News » Whistler

Letters to the editor

comment

The Olympic legacy — think Hong Kong

Whistler should embrace our Olympic opportunity. Whistler as it is now can be sustained. The Olympic venues and its associated needs can be developed in the Sea to Sky Corridor while sustaining our current values and natural environments. We should take this opportunity to plan a 100 per cent infrastructure solution for the Sea to Sky corridor. We should plan, engineer and redevelop our roads and rail lines to handle the projected populations for 2030 in the Greater Vancouver Region and the Cascadia Region in general. The municipality should have full support to take this opportunity to acquire and develop the Callaghan Valley using its visions and policies in association with the current landowners, First Nations and the province.

People should be aware that there are over 6.14 billion people on the earth who need places to live and engage in recreation. This is double the world population since 1960 and it is estimated to grow to 7.8 billion by 2025. From Plato to Socrates c/o Pique Newsmagazine

As one of your first and favourite students, I have read with interest your dialogue with G.D Maxwell in the Pique Newsmagazine (Lessons in Socratic irony, Jan. 11, 2002) but am puzzled and disappointed by the reversal in your role as a teacher in search of the truth, as described in the published dramatic Dialogues in the Republic, wherein you conducted the discussions. You've now let this latter day student of yours ask all the questions and then attempt to answer them himself in a rather quarrelsome way. Surely this is not the way to reach the truth. My own pupil, Aristotle, once wrote that "the man who quarrels with everything is, as has been said, churlish and contentious."

Might I respectfully suggest that resuming your usual role as the questioner might prove much more instructive and of greater assistance to your new pupil in his search for the truth. On the topic of the 2010 Olympic bid he has declared himself to be "skeptical, but open to persuasive arguments" and gave this as his reason for visiting you, as one of his old teachers. Perhaps some of the following questions might be posed by you to help him, and others who may be similarly skeptical, reach more well reasoned and informed conclusions:

1. Has he sought advice or information from those charged with conduct of the bid? They now have these amazing modern conveniences called telephones, Web sites and e-mail giving convenient access to information. By pursuing these channels he might easily have found out what he needed to know about their long standing knowledge of the IOC rule of only one city's name on the bid and their well intentioned attempt to have it relaxed to include Whistler's name, which unfortunately was met by the stolid and inflexible opposition of the IOC's Swiss lawyers, whose response was the same to other dual city bids (for example, Salzburg was told they could not use the name Kitzbühel in their bid, even though they also tried). The back-up strategy, now being put into effect, is to have the formal bid carry only Vancouver's name but to refer to the games themselves as the "Sea to Sky Games," perhaps even more embracing of the other affected communities of Squamish and Pemberton as well as the Callaghan valley area. The casting of aspersions by your student such as "sneaky, duplicitous and dark and almost sinister motives" does nothing to further the dialogue.

2. What is the big problem about having to increase the bid budget? Don't these things evolve and change over time as more is learned about the current task?

3. How did Whistler truly "get to where it is on the world's radar screen" as opined, but then incompletely answered by your student? Wasn't the very start of Whistler as a potential ski area the result of efforts by a small group of Vancouverites who saw at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley what could be done, starting with nothing, and then created the Whistler vision by mounting a bid for the 1968 nomination but losing to Calgary and then trying again for the 1976 Games?

4. For the 1976 bid, didn't they go all the way to the finals at the IOC only to loose to Colorado when Montreal got the Summer Games, and then have Colorado default? Didn't the 1976 bid crystalize the vision and potential for the present village which would have been the greatest legacy of those Games, but at least caught the attention of the provincial government as a result of the bid and engendered the support necessary to get it built anyway?

5. Weren't the previous Olympic bids the events where the "hard work, good management and vision" first started and created the base for what is now Whistler? All things being equal, is there not still some obligations to fulfil the original vision and stage the Games? Does "what's in it for me?", "not in my back yard", and "why bother?" get to carry the day? What about the high level of support and enthusiasm already shown by the provincial government, the people of Vancouver, and the rest of the province? Are you going to deny them the fun and excitement of the Games, and the substantial economic benefits?

As the formulation of the specific items to be addressed in the bid progresses, much more information will be available and many other questions will surely surface. Let the dialogue begin.

Sincerely and commitedly yours,

Plato

Per Garry Watson

(with apologies to the real Plato)

 

There is no reason not to think Vancouver will look like today’s Hong Kong by then. We should be proactive and plan for that type of growth. Whistler is one of the 20 th Century’s best examples of a pre-planned town because of its fine balance between nature and development, which is sustainable through its tourism industry.

Whistler should continue to embrace change in order to assure the bigger picture of the Sea to Sky corridor develops sustainably. The realistic view would be to redevelop the Sea to Sky highway and rail line because the corridor is already disturbed. The areas of highway between Horseshoe Bay and Squamish should be engineered for six lanes where feasible, with commuter parking to its North and South. This would enable Squamish to develop its housing market for those who want to live in Squamish and work in Vancouver or Whistler.

