Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of September 13


Working together key to suicide prevention

September 10 marked World Suicide Prevention Day in Canada and around the world. This year's theme, as chosen by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, is "working together to prevent suicide."

Over 4,000 Canadians die by suicide each year, and suicide continues to be the ninth-leading cause of death overall and the second-leading cause of death for youth. Too often, those who are impacted by suicide face the experience alone.

We are fortunate in our community to enjoy resources like Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS), but the challenge continues to be making sure that those who need support know where to find it. We have outreach workers who are available for confidential support and connect you to professional help 604-932-0113.

Working together, we can help those who may be struggling. Working together, we can reduce stigma. Working together, we can take time to listen to a friend in need. Working together, we can increase awareness through workshops and events. Working together, we can close gaps in early intervention. Working together, we can raise funds for services.

Locally, we will be hosting a SafeTALK training on Wednesday, Sept. 26. SafeTALK is a half-day training that provides tools to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to resources.

We will also be hosting ASIST training for service providers on Sept. 27 and 28. ASIST—Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training is a two-day practice-oriented training to build skills and confidence in suicide intervention. I encourage service providers and businesses to join us. 

I will attend the event, not only to show my support for those suffering from thoughts of suicide, but also to remember those who have died and honour everyone who has been impacted by the loss. Working together, we can prevent suicide.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).

Gizem Kaya
Whistler Community Services Society program manager

If I had a million dollars

If I were to win the lotto—the Big One—I would not do the usual things. They no longer impress me. I would want to use the money to accomplish something, so that when they tossed my ashes across the melting snow, my son could say, "He did this, and I am proud of him."

I would buy a bunch of pigs, along with some goats—I really like goats—and a nice animal home for them to live in onsite at staff housing, a must today. 

Now when it came to feeding them, I would follow the example of my first dog, a very large stray St. Bernard with an enormous appetite. To feed this beast, we collected food scraps from J.B.'s, the restaurant we operated at the time. Every night, the wait staff was so happy to fill a bucket for her, though she soon became spoiled, only liking prime rib and beef tenderloin. Pigs, however, eat everything! So to feed them, I would drive around to all the restaurants picking up food scraps.

To do this, I would use a truck powered by "used" vegetable oil, sourced from the same locations. After all, if I did not take it away, it would have to be put on a truck and taken far away, creating an expense to do so, as well as creating carbon emissions.

As for the fuel I recycle, it's fuel that did not need to be trucked into the valley. I know a gardener who would take any excess I managed to produce. 

Now back to spending my millions! Next, I would buy a pyrolysis machine, which turns plastic into diesel. They are doing this in other parts of the world and claim no harm to the environment except heat!

Plastic is better in the gas tank than in the ocean, especially when every litre of gas we use has to be trucked here. I would love to hire a well-known local named Bill, as I am confident that with him, every piece of plastic that entered Whistler would soon be used to run our snow cats, buses, and other vehicles. Our goal? That not one piece of recyclable plastic would be put on a truck and shipped away, a carbon footprint reduction worthy of worldwide attention. 

Whistler has an imbalance of social statements and signatures. We are all about enjoying the breathtaking beauty of nature offset by the pollution involved in bringing guests here and the disproportionate amount of consumption and waste produced. Would it not be cool that when our guests return to their homes, they could rave not only about the magnificent mountains around them, but also about how Whistler "effectively" re-purposes over 60 per cent of its waste? That would send a very powerful message!

If my young son one day looked up to me and asked, "Dad, are you going to use up all your lottery winnings—and my inheritance—on your passion to prove life is sustainable?" I would say, "Yes, Jack, but I will leave you the most valuable gift any father could give his child and his descendants: The gift of hope, the gift of a chance." 

I hope all these ideas may one day prove sustainable and economically viable. I fear not, but it's the good fight, we, or someone, has to take on. 

So, I bought a lottery ticket today. 

Lance Bright

Thank you Pemberton Children's Centre

A heartfelt thank you seems so trivial and understated when it comes to expressing our gratitude to the teachers and managers of the Pemberton Children's Centre.  

Not only have you loved and fostered my children, you have also helped me grow and learn as a parent.  

As my oldest moves into kindergarten, it leaves me sad to think that I only have a couple more years coming to the centre with my youngest child.

Each of you exudes love, patience and humour. You have instilled confidence and curiosity in both my kids, which has sparked a desire to question and learn.

Thank you for all you do.

Jill Brooksbank

Bard in the Barn

The Pemberton Farmers' Market would like to thank everyone who came out to support the first ever Bard in the Barn event, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged, performed on Saturday, Aug. 25.

Not only did we laugh all evening, but we were also treated to some delicious nibbles and drinks from local businesses and farmers' market vendors! Such a wonderful event for the community to come together and have a good laugh.

Everyone who had a hand in putting on this event together did so in the true spirit of community and generosity and we appreciate you all.

First, we express our gratitude to our volunteer director Renata Zablotney and her Bird's Work hilarious troupe of actors: Katy Doiron, Kevin Linklater, Dallen Brodowski, Kate Brosseau, Summer DuPerron, Jesse Abbott, Spence Barker and Kieran Nott and to the talented musician Susan Holden for the wonderful musical interludes!

A big thank you also to our vendors and local businesses for their gracious food and drink donations: Birken House Bakery, Snowline Catering, Nidhi's Cuisine, Rosalind of Roma Bolta, Mount Currie Coffee Co., Blackbird Bakery, Whistler Elixir, and Sea to Sky Aguas Fresca.

Roses also to Event Rental Works for the last-minute chair supply, to our volunteers, John, Liz, Elizabeth, Nidhi, Vanessa and Co, Jim and the crew of family and friends who helped set up and tear down.

