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Letters to the editor

A new approach to managing forests

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The Cheakamus Community Forest conflict over resource management issues has been common in B.C. over the last 20 years and clearly the current activity in Whistler indicates that they are not going away any time soon.

Much of the conflict has arisen because of forest policy objectives aimed at maximizing timber harvest levels to maintain jobs and increase revenue for the province. This single-minded focus has been at the expense of the many other resources and benefits that forests provide.

The RMOW is a perfect example of a location where the non-timber benefits of the forest have become an important driver for the whole economy and it stands to reason a different approach to managing the forests is required.

With the advent of a community forest tenure the province has provided a mechanism that allows local people to focus forest management on the issues and resources that matter most to the community. The RMOW and its partners, the Squamish and Lil'wat First Nations, have recognized this opportunity and have been working hard for a number of years laying the groundwork for a very different management approach within the local forests. No other licensee on the south coast has voluntarily decided to adopt an Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) approach for their operations, a system that focuses on maintaining healthy, functioning ecosystems while providing for the cultural and social needs of communities.

The area of timber harvesting under the EBM system has been reduced considerably when compared to the previous licence because of the commitment to biodiversity, visual and recreational values. A priority goal of the plan is to maintain old growth forest and, where necessary, adopt recruitment strategies to develop old forest over the coming decades for ecosystems without adequate amounts at present.

The Cheakamus Community Forest managers have also commenced the task of getting the forest certified under the Forest Stewardship Council system, recognized worldwide as the highest standard of forest management because of its commitment to First Nation rights and stakeholder involvement. Only one other community forest in the whole of B.C. has FSC certification and yet the CCF recognizes the value of this for enabling it to maintain a mandate with the community to manage the forests.

Most importantly, the process of creating the community forest has enabled control of decision making to rest in the local community and not in a corporate boardroom, as it has up to this point. The result of this is close involvement with local stakeholder groups, access to management documents on the web and most of all a local desire to create a forest that provides for the many diverse needs of the communities. The CCF managers have taken the right steps to create a new and better approach to managing forests for communities, and given the chance to prove themselves it will be an example for others around the province to follow.

Neil Hughes RPF

Ecotrust Canada

Vancouver

 

Forestry or the trees?

I clearly recall my horror, when, as a child living in the coast mountain wilderness, I learned the fate of an unfortunate black bear. Rooted from his den during winter logging, he wasn't even noticed until his body emerged with a load of logs.

Over 700 bears are shot in B.C. alone, annually. Need we contribute to their demise by destroying yet more of their habitat?

Logging in the Whistler area is absurd. A place that prides itself on a pristine environment and thrives on tourism... Toppling trees that individually have contributed to planetary health for hundreds of years, for a few paper dollars. Flushed down the toilet.

Must it be mentioned that the world's gaze has been galvanized upon Whistler, and it will continue. Canada's global reputation is already suffering gravely under the tyranny of our current dictatorship.

Since the municipality is committed to preserving the "neighbourhood asphalt plant" one might surmise that keeping a bounty of oxygen-producing forest intact would be appealing.

An advocate of the proposed "harvesting" (a casual term that invokes images of an annually-renewable crop, such as corn) states that "visual management and watershed protection" is ensured. Translation: fringes of trees shall be spared along streams and as a facade along roads. Sadly, these exposed trees will likely blow down before long.

The reality is that we are destroying our "nest" unlike any other animal. Will humans choose life, or fulfill the fantasies of the Armageddon-fixated fundamentalists?

Natalia Kawatski

Squamish

 

Changes keep Canada competitive

Re: "Federal government slashes immigration program," Pique Newsmagazine, June 30, 2010

This recent article in your publication demonstrates some fundamental misunderstandings about the changes recently announced to our immigration system. The article claims that, in ending the special stream for temporary foreign workers and students to apply under the federal skilled worker category, we are cancelling one of the most popular immigration programs. This claim is completely false.

Temporary foreign workers and international students are still eligible to apply for permanent residence under the federal skilled worker category if they have an offer of arranged employment or experience in one of the 29 in-demand occupations. We have removed this particular stream to avoid overlap with the now-established Canadian Experience Class and the Provincial Nominee Program, both of which target the same pool of applicants.

The Canadian Experience Class, in particular, was designed specifically to help Canada retain people with Canadian skilled work experience and certain Canadian credentials.

The article also claims that the proposed changes to eligibility for the immigrant investor program are less likely to attract the investors Canada needs. In fact, the opposite is true. The new eligibility criteria would allow the program to better attract investors with valuable global business links, understanding of international markets and the resources to generate greater levels of economic activity after arrival in Canada.

Canada's current investment criteria have not changed since 1999 and are the lowest in the world compared to other countries that have similar programs. The new criteria would align Canada's program more closely with other immigrant-receiving countries, while still offering investors the competitive advantages of up-front permanent resident status and guaranteed repayment of their investment.

