I am very surprised and disappointed to read the letter by Ms. Morris regarding the "Green Olympics" (Pique letters Jan. 14). It seems that people can only look at one side of things and make their minds up without looking at the facts.
1. These are obviously green Olympics, if one is to trek up to the Timing Flats, or ski down to Creekside, you will see the Olympic rings. Sitting there for few to see. In their resplendent Green colour.
2. Car pooling would involve organizing and communicating. An operation as large as VANOC cannot waste time on such things.
3. The paving is an effective method to deter natural processes of erosion from lowering our valley bottom.
4. The lights. Apparently, when you start you just can't stop. Some trees were jealous of those with lights.
5. Finally, did we not just have over 120 mm of rain? What can be more green than rain!
So, please. Look around you and see the positives that the Games are bringing to our communities. With so many people involved, there is more than enough "green" being distributed.
Disappearing snow reveals all
So, unfortunately, the snow is melting and what is left behind is piles of garbage, much of it is from our own locals. We have had an early glimpse of what gets hidden beneath the snow banks this winter. A surprise that normally is not revealed until spring.
The green Olympics are here but why is it still hard to say something when we see someone drop beer bottles at bus stops or flick a cigarette, but into the snow bank? Whistler locals may not be as green as one may think.
So what can be done? How about enforcing the littering bylaw 34? There is a $100 fine associated with the bylaw but when was the last time anyone was fined for it? As it turns out it was three years ago.
How about employing people to actually enforce the bylaw and even have them work on commission to give the workers some encouragement to say what the rest of us find so difficult. Increased employment, increased revenue and a cleaner Whistler - it is surprising that it has not been implemented sooner.
What will the tourists that come to see the so called "green Olympics" think when they see the garbage laying around? Sure the municipality will make sure the village is properly manicured, but what about the rest of town?
Hopefully we can make some changes to make such a beautiful places stay beautiful.
We've got it, why not use it?
I just have to add to the writer of last week, Bobbi Sandkuhl, who said she was embarrassed by the highway into the town centre. Embarrassed hardly gets to the point!
I think everyone who drives on this road should be really pissed off! All summer and fall we suffered construction delays on this road while it was "improved" by another lane. Now the additional lane sits covered with snow and we have some ridiculous pylon maze in the middle lane. In high traffic days at Christmas, people were spending over an hour to get to Function.
Why are we not using the additional lane? It's there! Or are we saving it for VANOC to move everyone around (one or two at a time in the huge fleet of vehicles they have in the area)? So much for the "green" theme. But that's another story.
I asked one of our council members why this was so and was told the highway is under the administration of the Ministry of Transportation (M.O.T.) and that the Muni had no say over it. So? Is anyone aware of the confusion the pylons cause? Can the Muni not make a recommendation to plow the extra lane? What happens when there is an accident and emergency vehicles cannot get through? It would be just as easy to plow the whole road and use all of it with two lanes going the way of the heavy traffic.
Cypress is closed and there is more traffic from the Lower Mainland on the weekends (25,000 on the mountains last Saturday). We are going to see more of the same this coming weekend. Could we just not give the other lane a try?
A road in ruins
Kudos to Bobbi Sandkuhl re: her letter to the editor about the state of the road into Whistler (Pique letters Jan. 14).
Too bad it takes one of our citizens to bring attention to what you'd think would be obvious and of concern to the powers that be at Whistler.
If you care about Pemberton...
This week there was meeting put on by the group of developers and the SLRD re the large subdivision, (2,100 units over 30 years) that is being proposed for the Pemberton Valley. They are looking for our input. If you care and have a vision about how this community should change in the near future, then I suggest you get informed and submit your views to the developers and the SLRD.
Do you realize how the building will affect our use of the trails in our backyard? There are three parcels of land. Ravenscrest, Brio/Sabre and the lands given to the Mt Currie Band. I was disappointed to see that they want to start developing first on the Ravenscrest lands. This would be before commencing with the Brio/Sabre lands which have already been excavated.
Secondly, I believe that the Band must start development within the next five years on their lands if they wish to not have to pay taxes on that land. Therefore is the time frame really 30 years or will we see it get developed a lot quicker?
The developer mentioned that developments of the Ravenscrest lands first may help bring the GEMS school development closer to fruition. I am not sure how this would help as the school plan is for an international private school. Therefore, I assume that the students would be boarding at the school; and that many of the people living in the high density first phase of development would probably not send their children to the school. I think the school and other forms of diversity for the Pemberton economy are good ideas; do not get me wrong.
Lastly I was pleased to see how open this stage of the planning is and I really hope that everyone looks at the plans and submits their ideas really soon on how this can move forward in a really positive manner for the valley.
Even though lots of us are busy with the Olympics make time as the next public consultation could be as early as April.
Pemberton businesses make a difference
On Dec. 11, 2009 the Palkumten council from Pemberton Secondary School held its annual "Aboriginal Youth Success Forum" at the Pemberton Community Centre. All Aboriginal youth from PSS were invited to participate.
The main objective of the forum was to get ideas from the students on what Aboriginal activities or programs they would like to see happen at PSS that would assist them in their academic goals, sharing their culture and bringing all students together. PSS has students from five First Nation communities; Lil'wat, N'Quatqua, Samahquam, Skatin and Xa'xtsa.
The youth began their forum with lunch, then they had an ice breaker and then began discussions regarding the many different topics they were interested in. These topics included; after school homework club, sports clubs, culture clubs, field trips, student exchange trips, language and culture in the school. Throughout the afternoon there were several door prizes, donated generously by the local Pemberton businesses.
With the support of Juanita Coltman, District Aboriginal Advisor, and Andrea Jones, Aboriginal Student Support Worker, the students decided to put their focus on having after school homework club, after school support group and after school culture club.
