Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of October 6th


How many people have to move?

When my ex and I went our separate ways, leaving our two children in the wake, I was the one looking for a place to live.

I scrambled to find appropriate accommodation so I could house my daughters with me when they visited, as I get them three days a week.

At the time, I took whatever came my way as it was difficult to keep up with the rat race created by our housing dilemma, though it was too small for a family. I took it hoping to find something better. Now two years later, the same exact accommodation is double the price.

Exactly how does the rate of inflation double for housing but not the rate of pay? Now I cannot afford to move, leaving me wondering how the rest of the public is affording a place to live.

I don't understand how the homeowners in Whistler expect the locals, and everyone who wants to live here, pay for their expensive expectations.

I have to work two jobs right now just to afford to live here, leaving me little time with my family. At the rate of the pay the local businesses give their employees, the money does not make sense.

Where does it stop? If there is a way to cap it, we should do so, or the only ones who will be able to live here are those who have rich parents who fund their children.

What is going on right now is there are two people or more to a room with some of my local friends living on the streets hoping the bottom drops out.

It has long been known to we locals that we don't have a shortage of workers in this town — it's always been a shortage of affordable housing.

I know the municipality has been working hard on this issue but how many of us have lost our shirts, having to move out of Whistler to parts unknown?

Michael Deschenes

Solution for housing just a container away

Every year or two I write the same column (on housing), but it goes unheeded.

I say house staff in portable modular Atco-style staff housing painted to blend into the environment, just outside of Whistler. Not only have I stayed in these camps in the north (comfortable at 40 below), but went on to sell and lease them in Western Canada and the North.

There is a great sense of camaraderie in camp, people mixing from far away places in an affordable and secure environment, complete with wash cars, recreation centres, dining halls, and comfortable two-to-a-room accommodation. Meals would be inexpensive, transportation could be safely organized by small buses leaving continuously and the operation would pay for itself through the rental charge.

The idea of staff living amongst Whistlerites given lack of accommodation and skyrocketing rental prices is ludicrous. Take a poll and new arrivals wouldn't give a hoot anyway. They would rather be together.

Their desire to visit town and partake in the restaurants and clubs and outlets would still be strong and merchants would benefit from the overall security of having secure accommodation for their staff guaranteed.

Tour Syncrude, or any number of mining or forestry camps around B.C., Canada or the world. This is the way it's done, folks.

Kerry Dennehy

Housing needs help from second homeowners

Over the years, I've written several dozen letters to the editor on just about every political issue in Whistler.

In true local style, I've usually taken a rational yet non-conformist view of things just like Max does every week. Unlike Max, I've never quite ruffled enough of anyone's feathers to get a single rebuttal the following week. I was pleasantly surprised when Lisa Woo's response (Pique, Sept. 29) regarding the housing crunch made an assumption that, with such a view, I must be yet another dirtbag renter or flophouse couchsurfer.

On the contrary.

Like I said, this housing situation is not new, so back in 1989, I was not willing to get displaced every six months and be at the mercy of greedy landlords so I purchased one of the first employee-restricted units and have owned it ever since. I am proud to say I have helped countless people get on their feet over the years.

I've had mostly good experiences and some not as good, but hey, that's life. I accept the fact that wear and tear is part of the cost of doing business and that renos are needed every five years or so.

To all the self-centred vacant homeowners I say this: This housing problem is also your eventual problem. This quaint ski village was built and made famous by the very people you want to shut out. Your investment would be worth squat if you didn't have workers to maintain it.

I consider myself fortunate to have entered the housing market back then, and today it would be impossible for an average person to own.

Most people seeking housing are probably well-educated, hard-working, trustworthy and have a vested interest in the community — please give them the benefit of the doubt.

As for the council, please look into a vacant home tax as Vancouver has, to send a desperate message out. The heart and soul of this community lies in the hard-working locals — not the elite second home owners.

Mike Roger

Just asking that league be a good neighbour

Since I'm lucky enough to be in a spot that isn't affected by the ball diamond, I'm nominating myself to respond to last week's article in Pique (Sept. 29) on behalf of my neighbours here in Spruce Grove. They've been trying for years to express some legitimate concerns, which end up being perceived as NIMBY-ism. I figured I'd take a stab at getting the points across, and hope that they are taken in the spirit in which they are intended:

1. No one has any issue with the cheering! The cheering is awesome, the "sounds of baseball" are awesome, the camaraderie is awesome. The loud, profanity-laced bellowing done by a few of the players after the games are over is not awesome.

