Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of May 21st


Close the clubs

I'm an emergency physician at the Whistler Health Care Centre.

Everyone at work dreads the May long weekend, as we typically see a spike in violent injuries and partying overdoses. This weekend was no different.

Resuscitating and pronouncing young people (dead) is by far the worst part of my job, and the young man this weekend who died a violent death was one of the most difficult experiences I've ever had at work.  

We must take more serious steps to curb the violence up here on this weekend.

Groups of young men from the Lower Mainland are the problem, and they are universally looking to "go out" at night, which is why they are here instead of Squamish or somewhere else.

They are not here to ride the bike park.

I submit that if we closed our nightclubs on the May long weekend, they wouldn't bother coming up — they'd go elsewhere. Perhaps some of the money and energy that goes into filling hotel beds this weekend could go into compensating the clubs for closing their doors.

The vast majority of long-time locals wouldn't be upset.

This issue should be of interest to everyone, including Tourism Whistler, the muni, and all local businesses. An alternative to closing the clubs would be to advertise for people to stay away on this weekend, turn it into a ghost town, which I doubt would be popular.

Advertising the weekend as family friendly, while not taking more drastic steps to keep these guys out of town, is simply unethical. Someone else is going to get hurt, or worse — our kids, our friends.

GO Fest is nice, but does absolutely nothing to change the problem. Time for meaningful action.

Clark Lewis


My best May long weekend ever

As we read about the tragedy (the fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old from Burnaby on May 17) that once again gives a black eye to Whistler on the May long weekend, I would like to offer a positive experience about the weekend.

This was my first May long weekend off in years, and I chose to take back the village as the mayor wanted locals to do. We did this at night (by enjoying) the music of April Wine, Current Swell and Barney Bentall.

I wasn't going to let the negativity, or fear, of the weekend keep me home — as a music lover and DJ I love the festival atmosphere the GO Fest produced.

The village square was filled with long-time locals all weekend, although I felt a bit safer on the Beacon Patio.

But when the music ended the teens came out in droves and I went home, as I and my friends agreed we didn't want to find out what happens after 10 or 11 p.m. because, let's face it, locals really don't go underground on weekends.

So what's the solution, that's what everyone wants to know?

Keep GO Fest going, as it created a positive atmosphere during the day, and perhaps at night give the teens a curfew or send them packing.

Like Jennifer Miller's (2012) article in Question (which is on point) asks where are the parents?

As long as GO Fest continues I will promote what the festival has to offer and take back the village.

Doug Ryan


May long weekend — it never changes

Another May long weekend has come and gone.

Despite trying to make it a more family-friendly weekend, not only did it bring the families, but, as usual, it brought the rowdies who have nothing better to do than cause problems day and night... plain and simple.

I am a long-time homeowner and rental manager and it never ceases to amaze me the groups of young people that come here and are able to rent out peoples' homes or hotel rooms.

The number of younger guests that were staying in a Village North complex this weekend was upsetting, and many of them no older than 17 to 21, at most.

Some of these homes had upwards of 10 to 12 people coming in and out during the day and evening.

Bringing in extra police presence and security is not going to help if the owners/managers renting out these accommodations are not doing their due diligence... is the extra couple of hundred bucks really worth it?

I am not saying that all young people are trouble, they aren't, but unfortunately more often than not, it is the young people that cause many of the problems and the damage.

Many of them walk around the village like they own it, their arrogance, rudeness and lack of any civil obedience is simply appalling and if you make a comment they have no problem in speaking back to you and not in a polite way.

It was highly noted that extra police and security presence was provided... perhaps the blockade on Friday at Function Junction should have been checking for weapons as well as alcohol.

When is the municipality going to put its best foot forward to come up with a plan to put a stop to this nonsense and wipe away the stigma of the May long weekend that just lingers on and on?

Teresa deSousa


Well done, Victoria Day hooligans!

Your blatant disregard for the ethos of Whistler has once again marred the Victoria Day long weekend.

Sadly, the events of this past weekend have scarred our lovely, little mountain village, as well as the friends and family of a youngster whose life was taken too soon.

Even though it's the result of multiple groups of youth hanging around just looking for a reason to cause trouble, you cannot pin this on any one ethnicity or group.

