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Letters to the editor

‘Where families gather?’

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Love it or hate it, the Rainbow development is finally taking shape. My partner and I bought in this past May after five years on the WHA housing list. We look forward to moving in this November.

Rainbow "where families gather" is the slogan in the ad so you can imagine my concern when I received an e-mail last week notifying me that there was a Temporary Commercial Use Permit in application with the RMOW - for 150,000 sq/ft of trailers housing 1,600 security personnel in the northern Whistler neighbourhood.

This highlights some very real concerns:

• 1,600 people coming from far and wide plunked for several months in a residential neighbourhood. Highest density of anywhere outside of downtown Vancouver, with all the potential social issues associated with those population concentrations.

• Unknown level of training and professionalism from private security force. This is not RCMP or military.

• Food, supplies, and waste management trucks can only operate between midnight and 6 a.m.

• The camp will have 24/7 lighting outside of each entry door and all pathways are required to be lit at all times.

• Extra refrigeration for food will be in reefer trucks that will be idling 24/7.

• The camp will be brought in on 250 to 300 truckloads.

• The camp will take three months to set up with cranes, forklifts, lights and crews.

• The camp will take a month and a half to dismantle as per above. Approximately five months of assembling and disassembling all together.

• As many as 30 buses to transport security guards operating 24 hours a day.

• 50-plus passenger vans all operating 24 hours a day.

• Excess demand on facilities like McKeever's, Meadow Park and Transit between Alpine, Rainbow, Emerald and the village.

• Increase in potential terrorist target. Unlikely but it must be factored. As should the environmental concerns around trucking/spillage of wastewater.

• CSC is an American Security firm hiring an American Logistics company (as a temporary accommodation provider) for Canada's Games.

I would like to point out that these are not "anti-Olympic" concerns. In fact, I will be housing two volunteers during the Games.

From my understanding of stories in Pique , the town of Pemberton has an appropriate site in the industrial park and has already approved the project.

Please support the residents of Whistler north who oppose this project at the next council meeting on Oct. 20th.

Andrew Haig

Whistler

 

Sore luger too much to bear

Re: Olympic Luger slams anti-Olympic feelings

Like most others, I was shocked and dismayed by hearing about this incident. But not about what happened at Meadow Park as much as having to endure this young woman's self-centred, poisonous diatribe about Whistler and its residents.

I am asking, where are the coaches and spokesperson(s) for the Canadian Olympic team in all this? Do they not also coach the athletes in how to talk to the media? How to best represent their country?

The residents of Whistler and Vancouver have endured years of construction and disruption to their personal and professional lives in order to have these "Games" take place on time and also to have our country look good during that time. This can lead to feelings of frustration on the part of some of the residents, and are also quite understandable. But to hear and read about this prima donna whining and whinging about how someone wasn't nice to her "in the playground" is too much to bear for this resident.

She states that she represents Canada. Well, if the Games were anywhere else would she say the same things about her hosts? Then represent us in a diplomatic fashion. If she cannot manage to do so then she should kindly keep her thoughts out of the public forum.

If a pro hockey player were to speak this way, they would find themselves being admonished by their coach, penalized and possibly fined by their team. But this is the difference between a "professional" and "amateur" athlete, I guess.

Chris Field

Whistler

 

Olympic 'harassment' embarrassing

I was embarrassed and ashamed to see on the news that a Canadian Olympic athlete was harassed at a local gym.

I have been here 11 years and love and respect our town, but to see this report, along with negative comments about the Olympics, on national TV was a painful event.

The Olympics have raised fear and apprehension since the announcement we won them. Yes this can be a giant step forward for our little town, and scary at that, but to harass a fellow Canadian, who is living a dream to represent our country, in a town built by previous Olympic athletes is painful to hear about.

I hope that we can all put aside our fears and respect those that dedicate their lives to make this dream a reality, to mount the podium and hear the national anthem and swell with pride knowing that not only have we won medals but insured our jobs and future as a world class resort. We can all put our fears behind us and make these athletes feel at home while they live and train here, and at the moment of victory know we helped not just them but brought Olympic pride to a wonderful nation.

Lorne Dickson

Whistler

 

Fairytales and Games

Some Vancouver people are saying that spending money on fixing up city hall should not be done in these trying times. Would that they gave the same concern for the much larger amount flowing to the Olympics on which lots of money is being spent.

There is a fairytale out there saying that if we all use less power and buy a pair of mittens it will pay for the Games. Does anyone believe that? These trials are an expense beyond imagination for reasons beyond understanding. Why would anyone want it?

In case anyone was thinking the Olympics needed money, a certain beer company is giving money to the cause if you buy their beer. Help is everywhere. Of course we the people will pay it all. Beer, mitts, taxes. Lots of taxes.

Terry Smith

Garibaldi Highlands

 

Trust in the free Marketplace lot

We all agree that there is no such thing as "free parking."

