austerity, slashing budgets and reducing cost. The first action was by the Conservative government, which meanly decreased the Old Age Security benefit for future "extra young." Then the Conservatives reduced the federal contribution payments to provinces for health care. This disproportionally affects "extra young."  Same with no more door-to-door Canada Post delivery. 

Now the conditions for the next offensive are being prepared by various, mostly conservative, think tanks.  They are floating "scientific" studies to lay ground if Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets re-elected. The Institute for Research on Public Policy recently published a report suggesting that governments (all levels) do not provide any discounts for "extra young." Since they fully use services, they should pay the full price. Currently, B.C. senior residents can apply for a Home Owner Grant to lower their property tax burden. So we should not get this grant? This can be debated at length. I am fine with no grant, but then, based on the same principle, we should not pay for services we do not use, such as schools.

Many analysts are saying that Canadians should get used to miserable GDP growth rates for some time to come. They directly attribute the cause to retiring baby boomers. Well, current miserable GDP growth is directly attributable to Harper's economic policies and his obsession with balancing the budget. Other reasons are growing income inequality, depressed wages, people, especially young, without jobs, unproductive corporate takeovers, investments in stock markets instead of promoting growth development and because banks, corporations and really rich people are hoarding "dead money." Future growth will be low partly because of these reasons as well. But in addition, the natural laws of capitalism are causing that capitalism, very mildly put, to sputter out. I do not have to quote Marx on that. Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter, one of the most influential economists in the 20th century, came to the conclusion that because the laws of capitalism through competition tend to cause a lowering of profit rate, there will be less and less "steam" for extended reproduction, i.e., growth. One can see how dramatically the profits of oil companies are plunging due to the current brief period of competition.

We, the "extra young," need to resist policies detrimental to us. They will not be an election issue unless we make it so.

Drago Arh


LNG intake water will heat Howe Sound

At our most recent Squamish to Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee meeting, we heard a presentation from Stan Proboszcz of Propeller Strategy on the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant and potential impacts on wild salmon and herring.

Stan explained to our group that the plant will have a marine water cooling system that will draw up to 17,000 cubic metres of water per hour from Howe Sound. This will be used to cool the plant, then returned at elevated temperatures back the sound.

Water intakes used by various plants around the world have had grave consequences on fish, including juvenile herring. Juvenile pink and chum salmon in Howe Sound may also be at risk.

We also learned that the location of the plant is in the preferred migration route of juvenile salmon from Randall Lewis of the Squamish River Watershed Society and near preferred spawning areas for herring.

With the recent recovery of Howe Sound from the impacts of heavy industry and the return of increased numbers whales, dolphins, salmon and herring near Squamish, it was very concerning to our group that the proposed Woodfibre LNG Plant might have devastating impacts on the future of Howe Sound.

We also heard that a proposed LNG plant in the Skeena River estuary is proposing to use an air-cooling system, which would avoid a marine water intake and side-step some risks to wild fish. Why is Woodfibre LNG not proposing this type of cooling system?

If you're concerned and want to learn more I suggest visiting www.propellerstrategy.org

Dave Brown

Squamish to Lillooet Sportfish Advisory Committee Vice-Chair

Early Edition concern

I am commenting regarding the interview by CBC's Rick Cluff with Byng Giraud, vice president of corporate affairs at Woodfibre LNG, during the Friday, March 13 Early Edition's show in Squamish.

Some of Giraud's topics included vessels in Howe Sound, air emissions and how green the proposed facility at Woodfibre is.

Giraud stated that there would be one LNG ship per 10 days coming into the proposed facility at Woodfibre. He said that there are up to 12 vessels or more in Squamish's port but did not specify daily, weekly, or monthly. I emailed Squamish Terminal and the reply that I received is contrary to what Giraud stated even if he meant monthly. Squamish Terminal stated that on average they receive six to eight ships per month from 165-208 meters in length of which one to two are the larger ships (208m). He also neglected to mention that the LNG ships are significantly larger than any ships currently sailing down Howe Sound into Squamish. The latest information that I have regarding the size of LNG ships is 315m long and 50m wide. We have no guarantee that the facility will not increase production and therefore the number of ships.

I am also concerned about his glossing over of the greenhouse gas emissions that he stated would possibly be emitted from the plant. We know that over 120,000 tonnes per year are projected which will blow into Squamish and impact our community.

If the cooling system is so green, why will it kill countless organisms in Howe Sound, which will be swept through the filtration screens? This system was banned in California. Also noticeably missing from any LNG discussion is the word fracking, which quickly dispels the notion of natural gas in its entirety as green energy.

Angela Muellers


To have and to hold

Each one of us would place beauty at the top of our list when it came to things we value and want to share with family, friends and visitors.

We appreciate beauty for how it moves us, the emotions it can ellicit: awe, joy, a profound sense of peace and well-being, tranquility.

