News » Whistler

Letters to the editor

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Who’s counting?

I'm not too sure why Whistler is tooting its horn when it says there are more men then women. Take a look around, the majority of men are suspended in a state of extended adolescence.

Ladies, if you are looking to find a good man... don't go to Whistler. Why even bother when most of the men that reside in Whistler are jaded and emotionally crippled? Did you ever here the joke, "What is the difference between a Whistler Male and an investment bond? Eventually, the investment bond matures and makes money."

Whistler men are an entity unto themselves.

Sandi Ross,

Whistler resident 1990-2001

Comox

 

Re: Who wins in the TA dispute, Pique Opening Remarks July 19

AlluraDirect.com is an advertising and software services company for owners who self-manage their independent rental operations. AlluraDirect.com’s conflict with the RMOW is directly related to the following two constitutional questions: 1) Are advertisers and software services providers legally responsible in any way for how their clients use their products? 2) Can the RMOW legally use/abuse its municipal powers to coerce companies such as AlluraDirect.com into accepting responsibilities that clearly lie within the operational jurisdiction of the RMOW and that even violate fundamental constitutional rights?

Common sense dictates that in both cases, the answers are no. Thankfully, we do not have to rely on the common sense or ethical standards of council, as The Charter of Rights and Freedoms legally supports the answer. In addition, a landmark US legal precedent was set the same week that the RMOW suspended AlluraDirect.com’s business license, when the appellate court found that eBay was immune from liability for actions caused by its sellers under the federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects "interactive computer service providers" from the misdeeds of their users.

To not challenge the RMOW’s actions against AlluraDirect.com would be a tacit admission of guilt, when we are innocent. We have no choice but to defend ourselves. Let’s face it, you would also be taking the RMOW to court if you had to screen, prejudge the intentions of your advertisers, police their activities and even report on their businesses to the RMOW. You would also be inadvertently accepting significant legal liability and municipal responsibilities. By logical extension, real estate agents should not be allowed to sell houses to people who may engage in bylaw infractions and should be obliged to monitor the activities of their property purchasers. By the same token, the Whistler Phone Directory should not be granted a business license. To take it one step further, Telus should also be brought into court for helping suspect owners communicate with renters and VISA should also be pursued helping these owners process transactions. How about all the Whistler cleaning businesses who clean these houses? Should they also be targeted?

My point is that once the laws of the land have been violated, the acceptable abuse of power boundaries become dangerously fuzzy, if non-existent. This opens the door to further control, intimidation and discriminatory practices that make some citizens and businesses more equal than others, at council’s discretion. You should be thanking us for defending the rights of advertising companies, such as yours, because you would never know when you would be next.

Lack of equality, accountability and objectivity lie at the core of the TA problem. Acceptable behaviours within residential neighbourhoods are dictated by bylaws that should apply equally to all house occupants, whether they are short-term renters, long-term tenants, or the homeowners themselves. Who occupies the house simply should not matter, as long as the rules that apply to residential neighbourhoods that ensure a peaceful co-existence by all, are respected. The RMOW’s zoning strategy has disproportionately afforded some residents more financial opportunities than others, has turned bylaw enforcement into an instrument of the real estate market and commercial interest groups, and has robbed locals of obvious housing and financial sustainability initiatives. In addition, guests are going to competitor ski resorts because they just cannot afford the larger TA zoned properties in Whistler’s top locations. The blatant, screaming injustice of it all has created resentment, community divisiveness and growing anger within the context of a rapidly escalating resident financial sustainability crisis.

Unfortunately, those who are most affected by this are too afraid to come forward, thanks to the RMOW’s tactics of terror and intimidation that have the power to make individuals and companies such as ours, social and business pariahs within the resort community.

For that reason, this problem is not going away any time soon. I suggest that we stop paying the lawyers and start putting into place a balanced, long-term community-approved system where everyone comes out a winner.

Sue Chappel

President, Alluradirect.com

 

In honour of the Great Karnak clairvoyant created by Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, and perpetuated by David Letterman, we have asked the Great One to give us: The 10 reasons why property owners in Whistler are arguing who should and should not be allowed to rent cabins and condos on a nightly basis.

No. 10. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as Tourist Accommodation (nightly rentals).

No. 9. Council couldn’t decide which subdivision should be allowed nightly rentals.

No. 8. They couldn’t decide which side of the street should have nightly rentals.

No. 7. Municipal staff forgot to phone Vail and Aspen to find out how they operate.

No. 6. Former Whistler journalist Paul Burrows wasn’t around to tell everyone how to operate such rentals.

No. 5. People who bought nightly rental property didn’t realize they would have to pay higher taxes for such a privilege.

No. 4. Pemberton was found to be unpopular for nightly rentals.

No. 3. Most people who support nightly rentals couldn’t care less about their children having new neighbours every night.

No. 2. People who staunchly support nightly rentals live mainly in Vancouver and Seattle.

And the number one reason: "We not only love money, we’re greedy."

Al Eaton

Whistler

 

This letter was addressed to municipal council.

"The municipality is committed to involving the community in the Whistler. It’s Our Future planning process." That’s the first line after "How to get involved" found on the last page of the workshop papers published in Pique NewsMagazine. OK, I applaud that noble gesture, but unfortunately saying something and doing something must work together, and like too many gestures recently, the municipality is once again demonstrating how out of touch they are with our community.

