Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of November 9th


Cypress opens Saturday

Vail Resorts may have solved the north-bound weekend traffic backups all by itself. With Cypress Mountain opening this Saturday (13 days before we open) the only traffic backup might be heading south on Highway 99, as Whistler skiers flee to Vancouver for their first taste of snow. Way to go, Vail Resorts management.

Lennox Mcneely

Thanks from Tapleys' Halloween team

A big thank you to everyone who took part in the 34th Tapley's Farm Halloween festivities. We were blessed with a warm, dry night complete with an eerie moon!

Local residents once again went overboard to create a spooky and festive atmosphere, with actors, smoke, lights, fires, music, hot adult drinks and of course lots of candy! 

Special thanks to Bruce Stewart and Nesters Market for sponsoring the spectacular fireworks display again, safely ignited by the Whistler Fire Rescue Services — what a treat for our local kids! Also big thanks to BC Transit, Whistler Marketplace, Fastpark and the RMOW for organizing the free Park and Spook shuttle. And a big shout out to Myrtle Philip and Waldorf school students for their creative decorations, the Whistler Secondary School Leadership Team for manning the front entrance and organizing the We Scare Hunger Food Bank drive and to the RCMP for its ongoing support. 

Thanks also to Nesters, the IGA, Whistler Grocery Store and local families for their candy donations, and to the Whistler Question and Pique Newsmagazine for their promotional support and use of tents!

It was great to see so many people, young and old, dressed up and keeping one of Whistler's oldest local traditions alive!

Julia Smart
The Tapley's Organizing Team

Growth and the OCP

Watershed-waterpark-moments, unintended-intended-consequences, and now "the significant landowners."

So, we ask — who are the significant landowners and what connections do they have with this mayor and council?

The mayor, (Nancy Wilhelm-Morden) professes to be concerned about the impact of growth on the community, yet she seems to be more concerned with what the "significant landowners" want and less concerned with the welfare of the young worker bees sleeping in their vans in the forests and on our streets.

Mayor Wilhelm-Morden said in an Oct. 5, 2017 ("Whistler makes an impression at UBCM") interview with Braden Dupuis of the Pique: "It hasn't been a problem for us to date, but we do know of significant landowners who are waiting, who will require OCP amendments if they want to have their lands rezoned or dealt with in some way. They have been patient so far, but you just wonder how long that patience will extend."

Growth problems like the housing crisis, traffic congestion, and locals being pushed out of the day skier parking lots will be amplified by the new developments, which will occur if this mayor and council are allowed to continue on their path to take more control over Whistler's Official Community Plan (OCP).

Major developments like the First Nation's South Kadenwood, the real estate component of the Renaissance Project, and the recently sold Holborn Tennis Club Lands — to name a few, will all require amendments to the OCP — amendments currently being blocked by First Nations in a June 4, 2014, Supreme Court Ruling.

The RMOW has never fully controlled our OCP. The province approves amendments and updates. Whistler has survived and thrived since the 1975 inception of the Resort Municipality using the 1975 OCP, the 1993 OCP update, and the 31 related amendments.

There is no hurry to update the OCP, other than the timeline set out in the Feb. 24, 2017 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the province, Vail Resorts-Whistler Blackcomb, Squamish Nation, Lil'wat Nation, and the RMOW, which the general public and, at times, council have had no input.

There are good reasons why we should take more control over Whistler's Official Community Plan (OCP) but they are housekeeping items compared to the problems we will face with the amount of new development, which will take place if this mayor and council are allowed to continue on the current path.

Leaving the OCP the way it is, for now, will restrict and slow down the major projects coming down the pipe and therefore greatly reduce the pressure on growth.

We recommend that the community do everything in its power to stop and/or slow down the OCP process until the November 2018 general municipal election — given that the mayor doesn't believe in referendums!

Stu Munro, Whistler
Patrick Smyth, Whistler
Dawn Titus, Whistler
Milo Rusimovich, Whistler
Dominique Nora, Whistler
James Barrigan, Whistler
Scott Hepworth, Whistler

Pemberton Brewery welcome

Just wanted to make a little correction and give a shout out regarding (Pique reporter) Joel Barde's piece regarding the Miller family's proposed brewery, Pemberton Valley Brewworks, 13 kilometres up the Meadows (in Pemberton).

The valley is not so narrow you can hear a potato truck 20 kilometres away (Pique, Nov. 2) (as stated by a resident in the story). In fact, it's fairly wide where the Millers' property is. The nearest house is their tenant about 200 metres away, who I am sure is on board with the brewery.

The next house across the road is probably one kilometre as the crow flies.

Even though the Millers have applied for a 2 a.m. license I doubt that would be the normal closing time. It's a long way from town and I would bet that a busy night out there would be 20 people. I can imagine them turning off the lights before 12:30 a.m. most nights.