When the conference centre was built in the '80s it was built with the condition that they build parking. This parking has already been bought and paid for.

One could argue that the muni has to pay staff to monitor the three-hour rule. However, a private company has been ticketing for years at Marketplace. Somehow they can sustain this without charging for parking and obviously make a profit, so I see no excuse as to why the city couldn't do similar.

This needs to end before people just say "forget it" to Whistler - especially day trippers from the local markets..

All the expenses add up. This is the topper to deter someone from eating out or purchasing something from one of the local retailers.

PS; I was in Vancouver recently and had paid for 1.5 hours worth of parking thinking this would be enough time to have a quick bite to eat. Little did I know how busy things were and how long the food would take. Next thing you know I am totally not enjoying my lunch because I am worried about getting back to the meter. Whistler is a place to relax from this type of crap that one might expect from a city. Please! Stop the madness!

Doug Farnsborough

Whistler

 

The new king

Wow, I love my movies, and for the first time in many years I was actually able to read a movie review column in Pique that did not make me drop my paper and walk out of the room absolutely disgusted. Jesse actually talked about the movies and actors, and not just go on about how hot the girls in the movie are or how much gun shooting action we get to witness.

Seriously, I do not mean to insult Feet, but a small child could write a better movie review. I am finally excited about the thought of reading next week's column.

All hail Jesse, for he is our new king.

Colin Wyniarsky

Whistler

 

If you love bears...

Jeanie's story will end badly. The writing is in the sky. The feature article by Clare Ogilvie in last week's publication warns that bear Jeanie's tolerance of humans could be her ultimate downfall.

Photographer and bear watching tour guide Michael Allen acknowledges that "Jeanie has allowed us into her life, not being the kind of bear that runs away and hides."

This can not be good news because it creates the possibility that one season Jeanie will omit to teach her cubs to climb up a tree to be safe from humans. This would be an unwelcome and very dangerous behaviour change.

All of us involved in the commercial or spontaneous bear watching activities are participating in the destruction of the wall of fear that keep bears away from humans.

Eventually, bad things will start happening and it will be our turn to live in fear, until we destroy a lot of bears to restore the bear fear of humans.

Folks, if you really love bears, leave them alone and stay away from them or their feeding territories.

Bernard Cloutier

Whistler

 

Safe environment is GBS's goal

I just wanted to clarify some misleading and inaccurate statements in Jesse Ferreras's article last week: "Bear Smart plant removals concern landscapers" (Pique Oct. 8).

Crosland Doak of Brent Murdoch Architecture said in an interview that the bans the Bear Smart Group is proposing go too far. "The relocation of feeding materials... is great," Doak said. "But they have some blanket bans on 90 per cent of our indigenous species and that's a bigger threat."

FACT: it is NOT 90 per cent of our indigenous species that are being banned. First of all, no plants are being "banned" whether they are native or non-native. Certain plants that bear edible fruit (that is a known "high value" bear food) are being "discouraged" from developments that require a Municipal Development Permit, not single family homes or other areas.

Secondly, the new bylaw (which went into effect this past spring) simply states that no person shall "allow fruit from a tree or bush on a parcel to accumulate on the tree, bush or ground such that it attracts or is likely to attract dangerous wildlife (bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves)." It is therefore acceptable under the bylaw for property owners to remove fruit so that it doesn't attract bears. It is not necessary to remove the plants themselves.

Thirdly, the Get Bear Smart Society (GBS) does not have the power to impose a ban on anything. We work in partnership with the other stakeholders of the Bear Working Group to find practical solutions collaboratively. GBS has been working hard with a number of businesses and stratas to voluntarily remove plants that bear edible fruits from around children's play areas, building entrance-ways and busy pedestrian paths. GBS's approach is a very reasonable one. Don't forget the goal is to provide a SAFE environment for people (and of course bears).

Mr. Williamson states that he doesn't "consider" mountain ash a bear attractant. FACT: mountain ash berries are a highly attractive bear food at this time of year.

Lastly, GBS and the Bear Working Group also take biodiversity very seriously. We do not oppose the planting of bear foods in and around the numerous green spaces in Whistler. We are only suggesting to remove (or not plant) bear-attracting species in areas of high development where none of us want conflict with bears. We advocate planting other native species in their place that do not produce bear food. As suggested in the landscapers' letter to council, the Get Bear Smart Society welcomes the opportunity to participate in a working group with other key stakeholders to advise council and RMOW staff on methods to protect plant biodiversity and maximize human safety with respect to bear conflicts.

Sylvia Dolson

Executive Director,

Get Bear Smart Society

Whistler

 

Rethinking planting

As a conservation biologist I face a number of challenges in undertaking habitat and species recovery efforts in settlement areas (it usually boils down to people problems not fish and wildlife problems). Sitka Mountain Ash are one of my favourite restoration species (often in conjunction with invasive removal as it grows well in shade or sun and is tough when it comes to prolonged hot dry periods - note this years bumper crop of berries).

