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Free flow of information needed Editor, Clearly the last election has shown that the voters are not happy with the speed and sometimes direction of the changes that are taking place in our community.

Free flow of information needed

Editor,

Clearly the last election has shown that the voters are not happy with the speed and sometimes direction of the changes that are taking place in our community.

The impending 2010 Olympic deadline can only amplify the frustration of all concerned. It doesn't have to be this way.Developers are always anxious to move their projects along. The "time means money" syndrome to get things done quickly can also add significantly to our costs.

There appears now to be a pressing need to make quick decisions on the Nexen lands, the final plans for a seniors' centre and, in the not too distant future, a cultural arts centre.

For any venture to be successful it must have the support and reflect the values and needs of the community at large. The free flow of information is what gives it vibrancy, life and legitimizes any endeavour. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make this work. If we do it right we should be able to get it back on track. The 2010 deadline should add impetus and fire to meet that date.

The Chief has an opportunity, no, an obligation to foster a healthy constructive flow of information between all parties. The public, planners, council and developers should all have their say. We're grown up now and we can take constructive criticism.

Each week ample space should be freely available to report on the trials, triumphs and tribulations that are encountered. Submissions should be open, concise and to the point, sort of like W5 - who, what, where, when and why. That way the reader could gauge the progress made, could contribute help or valuable insight on some sticky matters. There is a need to be involved in the process. It is, after all, the taxpayer who will be required to foot the bill.

The last four years have brought some valuable changes sometimes with little credit given. The transfer of the Nexen lands to the District was an amazing feat. We can only marvel at the wonderful trails system that has been developed, and ahhh yes, Miss Adventure Centre. We didn't talk much about her, maybe, we thought, she might just be a little bit pregnant. As time passed, ignoring her was no longer an option, she just burst upon the scene, a full-blown beautiful baby girl and she's all ours. Go to her, celebrate her beauty, embrace her, love her and she will love you back a thousand-fold.

Til Shemko

Squamish

No hidden agenda for SODC

Editor,

I was dismayed to read in the paper that Mr. Doug Day threatens the SODC will make the CHIPS issue look like a "Sunday school picnic". (The Chief, April 28.) An inflammatory statement like that is what continues to polarize this community and mislead the people who have chosen not to be informed as to what is really happening in regards to the Nexen lands.

The SODC board (which, by the way, is made up primarily of citizens of this town) and the District of Squamish have put this amazing project together for the sole purpose of maximizing the best land use for the highest benefit to the community. The industrial and park issues that keep getting thrown out there are both addressed in this project. This development will provide our town with 15 years of industry, jobs, parks and the fruition of the vision that was put together by the citizens of Squamish during the charette planning process and the OCP developed years ago.

Considering the cross-section of citizens that the current District Council represents, their unanimous agreement (a rarity!) about the project thus far is a huge indicator as to the integrity of the project and the future development on the Nexen lands. Public input has been accomplished at every step and it is frustrating to hear people with personal and political agendas sending a message otherwise.

Anyone that cares to know can have their concerns addressed regarding this development. There is no hidden agenda to this project, as Mr. Kevin Damaskie (letter to the editor, April 28) would have people think. Just go to the SODC office and they would be happy to bring anyone up to speed on the project thus far and they encourage suggestions and input as well.

This development is Squamish's opportunity to see its vision actually happen and its citizens be the ones to benefit. It is extremely important for the people who support this endeavor to put that to voice and let it be known that we want more than a tank farm and a walking trail. I commend the people involved with this project, their professionalism and their dedication to making the waterfront a reality.

C.Baldwin

Squamish

Not all downtowners unhappy

Editor,

Not all residents downtown share the same views as the Squamish Downtown Neighbourhood Association (SDNA).

Many of us support healthy development downtown and on the oceanfront; some of us arehappy with the direction that the Squamish Oceanfront Development Corporation is going.

Perhaps the SDNA's energy would be better spent finding ways to clean up downtown, working together to crack down on unsightly premises and making downtown safer rather than trying to impede the healthy development that our downtown needs and deserves.

Drew Hitchmough

Squamish

Town Centre likes BIA

Editor,

The Squamish Town Centre Association is very appreciative of the leadership shown by the Mayor and Council in passing the bylaw to establish a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the downtown.

The passing of the bylaw represented the culmination of a long public process since the District first adopted the Downtown 2003 update plan.

The establishment of the BIA isan important first milestone in advancing the downtown rehabilitation which is long overdue.

Mohammad Afsar

President, Squamish Town Centre Association

IPPs 'theft in progress'

Editor,

Private power and the 500 run-of-the-river IPPs in application on crown land are a theft-in-progress of public power, and Bill 30 is an accessory to that theft.

IPPs contribute nothing to the long-term energy security of the province, because all private power is ultimately set for export, with no proper return to the people of B.C.

Every IPP in application or operation robs the province of a future site that could have been used for economical public power in perpetuity. Bill 30 facilitates that theft by removing municipal and regional approval processes.Friends of government will soon have one-stop-shopping at a provincial government ministry, where that government has been given untold hundreds of thousands of dollars by the IPP lobby - in return for approval favours?

One company gave over $60,000 in political contributions in one year alone. How can ordinary people, concerned about the environment, their local recreation and tourism economy, and BC's provincial energy future compete with that?

If Bill 30, IPP applications and the ongoing loss of public resources continue, BC families and businesses will only have California and New York electricity prices to look forward to in the future.

Imagine your own family budget with home electrical costs at North American levels three or four times our present rates. Imagine the impact on B.C. businesses who are here now because of the B.C. advantage in public power.

Public power is the economic powerhouse of British Columbia, supporting health, education, and all the infrastructure that concerns us. Once we lose our hold on public power through the IPPs, it's gone forever.

