Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for the week of September 5th


We will miss you

I was somewhat sad to read in your last issue (Pique Aug. 29, 2013) that (Bob Barnett was) leaving Pique.

We have been assiduous Pique readers since the summer of 1996, when we bought our first condo in Whistler. We have been living in Mexico City, Geneva (Switzerland), Montreal and finally Vancouver and have been coming to Whistler (almost) every winter and summer since then.

To grab the latest issue of Pique as soon as we arrived in Whistler was as important as getting the milk for the kids.

Living so far away it was important to us to get the latest news of what was happening in Whistler and your articles always had a very accurate and objective way of picturing life and issues in the place we called "home."

Thanks so much for the work you have done — we will truly miss your articles.

We wish you all the best for the future!

Aniela Ernst-Martin

North Vancouver

'The balanced goods'

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Bob (Barnett) for his many years of "Opening Remarks."

If ever I wanted to understand the hot topics of the day, this is where I always got the balanced goods. Bob has an incredible grasp of what makes this place tick and was particularly good at suggesting directions that the community could go to solve problems.

He never seemed to get frustrated when we chose to ignore his advice. I think we will all miss his voice in the community. Good luck Bob and thank you.

Drew Meredith


Thanks for the memory

Congratulations to Bob Barnett for making a great weekly magazine, and best wishes for his brand new life.

Re the cover photo (Pique Aug. 29): I knew at once, by the road signs that it was taken in France. It took me a few seconds to find out that, "the Pique is a 33km-long river in southern France, a tributary of the Garonne River. Its source is in the Pyrennees, on the north side of the Port de Venasque mountain pass. It flows generally northward, entirely within the Haute-Garonne département. It passes through the resort towns of Bagnères-de-Luchon and Cierp-Gaud. It flows into the Garonne in Chaum."

I went to Bagnères several times as a child, then teenager, and never paid attention to the name of the river — we used to go to a very plain restaurant that had in its garden a narrow canal fed by a river (la Pique?). A fenced-in section was full of trout that the cook scooped and showed to the customers before cooking them (the trout, not the customers).

The Garonne River, incidentally, flows by Toulouse and Bordeaux on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Its estuary (shared with the river Dordogne that come down from the volcanic mountains of Auvergne in central France), called The Gironde, is the largest in Western Europe, being 11-km wide at it widest point —by the town of Pauillac — and 80 km long.

All these names of towns and rivers are the French versions of the original names in Gascon, the historical native language that was widely spoken in rural communities in the late 1950s and is still use today to some extent.

The varieties of French spoken in Toulouse and Bordeaux are a mix of standard French with both Gascon words and French translations of Gascon words, with accents that make them hard to understand to people from other regions (they have their own regional versions of French).

Gascon is one of several dialects of Occitan, the historical language of Southern France. 

The old name of La Pique was Neste. The Garonne was Garona, The Dordogne was Dordonha, Toulouse was Tolosa, Bordeaux was Bordèu...

Name changes were done from the late 1790s on, after the French revolutionary government found out that two-thirds of the French didn't speak French (France was smaller then than now), but not all names were changed, if only because the 19th century was quite turbulent in France, with two self-made emperors bracketing three kings (relatives of Louis XVI), two short revolutions and a quick war with Prussia that was a disaster, especially for Paris.

Today a town, or river, or... has a name that looks nearly like the original (that was easy to pronounce) while a few kilometres away there is a town or river or ...that has its original name, one that is very hard to pronounce — quite a few towns now have bilingual names.

Thanks to Bob for sending me on a nostalgic trip.

J-L Brussac


Hats off to lift crews

We just spent an amazing month in Whistler. What a wonderful place.

One of the best investments made was our hiking lift ticket. We got much more than our money's worth.

What made it really special were the people working at the lifts. Invariably cheerful and helpful, they were great ambassadors for your town.

So hats off to the folks who always had time to ask, "How's your day going?" and remind you to put down your restraining bar.


Tom Hicks

Wilmington, NC, U.S.

Thanks for sharing

Last month I completed the Ironman event in your backyard.

I want to thank the residents of Pemberton and Whistler for hosting such a beautiful, well-run event. The scenery was spectacular and the support from the residents was outstanding.

I especially enjoyed the end of lane/tailgate support parties along Pemberton Meadows Road. I understand that the road closures must have caused residents considerable inconvenience and would like to thank you very much for your patience and consideration. 

I travelled twice this summer to Whistler/Pemberton to ride the course and enjoyed the hospitability of the area. 

Thank you for sharing your respective neighbourhoods.

Well done and I hope IM Canada has many more years in Whistler/Pemberton.

Dawn Connolly


GranFondo highway closures unnecessary

In the notice about the bike ride (it is not a race) flamboyantly called GranFondo that runs 122 kms from downtown Vancouver to Whistler, what is not mentioned and ignored is that Highway 99 through Squamish is closed for many hours to all regular traffic.

In Squamish this means three hours from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. preventing passage from some parts of town to other parts of town since the highway bisects this town.