2. The games generally end by 10:30 p.m., but it's fair to say that the last of the crowds don't generally clear until after 11 p.m. The bylaw says no excessive noise after 10 p.m. I don't think it's unreasonable for the neighbourhood to ask that the baseball teams follow the bylaws, right? No one has tried to advocate that the games need to end any earlier than that... just trying to get muni rules to apply at a muni park.

I mean, if you had rowdy neighbours that made a ruckus almost every summer night at 11 p.m. you'd get a little irritated after a few years, too.

3. "You did move in next to a ballpark." Yes, we sure did. It makes for a dynamic neighbourhood and an easy commute home after a game. But anyone who's been in the league long enough may remember that we purchased our places before the lights were put in — back when the games were over when it got dark.

Sure, by the time we moved in, the lights had been installed. Did we notice that they'd been expedited to go up before we got a chance to move in and possibly raise an objection? Yes. Did we complain? No, because we like the baseball diamond. The part we don't like is the "village-after-the-bars-let-out" noise levels eight metres from our doors when the parks clear out at 11 p.m.

That's my not-entirely-eloquent attempt to clarify the issues the neighbourhood has been trying to resolve for years by politely working through the system. We are simply asking that the league be a good neighbour. Thanks for listening.

Stacey Royal

Consider all the options

As a practicing town planner from the U.K. staying in Whistler visiting our son and his girlfriend, who are here on two-year working visas, I have seen at firsthand some of the problems facing local people, as evidenced by letters in your magazine.

Two big problems have surfaced: excess traffic and consequent parking at times of big events, and affordable housing for workers.

For the first, I suggest the prospect of Park and Ride should be examined. This practice is commonplace in the U.K., particularly for large towns and cities with significant tourist attractions.

A large free car park could be created at Cheakamus and drivers directed here because it would be cheaper, quicker and more environmentally friendly than getting into and parking in the village.

OK, so more buses may have to be put on, but that happens at key times anyway. Worth considering, I suggest.

Second, in the U.K., two devices are used to enable affordable housing.

The local development plan would have a key policy requiring all new housing developments over ten units to have a minimum proportion as affordable (between 30 - 50 per cent is common) — the developer pays.

Alternatively, we often have a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) whereby all development has to make a financial payment for proven key infrastructure — for example, a new school, library, major highway works, affordable housing.

The levy is made per dwelling unit for new residential developments or per 1000 square feet of new commercial floorspace. OK, so new regulations would need to be put in place, but again, worth considering I suggest.

All possible solutions ought to be explored.

John Silvester DipP(Dist), MRTPI, MCIM
UK - staying at Creekside.

Approving LNG is hypocritical

Stephen Harper must be chuckling in his beer. The Trudeau government has managed to approve two LNG pipelines and plants in record time: Woodfibre LNG in Squamish and Pacific Northwest (Lelu Island) on the north coast.

Increased fracking in northern B.C. will supply this industry, and the gas, after energy-intensive liquification, will be shipped in LNG tankers down Howe Sound and out from Lelu Island to Asian markets.

Indications are strong that the Trudeau government will also approve the Kinder Morgan/TransCanada pipeline to Vancouver, to be filled with increased bitumen extraction from the oil sands. Bitumen-carrying tanker traffic to Asia out of Vancouver Harbour will increase by seven times.   

The Trudeau government has succeeded in accomplishing what Harper tried to do for 10 long years and failed. The light between the Conservatives and the Liberals has disappeared.

These decisions make the grandstanding of the Trudeau government at the climate gathering in Paris last fall a joke.

New information states (again) that the world must not build any new fossil-fuel infrastructure or increase extraction to avoid run-away climate change. First World countries must help poorer countries deal with this reality. Retraining for those who have relied on the fossil fuel industry for jobs must take place. Renewables must be encouraged. Investment in fossil fuels must not increase, as it will be wasted. (See Oil Change International's 60-page report at priceofoil.org.)

