Credit where credit is due
Thanks to the Pique for covering AWARE's recent 30-year anniversary celebration and highlighting the good work AWARE has done over the years and the important role it continues to fill (Pique, April 25).
AWARE was integrally involved in the Sea to Sky Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP). It advocated for the creation of over forty Wildland Zones ("partially protected," no-logging zones, mostly in remnant undeveloped upper reaches of valleys); Floodplain Management Areas along particularly ecologically important portions of the Soo, Green, upper Lillooet, Squamish and Elaho Rivers; measures to benefit wildlife including objectives for the recovery of grizzly bears; and more.
But, in the interest of fairness and accuracy, it is our First Nations neighbours that we should thank for the (four-percentage-point) increase in protected areas through the LRMP. At the start of the LRMP process approximately 22 per cent of what is now called the Sea to Sky Natural Resource District (formerly the Squamish TSA) was protected. That figure now sits at approximately 26 per cent (a significant portion of that being rugged, higher elevation "rock and ice").
To the chagrin of AWARE and other conservation-minded stakeholders back in 2002, the LRMP Planning Forum's terms of reference prohibited the creation of new additions to B.C.'s protected area system. This was based on government of the day's rationale that some parks had been added in this region through the 1990's Protected Areas Strategy (think Callaghan, Clendinning, Upper Lillooet Provincial Parks as examples of that addition). The additional areas that received full protection were a result of the subsequent government-to-government phase of LRMP discussions between First Nations and B.C.
While AWARE and other LRMP table conservationists like the Pemberton Wildlife Association had certainly identified important areas for protection (Upper Soo, Upper Birkenhead, west side of the Callaghan valley, upper Rogers Creek etc.) and were supportive, the actual credit for achieving additional protection of those areas should rightly go to First Nations.Given pressures like the crush of commercial and non-commercial recreation in Sea to Sky these days, BC Park's paltry budget notwithstanding, we should ask ourselves if some more protected areas like parks or conservancies (or other lesser designations that can help manage the land base better) ought not be considered again. The Tenquille Lake area is one that immediately springs to mind.
Johnny Mikes // Coast to Cascades field director
Blueberry Beach Park needs attention
Last week, a letter writer mentioned concern about party rafts as a source of pollution for Alta Lake (Pique, April 25). We'd like to mention another significant one.
There is a municipal park on Alta Lake at the end of St. Anton Way: Blueberry Beach Park. The beach area has three public docks, and has become very popular during the summer. Parking is allowed on St. Anton Way; vehicles are often bumper-to-bumper out to Archibald Way.
This is a dog-friendly park, so dog feces is a problem around the area. Actually, they may share the same problem with their masters, since there are no toilet facilities or refuse containers in this park. As a result, garbage, beer cans, and urinating park users can often be found on St. Anton Way.
How can the municipality facilitate such an ill-equipped lakeside park that can only hasten the loss of the quality of Alta Lake?
Tish and Jamie Pike // Whistler
It was heartwarming for me and the rest of the Burrows family to be so well received by my many friends at Whistler on the occasion of Jane's interment at the cemetery on Friday last (April 26) and at her Celebration of Life on Saturday, April 27.
A huge thank you is extended to the many long-time friends from both Whistler and the Lower Mainland who showed up to celebrate and socialize.
To Pauline, Janice, Erika and Kris who took over for this aging octogenarian and with the help of the fabulous many "church ladies" and their friends who volunteered their time and expertise in getting the whole event set up and organized, I will be eternally thankful.
Thanks also to Alison Hunter for her amazing harp playing.
To those in attendance who applauded me and the other speakers, even more kudos, and hugs of gratitude.
Dear Jane now rests peacefully in the "A" section of the Whistler Cemetery beside the whispering waters of the stream, amongst many of our friends, with a grave-marker to be placed sometime in the summer.
On doctor's orders, I will not be able to attend the Walk for Alzheimer's on Sunday, May 5, but I will be with you in spirit.
May Jane rest in peace.
Paul Burrows // Whistler/Salmon Arm
Creating a safe space
The Path to Resiliency, a fundraiser held on Wednesday, April 24, started off as just a vision. I wanted to bring together the community to open up a dialogue and to create a safe space. I've recently had a few experiences that provided me with valuable lessons, which I felt compelled to share.
Life isn't easy and it can be especially hard when you are living in a community far away from family and friends. Sometimes, life gets really hard but there are people and organizations that you can turn to for support.