The highway from Squamish to Whistler should be selectively developed to discourage too much automobile traffic. Commuter and skiing parking lots should be developed near the intersection of the Callaghan Valley and Highway 99. Further parking lots should be developed on the existing garbage dump area. Busing and other transportation initiatives should be further developed.

The carrying capacity of Whistler can be changed to accommodate development needs. By the time the Olympics come to town, Whistler will be shipping its non-renewable, non re-usable and non-recyclable materials out of the valley. Hopefully we will have a composting facility for our wet garbage. That being said, if the Olympic spurs development in the Callaghan Valley, there will have to be a new sewage treatment plant to service that area. This is based on an assumption that it makes most sense to build part of the Olympic village in the Callaghan to house construction workers building the Olympic venues and then the athletes and media for the Olympics and Whistler employees afterwards.

The actual development legacies remain to be discovered. It is obvious what Whistler will look like after the Olympics is of great concern to our citizens. I have my opinion based on the information presented to the general public. Whether or not we get the Olympics remains to be seen. I hope we do. Not because I think it is a great opportunity to afford to be proactive in planning future development, but because I believe in the Olympics.

I believe the ideals of the Olympics and sport can be used to create morals, ethics and discipline in society. The Olympics bring people together to compete at the highest levels. Sport teaches us to learn how to win and lose. It helps us learn how to work together as a team, to achieve goals while being a person of ethics leading by example. This opportunity is greater than hosting a two week sports venture. It is an opportunity to entrench pride in a nation and assure Whistler, British Columbia of Canada is a leading four-season, sustainable resort for the next century.

Tyler Mosher BDEP

Whistler

 

We would like to take this opportunity to express a tremendous sense of appreciation to the fine staff of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Resort.

Last week, AWARE was one of five local volunteer organizations to be chosen to receive a donation from the grass roots fundraising efforts of the staff from the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. AWARE received $4,000 from the fund. While we are fortunate to receive funding from various sources, we were especially moved by the generosity and sense of approval of these locals for all that AWARE stands for by being selected.

With our massive task list (protecting green spaces and wetlands, planning for Olympic bid development, a pending Sea to Sky Land Resource Management Plan, composting initiatives for our community, the Whistler Sustainability movement, and so much more), it’s reassuring to see such a huge vote of support.

Thank you very, very much to the Chateau staff for their initiative, and to their management team that encourages sound environmental practices and "awareness."

Brad Kasselman,

for the AWARE Board of Directors

 

I have good news and bad news for your correspondent Tom Gow.

First, the bad news. Most reasonable people, upon reading an article about (for example), road rage on some European motorways would not consider it an insult to every European driver.

Now, the good news. Of the 1,400 instructors at the Whistler-Blackcomb Ski and Snowboard school (lots of choice for everyone) quite a number are from Europe. Isn't that nice? He does not have to travel far to book the instructor of his dreams, he can find him (or her) right here at home, right now. As a European immigrant myself, I'd love to oblige him with a lesson but my clients have booked me up seven days a week. Maybe next year?

Linda McGaw

Whistler

 

On the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 23 a Whistler woman was involved in a car accident just north of Brandywine. It was snowing, the roads were slippery and as she was travelling north her car was struck by a car heading south. Another vehicle travelling south came upon the accident and rolled into the ditch trying to avoid it. The local woman's car was a write-off but thankfully everyone involved in the accident, including the dogs in her car, were not seriously injured.

Describing the accident is not why I wrote this letter. I'm writing to let your readers know what happened immediately afterwards. With two cars and associated debris blocking the road, with one vehicle in the ditch, and with the vehicle's owners on the highway obviously in need of assistance or at least a "Hey, is everyone okay?" the line of cars heading south weaved through the accident scene and continued on their seemingly important quest of reaching Vancouver. This is troubling, but again, not the main reason for the letter.

Here's the reason. Included in this line of vehicles was a bus. This bus also attempted to weave its way through the damaged vehicles blocking the highway, but there was not enough room for it to pass. The bus driver backed up and tried again but could not make it through. The local woman's car, with her dogs still in the back, was blocking the bus’s path. Rather than offer assistance to the drivers involved in the accident or wait just a short time for emergency vehicles to arrive, here's what happened.

The bus driver drove towards the woman's car, struck it with the bumper of the bus and slowly pushed the damaged vehicle, dogs and all, off the highway and out of the bus’s path. This left a large scrape down the side of the vehicle. The bus then continued down the road towards Vancouver.

As you can imagine, the woman's shock from being in a car accident was only compounded as she stood by and watched this callous and incomprehensible act.

My parents, who were waiting a few cars back in the north bound lane, saw the bus come through. They said that the emergency vehicles were on the scene within minutes and traffic started moving a short time later.

Now, I don't want to preach about the decline of people's sense of community or offer some sociological explanation for this particular bus driver's actions. But I think we can all probably learn something from what happened. After reading this letter, I hope people draw their own conclusions, respond in their own way, and if nothing else people just take a minute and think about it.

Crichton Pike

Vancouver/Whistler