If you want to bring out the boo birds, hit them where they live. To some, that might appear to have been the plan of GranFondo organizers in introducing this year’s edition of event-related traffic restrictions along Highway 99 in Squamish. On that point, we draw specific attention to the following passage on the Fondo’s website under the heading “Traffic impacts: Squamish FAQs”:
“Q. I have a car and want to get from Garibaldi Highlands to the Brackendale Fall Fair, which starts at 10 a.m. What is the best route?
“A. Without a doubt, this will require some pre-planning. The recommended plan is to grab a coffee and leave early on Sept. 7 so that you are across the highway sometime before 8 a.m. You can read the paper or watch the event until the Fair begins at 10 a.m.”
Hmmm. This writer likes the suggestion that people read the paper — The Chief, we would hope — but isn’t so sure people will appreciate the remark’s overall tone: Like, when Squamites have time to kill, they couldn’t POSSIBLY think of anything to do, could they? Are those bumpkins even educated enough to budget their time wisely? Not exactly an attitude that’s likely to win friends and influence people around these here parts, we’d say.
And bring out the boo birds they did. Of the 11 comments posted on last week’s Chief article titled, “GranFondo to disrupt traffic flow,” seven were negative, three were neutral and one was marginally pro-Fondo. That, of course, isn’t surprising, given that it’s normally those with complaints who feel most compelled to comment.
A couple of anti-Fondo commenters had good points — including one who referred to the above-noted Q&A passage by writing, “Oh wait, the GranFondo people say I can go to work two hours early and ‘have a coffee and read the newspaper.’ Really ticks me off.”
The one who stated that the event provides “no economic benefit to the community” is simply wrong. Perhaps the impact is minimal on race day, but last year organizers estimated the race’s annual impact on Squamish at $650,000, presumably mostly from those who come to train beforehand. Whether that’s accurate or not, we’d like to suggest a PR move that might take a bit of wind out of the Squamish-area naysayers’ sails. Next year, how about changing the name to GranFondo Sea to Sky?
— David Burke