Our society as a whole has gotten away from what it is to be human beings, and technology has turned us into human doings. What you are wearing, eating, watching, hearing in the digital age is more important than who you are as a person.

Martin Luther King Jr. said it best when he exclaimed, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

Sadly, our society appears to still be devoid of upstanding character and trapped in a world in which one is better than another. Be it ethnicity, religion, financial situation or any other measure of "equal," our world has forsaken the fact that we are all from the same species.

I'm embarrassed by my generation and the ones who have followed.

Somehow we dropped the ball on raising children to have respect. We now live in a world of entitlement where actions have no consequences. Dropping your teenage kids off for a weekend in a resort town unsupervised would never have happened twenty years ago... today it appears to be the norm. It's now a rite of passage for Lower Mainland youth to come to Whistler on the May long weekend for the sole purpose of causing trouble.

They're not here for the mountains and nature, to ski, ride, bike or even go to the clubs. (Causing trouble) after dark is their only intent and reason for being here. It's time to end the madness and hold society accountable.

Want to end the May long weekend gong show?

Time to step up to the plate with true "zero tolerance."

Stop waiting for something to happen and be proactive. Bring in correctional buses and start arresting them for unlawful assembly* when they begin congregating in groups standing around doing nothing but waiting for an excuse to start something. Ship them to a detention facility further away from Vancouver. Make it an all day excursion for their parents to pick them up and drag them home.

(*An unlawful assembly is an assembly of three or more persons who, with intent to carry out any common purpose, assemble in such a manner or so conduct themselves when they are assembled as to cause persons in the neighbourhood of the assembly to fear, on reasonable grounds, that they (a) will disturb the peace tumultuously; or (b) will by that assembly needlessly and without reasonable cause provoke other persons to disturb the peace tumultuously.)

Don't be whining about the rights of the few who've forfeited their membership to civil society through their careless actions. Clean up the garbage that think they can do whatever they want without repercussions. Maybe then they'll learn a little something about being an upstanding member of society!

Great effort by the producers and organizers of GO Fest on delivering on an event that epitomizes what Whistler is all about and is a great way to kick off the summer season... Keep up the good work!

Kevin Mikkelsen


Shipping containers

There are plenty of eyesores in and around town — broken down busses, cars, and sleds in driveways, decrepit sheds and houses that a simple paint job, or some basic landscaping, would fix.

If you want things to look perfect in every way, may I suggest you live in a strata or a gated community.

Not everyone finds (containers) to be an eyesore, it is a matter of opinion.

It is easy enough to dress them up with some cladding or cedar lattice. The cost to build a shed is triple and it could still look bad.

Shipping containers are affordable, safe and secure. I would argue they help clean up people's yards. We all know how tough it is to find storage.

To move to an industrial area just adds another cost to an already stressed budget for us hard working locals.

Graham Kehoe


Graffiti should be embraced

While it may be true that simple tagging pseudonyms around various places in Whistler can be an eyesore, much and in fact most of the art (which is what I believe it should be called) at the current Whistler Village skate park is both subversive and beautiful — exactly what has been going on in the global skateboarding community for so many years ("Letters to the Editor," May 14).

The "graffiti breeding ground," as (the letter writer) calls it, is only a state of mind. It's a safe bet that within the Sea to Sky, there are more artists per capita than in the average city, and one only needs to take a look at the tribute painting in the skate bowl of the late Jay Adams (a seminal part of the skateboarding movement) to realize that graffiti can certainly be malicious... or it can be beautiful.

Why can't this new skateboard space be an art museum of its own that doesn't charge admission?

We only just saw the end of yet another successful State of the Art exhibit during the World Ski and Snowboard Festival — a collaborative installation that celebrates the Whistler culture in all forms.

Instead of criminalizing the talent of the "underlings" (read: the people that can't afford to buy a house that they live in for two weeks per year), we should be promoting and encouraging this individualistic approach to designing our new attraction.

Cities around the world — Paris, Taipei, Warsaw, Melbourne, Bristol — have accepted the "scourge" of graffiti and have grown to incorporate it into their own personality. Why can't Whistler, a community literally full of misfits, be the next on that list?

Aaron Peart


Get involved

Several weeks ago I wrote a letter in response to a "Maxed Out," titled Federal voting must be strategic this October" (Pique, April 16, 2015). Since then, several other letters have been published and I've listened to many opinions on this topic.

