The Whistler Composting Facility is something the community should be very proud of. Composting Whistler's biosolids is a significant step toward sustainability the community has made. A community that does not take ownership and responsibility for its most basic waste stream can't call itself sustainable.
Biosolids are nothing to be scared of; they are just a part of all of us. What is in Whistler's biosolids was at one time in all of us.
Whistler's sewage collection system doesn't have any sources of industrial contaminants, so metal concentrations in Whistler biosolids are a fraction of the allowable amounts.
Most of the metals in the biosolids are essential plant nutrients and are not accumulated in the soil.
Biosolids are the product of an extensive wastewater treatment process. There are many steps between raw sewage and biosolids.
Whistler's tertiary wastewater treatment is not simply the removal of water from the wastewater, it is a complex series of biological processes that break down organic matter and remove nutrients from the wastewater. The end product of this process is biosolids.
We are not adding biosolids to our compost; we are composting biosolids. Composting is simply a controlled process for breaking down organic matter.
(For more on this letter go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com)
Patrick Mulholland R.P.Bio.
Whistler Compost Facility Operations Manager
I was shocked and appalled when reading the article about Lush and the Humane Society's recent campaign to ban dogsledding in B.C.
I find it so pompous, arrogant and self-centered to even think of such a thing! Here, you are so concerned (as we all were) about the 100 poor dogs that were killed last year, but are willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of other sled dogs when they are put out of work should the proposed ban be successful.
How are you any better than the accused? Why B.C. alone? Why not Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Yukon, Alaska...
You are doing this all wrong - these dogs are born to run and love what they do! Try being a real hero - go after puppy mills, seal clubbers, animal testing, greyhound racing, horse racing, rabbit killing, elephant tour companies (they poke them in the rear with spears to keep them moving). Why not be proactive and ask the task force to be involved in the regulations or funding there-of.
Make up your mind - are you an activist or a soap maker, just don't open a can of worms without knowing what ripple effect it may cause, that is just ignorant.
Thanks to your idiotic actions I will no longer be buying my deodorant, shaving cream or bath bombs from your company, I will make my own.
As for the "humane" society, not much to be said except you pretty much go against your own name in this case.
Stick to what you know, fundraising for suffering animals, not creating a bigger problem!
Lesson for landlords
As I sit at YVR waiting for my flight to Mexico I can't help but reflect upon the tide of change in Whistler, and I am NOT talking about parking!
I have managed the rental of my family's three homes in Whistler for over two decades.
It has been a great ride, work-yes, profitable - you bet! Suddenly though, the renters have all but disappeared and there is a burgeoning glut of properties for long-term rental on the horizon.
I have finally filled one of my properties and had to reduce the rent nearly 35 per cent to get the long-term folks I desired. I am now renting at the same rate as eight years ago. What happened? Did everyone leave? After much reflection, my frustration has calmed and I realize that in all the current negativity there is a positive story as perhaps this is a healthy thing for the town.
Very easy for me to say with properties paid for years ago. I do feel for people who were recently sold properties on empty promises of annual rental incomes that no longer exist. My message is simply this: enjoy it tenants-the great ones out there certainly deserve a break, and now that they are in the driving seat, us landlords are forced to wake up a little. It was a heck of a ride for us, we made money, we called the shots, but no longer. One last thing fellow landlords, please don't vent towards the WHA for building the inventory that has led us here. In the long run we all benefit from a healthy town with happy workers who feel more in control of their destiny. It has taken me a little while to reach this acceptance, maybe I am getting too old to be the greedy landlord.
We are open
I just want to assure everyone that the Wild Wood Pacific Bistro (in the tennis club) continues to be open 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. for breakfast daily (Tuesdays 9 a.m.) and 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. for dinner service.
We also continue to invest in our business to provide our guests with the service and food quality they have come to expect from us.
General Manager Wild Wood Pacific Bistro
Have we forgotten the People in the Cultural Tourism Strategy?
It's with great interest that I attended John Rae's (manager of RMOW strategic partnerships) presentation last week ... and read the new Cultural Tourism Strategy and the related articles in your paper of March 17, 2011. However I was quite surprised, even shocked, that there was no mention of the other cultures, except for the First Nations, when one of the five cultural Tourism Clusters identified in the strategy is Human Heritage.
Let's look a bit deeper. The strengths: the Sea to Sky Corridor has a high number of people from different cultures that live, work and play here.
These cultural cohorts become a very valuable asset to target new cultural markets and also markets that are interested in cultural tourism.
For example, Squamish has 10 per cent of its community that is of South Indian descent.
This is key, as there are more than 280,000 people with the same culture in Mainland Vancouver and as more people start travelling from India. India is one of the emerging countries and its people will be travelling and discovering other parts of the world. LOKL, a multilingual website for the corridor is already getting the highest number of traffic from their Punjabi site with over 950 unique visitors per day.