As residents of the Sea to Sky corridor we are enveloped in beauty. It greets us as we round the corner from Horseshoe Bay and have the first glimpse of our very own fjord spread out in front of us. The coastal mountains and those fantastic Emily Carr trees provide the backdrop for this bewitching and unique waterway that accompanies us on our journey home.  It never fails to soothe us as we drive, cycle, hike, walk, run and climb beside it, sail, kite surf, kayak, canoe, or row upon it and fish and swim in it. Each time we are on it, or beside it, our fjord it is different. Season, time of day, wind, rain, cloud, sunlight and moonlight provide us with an unending source of artwork to take pleasure from.

When we hear of porpoises, sea lions and killer whales in our fjord, word travels like lightning in the news and on social media. We are proud that they visit; we want to share our happiness and our profound sense of luck with all we know.

As a mountain ski host at Whistler, guests never fail to mention the Sea to Sky drive to me.  These guests are monied. They travel the world, they seek out the best. They are blown away by our fjord.

As a climber in a climber's campsite anywhere in the world, mention Squamish, and you have the attention of an international gathering of climbers. It's not just the rock they have heard stories about or have fallen in love with. It is the setting, the vista of the fjord from the climbs that they will invariably cite.

An LNG plant does not belong on our fjord. The world is changing. Our appreciation of beauty remains constant. Opportunities to economically benefit from a world-class waterway whose natural beauty is protected by a caring community are limitless.

We have it. Let's hold it.

Nancy Henderson


There is a greater problem

I appreciated the editorial "Life with plastic — not fantastic" by Clare Ogilvie (Pique March 19) but sadly this is just lip service to a greater problem.

Many of the produce items at the grocery store come in rigid plastic containers. Every two days we fill a plastic bag with plastic containers that go to the transfer station. Why don't these goods come in biodegradable paper containers? Why are we not using paper bags made from pine beetle pulp and paper? Hello grocery and liquor stores!

We're supporting a growth industry for Carney's while the government does nothing to regulate the industry.

We are just pawns in this game to eliminate plastic.

Steve St. Arnaud


Much waste, no incentive

I read with chagrin the opening remarks about plastic. It is high time that the narrative about plastic changes. The story always seems to be the same.  People use too much plastic and so much of it ends in waste. 

Or rather, the lowly "consumer" does, the lazy, lowly, know-nothing consumer.  Such idiots.

Well, as we very well can see, the lowly consumer, or "citizen" as I preferred to be called, is very eager to participate in the recycling program. But really, who can blame us when it feels like you need a degree in plastic sorting just to be able to get the right plastic in the right bin.

But, oh, how we try.

And that is the point. It is beyond obvious that people are willing to be responsible and do their part; it is time that the originator of the plastic, the manufacturers, starts to do theirs.

Why don't they? My guess is there is no incentive for them to do so. Well, here's one.

How about we adopt a system where the more packaging on a product, the more one has to pay?

Using more than one type of plastic in a container? Pay.

Cannot reuse or refill? Pay.

Negative incentive.

If there are two similar products and one is less expensive due to packaging, guess which one will be picked?

Over time, manufacturers will change and be more creative because they want their product to be purchased.

We need a legislated program that is able to quantify this and make it straightforward for both "consumer" and manufacturer. The poor manufacturers will cry and cry and cry trying to explain why this is just impossible. It is not.

Stop blaming citizens for all the waste.  We can only work with what is available. Whatever did happen to Whistler's gung ho attitude towards the Natural Step? www.naturalstep.com

Does anyone remember that?

Peter Skeels


Out-of-control dogs

This letter is about two out-of-control bull mastiff/pitbull dogs on my property in the SLRD/Area C. They have been terrorizing our pets and us for the past month because the owner refuses to pen them or tie them up.

The population on Pemberton Meadows Road (and other areas) has increased, as has the number of irresponsible dog owners whose animals are running out of control on agricultural land.

The BC Livestock Act, Chapter 270, Section 11.1 (b) formerly included the chasing of pets, wild game, and livestock, but the wording was changed in 2004 and so it is no longer effective for our situation.

However, the Local Government Act, Chapter 323, Part 22, Div 1 — Regulation of Animals, does address this issue in great detail. My question is — Is this particular point of law one that the RCMP can use to stand on legally, in the SLRD/Area C, without striking a further bylaw?

My garden used to be a refuge in which to meditate by the fire, with animals both wild and tame. 

Now, those dogs bark at us, jump our back fence, throw themselves at the side of my house to get to my pets, and chase everything that moves — squirrels, raccoons, cats, birds, etc.

On one occasion, the dogs went berserk, in full attack mode, chasing my cat.  One of the dogs jumped at least four feet up into the tree and hung off the branches by its teeth, shaking the branches violently. That is not an animal under control.

Cheryl Hooson


Pemberton BMX thanks

Pemberton BMX supporters near and far, YOU ROCK! On March 14, we held a fundraiser at the Mount Currie Coffee Co. and the abundance of goodness from business and community was above and beyond.   

