Another week and more tragedy on the highway which links us to Vancouver. It isnt even winter.
As new highway construction moves forward the thought of creating a truly world class highway seems to have been budgeted away. Apparently a median is too expensive even though it will prevent many of the horrific crashes which devastate this community, close the highway for hours and frustrate our visitors.
As the volume of traffic increases on the Sea to Sky Highway, the number of accidents will also move up. More friends, loved ones and neighbours dead or seriously injured because a small strip of asphalt and a concrete barrier are out of our price range.
But wait, there is a solution Rather than a user-pay system, Whistler can adopt an ABUSER pay system. Any revenue collected from this program would go directly towards funding median placement starting with high crash and high risk areas of the highway.
1) Anyone who crosses a double yellow centre line is fined $10,000. This large fine would come complete with a personalized plaque on the contributors section of median.
2) Anyone speeding in excess of 40 km/h over the posted speed limit is fined $1,000 in addition to the regular speeding charge. Call it the Whistler premium.
3) Anyone driving on summer tires during the winter is also a prime candidate for sponsoring a section of median.
As cars, trucks and SUVs become even bigger, the risk to most drivers increases dramatically. If you are involved in a head on collision and your bumper is lower than the oncoming car, the safety rating of your vehicle drops exponentially. Next time you're driving around the day lot, check out how your car compares. If you're commuting on a regular basis, demand that medians are placed in high risk areas.
We will have the world on our doorstep in a short time and it would be a shame to have a closed sign.
Harvest Soup a Scrumptious Success
Those who came up to experience the Harvest Soup Contest on Sunday, Oct. 10 at the final Farmers Market were treated to a fabulous selection of some of the finest soups around. Five generous local restaurants and chefs competed, entering the most amazing soups ever tasted. Check out the names of these entries: The Dubh Linn Gate with their amazing Irish Onion and Guinness Soup with Garlic Croutons and Guinness Infused Cheddar; Grant from Whistler Cooks Catering entered an Organic Pemberton Root Vegetable Soup with Curried Potato Chips and Chard Pesto; The Big Smoke Mountain BBQ from Pemberton had a super hearty Chanterelle and Matsutake Barley Stew with Harvest Vegetables. It was a close race with the Steeps Grill Smoked Salmon Chowder winning by a three bowl margin. Chateau Shane Robilliards Wild Mushroom with Crispy Pancetta and Sage Cream was a close second, missing a hat trick by a three bowl margin!
A huge thank you to all of the restaurants who kindly donated all of the soup and contributed to the fun in our first fundraiser of the fall season. Also thank you to those parents that came to assist, to Slope Side Supply who supplied the bowls and to Nesters Market for the great deal on the fresh rolls.
The Alta Lake School
Some thoughts on London Drugs:
For the record, I shop at London Drugs often when I am in Vancouver. I think they offer great services and products at affordable prices, and for that reason alone welcoming London Drugs to Whistler may be a good idea.
However, we have spent an insane amount of money (no one seems to want to talk about that), more than two and a half years, and endless hours of community input to develop the CSP, and what our vision of Whistler will be.
So let me quote from the Vision Statement of the Draft Comprehensive Sustainability Plan: "We will foster sustained prosperity in our local economy and retain our local businesses."
The plan continues:
PRIORITY: ENSURING ECONOMIC VIABILITY "Locally owned and operated businesses are recognized as important to the economic viability of the community and are encouraged to reinvest."
PRIORITY: ENHANCING THE RESORT EXPERIENCE "The retail, hospitality, and activity experience is unique, diverse, imaginative and continuously renewed." Continually we are reminded (on almost every page) "The community moves continuously toward meeting the minimum requirements for sustainability" of which number seven of the strategies is "Built Environment Strategy: How the characteristics of Whistlers buildings, neighborhoods and facilities will contribute to making the resort unique, long lasting, livable and sustainable."