Last but not least, we thank the wonderful audience who braved a chilly evening to come out and support us. We hope you enjoyed the show and look forward to hosting this event again next year!

Molli Reynolds
Pemberton Farmers' Market Association

Wrong place for this event

The running of the Primal Quest Adventure race through the Tenquille Lake Recreation Area (TOLRA) infers a disconnect between various B.C. government agencies.

Forests Lands and Natural Resources (FLNRO) and Recreation Sites and Trails BC struggle to manage overcrowding and maintenance of trails and facilities, the Environment Ministry closes public road access through sensitive grizzly bear habitat—yet Tourism BC approves and signs on as a sponsor for an adventure race (and all the accompanying staffing and media teams, drones? etc.) running right through it all. Hello?

This is not a charity—Primal Quest is big business. This California-based company charges between US$6,750 and US$8,750 for team entry yet there is no indication of financial support for the Pemberton Wildlife Association (PWA) whose volunteers invest hundreds of hours maintaining the TOLRA trails and facilities (in support of Recreation Sites and Trails) that allow this leg of the event.

The website www.primalquest.org also lists a host of major paying sponsors that will all expect media coverage. This same worldwide media coverage will only exacerbate the problem of current recreation areas and facilities nearing or exceeding their carrying capacity. Plus, events like this have the instant effect of focusing extra pressure on prime grizzly bear habitat and an area enjoyed for its wilderness quality, further degrading both.

With proper consultation amongst all partners, a much better location and route could have been chosen.

Dave Harkley

A beautiful welcome

I would like to send a huge shout-out of appreciation to the Village of Pemberton's landscaping crew.

This small team has worked tirelessly, and sometimes in scorching weather, to ensure the entrance to town and the downtown Pemberton area have looked amazing all summer.

From flower planters to local parks and green spaces along Prospect Street, our town looks so attractive because of your hard work.

Donna Hasan

Thank you Pemberton!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the community for allowing me the privilege and honour of serving you over the last seven years.

I would also like to thank and tip my hat to the current mayor, council and staff as well as former mayor, council and staff for their commitment, professionalism, passion and diligence over this time.

I truly believe that our Village of Pemberton is better now than seven years ago.

Much work has been done and we are starting to see the fruits of our labours and we are positioning well for the future!

The list of what we have accomplished is long, but I wanted to share some of it. Over the last two terms we've resolved the Pemberton North Water System dispute, built a second reservoir, built a barn, addressed much of the underground infrastructure in town, upgraded the wastewater treatment plant, updated and cleaned up many bylaws and policies, outfitted our Fire Department to better serve the Pemberton area, strengthened our working relationship with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), completed much work at the Community Centre, built a water park, increased and enhanced our vast trail network, upgraded our jewel, One Mile Lake Park, have "Welcome to Pemberton" signs at both ends of the community, worked hard to improve our relationship with Lil'wat through Truth and Reconciliation initiatives, supported many grassroots community initiatives with Stewardship Pemberton, the Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Pemberton, The Pemberton Canoe Club, BMX Club, Rotary and Lions, Seniors and the Men's Shed among others.

We have made difficult decisions with the greater community as a whole in our minds. We have endured hard times with the loss of great community members, Mother Nature events and I've always been amazed at how this community pulls together when in need to help, whatever the cause.

We've made unpopular decisions but feel we always listened and responded to the community when it spoke. We maybe didn't always get it right, but our intentions have always been for the best interest of the larger group.

We've celebrated great successes of individuals like Shirley Henry and Marnie Simon, athletic achievements of the Layoam Eagles, school sports teams, BMX, Stewardship Pemberton achieving self-sustainability, a home for the Farmers' Market, the groundbreaking of the Lions Villa expansion, the creation of the Mens' Shed, Day of the Devil and many more.

We saw the return and demise of the Pemberton Music Festival.

In the near future, we will see the completion of the Friendship Trail and Bridge, downtown enhancement and revitalization, continued development, more homes, jobs and business opportunities.

In about a year, we'll see a new natural grass soccer field as a first-phase amenity at our local recreation site, generously donated by the Den Duyf family.

Moving forward, I look to a formal affordable housing strategy, greater transit and mobility for all, safer roads for motorists and cyclists alike. I also look forward to what our agricultural parks will look like and how our community will enjoy them.

I am very proud of the work we have accomplished as your local government.

I believe our relationships with Whistler, Squamish and the greater SLRD area are strong and collaborative.

I appreciate those of you who are informed, interested, engaged and committed to Pemberton continuing to be the best Village in the corridor.

I got into this because of my kids, to help make it a better place to live, and I believe together we have achieved that.

With that list of accomplishments it makes it hard for me to tell you that I will not be seeking re-election in October.

I have learned much, read an awful lot, attended many meetings, committees and events, deliberated, lost sleep, stressed, changed my mind, changed others minds, been very impressed, disappointed, surprised, excited and proud, sometimes in a single day over these two terms.

I learned early, that a quick trip to the grocery store, gas station, bank, post office, on the street isn't possible as many of you stopped me to discuss, query, compliment and criticize our work.

Looking back, these moments formed many of my thoughts, opinions, decisions and smiles. I appreciate the respect you showed me regardless of your views.

This role is one I have relished, committed to and hope I have served you as I said I would, with honour, integrity and with the community first, always.

I applaud those members of the current council and those throwing their hat in the ring to serve Pemberton for the next four years. You're positioned well, but have plenty of work to do. My hope is the group will have the same passion for our Village, engage in healthy debate, respect each other, be available and listen, as I believe we have.

That said, I am not going away, I plan to continue to be an informed, interested and active member of the community, just not at this table, maybe from the gallery, maybe as an advocate, but always as a proud resident of the great community I am proud to call home.

Thanks Pemberton, you ROCK!

James Linklater