We are on track to set a dangerous and alarming new precedent: 400ppm of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere for 12 months in a row. Ridiculously, the Trudeau government is still acting as if we have a choice about new fossil fuel development.

Scientific facts make no difference to the Trudeau government as it presses on to prop up a dying industry desperate to save itself from the inevitable. Canadian banks, which are on the hook for enormous sums of money lent to the industry, are surely having their say. The Trudeau government is demonstrating who really runs the show, and it's not us. We don't stand a chance against the "Eastern establishment."

Maybe the Trudeau government is betting the fossil fuel projects they approve won't actually be built due to economic conditions and coming climate change. How dare they take that risk and make disingenuous and cowardly decisions, which could prove disastrous, just to please the people who did not vote for them?

The actions of the Trudeau government are shameful, hypocritical, deceitful, and in the end, harmful to us all.

The Trudeau government has shown no courage, no leadership, no vision, no attempts to move on to a future reality.

The Liberals will pay for this cynical "follow-the-money" policy at the ballot box. The rest of us will pay for it with climate change.

The Trudeau government has betrayed us completely.

Jane Reid

Liberal sold out B.C.

Dear Ms. Goldsmith-Jones: He's now known as Tanker Trudeau! Please tell him that. Worse than Harper! At least we knew where he stood versus promising one thing then doing the exact opposite.

It is very disappointing, Pam. (The Liberals have) sold out again after all the promises and commitments not to build Northern Gateway.

The Skeena River salmon fry are toast, tankers galore on our pristine West Coast. More carbon equalling the output of millions more cars running in B.C.

Say good bye to 1.5 degrees promised in the Paris Accord.

Good job!

It's hard to believe the Liberals would sell out this B.C. and this country's reputation on the world front after all the bold talk last year on preserving our environment.

We will never vote Liberal again!

Robert Dingle

Boogie thanks

On behalf of the Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium, we'd like to extend a huge thank you to our wonderful community for coming out and supporting our second Brandywine Boogie Trail run on Sept 24.

The successful and stunning day could not have happened without the generosity of the businesses in town who continue to support us all, again, donating amazing prizes and support.

They include: Helly Hansen, Back In Action, Creekside Gym, Nesters, Yogacara, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Araxi, Listel Hotel, Creekbread,  Scandinave Spa, Great Glass Elevator, Longhorn Saloon, WORCA, Blackcomb Liquor Store, Lululemon, Whistler Smiles, Whistler FM, The Whistler Question and Pique Newsmagazine.

Thank you to our volunteers who consistently turn up and make magic happen. Thanks to our partner Rotary Club of Whistler who fired up the BBQ at the finish line. And thanks to you, the participants who got out there and tied up your laces!

The funds raised have been purposed toward local youth programs and supporting the trail build and maintenance of the new Lord of the Squirrels trail.  See you next year!

Shannon Kirkwood

Coast to coast for cancer

On Sept. 18, I began my journey with The Sears National Kids Cancer Ride as a Relay Rider from Barrie, Ont. to Halifax, N.S.

This ride is supported by the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation and 100 per cent of all donations go to childhood cancer research.

It was an amazing seven-day journey that has forever changed my life. I was honoured to be part of such an amazing team, which worked tirelessly to raise much-needed dollars for childhood cancer research.

I am beyond thankful for all the support from my family, friends and local businesses — I could not have done this without you all!

Everyone was so eager to step up and help — with babysitting, so I could train, with donations of awesome bike gear, with help keeping my bike in tip-top shape, with generous donations to childhood cancer research and amazing sponsorship.

Our communities of Pemberton and Whistler are truly full of the most giving and supportive people around.

The positive encouragement I received over the last six months has been over the top and has made me feel ever so blessed to call this home.

Big high fives to the following businesses for your generous support: Valley Chainsaw & Recreational, RND Auto & Industrial Ltd, JT Heavy Equipment Repair Ltd, Comor Sports, Fanatyk Co Ski & Cycle, Pemberton Valley Wellness, Pemberton Bottle Depot, Greg Edwards Accounting, Dorgelo by Design Inc, Epsomgel Solutions, and Al Leblanc.

On behalf of myself and The Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation, thank you.

To find out more or to become a National Rider in 2017, visit searsnationalkidscancerride.com

Jennifer Lawrence