Education key to safe driving
I never thought it would happen, but I ended up being "that person" who got hit head-on driving the Sea to Sky Highway when an oncoming car crossed the centre line.
I was one of the lucky ones that survived. There is not one day that goes by where I don't live every moment in gratitude.
There have been a string of accidents on our highway of late and I felt a compelling need to put voice to this conversation in light of my recent experience.
I respectfully disagree with Robert McKean (Pique, "Letters to the Editor," Nov. 5). Speed is but one factor in the accidents on this highway, and most often dictates the outcome of the accident.
It is a fact that people will drive over the speed limit. We can continue to tell people to slow down but it's not going to happen. Decreasing the speed limit will not prevent accidents from happening and is just symptomatic treatment.
In my opinion, the No. 1 cause of road accidents is the lack of road sense that is becoming more and more apparent with today's drivers. With cars being built safer and faster, drivers have developed a false sense of security when getting behind the wheel.
Instead of dictating how fast someone can drive, I suggest we better educate drivers on the physics of operating a vehicle at whatever speed they choose to drive.
(We need to) educate drivers on how to adjust their driving based on road conditions and weather. And above all, we all need to deeply comprehend the responsibility to ourselves, as well as to others, when getting behind the wheel.
This part includes removing as many distractions as we can in order to fully commit to getting ourselves from point A to point B safely.
In a society where we all do a hundred things at one time, this will be most challenging. We have forgotten to be present in our moments.
I have been guilty of making poor choices with all of the above. I'm pretty sure we all have at some point.
We all need to do our part. My accident was probably due to a lack of judgment. I'm just so grateful that this time it didn't cost me more.
It's about protecting the climate
I am writing In reply to a letter in the Nov. 5 edition of Pique from Craig McConnell and his charges of fear mongering and unscientific reasoning against the opponents of Woodfibre LNG.
Citizens are aware it's impossible to clearly see the long-term effects of LNG when the facts are getting spin from politicians who have staked their careers on this new industry, and from investors who see lots of money to be made.
Who do we believe? Our premier, Christy Clark, and our minister for LNG, Rich Coleman. They tell us that LNG is B.C.'s chance to give clean energy to the world and make a bundle of cash in the process. Or scientists at Cornell University (NY) who wrote a report called, "A bridge to nowhere: methane emissions and the greenhouse gas footprint of natural gas," which says that LNG is no cleaner than coal due to the levels of methane released by the fracking process and the huge energy required to liquefy and ship the gas?
One thing we know for sure is that to have the LNG industry that the B.C. Liberal Party wants, we will have to increase fracking in northern B.C. by three times the current levels to approx 50,000 wells. Four to six new pipelines will need to be built.
On the ground in B.C. this means that billions more litres of water, contaminated with toxic chemicals that companies are not required to reveal, will be forced into water tables with no long-term studies on how this affects our aquifers.
Concern about the contamination of aquifers and increased seismic activity has lead governments to ban, or halt, fracking in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec, New York state, France, Bulgaria, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Czech Republic, Romania and Netherlands.
Another fact we know about government approval is something Prime Minister Trudeau has said: "Let me be very clear on this point: governments offer permits but only communities can grant permission."
In light of his comment please take the time to contact our new MP Pam Goldsmith-Jones at email@example.com, and let her know how you feel about Woodfibre LNG. Also, sign The Howe Sound Declaration online. For this project to go ahead, government and industry need a social licence from the community.
It seems really ironic that we are struggling with this decision that will increase our greenhouse gas emissions when the world is meeting in Paris to try and cap emissions in the light of what hundreds of scientists believe is a climate change emergency.
One last fact is that we have one-third of the world's fresh water here in Canada. I support a future where we value and guard what we already have — instead of risking everything for an ill-advised political pipe dream.
Whistler Haunted House 2015, "A Haunting On Easy Street" was a great success.
We had some new challenges this year as the new location outside the house on Easy Street forced us to build much of the set from the ground up and to cover the set with a huge tent. That led to some new hurdles for our insurers.
