Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor for the week of September 28th


Subject: 2+2 = 9

Let's pretend 1,000 new employees appear out of nowhere tomorrow morning, on the front steps of the Chamber and they are all ready to start work. Can someone please tell me how this is going to fix the issue that they have nowhere to live?  I don't have a plethora of degrees ranging from social development to mathematics, or the inside scoop on how the Whistler Chamber of Commerce works.

However, I do have an amazing understanding of how a shot glass works. When you fill a shot glass to the brim and you have nowhere to put that shot of tequila, you don't have the ability to add more tequila to the shot glass until you find somewhere else for that tequila to go.

If you give the bartender 12 bottles of tequila and he still only has one glass to work with, those 12 bottles of tequila become pointless.The Temporary Foreign Worker permit amendment is actually working and doing what it's supposed to do: providing Canadians with a better working allowance.

How many entry-level employees in Whistler alone have received a better hourly wage, a greater working package, or health benefits since this change? My guess is a lot. If you all of a sudden have a surplus of employees, these changes to a better working package go away. There is no need for the business owner to sweeten the pot if there is no demand to do so.I understand minimum wage is geared towards an entry-level position to be filled by teens and twenty-somethings still trying to figure things out. However, the grocery store, the mobile provider, the landlord does not offer an entry-level option. These entry-level employees have to pay the same amount for some things that a CEO has no problem affording.Whistler has always had a housing issue and an affordability issue. Why all of a sudden everyone is scrambling to fix the problem like it just appeared on our front doorstep last week I don't understand.

You built it, they came, now suffer the ramifications of not doing anything substantial about the problems that have always been here.Why doesn't anyone talk about the Whistler Housing Authority having undeveloped land in Cheakamus?

Again, I have no idea what goes into developing homes and the cost that comes with that. However, I do know something like that should probably take priority over a soccer field or a new bus/cab loop, for example.  However, fixing one problem creates another. If you create a surplus of housing, the homeowner can no longer charge a Harvard education for rent.

A month or so ago I saw an ad from a person that had a two-bedroom townhouse in Squamish — she wanted to rent out the spare room and was charging $1,450 a month. Who can afford, by themselves, $1,450 a month for rent? I can promise you the employees working entry-level positions certainly can't.

Since when did it become the renters' responsibility to pay the homeowners' mortgage? I realize not all homeowners do this, but you must realize a lot of homeowners do.So what's the solution?

There has to be a reset button pushed and the powers that be have to come together and create a realistic long-term solution.  

If you don't do it for you, do it for the kids that are growing up here. Half of the Creekside shops are vacant, the whole corner by Shoppers Drug Mart in the village is vacant, long-term business owners are closing up shop because they can no longer afford their rent. The problem is very real.There are good people being forced from this area because they have nowhere to live, literally nowhere, and you want to replace these people with people on 18-month working visas that have no connection to this area to begin with other than the fact they are here to work.  It's a shame the Whistler Chamber president had to stand in line for such a long time for a coffee and to hear about how many hours the employee has to work to make ends meet.

But that's the way it's always been and will never change if someone has to pay $1,450 a month for rent.

The people that have given blood, sweat and tears to this area that are being forced out should be the problem at hand, not the person that has to wait a couple extra minutes in line for a coffee.

Paul Rowe

Liberals must act on fish farms

I am writing because the B.C. salmon farming industry must be transitioned to land.

Friends know that this has been my "raison d'etre" for almost 40 years.

I introduced Stan Proboszcz to our Squamish Fisheries group and made the group aware that our Howe Sound salmon have a gauntlet of deadly fish farms to pass on their migration to the open ocean.

We worked with our then-Conservative MP John Weston and actually helped institute the Cohen Commission.

Sadly, it was mothballed.

I then lobbied my ex-wife to jointly support current Liberal MP, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, with long canvassing hours and as many dollars for her campaign as we could afford.

Like Weston, Goldsmith-Jones' hard work has not been able to help rid our wild salmon of this pox.

Two years at the helm and the Liberals have:

• Increased Norwegian farm licences by two, and all existing licenses from one to seven years;

• Directed a huge budget to the West Vancouver office that provides free research for the Norwegian industry;

• Not implemented the Cohen Commission recommendations as their mandate had set out.

The worst day for me was when Goldsmith-Jones told me that Minister of Fisheries Dominic LeBlanc was coming to Vancouver with a great announcement.

I could not believe my ears as he smiled and said there was no conflict of interest with DFO protecting wild salmon and at the same time promoting Norwegian salmon farms on our coast.

Every grocer in our valley knows me for grinding them continuously to label farmed fish as "farmed" and "wild" as wild.

If people only knew that buying farmed salmon and steelhead was wrong.

I can only live in hope that Goldsmith-Jones can redeem her party; I support so many other things it has accomplished.

Jim Horner

Farewell to Pique's arts editor

I am thrilled for soon-to-be former Pique arts and entertainment editor Cathryn Atkinson as she leaves this publication to undertake a new venture.

Cathryn is a stellar journalist whose writing never ceased to draw me in and teach me something new. Cathryn's grasp of the arts and entertainment community in the Sea to Sky corridor was commendable and her appreciation of it was always evident.

Her leaving creates a void in the local arts scene that can only be filled by someone with her breadth of knowledge and dedication, but also by someone who is just as nice a human being.

Lynn Mitges
North Vancouver

Celebrating our barn dance

Foot-stompin' tunes and a healthy dose of community spirit led to a sold-out show, and a dancefloor that stayed packed all night at this year's Pemberton Barn Dance.

