Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of October 29th

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Keep the interest and momentum going

I'll give Harper this: he got people talking about politics. But it shouldn't end today. If you went out to vote, keep the momentum going by writing to your MP about things that concern you.  

Sarah Bourne

Whistler

You can't control nature

Back in the 1970s, Dick Fairhurst and I stood up at the top of Drifter Way in Alpine, having one of our chats. Looking down towards the River of Golden Dreams marsh, our talk soon turned to flooding. Dick, having lived here since the 1940s, then told me: "Building down there will be nothing but trouble in the long run. I have seen this valley flooded from side to side. One lake, smooth like a mirror in the morning light. The only thing sticking out of the water, the top of the railroad embankment!"

Some years later, beavers insisted on having dams in the River of Golden Dreams, helping to flood properties on the northern shore. Some residents took matters in-hand and removed the dams to let the water drain out.

This remedy at most was good for two days. The beavers suspended all union rules and worked around the clock, and the dams were back up again. At times the two days were enough to ease flooding. If not, out came the dams again.

The up and down of the lake level did not sit well with property owners on the eastern side of the lake. Every time it drops below normal, it exposes a strip of lake bottom in front of their homes. The friction between the two parties continued for some time.

Anyone who has ever paid some attention in elementary school when physics was taught knows: Water in two connected containers will always be at the same level.

The level of Alta Lake and the groundwater table at the northern end will always be the same, including the marsh.

Sure, you can build berms as suggested, and redirect surface flows. But, water is pretty intelligent stuff. It will humour you, and follow your berm, while a few metres below the surface it works feverishly to go where it needs to go.

Raise the water table and establish equilibrium with the lake. It will simply flood your homes by coming up from below. Raising properties will only make for drier lawns; the homes will still be as low as always.

There will be those who feel the valley-bottom land should never have been developed. Others might say that people who bought and built there neglected to do their homework. And there will also be those who question whether the taxpayer should even foot this bill.

Having lived at Tyrol Lodge the first half of the 1970s, I have seen the southern outflow blocked, with only a small trickle seeping through.

I concur with Jim Kennedy about opening that end. However, lowering the lake's level permanently does not really seem like an option, as it raises old and new issues. People on the eastern shore purchased waterfront, they would see that disappear, and a strip of Crown land materialize in front of their eyes. The marsh at the north end could become drier, etc.

Here I would like to make a suggestion: Have a variable weir at the south end, and open this outflow. You can keep water levels as they are now, but will be able to adjust for greater outflow as needed, before arid during flood situations. Establish a lake-level gauge where convenient. Keep records of levels and correlate with rainfall and run-off data. The floodgates would have to be opened before flooding occurs. Talk to the keepers of Daisy Lake dam. They juggle the same stuff all the time, only bigger.

I would urge you to consider this option before committing a lot of money to redirecting surface flows. They will have no real influence on the water table.

At the end of the proposed berm, the water will simply spread laterally all across the marsh, through the railroad embankment also.

I also believe this issue cannot be viewed in isolation. In the north we are governed by Green Lake's outflow into the Green River, as well as the inflow of Fitzsimmons and 19 Mile Creek. We all know that the marsh is a very necessary storage area for all surplus water from Alta Lake. Unfortunately, the size of the marsh has been greatly reduced by Nicklaus North.

Consideration will also have to be given to Nita Lake in the south, and how spillover from Alta Lake will affect it. The same for Alpha Lake.

Once again this issue shows that you cannot control nature, only work with it. The reluctance of a large part of our society to engage with prevention everywhere always forces us into remediation at much higher cost. Item No. 2: While on the subject of water, for at least 22 years it has been mandatory to install water meters in new buildings. Are we ever going to use them? Water meters and individual usage bills can be a useful tool of motivation for water conservation.

Hans Kogler

Whistler

My dog needs your dog on leash

I am a huge dog lover and have my own little guy that brings me all the joy in the world.

However, he is a special dog that has been bitten on different occasions by dogs that just ran up to him on a trail in the first two years of having him.