In the Pique NewsMagazine’s "Best of Whistler" feature, let me quote the following:

Best Outdoor Sport (other than skiing or snowboarding)

Mountain biking is nearest and dearest in our hearts, both in the spiritual and financial sense – and we do mean dearest.

More voters picked mountain biking than any three other sports combined.

For the past 10 years Thursday night has been Loonie night. Approximately 200 locals show up every Thursday from the first Thursday in May to the second Thursday in September. This is not rocket science, and you don’t need some high-priced consultant from Denver to tell you that Thursday night is probably not a good night to hold workshops on Success/Sustainability as a resort community if you truly are "committed to involving the community." By the way, the Loonie event this Thursday (July 25) is actually sponsored by the RMOW… go figure.

Not only do I think that Thursday night excludes an important segment of our community, most of us who live here are involved in numerous activities – that’s why we live here, so choosing two Thursdays in a row makes even less sense. In my opinion, good planning in this town would suggest that two different nights of the week would bring out a greater cross section of our community, and it wouldn’t exclusively alienate one sector, in this case mountain bikers.

To add insult to injury, the mountain bike season has traditionally ended with the Cheakamus Challenge – always the third weekend in September. This year is the 20th anniversary, and no surprise, it is on Sept. 21. Didn’t the guys from Denver mention this when you were planning the 2 day workshop?

The fact that this Comprehensive Sustainability Plan has developed from a $430,000, four-phase proposal to the current $730,000 for just the first two phases, I don’t dare suggest that we have more workshops on more appropriate days. But I do strongly suggest that the two full day workshops in September be rescheduled to at least appear that you want the input from the mountain biking community.

As for these first two workshops… it’s too late, but as an eight-year member of the WORCA board, I will be happy to work with your staff to try and bring the mountain biking community’s input to the project. I am a very strong supporter of this Comprehensive Sustainability Plan, and I want to see it succeed, not just because we desperately need a plan (any plan would be good), but I believe this plan is the right focus. Actions speak louder than words "The municipality is committed to involving the community . . ."

Now I’m asking for your input.

Bob Lorriman

Whistler

 

On behalf of our 19-month-old daughter, Ella, we would like to take a moment to thank everyone in our community and beyond for all their prayers and positive thoughts that came to her aide during her recent illness.

Now well on her way to a full recovery, Ella fought for her life against meningococcus type B bacteria – meningococcemia (blood infection). This fatal bacteria can lead to meningitis, but in Ella’s case it caused major blood poisoning and cardiovascular collapse within 14 hours of its diagnosis here in Whistler.

After 12 days in the Intensive Care Unit at Vancouver Children’s Hospital on full life support, our normally happy, healthy Ella was transferred to a general ward where she slowly returned to us. Now, one month later, we are back home, truly grateful for the gift we have been given and the miracle of her life.

Thank you to Dr. Adam Kendall and staff at the Whistler Health Clinic, to the dedicated medical staff at Vancouver Children’s Hospital, to our parents, brothers, sisters and extended family, Whistler/Pemberton Public Health, Allan Crawford, Dr. Marissa Collins, the Moms and Tots at Pemberton Drop In, and to all of Ella’s friends here in the mountains, young and old, who reached out and gave us so much support.

Thank you.

Jen, Derek, Ella and Sarah Vasseur

Pemberton

 

In last week’s letter to the editor, Mr. Protter brings up some valuable and interesting issues surrounding the intended proliferation of Independent Powder Projects in our area. Unfortunately there are many gross assumptions made that skew the argument that we must accept more powerline clutter.

Just saying a project is green‚ doesn’t make it so. As we have seen with the Miller Creek fiasco, both B.C. Hydro and Epcor love to bandy about the term "green power" as an advertising slogan, but when pressed, are forced to admit that the project does not live up to its green power billing, even under their own loose criteria.

The embarrassingly sophomoric argument that "we all use power, so we must accept its downside" does not wash when one truly does stand back, takes a look and does see the forest for the trees.

The suggestion that saying no to "green power" is tantamount to saying yes to nuclear and fossil fuel-reliant power generation is an unquestioning leap of logic that demonstrates an unfortunate lack of imagination as to other possibilities for power generation/reclamation. Conservation is the single easiest way in which to stretch the power generating capacity we already have. When industry has been forced to, they have consistently found ways to radically reduce their power consumption. Sadly, there is little political will to pursue this, as energy generation is a taxable commodity, while conservation is not.

The provincial government should also be much more involved in fuel cell development, where relatively clean generation can be effected close to the population that is consuming the bulk of the energy. Truly sustainable solar technology has been left to languish in university R&D departments, despite the fact that even a moderate number of existing panels are enough to power an average household’s daily needs. Heat pumps, despite their initial costs, should be mandatory in every new school, hospital and government building.

These are only a few of the ways in which one may give real meaning to "sustainability," which has become the hackneyed flavour-of-the-day term favoured by corporate PR persons to sell their projects. True social and environmental responsibility deny retrenchment in avoidable resource degradation, which is assuredly not a sustainable option.

Patrick Meagher

Pemberton Meadows