A huge thank you to everyone who made the event a success, we raised just over $5,500.  Special mention to Chris and staff at Mount Currie Coffee Co. for being exceptional hosts and to Whistler Brewing, your continued support is thoroughly enjoyed.

Our silent auction rocked this year. Thank you, thank you, thank you to the following businesses for your donations: Aava Whistler, Pan Pacific Whistler, Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub, Sea to Sky Gondola, FanatykCo Ski & Snowboard, Garbanzo Bike & Bean, Billy Goat Technologies, Pemberton Distillery Inc., Tyax Wilderness Resort & Spa, Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Big Sky Golf, Vans Footwear, Bike Co., Foon Skis, Gibbons Life, Deep Cove Brewers and Distillers, BarnBurner Triple, Whistler Fishing Guides, Redline Bicycles, The Meadows at Pemberton, Grubwear, Scandinave Spa Whistler, Fox Head Canada, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whistler Golf Club, Core Camps Whistler, Cheetah Factory Racing, Showcase Snowboard Surf & Skate, Whistler Bounce, West Coast Float, Pemberton Valley Wellness, Snowline Catering, Vanessa Stark ART, Tamara Beaton — Arbonne International, One Mile-Stand Up Paddleboarding, Hunter Farms, Watermark Communications and Lucas Dacosta.  Apologies if any names are missed.

Pemberton BMX is heading into its third season as a BMX Canada-sanctioned track. Each year our riders and membership continue to grow, in turn we are wanting to continually improve our infrastructure.

This spring, our fundraising efforts are going towards dirt and machinery to improve track flow and riding surface. Our start hill and staging area are also slated for upgrades, as we look to host more local races along with some larger events that have the potential to draw riders from across B.C.  

The growth we have seen in such a short time is more than we ever anticipated. On behalf of myself, the PBMX board and the ambitious crew of riders, thank you to everyone who supports what we are up to.  

Our first race is set for May 20th and every Wednesday night following. Always happy to expand our crew, email info@pembertonbmx.com to get involved or for more information.  You can also stop by facebook.com/pembertonbmx to see what we are up to.    

Jessica Turner

President, Pemberton BMX Society

Don't wear fur-trimmed clothing

I feel increasingly saddened by the number of people wearing fur trim on their ski garments. It seems as though there is a complete disconnect between the source of the fur and the trim on the jacket. An animal actually died to trim the garment.

But more than that, I feel as though on many levels this is a reflection of a deeper issue — a broader disconnection to other beings and even the Earth that sustains us.

Many in society are operating from an unconscious level. We are asleep at the switch. We truly need to wake up, become more conscious and treat the Earth and all of its inhabitants with the respect that is deserved, not just for their and its sake but for our sakes. Once we have destroyed our homes, there will be no place to live and thrive in any meaningful way.

So I ask, with much love and care, to consider the lives of other beings and our Mother Earth in your daily doings. To the buyers of the shops that sell fur trimmed garments, I ask you to please consider that there is another way. You must and you can do better.

This is not what Whistler stands for. We can not promote our town as a wilderness haven and promote the disrespectful treatment of animal's lives at the same time. If you read this letter to the end, bless you. It makes me feel hopeful.

Sylvia Dolson


Whistler Nordics thanks

The Whistler Nordics held a season-end fundraiser at Creekbread in Creekside on March 10. Our community is well-versed with the weekly Tuesday community nights at Creekbread, but I wonder if we all know the impact of our Tuesday night dinner decision.

Each pizza purchase, 50/50 ticket purchased, silent auction bid, silent auction donation, and cash donation adds up; we raised $3,775! But that's not all, Scotiabank provided five volunteers on the night AND will match every dollar raised taking our total to $7,550. Amazing!

This fundraiser was a true demonstration of what individual gestures within the community can achieve when combined with a single purpose.  

Thank you to Nina Cairns, Sarah Sladen and Kimiko Taguchi for masterminding the fundraiser for the club, all the parents and volunteers who sourced silent auction items, Creekbread for its community spirit and a portion of pizza sales, the Scotiabank staff who volunteered their time, Scotiabank's Bright Future's Scheme, everyone who ate pizza, bought tickets, bid on items and made donations, and our supportive local businesses who do so much for the community donating silent auction goods: Delta Whistler Village Suite, Nick North, Loka Yoga, Nagomi Restaurant, Senka Florist, Whistler Cooks, Great Glass Elevator candy store, Rim Rock, Ziptreck, Adventure Group, Fathom Stone Art Gallery, David's Tea, Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa, Cross Country Canada, Four Seasons Resort and Residences, Nita Lake Lodge,  Murdoch and Co., Basecamp, Quantum Vitamins, CVXC, Slope Side Supply, Whistler Chocolate, Scandinave Spa, Starbucks, Alta Bistro, Source for Sports, Sass Designs, Andrea Peiffer Masseuse, VIDA Spa/Fairmont, Cows, Armchair Books.

The power of community (and pizza)!

Suki Cheyne

Whistler Nordics

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