With only one week of set-up time, compared to a month or more of set-up in prior years, we were under pressure to get it ready to go, and to build a set which would offer a really enjoyable experience to our beloved guests.
During the whole construction, we had no idea how many people would come out to the new location, so it all seemed very risky, as the costs were quickly climbing.
This year we received more guests than any previous year. Over 1,100 people came, donated, saw, conquered and had a great time! We owe this success to our amazing crew and a whole lot of support from the community.
And we very much want to thank all of you. We are very, very grateful to the following lovely humans who helped make all of this possible.
Firstly Marty Rubble, who put in an amazing amount of effort from start to finish, Paul Fournier for his patience, support and for allowing us to use his property.
Sabrina, Laura and Mike for the all the extra effort, and great spooking!
Kyosuke, Yoshi, Yuta, Aya and Mayu, for spooking on the first night — you are all heroes. Pat the butcher, Yuhumi, and Randy for putting in loads of effort, and great spooking!
Andrea, Eric, and Christina for her amazing dedication! Frost, Stryker, Jay, John, Benton Rider, Lar, Chelsea, Chantal, Tara and her friends, Andrew and Kai Bacon, Baden, Brenton, Cliff and Pat, too.
Michelle from RBIC, Arnika, Sophia and Jen for the great spooking! Sabine and Cliff, Jon Baum, Camille, Sandra, Jimmy Bee, John Leslie, Chris Bates, Bruce, Steve Toulch, Brian Hockenstein, Alison Mclean, Josh Wilkie, Claudine Morchain, Mike Johnson, Tony, Dane and Ryan, SMD, and Rob Megeny at Event Rental Works, for help with the really great tent! Corey at Home Depot, Claude, Dean Newman, Carneys, Curtis Lapadat, Melissa McLachlan, Curtis, Glenn, Sarah, Cynthia, Ian, Jenn, Matt, Jonas, Brett Kitt, Sue Dinsmore, Tapley's Farm, Kevin at Whistler Secure Storage, Whistler Community Services Society, Re-build-It Centre, Lance at Home Hardware, Heather Hamilton, Tony and Dave at Slope Side Supply, Bill from the food bank, Steve and Travis at Rona, Norm McPhail, Nancy Johnson, Jack Crompton, Geoff Playfair and the Whistler Fire Department, Whistler RCMP, Resort Municipality Of Whistler, and Andrew for the huge help.
Thanks to Julia Smart for graciously welcoming us to the neighbourhood of Tapley's Farm, and Mountain FM for the great recording!
Thanks to Cathryn Atkinson at Pique, Alyssa Noel at the Whistler Question, and Sherry at Westland Insurance.
And I, Brendan Cavanagh, wanted to thank Marty Rubble, first and last for his tremendous effort and very special dedication to the Whistler Haunted House.
Very special thanks to all of you! Together, we really made something special happen.
Missing dog returned with help
Our dog Scout decided that she needed a long, unaccompanied walk on the morning of Nov. 5.
This was not her decision to make but she made it anyway. We thought she would run around for a few hours and then would make her way home.
We had done the usual things during the day: we let WAG know she was missing, and gave Animal Control a heads-up.
WAG was great. They put her pictures on their Facebook page, which got sent out to people across the community. Tara at Animal Control got Scout's information and began searching. One of our neighbours had time to start searching and we were grateful for that. But we were still convinced that she would be lying on the porch when we got home from work.
At 5 p.m. we realized that we were wrong; Scout was nowhere to be found.
Now it was getting dark and we were really panicking. We had been advised by both WAG and Animal Control to post Scout's pictures on "Sea to Sky NANA" and "Whistler Winter 2015/2016" Facebook pages. My friend Hayley said that she would post them on the "Whistler Vegans" Facebook page.
Not being social-media savvy, I thought it was worth a shot but couldn't imagine that it would be fruitful.
We called Whistler Taxi and the dispatcher relayed Scout's description to the drivers.