Does the London Drugs re-zoning contribute to making the resort unique? Now, Im sure council will certainly bear in mind all of the above carefully when considering the re-zoning application for London Drugs, and may believe that this re-zoning will satisfy many of the priorities and strategies laid out in the Draft CSP and of course it is only a draft plan, so none of the above may matter anyway.
The part of all this that continually nags away in the back of my mind is defining the difference between a village and a mall.
I looked up some definitions, and found the following: "Village A collection of rural households linked by culture, custom, and association with the land" and "Mall A mercantile establishment consisting of a carefully landscaped complex of shops representing leading merchandisers; usually includes restaurants and a convenient parking area; a modern version of the traditional marketplace."
OK the Mall definition pretty much wraps it up!
So lets take another quote from the draft CSP "The village centre invokes a feeling of excitement and hosts a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy" and change it to read "The Mall invokes a feeling of excitement and hosts a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy."
Or how about one of the Building Blocks for Success from the Visitor Experience Strategy Foundation of the draft CSP "Village Host Program: Being piloted during the summer of 2004, four trained volunteers will roam prime Village areas including Gateway Loop to provide information to guests as a means to improve the guest way finding and arrival experience" and change it to read "Mall Host Program: Being piloted during the summer of 2004, four trained volunteers will roam prime Mall areas including Gateway Loop to provide information to guests as a means to improve the guest way finding and arrival experience."
Does the London Drugs re-zoning move us closer to our vision, or away from our vision?
Re: Logging in Pemberton
Is it not amusing that cutting down old growth forest and letting the trees grow back is wrong, while cutting down the forest to build 5,000 square foot houses (out of wood) that people only use a few days of the year while they are on vacation, and never letting the trees grow back is sustainable and perfectly okay?
A year has passed since we lost our son, Edward, and the other three boys, Jamie, Michael and Daryl, on that dark night of Oct. 18, 2003, and we still look to catch a glimpse of Ed wherever we go, or listen for his voice.
The friends that one has speak volumes for ones character. The fact that friends came from far and wide to share their stories and caring meant so much to us. We didnt really get a chance to thank the people of Whistler and Pemberton last year when we were in the middle of it. The food that was sent, the transportation that was provided, the accommodation, the efforts of the Search and Rescue, the money that was donated, the stories shared and the love that was expressed meant such a lot to us and helped to sustain us as the hope of finding our son dimmed.
Another huge thank you to Andy and Sandy and the family of Moe Joes. I am thankful for Caseys survival and his story of the events of that night. Without it we would never have known the details of that fateful drive.
I hope that this has taught us to live each day to the fullest, because life is short and "We are the richer for having known them".
Judy & Reed Elliott, Gordon & Lois, Pam, Joyce, Kylie
What'll be next Wal-Mart?
As a current small business owner, operator and tax payer for the past 25 years, I am quite frankly very concerned with the concept of the "big box store" which has set its sites on the main village area of Whistler. I've underlined "village" because that's exactly what it still is, and hopefully will remain that way unless of course the larger retail giants are permitted to set up and overshadow the smaller retailers at hand. Maybe we should allow Wal-Mart to set up shop as well. That would make it real easy for tourists to find a "ski village atmosphere." Just picture walking through a quaint stroll in a world class ski village and coming across huge mega stores. A little overpowering to say the least. I am speaking of the proposed rezoning application of London Drugs.
Reading the articles in the past editions of both local papers, it states that apparently 95 per cent of people they surveyed would shop there. For one, I was never approached on this survey nor were many other locals I have spoken to. I don't understand how they can say they are sensitive to smaller operators.
I'm sure I can speak for most local businesses, that due to events during the past few years, there has been a decrease in business and if you permit a retail giant to move into the village well, the results could only be a road to demise for some of the strongly affected smaller retailers.
I urge you to vigorously consider the impact on the existing local businesses should London Drugs be allowed to set up shop, or you will probably see a lot more conversions over to gift shops. Whistler is a village and a village is comprised of many small various shops. That is the aspect we want to keep!
Let the large chain stores remain in the city which is what they were designed for!