It won't be a 200-person wedding with a live band. I think it would be great for people living out of town, down the valley, to have the option.

Pemberton needs more restaurants and a decent bar since the Pem Ho has dropped the ball big time — not that this niche brewery would be that. 

It would be nice for those who live close enough to maybe ride a bike down for a quick summer beer or a growler fill or a pit stop on the way to Goldbridge.

I would like to think if the neighbours have concerns they could talk in person to each other.

I fully support this upcoming brewery and will be having a brew as soon as they are ready. 

Terry O'Connor
Pemberton Meadows

Grassroots appreciation

I would like to thank all, and there were many, who lent a hand in the process of relocating Whistler's Cenotaph.

It now sits readily accessible at the foot of the flagpoles in Whistler Olympic Plaza.

See you there on Remembrance Day morning, Nov. 11.

Tom Thomson

Beyond grateful

Nov. 1 marks the day when my life drastically changed, two years ago.

I have benefitted enormously from the generosity and kindness of so many Sea-to-Sky residents. Assistance from fundraisers, monetary contributions, personal help, medical and alternative care, has been overwhelmingly supportive.

To the friends and family that have stuck by me, visited me, and kept me involved in activities and events — this has and does mean everything to me. It heals my heart and soul, which if I'm honest, is healing very slowly.

I'm not too sure how I survived my car accident, perhaps the universe has different plans for me and decided my journey was not over yet. So I have been working toward some goals — relearning to drive and online courses to work towards my master's degree. A new career that I can do with my new body is something I am still wrapping my head around. I loved my old career as a registered massage therapist, and miss it terribly.

Having a quadriplegic spinal cord injury is hard. Harder than I could have ever imagined. There are so many things that you don't think of that are huge hurdles for progress.

However, I will continue to persevere through these challenges, knowing that I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded by the love and support of this beautiful community.

Thank you so much for your empathy and charity. I am beyond grateful — it has and will continue to mean the world to me.

Olivia Rey

Attention à tous! Attention to all!

Whistler's francophone school, École la Passerelle, is hosting the third annual French Rendezvous, a magical evening of French food, wine, music and spirit.

The French Rendezvous is a part of Cornucopia and will be offered on Wednesday, Nov. 15 from 6 to 11 p.m. at the Whistler Conference Centre. The French evening experience will elegantly showcase an intimate dinner by Harvest Catering and beverages from Tightrope Winery and Whistler Brewing Co.

All proceeds from this special evening will enrich education at École la Passerelle by supporting field trips and buying classroom materials such as musical instruments. Through the use of funds from last year's event, students have visited the Sea to Sky Gondola, North Arm Farm, Camp Elphinstone outdoor school, Cheakamus Longhouse and Whistler Olympic Park for cross-country skiing.

The parent organizers of this event hope to raise $8,000 and will need community participation to make this happen! This evening will be a unique opportunity to experience French culture while helping raise money for our local francophone school.

Tickets are $75 (three-course meal and three wine pairings included) and are available at École La Passerelle's school office, located in Spring Creek Community School, by emailing apelapasserelle@gmail.com, or through the Cornucopia website.

S'il vous plaît joignez-vous à nous pour célébrer la francophonie! Merci!

The Grade 6 and 7 class of Ecole La Passerelle

Thanks for Firesmart

I just wanted to take some time to show my appreciation to all the parties involved in the FireSmart program and specifically Scott Rogers, the coordinator.

After a substantial house fire on my street and the fire on Blackcomb earlier this summer, I became concerned about the fire danger in Alpine Meadows and Whistler as a whole.

After the fire I was approached by Scott to have an assessment done on my property. Taking to heart his recommendations I have accomplished the majority of the recommendations and also participated in the community chipping day, which removed much of the debris cut from my trees.

This program is something all homeowners should consider taking advantage of and is key to protecting and minimizing damage in the event of a fire.

Many thanks to Resort Municipality of Whistler's Emergency Program, Whistler Fire Rescue Service, the Province of B.C and especially Scott for all his hard work.

Mark Dipple

Core fights cancer

Families Fighting Cancer in the Sea to Sky would like to thank Whistler Core Climbing and Fitness Centre for its generous support donating the proceeds from the Move in Movember fundraising event on Nov.2 to our organization.

It is through the generosity of the Sea to Sky community that we are able to support families in need that are living through cancer.

It was a fun all-day event that could only have been made possible by the energy, passion and generosity of the staff at the Core.

Funds were raised through donations, fitness challenges, drop-in fitness classes open to all by donation, and more.

Thank you to everyone who came out to participate and support the event, and a special thank you to Marina Serrano, Natalie Carlberg, Andy Robinson, John Blok, Grace Blok, Hugh Condon, Kyle Chapman, Ricky Hobart and Core owners Corinne and Bob Allison.

