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Letters to the Editor

What a Halloween, legacy trails, a local's Whistler reflections, and thanks and more thanks

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AWARE’s stand on Legacy trails

This letter was addressed to George McKay, VANOC manager for the Whistler Nordic Centre. A copy was forwarded to Pique.

At a recent meeting, the AWARE Board of Directors discussed the potential conflicts between the Whistler Nordic Centre, the recreational trails, and the recent confirmation that there are in fact an existing group of grizzly bears that utilize the Callaghan Valley.

We recognize that the environmental assessment (EA) for the legacy trails and any other legacy expansion has yet to be completed, but our information indicates that VANOC intends to begin construction on these trails this coming summer. We also recognize that the Legacy management board has yet to be named, and that beyond the construction and Games phase this board will be dealing with the environmental impacts of the trails and their use. Certainly this board needs to be in place now.

In view of this, AWARE passed the following motion.

THAT AWARE strongly recommends to VANOC that they delay construction of the trails component of Whistler Nordic Centre until the spring of 2008 so that the environmental impact assessment can be complete especially in assessing the stress that new trails could put on the grizzly bears. It needs to be noted that the EA by necessity must cover a wider boundary than just the actual footprint of the WNC plus the Legacy tails.

THAT if the trails are seen by professional biologists as being potentially stressful to the bears during summer usage that the Legacy board plan on running the trails only in the winter.

THAT if the trails could compromise the bears even if they were only used in the winter, that they should not be constructed at all.

We have seen ourselves as a partner both in the bid process and this messy preparation phase and we hope it is the same when the Games arrive, and as a result encourage you to take this motion into your consideration as constructive.

We recognize that if the EA concludes that any Legacy trails will compromise the grizzly in the Callaghan then it would certainly mean that the four recreational leases in the valley as well as the snowmobile access to the alpine via the Callaghan would continue to be a bigger problem than would be presented by the Legacy trails. In this case, we would then want to enlist your support in lobbying the provincial government to cancel those leases and terminate motorized traffic in the Callaghan altogether.

Please be assured that AWARE supports self propelled recreation, and also supports a cross country ski legacy. We appreciate that it is unlikely that the competition trails of the WNC would, by themselves, attract many recreational skiers. Still, keeping the bears would for most Whistlerites be a bigger, more important legacy. With the best of planning maybe we can have both the recreational trails, and the bears, but in our view the bears trump recreation.

Alan G. Whitney

Olympic Committee of the Board of AWARE

 

Hauntingly boootiful

My husband and I were in from Winnipeg to spend Halloween with our grandkids. Little did we expect the spectacular experience of Halloween at Tapley’s! The outstanding efforts of the residents in decorating their homes was a sight to see and their generous welcome to the children and adults alike was overwhelming. Fires blazed in yards to take the edge off a crisp fall night. And while the kids collected their treats, adults were offered hot chocolate, mulled wine, hot buttered rum and coffee from Starbucks! A ban of vehicles along with the contingent of friendly police officers assured the safety of ghosts and goblins. To end this memorable night a great fireworks display signaled home time and a free ride on the warm shuttle bus to our cars.

I am sure nowhere else in Canada could one find a more organized and “hauntingly boootiful” Halloween night. Unforgettable! Thank you Whistler!

Judy Steele

Winnipeg

 

 

Thanks for the great start

A big “thank you” to the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, from the Whistler community, residents and guests, and especially the directors of the Whistler Health Care Foundation (WHCF). Once again you have stepped up to the plate to help the community. The generous gift of the Founders Pass money ($275,000) has given the WHCF fundraising campaign for a CT scanner for the Sea to Sky corridor a great “kick start”. You recognized the urgent need for this equipment and supported us as we lobbied to have the equipment located in the Whistler Health Care Centre. With your support and the support of our funding partners (Sea to Sky Regional Hospital District, Squamish Health Care Foundation & Pemberton Health Care Foundation) and donors we hope to raise the $2 million required to purchase and install the equipment and be operational by the 2007-08 ski season.

Marnie Simon

Chairperson

Whistler Health Care Foundation

 

 

Whistler upon reflection

Twenty years ago this month I first moved to Whistler! I came for the skiing and that was about all I did. In the summers I worked at the lake renting out boats, and went exploring in the mountains. Over the years I got married, became a teacher, and had children. Lots has changed in Whistler over these years, but I still love it here.

When my husband and I were first dating, we used to go on road trips around B.C. doing what we called “shopping for a town”. We used to look at other communities and think about whether we should stay in Whistler or go somewhere less busy, with more history, and less tourism (as long as they got CBC radio). But we never chose a different town because Whistler was never that bad!

This past summer we were visiting friends in Campbell River who were appalled that we should still be in Whistler, and really challenged our beliefs about being here. But after more thinking, we realized that we still love it here, and we’re staying.

I love the community. Its size and composition are just the right environment for creative people to do amazing things. I love all the people simply living the good life with smiles on their faces. I keep meeting families made up of thoughtful, loving parents and energetic, friendly children.

I love having friends who have been here a long time and are still here, as well as new friends just arrived.

I love it that there is employee housing. It has allowed us to buy in Whistler, and equally important, it has allowed our friends to buy and therefore stay in Whistler. I never knew how much fun it would be to have wonderful neighbours so close by.

I love the Valley Trail. It sounds funny, but it connects Whistler and lets us be a community away from the limelight. An early morning bike ride in May sees kids on their way to school, adults on their way to work, dog walkers, keen mountain bikers and even older people out for a morning walk.

I love it that we have a mayor who can stand up for our interests in the face of the provincial government and the Olympic steamroller.

I love the proximity to Vancouver. The fact that we live near a big city, an international airport, and that we are a destination resort makes it much easier to see our friends and family from away. Even the friends who have moved away come back to visit.

All of a sudden I love mountain biking. I actually enjoyed Crankworx this year! I know I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of mountain biking, so I’m looking forward to learning a whole new part of Whistler: the bike trails.

I love the skiing. I love the gemstone bowls and the Peak Chair. I love lunch in Singing Pass and tired turns on Cowboy Ridge. I love dangling my feet into thin air from that rock at the top of Usumi.

I love the hiking.

I love alpenglow in February seen from Nesters.

I think this is a great place for bringing up kids. I think we’ll stay.

Jane Millen

Whistler

 

 

A welcoming evening

Thanks to a great showing of community spirit, Whistler Community Services Society’s 4th annual Jill Ackhurst Community Welcome Dinner was a huge success! Over 700 new and old Whisterites came out to this fun and affordable event that gives newcomers a chance to have dinner with seasoned locals.

This year’s event was bigger than ever before and we couldn’t have done it without generous contributions from many local organizations, businesses, and residents. So I just want to give a quick shout out to the many people that helped make the event happen: RMOW Bylaw, Rocky Mountain Production Services, Slope Side Supply and Happy Planet, Marshall Arts Productions, Tourism Whistler, Coast Mountain Photography, Whistler Museum and Archives, the Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation, SYSCO, Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium, Whistler for Youth, Westin Resort and Spa, Capoeira Ache Brazil, Kostaman and DJ Phroh.

Also, there wouldn’t have been a dinner without the dedicated chefs who cooked the food and all the volunteers and HOUSE advisors that did setup, takedown, and everything else in between, including a lot of dishes.

And finally, of course, a big thank you goes out to all the locals that took time out of their busy schedules to come and host tables. Together, we helped welcome newcomers to Whistler with a good meal and a great impression of locals in their new community.

Michelle Chang

Whistler