My goal for this event was to raise both funds and awareness for Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS). One hundred per cent of the proceeds raised are going to their Counselling Assistance program. This program subsidizes financially restricted individuals, couples and families who would like to see a counsellor but could not otherwise afford the cost.
Nikki Best and Tara O'Doherty, thank you for being brave, for sharing your stories and for your trust! Kerry Hannah, thank you so much for representing WCSS.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone who came to this event, who shared their stories, who asked questions and who offered comfort and words of encouragement.
This event would not have been possible without our partners: Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Event Rental Works, Calling Mountains Productions, LOM Design, Tara Hare and Louise Frost.
You can donate to WCSS online: https://mywcss.org/get-involved/donations/
Standby for more information on future fundraisers.
Blair Kaplan Venables // Pemberton
Standing up to cancer
April is the month that the Canadian Cancer Society picked in the 1950s to run a national fundraising campaign for the fight against cancer. The daffodil was selected to symbolize strength and courage.
In 2008, The Ride to Conquer Cancer was created in Toronto as a mega-fundraising event for The Princess Margaret Hospital. A non-competitive cycling event that sees thousands of riders travel 200 kilometres over two days, it came to British Columbia in 2009. It is the No.1 peer-to-peer fundraising event with each participant required to raise a minimum of $2,500.00.
In 10 years, the BC Ride to Conquer Cancer has raised over $96 million to support more then 47 world-leading research projects under way at BC Cancer Research Centre, advancing care and providing hope to the 77,000 people facing cancer across B.C.
Every three minutes someone in Canada hears the words "you have cancer." One in two Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. One in four will die of the disease; 60 per cent of those people diagnosed will survive at least five years after diagnosis. In 2017 approximately 206,200 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Canada, and approximately 80,800 died of the disease.
In April of 2018 I signed up to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer, (and just two weeks after this I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while on stress leave from my career as a nurse).
In 2017, an estimated 2,800 women were diagnosed with ovarian cancer and an estimated 1,800 died of the disease. It is the fifth most-common type of cancer for women, but is the most serious as presently there is no reliable screening tests.
(I became very ill and had to have surgery and other treatments so was unable to complete the Ride to Conquer caner last year, but) ... the coolest thing is that I was able to raise $10,700.00 that went directly to ovarian cancer research. The generosity of friends, loved ones, and strangers was incredible.
My mission is to try to raise as much awareness and money as I can for ovarian cancer. I know I owe the extra time I have been granted in this life to advances made with research.
As a registered nurse who spent 20 years working at Hilltop House in Squamish, then five years at the general hospital, I regularly contemplated the meaning of life, the reality and anxiety that most feel with the prospect of sickness and death.
I have always believed in the philosophy of, "Live every day to your fullest as you never know what day will be your last."
If you would like to support me for this year's Ride to Conquer Cancer go to http://www.ridetoconquercancer.ca/goto/carolinesolonenko2019
Caroline Solonenko // Squamish
I'm writing an apology detailing the reasons for choosing to falsify information regarding a recent (ICBC) claim that I have made.
I knowingly made up a story detailing a single vehicle accident to ICBC after being informed of damage to my vehicle.
This damage was discovered and shown to me during a routine servicing and maintenance appointment. I do not know who the driver of the vehicle was, or when this damage occurred other than a roughly six-month window. It could have been myself if I did not happen to notice.
Accidents must be reported to ICBC within 30 days of the accident taking place. I did not know this at the time, which is my own fault. I didn't bother to read or understand the comprehensive insurance contract.
I had made arrangements to have the damage repaired privately, which I later found out was incorrectly diagnosed and not actually possible to be repaired in that manner, however by this time it was a long time after the 30-day deadline.
Knowing this, I fabricated a story because I did not want to take on the resulting financial burden and because this felt like the path of least resistance. This is however just shifting the burden from myself to the community rather than being responsible and owning the problem.
ICBC expended time, money and other resources during their investigation to determine that I was lying. The effect of this is increasing the cost of insurance for all other drivers and owners of vehicles in British Columbia.
This is not fair for anyone else and I apologize to the community.
I certainly did not feel good about doing this, and suffered through the stress of telling a lie manifesting itself in various ways. It is not worth it, and I would encourage anyone else considering doing something similar to take the honest path so that you can continue to hold your head high.
In writing this I would like to thank ICBC for a second chance and for allowing me to learn a lesson without choosing to take legal action.
(Editor's note: ICBC asked us to run this letter, as its publication is part of the restorative justice process for the Crown agency in dealing with this driver. Pique agreed to publish it.)