One thing that most people agree with is that they want to turn around the current direction Canada is headed. Another thing most people agree on is that they do not want to split the vote. We need to figure out the best way to achieve both those objectives.

Instead of second guessing (and hoping we've guessed right) as to who the strongest candidate is, or holding our noses when finally putting down our X in the ballot box, let's get together to discuss ideas, strategies and desired outcomes face to face.

With this in mind, I have booked the library meeting room for Wednesday, June 10 at 6 p.m. Everyone (that includes you, GD Maxwell!) is welcome. Please tell your friends, family and neighbours. This is a non-partisan gathering.

Let's start by outlining what is important to us before we decide who is in the best position to deliver it. In an effort to keep the topic on point, I would like for everyone attending to come along with five key points, or issues, that are dear to them, which they would like to see implemented by the next government. Please be specific.

There will also be access to register with Leadnow.ca. If you have not already heard about them or "signed the pledge," you can do so on their website and read what they are about.

I have been advised by one of their staff that if 1,500 people in our riding sign the pledge, Leadnow will do a riding-level poll — if thousands more sign on they'll coordinate a participatory process to decide if Leadnow supporters want to formally recommend one candidate in the riding. Sounds like a good deal to me.

I recently heard that "democracy isn't something we do once every five years; it's something we need to be actively involved in every day."

Let's do some real democracy — library. Wednesday, June 10, 6 p.m.

Myra Graham


Women kayakers offered less prize money

The Whistler GO Festival organizers did a great job this past weekend except for one thing.

Why would women kayakers be offered less prize money than men? We are talking about a difference of a mere $150 total for first and second place. Only the third place competitors have equity!

I am appalled that women athletes continue to be treated as second rate and not valued.

Whistler has tarnished its image and insulted women. Either raise another $150, or split up the available prize money equally — I would have donated the difference myself!

Karen Buhler


(Editor's note: the prize money for the event was different, but it is based on participation — so the more women who enter the more prize money is on offer. This year there were seven women and 30 men.)

Harper in Iraq

The Harper team made a surprise visit to Iraq and Kuwait earlier this month — a carefully staged event. More of a publicity stunt really, with all the pre-requisite speeches denouncing terrorism, ISIS etc. Election rhetoric in the heart of the ancient world.

On arrival Team Harper descended looking dishevelled and out of place. Jason Kenny, shorn of suit jacket, shirttails hanging out and tie loosened looked as though he hadn't slept in days.

The new arrivals changed clothes before going to the front. The team must have spent a few hours shopping at Tilley Endurables in Ottawa. Harper arrived at the battle zone wearing a cream coloured outfit and a fancy pair of boots. Very fashionable attire. Rugged but elegant.

The shirt hanging over his matching pants looked more appropriate to a five-star African safari than a trip to war torn Iraq. The only thing missing was the helmet, a difficult decision, no doubt. Better to have Harper's silvery hair blowing in the desert wind as he surveyed the scene.

Canada's fearless war leader, a Churchillian moment.

He looked wobbly as he climbed the metre embankment to have a first-hand look through the binoculars. Mercifully, it was all quiet.

No hostile or friendly fire. A successful photo op.

Kenny was nowhere to be seen — probably shuffled to the back of the entourage. Too risky to have any more cabinet ministers screw up the script. This was Harper's show.

After a quick bite with the troops, they hastily regrouped for the farewell speech, held in a tent large enough to accommodate two ageing CF 18 fighter jets — not unlike Bush Jr. proclaiming "mission accomplished" ten years earlier .

A stirring speech was delivered. We're told that Canada has no choice but to be part of this bulwark against ISIS. "We were attacked on our own soil."

Was ISIS actually behind these attacks? Not important.

Terrorism is ugly, but it has been around for thousands of years.

We practice our own brand of terror. Bombing! It's safe and risk free. There's no air defense over there. Kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. We can kill them by the thousands. No wonder they hate us.

It's impossible to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys in this kind of action.

And then the ultimate insult — the election angle. Harper will keep us safe — the other parties won't. Fear mongering at its finest. More points scored.

The Harper government standing on guard for thee? More like Nero fiddling while the economy implodes.

Paul Hannah