It has been over a months since the "Terrible 24" gave the letter to council asking for a referendum on hosting the Olympics here in Whistler. There has been no response from them except quotes through the media. As one of the writers of that particular letter, I feel that I should explain some of my reasons behind it.
I must point out that the signers were from both sides of the Olympic debate, as well as many, like myself, in the middle. At the present time, a referendum is neither for nor against the Olympics. It is for the democratic privilege of the people of Whistler to say yes or no. There never will be a good moment to hold a referendum, but once the bid has been prepared, at least we can see if it is good for Whistler and vote accordingly. It is no secret that the bid will be ready in about three months, so I ask again: lets have a referendum then, preferably before its submission to the IOC.
Some people feel that just having a referendum is a negative statement. This is not necessarily so. A "yes" majority is a hugely positive statement and would allow council to formally back the Olympics. Not having a referendum would allow the Olympics to come here without the consensus of the people of Whistler. It would be naïve of me not to say that it gives those opposed to the Olympics a chance to say no. Hence, in that context, it is a negative statement.
I still say that the Olympic Committee is a non-elected "pressure group" that has in it elected members who are supposed to look after my interests. Our council wonders how to improve communications with its electorate yet can rudely disdain from responding to our letter. They may stick their heads into the sand (which is a much nicer place than where they stuck our letter) and hope this issue goes away. I would like to have a referendum and I am finding that many people of Whistler want one as well.
I know how busy everyone is but this is the most important task in my life at this time: To do what ever I think I can do to preserve the friendship between the two greatest friends on earth, the people of Canada and the people of the United States of America.
Two of my friends, one in Minnesota and one in Texas, have already passed on my letter to the editor regarding the softwood lumber tariff to their friends, both members of the United States Congress.
What can you do? Ask all your friends to read my letter and ask their elected representative to look into the validity of the tariff.
Please remember this, the World Trade Organization has ruled at least twice in Canada's favour. Home Depot, The American Home Builder's Association and Weyerhauser have all stated that the charge of "unfair" trade practices has no merit.
Closer to Americans own heart, you will end up paying thousands more to build or buy a new home, and it will be built with inferior lumber or lumber that is imported by the large U.S. southern pine companies duty free from Russia, Latvia, Estonia or Ukraine.
Remember, friendships have been lost or diminished on issues with less impact than this one.
In my opinion, the unsung heroes of Whistler are the tireless, faithful staff and volunteers of the Re-use-it Centre in Function Junction. These individuals arise from every economic sector in the corridor.
I think of it as our soup kitchen, our work in progress. Seven days a week, 12 months a year this facility collects and dispenses used clothing, furniture, toys, books, appliances, skis and snowboards for rock-bottom prices.
Located behind Carneys compactors in a corner of the lot, this small building has outgrown its meagre facility. The overflow of worthwhile items will catch the snow and the rain, for there is no longer enough covered space for this wonderful centre. Perhaps there is a way to find a bigger building for this needed facility that in recent weeks grossed over $3,000 on a special day, for charity.
Janet Rough Young