Northern Ignition warmed things up with a solid, energetic performance, and then the Chris Buck Band raised the roof and packed the dancefloor even more tightly, bringing out the inner cowboy in all those present.

The fundraiser sold 600 tickets to raise money for various community projects, and was co-organized by the Pemberton Lions Club and the Pemberton Rotary Club which, as per usual, did an amazing job.

I'm ever grateful for this beautiful place we call home, and events like this are such sweet icing on the cake.

Michael Ruhr

Another look at artificial turf?

(This letter was addressed to Whistler's mayor and council and shared with Pique.)

Is it possible that our mayor and council have lost their collective minds... or at least lost sight of the most important priorities for this resort?

This town survives (and thrives) on tourists both domestic and foreign. They are attracted by the many sporting and other events and venues in the resort such as skiing, the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Ironman, GranFondo, Crankworx, hiking, sightseeing, golf, The Whistler Film Festival, The Whistler Writers Festival, and the Audain Art Museum, to name only a few. Whistler has become so popular that the infrastructure is stretched to the limit. Parking, affordable housing and traffic jams are the most obvious signs of this.

Now the RMOW is proposing to spend $4 million of our tax money on artificial turf for a soccer field. (Unbelievable!)

The turf has not been proven to be safe, yet they are going ahead in any case. This is clearly a misguided boondoggle.

The RMOW should be careful not to make (another) expensive mistake. What is wrong with the excellent grass soccer field at the Myrtle Philip school area? Kids play soccer on natural grass all over this province and, if parents want (artificial turf), they can go to Squamish, which many do on a regular basis anyway.

I ask what will artificial turf do to improve tourism to any extent, or help to alleviate our most pressing issues of affordable housing and traffic problems on our two-lane road? Why not spend $4 million on things that really matter to our resort?

Let's not let this become another fail like the 2017 parking/bus fiasco which (Community Transportation Planner) Richard Drdul is now trying to put a positive spin on.

I'm losing faith in our municipal leaders and wonder who is really in control of our tax dollars.

This may have reached third reading but... I will do everything in (my) power to derail spending our $4 million on artificial turf unless there is a public referendum.

Robert Cessford

Celebrating friends at festival

I had the pleasure (of) going to the Whistler Village Beer Festival again this year to enjoy a fun Sunday afternoon with good friends.

The weather on Sunday, was a little — or a lot — wet. But this didn't stop the crowd, which appeared to be almost exclusively locals (from coming) out (to) enjoy themselves.

While tasting some of the most delicious brews I couldn't help but think that the beer fest has started to mark the end of the season and at the same time, provides all the hard-working people of Whistler an opportunity to come out and enjoy themselves. 

Events like this are so important, perhaps even more so now with all the challenges this community is facing.

I would like to send a special thanks to Katrina Frew, Joey Gibbons and the entire Gibbons Hospitality group crew, which is responsible for making this event happen year after year!

Thank you for giving us locals a festival to help us celebrate the end of summer, come together with good friends, and try delicious beer from Whistler breweries and beyond.  

Theresa Ginter

Creekbread thanks

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, Whistler youth taking part in this year's RMOW sister-city exchange program held a very successful fundraiser at Creekbread pizza.

This success would not have been possible without generous support from: Creekbread (our host); Nicklaus North; Meadow Park Sports Centre/RMOW; Scott McPhee; Whistler Roasting; 21 Steps; Sachi Sushi; Coast Mountain Brewery; Upper Village Market; Samurai Sushi; Nesters; Escape Whistler; The Hub; Whistler Blackcomb; Aislinn Gannon; Denise Hughes; Scandinave Spa; Purebread; Elevation Hair Salon; Hunter Gather; Kahuna Paddleboards; FORGED Axe Throwing; and the Wildflower Restaurant. 

We would also like to thank the community of Whistler for coming out and supporting us by eating pizza and participating in our silent auction and raffle!

And, of course, thanks to the staff of Creekbread for their help on the night of, and the donation from each pizza.

The exchange program is a fantastic opportunity for 10 Whistler youth to travel to Karuizawa, Japan to serve as ambassadors of Whistler. We are excited to experience a new culture and further develop our friendships with youth from Karuizawa in October. 

Domo arigato/ thank you.

Adam Brett
on behalf of the sister city exchange students, 2017

Wow! Another year, another Boogie! 

The Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium hosted its third Brandywine Boogie Trail Run on Saturday, Sept. 23.  After a few challenges, primarily finding an alternate route and finish line, we were up and running.

Well done to the speed demons who annihilated the course in record time and to all participants for joining us on the day. 

As usual, we had incredible support from local businesses. Helly Hansen, we can't thank you enough for your generosity and support in our third year.  

Shout outs to: Back In Action; Whistler Creek Athletic Club; Nesters; Peak to Green Accommodation; RMOW; first aid and sweep Kevin Tennock; photographer Jim Budge; print media the Question and Pique; Tim Hortons for filling our last-minute request for hot chocolate; and the Longhorn, providing the best seats to view the mountains while quenching our thirst. Big thank yous also for the incredible prizes from: Fairmont Chateau Whistler; Scandinave Spa; YogaCara; Lululemon; Listel Hotel; Blackcomb Liquor Store; Whistler Smiles; Bear Paw Yoga; Vega; and the Creekside Gym.

Congratulations to all runners and walkers (a new category this year) who got out there and ran with us. 

Remember, you, the participants, chose your beneficiary. A big thank you to those from Rotary Youth Exchange, WORCA and Zero Ceiling.  

Of course, none of this happens without volunteers who give their time unequivocally.

Thank you. Everyone. In the spirit of community, fun and trail running, we look forward to seeing you next year!

Shannon Kirkwood

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