But the Oct. 8 article has made me think about location when I use this species in the future.

I normally work in areas where bears either rarely wander or there is little risk of direct conflict even if they are hanging out enjoying the fruits of my restoration labours. However when designing vegetation plans around building interfaces or high use greenway areas or medians, it is wise to think about the attractant factor. Planting plans in public interface areas generally consider the future size and footprint of a tree so that down the road that tree doesn't "outgrow its welcome." And if they don't they should! No tree should have to be sacrificed because we lacked the foresight to judge its falling risk or root or limb spread.

So take that one step further - make areas where bears may be enticed out of adjacent corridors and reservoirs by a natural food source (and then get into trouble with us) part of those same plans.

There are a number of suitable native alternatives that won't become a bear buffet and still provide excellent resources for fish and wildlife - and people. It doesn't have to be a battle; we are all working toward the same result - a healthy resilient landscape.

I realize not all locations or projects will have bear worries (beavers are more likely to be a problem, in my experience, than bears!), but it's just another reason why it's important to think about the big picture when undertaking restoration and landscaping efforts near natural areas.

Pamela Zevit, R.P. Bio

Adamah Consultants

Coquitlam

 

An answer to landscapers' concerns

There are a few points that I would like to clarify about the article "Bear Smart plant removals concern landscapers" (Pique Oct. 8), as I am a member of the Whistler Black Bear Working Group.

A couple phrases in particular were of concern regarding the letter that was sent to council from a group of landscape architects referring to the banning of plants and trees that create conflict with bears. They called it an "admirable but misguided attempt to reduce bear-human conflicts." The individuals who wrote the letter also said, "The bear working group will undermine environmental sustainability goals."

First of all, there is no banning of plants and trees. The working group is working on a list of trees, plants and shrubs that are considered high, medium and low bear attractants. The list is being worked on by biologists and other individuals with environmental studies backgrounds. The list is also being compiled from data that has been collected from the Conservation Officers hotline or the RAPP line (report all poachers and polluters) and PWORs (problem wildlife occurrence reports). In these reports it often lists what was attracting the bear to an area. This sometimes included mountain ash and this is recorded statistical data.

The Whistler Black Bear Working Group is trying to compile this list of trees, shrubs and plants to include as guidelines in the fifth draft of the Whistler Human-Bear Conflict Management Plan. The list is being made to educate builders, landscapers and people in general about what flora they can plant and isn't considered a highly attractive form of food for a black bear. I don't know what is "misguided" about trying to educate people that they might not want to plant a mountain ash tree right beside their front door. Instead they might want to plant this highly attractive food source at the back of their yard or somewhere that is not in a high human traffic area or not at all .

If you would like to read more about Whistler's current vegetation management strategies go to www.whistler.ca and click on the heading "Residents," then go to "Municipal Services," "Animal Control and Wildlife," then "Black Bears." If you have any other questions please call 604-905-BEAR option 3.

Michelle Sims

Bear Aware, PDS

Whistler

 

A SWELL Premier

Last Wednesday night a full house at the Whistler Conference Centre witnessed the coming together of five amazing artists, all in support of finding a cure to Crohn's and Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). Whistler Friends dubbed the event "An evening of art, inspired by the ocean" and what an evening it was.

Whistler's own Chili Thom displayed a gallery of his original art that had even the greatest Chili fans fascinated by the detail and emotion found in his work.

The Rutherford Creek Trio laid down some groovy tunes to keep the atmosphere lively and inspiring.

The theatre portion of the event was kicked off by the award winning short film "Glamour Guts" by Jasmine Oore from Halifax. The film takes a lighthearted look at living with Crohn's Disease.

Jordan Manley showed off his craft with his winning slideshow from the 2009 Pro Photographer Showdown, and the evening closed out with the Canadian Premier of a slideshow by Clark Little, world famous Hawaiian surf photographer. Over 250 people attended, and more that $5,500 was raised for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

A huge thank you goes out to our sponsors, artists, and volunteers. Walsh Restoration was our Presenting Sponsor, and integral to the success of the evening.

Thank you Whistler for supporting another Whistler Friends event - we'll see you at the next one!

Dave and Wendy Clark

Founders, Whistler Friends

www.whistlerfriends.com

 

Keep credits here

This letter was addressed to mayor and council. A copy was forwarded to Pique for publication.

We read with great regret the decision of council to send $50,000 out of our community and are writing to implore you to reverse your decision. While we agree in theory with the idea of carbon credits, we feel they are a last resort. The effectiveness of carbon credits is still under debate.

If the money is spent locally, you maintain control and can verify the effectiveness of the project. There are several projects that could reduce emissions in the long-term right here in Whistler. As an example, you could purchase insulated blinds or shutters to reduce energy loss through the windows of the new Whistler Library.

Mick and Kimberly Gannon

Whistler