There is no doubt that Canada needs investor immigrants. These changes are necessary to keep our immigration program competitive with that of other countries, and keep pace with the changing economy.

The Honourable Jason Kenney

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism

 

Summer's attractions

In response to your editorial of "How well do we know our summer customers?" (Pique June 24) I can tell you that I've been coming up to Whistler almost every summer since I bought a timeshare in 2001. I bought not because I'm a skier or a mountain biker. I bought because of the mountains, the valley lakes and trails, the Whistler village(s), the Whistler library and museum, the art galleries, the restaurants, Howe Sound and the surrounding areas of B.C. I most love walking the valley trails around the lakes.

I'm one of Whistler's summer customers.

Allan Francke

Walnut Creek, California

 

Grass isn't just greener

Has Whistler not given enough to its inhabitants? Is the town and its beautiful surroundings so dull that bored people need to steal un-laid turf?

Every day I walk past the highly anticipated driving range; counting down the days to its opening, yet it seems some of us see this construction site in a different view. Are they opportunists hoping to make money from this turf, or is their garden in need for some fresh greenery? Either way, never would I expect that in our small community there are people who sink so low as to steal grass.

Buy your own grass and let the workers finish their jobs.

Kristie Beattie

Whistler

 

Wearing a helmet is not an option

Silly Girly riding her bike had a great fall.

Silly Girly remembers nothing at all.

But all the King's forces

And all the King's men

Managed to put Silly Girly

Back together again!

On a beautiful sunny day a few weeks ago I was riding my brand new mountain bike along Highway 99 with pride. So little did I know all would come to an abrupt end between Nesters and Lorimer Roads. The story has it that once again our firefighters and paramedics were quick with their response. They got me out of the ditch and to the emergency department safely and in a jiffy.

I will never remember the event but I wanted to make sure that I would never forget to sincerely express my gratitude toward all involved during a very "puzzling" time in my life. I personally would like to thank firefighter Craig for the comforting words, the paramedics for carrying on their duties (even if they are constantly legislated back to work by our government), RN Gill/Shari/Krissy, the X-ray techs, Dr. Kendall and the admitting clerks who promptly orchestrated tests, phone calls and transfer to Squamish General Hospital in a timely manner. You are my angels.

I would like to ask our community members to take the time to let our firefighters, paramedics, patrollers, nurses and doctors know how much we appreciate their dedication in providing excellent medical care, no matter the circumstances. I know I will be hugging a whole lot of people for a very long time.

Helene Caron

Whistler

 

A great way to celebrate

The municipality would like to thank all those who participated in Canada Day 2010. The parade, led by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce, was the largest on record, with an estimated 4,000 spectators taking in more than 50 floats. Thousands crowded Village Square to see 13 Sea to Sky 2010 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hundreds lined up for autographs and pictures. Spirit of the West drew a crowd of more than 2,500 and the night at Millennium Place was a happenin' hub for families. Over 3,000 people enjoyed fireworks on what capped off a great day in Whistler Village. And while Canada Day was the highlight, the entire weekend was jammed packed with entertainment for the whole family.

None of this could have been done without our partners including: the Whistler Arts Council, Whistler Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Blackcomb, Tourism Whistler, the Whistler Museum, the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre, Peak Performance Dance Force Association/PPDFA, and Village Hosts. Thanks goes out to our corporate partners including: The Summit Lodge & Spa, The Westin Resort & Spa Whistler and The Coast Blackcomb Suites at Whistler as well as Starbucks. Both the Whistler Community Services Society and the Rotary Club of Whistler did a swift business with morning pancakes and an afternoon BBQ. Thanks to all who contributed.

Thank you to all the locals and guests who came out to cheer on the parade, celebrate Sea to Sky athletes and enjoy the entertainment. Canada Day 2010 was about celebrating community, honouring athletes and being able to look back at the 2010 Winter Games and what they inspired in us as individuals and as a community, and keep this spirit alive for our community and visitors.

Finally, to all Sea to Sky athletes - a sincere thank you for giving your time to come out on Canada Day and sign literally hundreds, if not thousands, of autographs. Thanks to Alexandre Bilodeau for your participation on July 2 - Whistler is so glad to have you! You all continue to inspire in us the spirit and passion of 2010.

A proud Canadian.

Bob Andrea

Village Animation, Manager

 

What a Canada Day!

This past Canada Day was a fantastic day for the Whistler Museum and Archives Society. We were so excited to once again be in the Canada Day Parade after a long absence and everyone had a great time.

The museum's post-parade craft table in Mountain Square was a massive success and over 250 people walked though the museum's doors in a six-hour period! It was an exciting, though cold, day and I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who helped make it such a success.