He is now a reactive dog that has a lot of issues. My husband and I have spent countless hours and a great amount of money trying to help him through his anxiety/reactiveness.

This will be a life-long journey we will continue, as we will not give up on him just because he cannot socialize normally.

My issue is with dogs off-leash. I would say it is actually rare when I am on trails like Lost Lake, Wedge, Alpine, Sea to Sky Trail, etc. to see a dog on leash. I constantly have to yell ahead to owners that my dog cannot be sniffed or greeted by their dog off leash, or I just turn around and walk away quickly.

I am finding it harder and harder for us to go on a walk where I am confident it will be a positive experience. We can fully control our dog, but it is difficult to continue with training and to ease his fear when another dog comes to sniff his face off leash, especially with bikers that have dogs, and around blind corners on trails.

This also goes for dogs in front of their houses not on a long line, that get up to come say "hello" when they see us coming.

I wish in my heart I could have a "normal" dog that can happily trot beside me like so many of this community's dogs do, but it is not in the cards for me yet.

If you can have your dog stay by your side and command his attention by a quick whistle, then by all means off-leash it up, but I have not found this to be the case in most circumstances. I have heard "sorry" too many times and have had people look annoyed when I politely ask them to leash their dog.

Again, I can control my dog, but he needs your help to get over the fear of a dog running towards him. Please reconsider leashing your dog on trails, as I want to enjoy them as much as you do!

Rupert Burton

The Provincial government's rubber stamp

It really comes as no surprise that the provincial government has rubber stamped the Environmental Assessment (EA) for Woodfibre LNG.

This is one of their pet projects, and the B.C. Liberals' election promise was to develop an LNG industry for B.C., whatever the cost. They have continued to push this pipe dream, despite plummeting gas prices and increasing pressure from LNG companies to slash taxes and weaken regulations in an attempt to make the industry viable.

This approval simply highlights a conflict of interest: how can the public have faith in the integrity of the BC Environmental Assessment process when the Ministers approving these projects (one of which is Rich Coleman, the Minister of Natural Gas Development) also have a mandate to develop LNG export facilities? Quite simply, we don't.

An article published in BCBusiness Magazine earlier this year notes that "our environmental assessment process is, according to critics, the weakest and most confusing it has been in decades — thanks to abrupt changes in our environmental laws and deep budget cuts to government regulatory agencies."

This has not been an open and transparent process, and meaningful community engagement has been limited by short windows for public input, incomplete studies provided by the proponents, and poor advertising of open house events. Thanks to My Sea to Sky's efforts to get people involved, the public comment period for Woodfibre LNG in March generated a record number of public comments. Has this overwhelming community opposition been adequately scrutinized by the ministers granting this EA approval, or are the BC Liberals ignoring public input, as well as deleting emails?

The good news is that while Woodfibre LNG has their rubber stamped approval from the Province, they still need approval from the Federal government. Our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has acknowledged that "even though [it is] governments that grant permits, ultimately it's only communities that grant permission."

So far community opposition has been loud and clear, with Powell River, Lions Bay, Gibsons, West Vancouver, Bowen Island and Squamish all signalling strong opposition to Woodfibre LNG through recent resolutions. My Sea to Sky has partnered with more than 20 other organizations that oppose this project, and our volunteers have hit the streets to gather over 4,400 signatures (and counting) to the Howe Sound Declaration, stating opposition to the project.

There is no social license for this project in Howe Sound. A rubber stamp isn't going to change that.

Tracey SaxbyCo-Founder of My Sea to Sky

Tapley's Farm Halloween Celebrates 32nd

Tapley's Farm will again be the hub of Halloween celebrations in Whistler, celebrating its 32nd year.

Local residents go to great lengths to create a scary and magical atmosphere in their neighbourhood, and welcome upwards of 800 children from 5:30 to 8 p.m., followed by a spectacular fireworks display.

Tapley's will be closed to traffic from 4 p.m. with trick-or-treating starting after 5:30 p.m. Parking is limited so please take the free "Park and Spook" shuttle, organized by Fastpark, decorated by the Waldorf School and provided by BC Transit and the Resort Municipality of Whistler, which will run from Marketplace to Tapley's from 5 to 9 p.m.