Whistler has also one of the largest percentages of residents speaking both official languages in the province with 17.7 per cent compared with 7.7 per cent for the rest of B.C.
This francophone reality is also visible in our daily lives with the three French schools in the corridor and the 300 plus children that are studying in the French Immersion Program in Whistler and Squamish.
The dynamism of the Francophone community was also seen last year with the very successful St-Jean-Baptiste celebration held in Squamish.
This year the group is even developing their own beer that will be brewed by Howe Sound Brewery.
We should be working with our local Francophone community to target skiers from Quebec that are passionate about their culture.
(For more of this letter please go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com )
Dance culture alive
It was encouraging to see the generous coverage accorded by last week's
Pique to the Cultural Tourism Advisory Group presentation to council, on (its) plans for a "place-based" cultural tourism strategy for Whistler.
I attended the presentation itself, and I read the report by consultant Steven Thorne, entitled "A Tapestry of Place."
It is good to know that ongoing plans are afoot to draw all of Whistler's multiple cultural threads together, so that Whistler can be seen (and marketed) as a place where many forms of arts and culture are alive and thriving for both locals and visitors.
Stephen Smysniuk, in his feature article, commented that for something like this to work, "it has to dig down deep to the grass roots, to the creators of the local arts scene, and the not-for-profits which are the cornerstone of any local culture." Well, that speaks to me because I represent that exact type of local not-for-profit group, and one which takes a very keen interest in these new plans for a place-based, locally driven cultural map.
"Dance Whistler" is a new group, with a mandate to promote and facilitate dance in our community, whether providing encouragement and practical help for local dancers and dance groups, or helping to bring guest performances and teachers/workshops into Whistler.
The local dance scene already enjoys a richly talented youth-driven presence, but we have known for some time that there are others who are hungry for more dance in Whistler, and who have lacked only a place to express their ideas on how to achieve it.
We invite those local dance fans to join us. We welcome your ideas, and your support!
(For more of this letter go to www.piquenewsmagazine.com)
In your March 3 edition, "Crystal Chair upgrades likely," Karl Ricker objects to lift development on the Blackcomb Glacier.
I support his view entirely. Taking visitors into there always draws comments of awe and wonder at the majesty and serenity. It's important to have an area where skiers/boarders, not equipped mentally or physically to deal with the backcountry, can experience the splendour of being relatively alone, without the visual pollution and inevitable garbage, the usual legacy of lifts.
Symphony Bowl was a beautiful and peaceful place to be, before the Symphony Chair was installed.
Pay lots can't be un-built
The Whistler Chamber of Commerce recently sent out a survey on the proposed changes to the parking in lots 4 and 5. There really isn't anything that can be added to the 'should they or shouldn't they charge for parking' debate. Nothing I say is going to sway the powers that be, so why bother?
However, reading the background info on the survey, I noticed that the projected revenue for the lots is $1,000,000, down from an originally projected $2,000,000.
Checking through the municipal budget figures, I noticed that the amount deferred from the budget for "repayment of capital related to the debris barrier and parking lots" is $983,000.
That means that the municipality, after all the work, studies, staff time and damage to the business community, is going to come out $17,000 ahead of the costs this year (providing they don't defer the capital repayment).
Even the municipal calculations only show the revenue going to $1,375,000 if lots 4 and 5 are brought into the pay-parking fold.
Next year, the contribution to the capital costs on the lots is going to have to cover both this year's (the deferred $983,000) and next year's, presumably something in the neighborhood of $1,900,000.
That's a shortfall in 2011/2012 in parking revenue of $525,000, if we're lucky.
Personally, I think deferring the capital repayment this year is a very poor move.
It's being done to help keep the 2011 property tax increase to four per cent, so it's basically a political choice, not a financial one.
All of which brings us to what to do in the long term with the parking lots. The problem with infrastructure is that it can't be un-built. Even with all the lots pay parking; it's not much of an earner, if at all. If we make them free, then the capital repayment, $983,000 a year, will have to go on to our property taxes.
"The Locals' Club"
In response to the letter posted in last week's Pique , I believe this might be a good time to take a hard look at the Elitist Locals' Club in Whistler.
While I still haven't picked up a 40-something cougar from the new Dusty's, I could still answer "yes" to a few of the questions listed.
However, while entertaining and creative as the Locals Test was, I started wondering what the criteria really should be for being a local?
Is it really being able to answer questions about where you've been drunk, the popular characters you knew/know, and who you've picked up at a bar, or should it be more about what is actually in your heart?