As importantly, it forbids travel to the Lower Mainland during those hours of a Saturday so you either go later, after 11 a.m., or earlier before 7 a.m. This inconvenience is unconscionable and not necessary for this bike ride is not an emergency.

It should be noted that bicycles are commonly ridden on the Squamish highway alongside cars and trucks and buses obeying traffic signals and contending with entering and exiting motor vehicles crossing the bike path.

Terry Smith

Garibaldi Highlands

Relay for Life

Years have past since the day I had a seizure... followed by tests... followed by a seven-hour brain surgery... followed by months of chemo and radiation... followed by a lump in my breast four years later... followed by four surgeries... including breast and lymph node removal.

I will never be the person I was — but I'm still here because an unbelievable number of people across the nation and worldwide do what they can to fight cancer.

On Saturday, Sept. 21 the 2013 Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life takes place in Squamish. Cancer sucks but this event is fun.

Visit: http://www.relaybc.ca/squamish2013 to join Resort Municipality of Whistler Relayers Team, or donate.

Peace out.

Leslie Weir


Shaker shout out!

In the post-event haze that follows a summer of planning and building, the Two Acre Shaker would like to take a moment to acknowledge the contributions of some very giving people and businesses.

Firstly, we lean heavily on our friends and families for support in pulling this thing off. Amy, Megan, and Lisa are always an important part of the foundation and we could not do what we do without them being there with us every step of the way.

Second, we rely on dozens of volunteers in the days and weeks leading up to, and including, the day of our show. We "employ" many hands on and offsite in preparation and we owe them all a big thank you. Laura Goodwin and her "chill lounge" crew put forth a tremendous effort and their creation was an important new addition for us.

A very special thank you goes out this year to Kitt Redhead. Kitt contacted us in the early summer in the hopes of getting involved. She took on a very important project and embraced full ownership of it — freeing us up to focus on other aspects of the production.

Vanessa Murphy and Karin Emond have always helped us enormously in the marketing and legal departments and have been instrumental, at times, in keeping the Shaker "alive."

Our frat pack of talented manfriends constitutes the core and ultimately galvanizes the certainty of success of the Shaker. The vision, construction, artistry, and execution of the production could not happen without them. Huge thanks to: Tyson Rivet, Adam Mercer, Andrew Howell, Phil Marchand, Malcolm Sidford, Steve French, Steve Brawn, Tall Paul, Adam Clark, Brydone Dewar, Kelven Vail, Andor Tari, and Andrew Calwell. These pages, really, are too short to list all who have participated. You know who you are — please know that you are appreciated.

Finally, many local businesses also found ways to support us this year. Pemberton Valley Hardware really went above and beyond in generous financial support. Pemberton Bike Co., Evolution, Stuntwood, Sitka, Whistler FM (Jason, Ace and Scotty) Sabre, Valley Chainsaw, and The Animal Barn all threw their hats into the ring. We found this extra support hugely beneficial in taking the production quality to a lofty new level.

One final special Shaker shout out to Paul Vacirca (of Pemberton Valley Hardware) who has always been a huge supporter of the Shaker. Paul has been a great resource and sounding board, due to his involvement in the community of Pemberton and his familiarity with the processes of due diligence required to throw a great festival... while still being a good neighbour.

We love you all!

Kirk Becker and "The Shakership"


Here is the beef

I must reply to Mr. Doug Garnett's letter (Pique's) Aug. 22 edition, complaining of the lack of local fare in the Pemberton Slow Food Ride. Mr. Garnett is right that line-ups for our hamburgers were long.

When several thousand people drop in for lunch all at the same time that is bound to happen. Most people understand the circumstances and use the time to meet the people around them and to enjoy their magnificent surroundings.

The fact that Mr. Garnett has, "not eaten a hamburger of any description in more than 10 years" does not stop him from passing judgement on ours as "a very mediocre hamburger." All I can say is that the vast majority of our visitors do not agree with him.

He is right that we do not serve a local beverage. The only local beverage we have available is well water, which health regulations do not allow us to serve.

Mr. Garnett is way off base when he alleges that, "I doubt whether the beef was locally produced, and I suspect it came frozen from a huge processing plant somewhere thousands of kilometres from Pemberton."

Perhaps if Mr. Garnett took a few minutes of his long wait in line to look around the farmyard, he would see the cattle that became that fine beef. That, sir, is as local as it gets!

Whether out of malice or ignorance, Mr. Garnett disparages the work of a lot of community-minded volunteers, and comes very close to accusing Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef of perpetrating a fraud.

At the very least he owes Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef an apology.

Don Millerd

Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef

Pemberton local fare

In response to Doug Garnett's letter "Where was the local fare?" (Pique Aug.22) — it was in the bun and most likely in the tacos as well. Pemberton farms produce beef, pork, potatoes and various vegetables. The beef may be bred here, but the cattle are sent away for slaughter, as we do not have an abattoir here.

