I am very sad and angry to learn that, barely two years later another member of our Pemberton, Mount Currie communities has been murdered. What makes this even more disturbing is that this occurred close to the same place as the first murder: right behind our Elementary school and next to the village.
It seems as though attempts to discourage the drinking in and around our schools and communities has failed once again. The removal of trees in the area has done little if anything to discourage the consumption of alcohol.
As I watched my children playing in the school playground, possibly on the same day as this murder, I noticed three inebriated adults stumble into the woods beside and behind the school. I now wonder if one of these people was Matthew Pierre, the man who was murdered.
Could myself or anyone else have done something to prevent this tragedy? No. Probably not. We have become so accustomed and accepting of open alcohol and public drunkenness in our community that most of us have turned a blind eye. All I know at this time is that a soft spoken, gentle man with whom I worked with for six years at the Chateau Whistler Resort is gone. Murdered. His family and friends will never see him again. My heart goes out to them all.
As a 10-year resident of Pemberton I understand that there is no short term solution to the issue of alcoholism in our community, or any other community for that matter, but clearly something is not being done. This has been going on for years, except now two people are dead. We watch as people walk in and out of our liquor establishments and into the surrounding parks and forest to get "loaded". I personally have been harassed at the recycling depot on occasions for my returnable bottles and cans, and watch open alcohol being consumed outside our stores.
In light of the recent event that occurred at the dental clinic, it's obvious that our police are being stretched to the limit. With more demand for police presence on our highway, and the large area they patrol, could our community be suffering? Are people paying with their lives? The incident at the dental clinic could have easily turned into an emergency, a 45-minute response time is unacceptable.
In my experience, and what we have just seen happen, drunk people can be very unreasonable, anger easily and become violent very quickly. Also, are there enough resources in our communities for people to turn to when they are desperate and in need of help? Maybe a walk-in clinic for alcoholics is the answer, somewhere for them to drink, and receive counselling. Hey, they do it for heroine addicts in East Vancouver, and their drug is illegal!