Given I, like many, have felt the twinge of irritation when I hear someone who is here on a working vacation ask for a local's discount, which I guess would be felt by those who have lived in Whistler since the 70's hear me suggest on the chairlift that I am "local."
So, the question: who really is a local? Personally, I know many babies and kids who could not answer any of those questions posed in last week's paper and they are all 100 per cent "made in Whistler."
In my mind, they would be more local than anyone, wouldn't they?
I have raised my two teenage boys here for the past six years, yet they haven't (I hope) been drinking at any of the places mentioned in the locals quiz or "got laid in the old Keg parking lot" or any parking lot, for that matter (ok, maybe, but unlikely).
Does this mean they are not locals? I truly believe it is time to end the elitist locals club and remember that all of us who have chosen Whistler as our permanent home, work and own businesses, raise our children and enjoy every second of this most beautiful and amazing place called Whistler are locals.
Shouldn't the only question on the test be, "Do you consider Whistler home?"
Top Ridership Because We Have Nothing Else ...
One day, while waiting to go home after a long night of work, I was among the 30 or so people waiting for over an hour for the bus to Creekside.
One bus finally arrived, already half full, and only about half of us were able to fit on the bus. This unfortunately isn't an isolated incident.
In Whistler we pay the same price to use our transit system as they do in Vancouver. Whistler transit has so much less territory to cover and yet is scheduled badly and is obviously in need of additional busses.
This is an ongoing problem, which has been discussed many times, when is someone finally going to address the problem?
Where is the Budget?
Pardon my ignorance but I always assumed that a budget was an estimate of future income and expenses. We are now approaching April and the RMOW and its vast resources have been unable to complete the budget for the current year.
I would think that it should be getting progressively easier to prepare since they need only to estimate for a reduced portion of the year. The budget for January to April should be a slam-dunk!
Thanks Husky staff
Just wanted to say to the staff that runs the Husky gas station that your hard work has not gone unnoticed.
Every day the service is great or better. There is always fresh fruit on the counter; the washrooms are maintained on a regular basis so you never have to worry. The grounds outside as well are maintained from all the crap that people throw out of their cars because the can't be bothered to recycle or use the garbage cans.
The service is so good that one would think they had competition across the street.
I am writing to respond to all the letters last week regarding the French immersion program in Pemberton.
I have a few thoughts I'd like to share on the matter. First, I went to a school in SW Calgary that had an English program, a bilingual program, First Nations students and other ethnic groups.
I can tell you that the school was incredibly cohesive. There were no First Nations in the French program but they were not outcast in any way whatsoever.
In fact it resulted in some sharing of the First Nations language outside of the classroom between the students in the different programs further enhancing and encouraging new language learning.
Second, it is the greatest gift we can give our children (other than love, safety etc..) The opportunity to learn a different language opens their eyes to different cultures, people and ideas. In a world full of diverse people with thoughts that range the full spectrum and beyond, how can it be harmful to allow our kids the chance to open more doors of communication with these people?
Once one language is learned it only gets easier to learn more. I don't have even one bit of understanding why a program that will help our kids be better ambassadors of Canada (since we are a bilingual country) would be questioned and turned down?
I myself went to an immersion school like I said.
I had friends who were English, First Nations and in the French program. I think the environment at the school and the example of the teachers will help with this, as do team sports and integrated sports days etc..
I lived overseas for a couple years and learned German in three months due to the knowledge I had to conjugate verbs and put sentences together in a way slightly different from English.
It is an opportunity not a hindrance and I'm truly surprised that it was not passed by the (School) Board. I am speaking French to my kids now in the hopes of them being in a French program when they go to school. Ideally earlier than grade 5 or 6. I hope this program is accepted. As I mentioned before, I think it's the best educational gift we can give our kids.
Leash your dogs
Whistler, like most every area in our country, has a leash law for dogs. Why I see so many people in this town walking their dogs off-leash baffles my mind.
It has nothing to do with how "good" your dog is. As I'm sure most everyone who partakes in this irresponsible behaviour believes his or her dog is God's gift from heaven.
We live in a town where large dogs, such as rottweilers, huskies, and wolf-crosses are very common.
That's not to say all these dogs are inherently dangerous, not by any means. However, all these dogs are large, and ANY dog when it feels threatened, or uncomfortable has a tendency to try and defend itself.
I have seen on far too many occasions an unleashed dog run up and, surely with every playful intention jump onto a leashed dog, only to be bit, and in some instances injured.
Why so many dog owners have not realized the danger not only from other dogs, but also from vehicles is something I can't quite wrap my head around.
I sincerely hope to see a change around this area as it's only a matter of time before a "friendly" and much loved, but never leashed dog runs up on the wrong leashed dog and suffers a serious, possibly life threatening injury in the process. Leash your dogs. Please.