My wife and I also spent an hour in line for our burger, but spent it "chatting" and enjoyed the burger all the more. As for the cost, I didn't mind spending $8 for burger and soft drink (sorry, we do not produce pop locally, maybe you could invest in a business, rather than putting everything down?) as I believe that the profits from the sale of burgers went to the Pemberton Search and Rescue (another local, worthy cause).

The tacos, which are not local or even Canadian, may not be to your liking, but as long as they use local fare to fill them (not the cod) then what is the problem, and the potato (Pemberton is world known for its seed potatoes) taco boring, boring? How do you know, as you never even tried it (maybe if they had added "tacos de papa" to the title it would have agreed with your gustatory perception)?

Remember, you can please some of the people all of the time, or you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Jim Clark


Buying Local – a community commitment

The Maple Valley, Washington-based Pacific Logging Congress (PLC) recently held its summer meeting in Whistler.

The PLC has a mission to fulfill the need to provide sound technical education about the forest industry. Founded in 1909, and with members from B.C. and the Pacific Northwest, it has sought to educate politicians, educators, their students and the general public on both sides of the border about the need for sound, responsible forestry to supply global needs for wood fibre.

Two interesting aspects of the meeting struck a chord with our members who attended.

The first was the visit to the Whistler Farmers' Market. This weekly event showcases the community's best local foods, artisans and entertainers brought together to encourage the "buy local" philosophy that resonates throughout Whistler and with tourists.

Local wines, dairy, meat and baked goods are all on offer, not only at the market, but also in the shops and restaurants throughout town. It speaks to a growing approach to utilizing local fare and in doing so, triggering positive effects on the local economy and the welfare of those who raise what we eat and produce what we buy.

It is hard to argue that this is not a positive example of growing community support for local business, one that is being adopted by more and more communities across B.C.

Community support for local production and consumption was not as evident, however, when the group toured the local Cheakamus Community Forest where we learned of the positive achievements, but ongoing challenges local manager's face in management of their forest for community, recreation, wildlife and yes, forest products.

Our tour guide, Stirling Angus, a professional, consulting forester and Squamish resident, works on a team that manages the forest with direction provided by a tripartite board of directors comprised of two local First Nations and Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW).

While the forest is managed for many uses including tourism (a number of mountain bikers road past our group while on tour), developing timber for harvest has been a constant struggle since inception. In fact, the allowable harvest on the forest has never been achieved as harvest proposals are typically scrutinized and reduced by residents.

For a community that is so focused on the "buy locally" mantra, it seems odd that the philosophy stutters when it comes to renewable forest products. Wood is used extensively in the area and the sustainable and versatile nature of B.C.'s wood products was an area of focus for the B.C. government during the Whistler 2010 Olympics.

B.C.'s forests and in particular, the Cheakamus Community Forest, are managed sustainably, for a variety of natural resource values and the board of directors encourages local milling of logs produced from the community forest with the rest sold to the domestic B.C. market.

Despite this opportunity, buy locally does not apply as readily here as some residents shun the notion of local logging, local forest products production and local First Nations employment.

Local food? Yes. Local wines? Yes. Local artisans? Yes. Local wood? Perhaps not in my back yard!

It seems to us, the forest professionals that work across B.C. to deliver sustainable forest management, that continued support for the Cheakamus Community Forest from all of the residents of Whistler and acknowledgement of the sustainably, the First Nations employment and the contribution to the local community is warranted as it does with other community-based businesses.

Jonathan Lok, President

The Society of Consulting Foresters of BC

Thanks, Pemberton

This is a note of "thanks" to the Pemberton residents, business people and the farming community.

This past Sunday, I was one of 2,600 Ironman Canada competitors that invaded your community. While IM is a wonderful event I recognize that it creates many inconveniences for the local people and I want to very sincerely thank the Pemberton community for their patience and good will — particularly those who came and cheered us on. 

Tom Weber


Prorogation is common

The prime minister announced on Aug.19 that he would prorogue Parliament. The House is expected to resume sitting by mind-October. I acknowledge and am eager to address some of the concerns and myths surrounding prorogation.

Prorogation is common in our parliamentary system, having been used by many governments, of various parties. Our government is coming off a productive last sitting of Parliament, having managed to attain the majority of its electoral promises before the summer recess. The prime minister recently mentioned that the Conservative government has already fulfilled 84 of the more than 100 campaign pledges from 2011.

Prorogation will enable the government to orient fresh commitments around the current needs of Canadians, another theme which we can anticipate in the throne speech, an event that necessarily follows the prorogation of parliament — jobs and growth are bound to remain a key priority.

Prorogation does not equate to "time off" for parliamentarians; in fact, many MPs work even harder in their ridings than in Ottawa, meeting with constituents, attending events, and, in my case, covering the large territory of the riding.

Having just undergone a series of unexpected eye surgeries, I relish the chance to connect with people here, as well as a chance to interact with ministers and officials key to important developments in our riding. 

Constituents have brought many important initiatives to my attention over the summer that relate to priorities such as the economy, the environment, fisheries; and health and fitness; I am eager to work on these and welcome people's input, in terms of energy, volunteer effort, and ideas.

John Weston, M.P.

West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country