Residents are asking families to bring donations to the food bank, which they can drop off at the entrance to Tapley's.

The fireworks display will again be generously sponsored by Nesters Market and presented by the Whistler Fire Department at 8 p.m. on the Myrtle Philip lower playing fields at the end of Easy Street/Balsam Way. 

Collection boxes for candy donations will be set up at all schools, daycares and supermarkets — please help the Tapley's residents meet the huge demand from trick-or-treaters by donating candy. Additional goodies will be generously provided by Nesters and the IGA.

A new and hair-raising addition to the neighbourhood will be the infamous "Whistler Haunted House," which was located in Brio for the past few years and this year will be staged at 6344 Easy St.

The house will be open from Oct. 28 to 31 with earlier kid friendly times and "Full Scares" for more mature audiences later. Organizers are asking for a minimum $5 to $10 donation with proceeds going to help Brendan Cavanagh's rehabilitation costs, after he was tragically paralyzed in a snowboarding accident last December. Full details and schedule at www.facebook.com/whistlerhauntedhouse.

Julia Smart

Whistler

Thanks and congratulations

Music Art Dance Expression (MADE) was celebrated in style in Pemberton.

This year MADE had a new look and a new program. Parents and tots enjoyed a play date coordinated by our partners, the Growing Great Children Collective — over 80 newborn to six-year-olds gathered for fun, art, music and dance. When I arrived the play date was in full swing and it seemed there were way more than 80 children enjoying the games. Thanks to Shannon Paul and Cathy Benns for coordinating the event. Thanks also to the members of the Pemberton Multicultural Network and their coordinators Andrea Dunne and Carol Stretch for organizing a delicious lunch and providing some great interactive games for the children.

DJ Pete is to be thanked for providing an introductory workshop for the teens and the spinning in the Board Room throughout the evening Art Show.

The evening program for MADE started with a viewing of three rooms of incredible art. The selection ranged from traditional fine art through to the collection of decorated boards — skis, snowboards and stand-up paddleboards. Thanks to artist Vanessa Stark who coordinated this showing. Thanks to Karen Love for hanging the art in the rest of the venue. It was very tastefully done.

To add to the ambience in the two rooms the Dawn Walsh duo and solo violinist Beth Solen performed.

A huge vote of thanks goes to Gretchen Frith and her crew for transforming the venue and helping in so many other ways. Thanks also to Trish Belsham and her zombies for providing the surprise of the evening — a zombie flash mob. The Gruff Goat ballet company followed the zombies with a wonderful dance performance. Dancing, to the fantastic music of the Blame it on the Weekend band, followed.

The Board of the Pemberton Arts and Culture Council would like to thank our generous sponsors: Pemberton Supermarket, Blueshore, SLRD, Sabre rental, Event Labor Works, Fort Berens Estate Winery, Whistler Brewing Company and the Pemberton Distillery. The delicious food was prepared by The Pony's chefs, Neal and Eric, and Anna's Cake Kitchen. None of this would have happened without the support of our many volunteers; you know who you are, and we thank you.

Marnie Simon

President, on behalf of the Pemberton Arts and Culture Council Board

How about those Blue Jays?

Everyone has been talking about Canada's team since the trade deadline and the playoffs. The Jays deserved the support from the diehard fans like myself, and even the bandwagoners who didn't understand the game and most likely do now.

The team brought the country together, which we haven't seen since the 2010 Games and Canada's hockey gold. It was nice to see Whistler bars putting the volume on for the games, which hasn't been done since 1993 I'm sure.

The Jays have captured new fans because of the solid effort from the 2015 team. It was such an incredible atmosphere at the Cinnamon Bear for Game 6 that I thought I was at the game, especially when the hot dogs came around.

Thanks Tim Koshul, and I look forward to another playoff run next year — and one thing is for sure, sports will always unite a country.

Diamond Doug

Whistler

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