Before long, amazing members of this community starting calling, texting and posting sightings of Scout.
Friends and neighbours started organizing and began searching neighbourhoods. By 10:30 p.m. the reports of sightings had ceased. So we figured Scout had settled down somewhere for the night. The search resumed in the morning.
Friends, neighbours and Animal Control began searching neighbourhoods and spreading the word to their social networks. Again, Whistler Taxi relayed Scout's description to the new group of drivers. By about 10 a.m. Scout had had enough adventuring and presented herself to Glenn's place of work. She was tired and a little stiff but otherwise fine.
It was a very happy ending to a very stressful 26 hours!
We want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to everyone who tried to help us bring Scout home.
Friends and neighbours went above and beyond and put in countless hours physically searching and spreading the word through social media.
We learned a couple of things through this: social media is a powerful thing, and our community is filled with caring people who were willing to take the time to help us find our beloved dog.
Even though the reports of sightings didn't ultimately help us find her, they let us know that she was still OK and they narrowed down our search areas.
Mostly they let us know that there were people across the whole community keeping an eye out for her and that gave us comfort.
Thank you, Whistler. You are an amazing community of people.
Nancy, Glenn and Scout Otten
Not long after the erection of a fence, which blocks the north crossing of the train tracks from Function Junction to the Millar Creek trail, someone took it upon themselves to just as quickly open it up again for business with a pair of bolt cutters. Quite a bold statement but not surprising as it has been in use by hundreds of people for what I can only guess is the last umpteen amount of years. It is the most direct route, and an extension of the Valley Trail, and is used heavily on a daily basis. Without incident, I might add.
Not a day later, it was repaired. And sure enough a day later almost the entire fence along with the signage had been ripped down in defiance. What next, I wonder? Maybe a battle between fence builders, bolt cutters, tunnellers, North Shore style bridge builders and everyone in between. Maybe wildlife cameras? Rail police stakeouts? Tickets en masse? This could get exciting — and expensive. Did anyone think this through? Seems like a real lack of communication.
I can see two things happening: The first reaction would make a lot of sense as it is already the norm in multiple places throughout Whistler and seems to work just fine — a nice yellow fence that one can easily zig zag through and reach the other side. Assuming that the existing problem was vehicle access and people on bikes having a hard time with the spacing of the tracks. Everyone can easily see and hear the train coming from miles away. It works everywhere else, why is this crossing different? Other than being used so much more because of the lack of options traveling by foot or bike from Creekside.
The other would be a fence of epic proportions stretching from Alpha Lake Road to the end of Function and beyond. Oh, how hip and urban that would be, although for most of the locals I'm sure it would appear that we would be living somewhere in District 9. Not sure if anyone has noticed, but one doesn't have to go that far to find another crossing at the moment. Which, assuming the problem was that cyclists were having an awkward time crossing the tracks, we are right back to square one, if not further.
So now with a giant and hideous fence in the way destroying both the pleasantness of walking next to the wetlands and any convenient access to the north end of Function where hundreds work and live every day, where is all the traffic going to go? I would assume cyclists and pedestrians would have to go around and come back down Alpha Lake Road which is in no condition to handle the traffic. No shoulders, no sidewalks, no streetlights, deep ditches, CrossFitters, people walking dogs both with and without leashes, drivers in a hurry to pick up materials, no solid centre line which is often crossed on blind corners, late nights, drunk drivers and shoddy bus service all lead to an inevitable conclusion. Someone is going to get hurt.
So can it really be all that hard to be like all of the other pretty yellow crossings in Whistler?
Is it time for dog-only trails?
I really like dogs. Unfortunately as I cycled through the Lost Lake trails (recently) a young man running with his unleashed dog — he had no leash regardless — had to listen to my screams of frustration.
His young dog, "getting the off-leash experience," chomped down on my leg as I zipped along.
That led to a couple of hours in the Whistler Health Care Centre and tetanus shots.
I hate to mention the wasted time the doctors spent on my grizzled old leg.
It is time for designated mountain trails for dogs.