Earlier in the week, I went around the town of Pemberton seeking out donations of door prizes and was over whelmed at the continuous generosity of our local businesses. I want to thank the following; Frontier Street Pharmacy, Pemberton Home Hardware, Pemberton Supermarket, Pemberton Centennial Cafe, Pemberton McDonalds, Pemberton Small Potatoes and last but not least the Pemberton Swiss Deli. We are very grateful to receive support from our local businesses in Pemberton.
PSS Aboriginal Student Support Worker
Bute no small matter
I would like to thank Perry Beckham for his well-written and informative letter regarding the B.C. Governments "green" energy policy. The implications of this policy were factually stated.
The response from John Hunter P. Eng. last week has some deep problems with accuracy and credibility.
Admittedly BC Hydro need not involve itself with small micro-hydro projects, but what is proposed for Bute Inlet is anything but small. Seventeen river diversions affecting the three river drainages entering the Bute. $4 billion project built by General Electric corporation with its local partner Plutonic Power. Both are financial contributors to the B.C. Liberal party. This has become a pre-requisite for those who want to dam rivers, build fish farms or extract oil and gas from our province.
The power purchase agreement with G.E.-Plutonic would result in B.C. Hydro paying more for the electricity than any water or land lease payments to the Crown. At the end of the lucrative contract where foreign-owned private power companies make exponential returns, the infrastructure built does not revert to the Province of B.C. Pure claptrap.
Rates for consumers are going up. The first 8 per cent increase later this year.
Last July the public advocacy group BCUC deemed these power purchase agreements as "not in the public interest" and was then quickly hobbled by the Campbell government. For John Hunter-P. Eng to use five-year-old BCUC data is plain misleading. More claptrap.
The situation in Bute Inlet is an example of everything going very wrong for the majority of British Columbians. No meaningful public process. Bill 30 effectively removed any local government involvement. Sweetheart side deal with Chief Ken Brown (please Google this guy). Any benefits from this project will not be realized by those who will be saddled with the bills and the planet will lose yet another wild place.
The IPP Industry and its supporters are motivated by money. Powered by greed. Use climate change as an excuse.
Treat what they say with utmost skepticism.
The story in the DRC
Re: Bringing conflict minerals out of the darkness by Claire Piech (Pique 'n Your Interest, Jan. 14)
The author is right in regards to the need for the travesty and horror happening in the DRC to be brought to light. However, I think she has overlooked a major reason as to why this situation has been overlooked in the media. She wonders if it is due to the traditional lack of interest in Africa, or a more deep seeded racism.
Neither is likely the case. Rather it is the horrendous state of journalism itself in the DRC (which should not be referred to as the Congo, as Piech does at one point, since that is a separate nation without the same problems). The DRC has one of the lowest ratings possible from Reporters sans Frontieres (Reporters without Broders). The life expectancy of a foreign journalist without armed guard in the DRC is less than one day. DRC journalists are routinely murdered for even the most simplistic of stories.
In addition most Western Nations have fierce travel restrictions to the DRC. As such very little news filters out.
In order to get this story out to the vast majority of the public organizations like the RSF need support so they can in turn give the aid needed to DRC journalists as well as foreign journalists hoping to get to the DRC. You can't have news stories about a country if that nation has no one to tell them.
An amazing opportunity
After a long and rainy week of teaching, I stopped to pick up our mail on my way home last Friday. In our box was a letter addressed to me from our mayor. Much to my amazement, the letter informed me that I have been offered two tickets to attend the 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony.
I am already very honoured to be Whistler's 2009 Citizen of the Year and to be offered such an amazing opportunity is quite simply wonderful. I would like to thank our mayor, Ken Melamed, the municipal council members, the RMOW and everyone else for such a generous gift. I am sure that this is an opportunity that I will always remember and treasure. Thank you very much.
They'll be missed
We would like to pass on a huge Thank You to the dynamic duo of Shelley Warne and Marilyn Moore who created and ran the Whistler Bottle Depot. These two entrepreneurs and their staff carried on this business in every weather condition imaginable in a friendly and welcoming manner.
"Sustainability" is the most over-used term in Whistler but, in our opinion, the Whistler Bottle Depot is the best example of this concept that we have locally. Thank you both for looking after our efforts to recycle and reuse. Whistler would not look so great without your consistent hard work over the past two decades.
We wish you the best in your new adventures and we know you have left the business in good hands; however, your personal touch will be missed.
Ron and Jennifer Erickson
Calling Whistler home
We began playing all original music in Whistler over a year ago. Starting out by playing acoustic shows at the Whistler Farmers Market summer 2008, we moved on to play over 100 shows across Canada in 2009.
Unfortunately we were not selected for a gig in Whistler during the Olympics.
Being in an all original band in Whistler is a tough gig. There are bars that won't even consider us after we tell them "we don't play covers." Also, Whistler's amazingly talented DJ community can make drawing a crowd tough.
Recently, we toured the whole country stating Whistler as our loved home, and on our return we find out that we weren't one of the 10 local bands selected for performances in Whistler during the Olympics. I'm sure these acts include my good friends and your musical favorites: The Hair Farmers, Dr. Dave, Brother Twang, Spy vs. Spy, G Willy, Kostaman, etc. As much as I truly love all these musicians, I can't help feeling that we deserve to stand alongside them as a contributing members of the artistic community, presenting Whistler's diverse musical culture to the World.
However, C'est la Vie. We have a very exciting year shaping up for us with another cross-Canada tour and probably some European touring. We're aiming at playing 200 shows in 2010, a goal that seems realistic and momentous.
Even though Whistler will always be home to me, it's getting harder to say that "The Release is a band from Whistler." Maybe we'll start telling people we're from Revelstoke, hahaha!