Lisa Geddes and Michelle Williamson
Co-founders Families Fighting Cancer in the Sea to Sky

Make the change

Everybody talks about electoral reform but nobody does anything about it. Many efforts have struggled with what is reform and what is proportional representation (PR).Proportional representation is when the percentage of votes for any one party gets the same percentage of seats — an easy thing to do and completely fair.There appears to be some voices who fear leaving the unfair riding system altogether, opting for a single transferable vote system, where some votes can be transferred to someone for whom they did not vote.

Other thoughts were imagining a ballot wherein you could mark your choice of first, second, and third etc. This one was declared by WAC Bennett in the '50s without a referendum, and before the next election, was changed back.

And then there is the voices compromise, sort of, wanting a vote partly by riding and partly by proportional representation — a clumsy thing at best.There is only one PR system and not, as some are saying, all these possibilities and different kinds of PR.

There is no example of any electoral system brought in by referendum. All choices were made otherwise.

So just go ahead and do it.  Make the real change to real proportional representation.

Terry Smith

Zero Ceiling turns 20!

Twenty years ago my phone rang. On the line was the Dusk to Dawn street youth centre in downtown Vancouver — "I hear you're starting a program that brings street kids snowboarding in Whistler?" asked the woman on the phone.

This was not exactly my plan, but I decided to see what I could do. That first winter we hosted six groups of young adults to the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb.

Seeing the expression on their faces while gazing from Whistler's peak on a sunny day, or while riding thigh-deep powder in the trees for the first time was deeply inspiring, and the Zero Ceiling Society of Canada was born.

Twenty years later the program has hosted over 4,500 youth to Whistler and supported over 85 participants in its Work 2 Live program.

The Work 2 Live is where a chosen group completes a 12-month training program that includes housing, job-training, life skills support and coaching, fitness training, mentoring and much more.

Many graduates of the Work 2 Live are now permanent residents in the Sea to Sky corridor, seeing them as neighbours in our community is absolutely amazing.

A few weeks ago we celebrated the program's 20th anniversary at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre while raising over $35,000.

What a night!

A huge thank you to the amazing volunteer fundraising committee and the generous event sponsors: the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Scotiabank, Four Seasons Resort Whistler, Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler Cooks, Nesters Market, Independent Grocer, Delish Cafe, Sugar Momma Pastries, Whistler Brewing Co., Fort Berens, Gibbons, Sea to Sky Celebrations, Coast Mountain Photography, Mountain FM and Whistler Creative.

And thank you to all the silent-auction donors.

Zero Ceiling would not exist without the decades of support from Whistler Blackcomb, the Whistler community, the tireless efforts of volunteers and board members and the amazing dedication of past executive directors. Thank you!

Finally, I would like to say a huge congratulations and thank you to co-executive directors Sean Easton and Chris Wrightson for organizing a fantastic 20th anniversary event and for being such excellent leaders for Zero Ceiling. Cheers to you both.

Here's to another 20 years of providing at-risk and homeless youth with housing, employment, professional support and adventure-based learning that empowers them to live healthy and independent lives.

Chris Winter
Founder, Zero Ceiling Society of Canada

Celebrating 21 years of Soccer in Whistler

On behalf of the Whistler Youth Soccer Club Board, I would like to extend a sincere thank you to all involved in our fifth annual Gala Fundraising Event this past Saturday, Nov.4, at the Whistler Conference Centre.

It was another incredibly inclusive event where all soccer families and friends came together to celebrate "the beautiful game" under one roof.

Thanks to the Conference Centre team for hosting us once again, we appreciate your support and the event ran smoothly as always.

To the many local businesses in our community that offered goods and services for our silent auction and raffle, we thank you for your generosity, it was a huge success, raising funds for the club to expand our offerings and provide more opportunities for access to soccer.

Thanks to our parents, our staff and our incredibly dedicated volunteer coaches, we appreciate your continued commitment to our players both on and off the field.

Our players and coaches are well known in the soccer community, not only for their sporting abilities on the field but more importantly the sportsmanship they display when playing in tournaments and games in the province. We are proud of how you represent Whistler.

As a memorial to our recently passed Club Founder Andree Janyk, the Board has created the Andree Janyk Sports Leadership Award in her memory.

The award is for a player that has been a long-time member of WYSC, shows strong sportsmanship and good leadership skills both on and off the field. The recipient is someone who has not only played soccer, but also taken a referee course and has shown commitment to assisting and developing players and referees going above and beyond when on the field.

I was proud to present the first Andree Janyk Sports Leadership Award at our event on Saturday night to Kanta Onishi for his passion and his dedication to youth soccer in our corridor. 

Thanks to all our players from U6 to U18 that show incredible heart, skill and passion to participate in Whistler's beautiful game. 

PJ O'Heany
WYSC President

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