First, I could never give enough gratitude to Don and Isobel MacLaurin for lending the museum their classic red MG, for hand-making decorations and also for creating costumes to represent some of Whistler's greatest pioneers.

As well, I personally thank Florence Petersen for riding along with the museum in the parade; you truly represent everything that was nifty about the '50s.

I would also like to thank the museum staff, who did not stop running all day; thank-you to Jennifer Pringle, Amanda Rousseau and Sarah Drewery for everything that you did to make Canada Day go off without a hitch, I couldn't have done it without any of you.

I have to thank Alison Hunter and the Whistler Children's Chorus and their parents for walking in the parade with us to represent the young spirit of Whistler. I also thank Alex Kleinman, Colin Pitt-Taylor and Bob Andrea for helping the museum set up its craft station and to Christa Vandeberg and the Chamber of Commerce for ensuring that everything went smoothly.

This Canada Day was a terrific beginning to the summer season for the Whistler Museum and Archives Society!

Leah Batisse

Curator/Executive Director

 

Just move it!

I am so disappointed, confused and just plain bewildered. I keep reading the paper, listening to the arguments but in the end, I just don't get it. How can any of council and municipal executives keep on justifying having an asphalt plant located beside our town, and directly adjacent to a residential neighbourhood? How can any of them believe that moving the plant 150 metres and rezoning the area to allow industrial use is a viable solution? I'm just stumped.

Rumors abound, many allude to back room deals, decisions made without community consent, behind closed doors. I am not naïve. I understand how politics are played. I get that politicians have to make tough decisions, compromise their principles, make difficult choices. I feel for all of them. I wouldn't want the job. They are under constant criticism, it seems thankless and I am not sure anybody can win. But we voted for them and we expect some transparency. And we expect them to do everything in their power to keep Whistler a healthy, pristine place. That is what they promised to do.

This decision makes no sense. I know the mayor would never put up with an asphalt plant beside his neighbourhood. He was the green guy. He was the guy who had the voice of reason stopping powers pushing for reckless growth in the name of the almighty dollar. Where did he go?

Of the remaining council and municipal hall executives: I know some of them and I know they would never put up with an asphalt plant beside their neighbourhoods. What gives?

Whistler has so much to be proud of. We have introduced so many green initiatives, been leaders in the changes and are teaching folks around the world how it can and should be done. So where, in the name of common sense, does an asphalt plant fit into that? It is mind-boggling.

Decide collectively that moving the asphalt plant outside the community needs to be done, and then find a way. If it can be moved 150 metres it can be moved farther. Involve the community; think outside the box, this is not the most complicated problem Whistler has been presented with. We are up for the challenge. The community wants it done. The owner seems like a reasonable guy and I bet he would work with us.

Having an asphalt plant beside our town, next door to one of the most beautiful new neighbourhoods in the world, our Olympic legacy Cheakamus Crossing, makes no sense. Why are we talking about what is legal, who did what to whom, who knew what, who did not? What difference does it make? Telling the homeowners, as Bill Barratt suggests, that "...those people will have to make their own decisions if they want to live there" is just plain offensive. This problem is not going away. We should be looking at a collective goal to move the plant out of the area. It is the right decision. In good conscience, you all know it. No other choice makes sense.

Just move it!

Nancy Routley

Whistler

 

A great couple

I would like to heavily and heartily thank Jeremy Roche (of Whistler Blackcomb) and his girlfriend (sorry I couldn't remember your name) for their amazing assistance on Saturday, July 3.

Our 16-year-old blind, diabetic Siamese cat was in immediate danger of an insulin-related reaction and would have seizured, gone into a coma and died in a few hours had it not been for this great couple.

I rushed over to them in the Tamarisk parking lot, as they were pulling in and I begged and pleaded to borrow their car (as we are car-less). They didn't know us. We switched business cards and were off to the 24-hour Animal Emergency practice in Vancouver. No questions asked.

Our cat was kept overnight, given dextrose on a drip to counteract the insulin and was stabilized. We returned with him the next afternoon.

Thanks to both of you for your greatness, kindness, understanding and generosity during this urgent incident.

Claire Mosley, Dave and Damian the Siamese

Whistler

 

A Giant thank you

The Friends of the Library would like to thank all the generous people in Whistler who made the Giant Plant Sale last month a huge success. Thank you Paul Beswetherick and the landscaping department for your donation of bulbs. Carney's for the soil amendment and your support, and Trilogy for giving us the space at the IGA parking lot.

And then there are the volunteers. Thank you to all the hard working, plant loving, book reading ladies and their husbands who've come out every year to shovel, sort, grow, pot, sell and have fun. You did it again with style.

Thank you Whistler for coming out that morning and buying those plants. We collectively raised $1,700 in three hours.

If you would like to know more about the Friends of the Library, we meet the last Wednesday of the month, at the library, at 4 p.m., September to June.

Christy Auer

Whistler