We need to wake up now and Say NO to Bill 30 and private power.

Doug Morrison

Garibaldi Highlands

Valleycliffe should pay attention to highway plans

Editor,

I had the fortune/misfortune to attend the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement open house on Saturday, May 6. The residents of Squamish and particularly the residents of Valleycliffe need to make their concerns known regarding the planned highway expansion.

Under the current plan there are no plans for highway barriers along the highway for pedestrians from Valleycliffe. This means students or residents walking or cycling to the downtown areas from Valleycliffe will bedoing so along a four-lane highway with no protection or separation from the highway traffic. Those existing concrete barriers across from the Shell station will be removed.

I would encourage everyone who uses this route or has children who usethis route to make your concerns known by contacting the Mayor and Council and the Sea to Sky Improvement Project. This is a important safety issue for Valleycliffe residents.

Also, at the open house there was very little representation from the Districtto answer questions regarding the planned destruction and possible replacement of the existing trail network along the highway. My observation was that several people raised this issue as an important issue; however, theSea to Sky Improvement representatives referred all questions regarding this issue to the District for answering. However, hats off to Mr. Mick Gottardi from the District for being there as a resident and being willing to answer some of these questions.

We need to make sure that this council hears the message loud and clear that the trail network in this community is important and needs to be preserved. Gee, wouldn't a Master Trail Plan be handy? Perhaps a shake-up is needed in the Parks and Recreation department to get them to pay attention to this recreation resource!

Valleycliffe residents should make their concerns known soon to the Mayor and Counciland the Sea to Sky Improvement Project by phoning and emailing soon (before construction begins) by contacting these organizations:

Email: info@seatoskyimprovements.ca, phone (604) 775-1104.

Email: isutherland@squamish.ca, phone 604-815-5030.

Other contacts can be found at www.district.squamish.bc.ca.

Speak up now or don't complain later!

Glenn Stainton

Valleycliffe

Eagleridge protesters defended

Editor,

I strongly disagree with Chief columnist Helmut Manzl's editorial entitled "Blindness at the barricades" (The Chief, April 28).

In my opinion the campers at Eagleridge Bluffs have shown incredible foresight and fortitude in recognizing the ecological importance of the area, then standing up for its protection.

Eagleridge Bluffs and the adjacent Larsen Creek Wetland are, according to the Ministry of Transportation's report to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (August 2003), the most sensitive ecosystems in the entire Sea to Sky corridor.

The report describes these wetlands as "extremely rare", "unique", "highly susceptible to disturbance" and "regionally rare." The report goes on to state that the B.C. Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection, the Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada) and MoT's own consultants (Robertson Enviro Services) expressed their desire for no further loss of these ecosystems and recommended a tunnel option to preserve them.

It's a shame that B.C. is one of only two Canadian provinces with no stand-alone endangered species legislation. For if we had proper environmental laws, then this whole fight over Eagleridge Bluffs could have been avoided because the law would have prohibited the current route chosen by Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon.

A recent Globe and Mail article by Mark Hume points out that Mr. Falcon's route may be the cheapest, but it is certainly not the safest or the greenest. That distinction goes to a route that uses a short tunnel plus the existing road right-of-way. This route would save the bluffs as well as a bunch of drivers' lives, but would cost $10 million more. Fuel cost savings to drivers over the long term would more than make up for the added initial cost.

Mr. Falcon appears to revel in pitting neighbourhood against neighbourhood. In Falcon's world it's Surrey against Vancouver, Squamish against West Van.

But in a province with few environmental laws (and many of the ones we do have are being done away with) it's often left up to the neighbours to stand up for the local environment. That's what happened when the Cheakamus River got poisoned. That's what is happening at Eagleridge Bluffs.

I think it was that famous American Ben Franklin that summed up the current situation with "We can hang together - or we can hang separately".

So let's hang together people. The brave folks at Eagleridge Bluffs deserve British Columbians' support and gratitude.

Joe Foy

Western Canada Wilderness Committee Campaign Director

Women make voices heard in Victoria

Editor,

Last week 120 women from across British Columbia attended the B.C. Federation of Labour Women's Conference in Victoria. Our conference topic was "Making our Voices Heard". Our visit included professional lobby lessons and the opportunity to attend the legislature and meet with our MLAs to discuss some very important issues that our present B.C. Liberal government needs to change.

Interestingly enough, five women were not permitted into the meeting at the legislature and were arrested and banned for life! Once again, another example of our government trying to silence the voices of the women in our community.We had three main demands on our agenda to be addressed:

1. Restore the former free-standing Ministry of Women's Equality and funding for all Women's Centres which was $1.7 million. All 37 Women's Centres in the province have lost core funding, several have had to close their doors, and more will have to.

2. Make further changes of Employment Standards Act - including elimination of the $6 training wage, increase B.C.'s minimum wage and increase the call-out from two to four hours.

3. Insist that the new Conservative federal government live up to the childcare agreements negotiated and signed with all the provinces, including British Columbia under the current premier. Restore the $40 million in provincial annual funding to childcare cut by the Liberal government in 2002.

Many people are not aware that B.C. is the only province in Canada that does not have a human rights commission. We are slowly being silenced and as Corky Evans (NDP Nelson-Creston) quoted to us, "This is not the big business corporations' legislature, this is your legislature, the people of B.C. - keep up your work, and fight for what is yours, this is the legislature for the people of B.C., not corporations."

We were very disrespected by the Liberal members, while our NDP MLAs supported and encouraged our vision and purpose.

While in Victoria, I learned the spotted owl just received $3 million from our government, and while we were in question period, we learned the steelhead salmon received $21 million. Do the women of British Columbia need to come to the brink of extinction before our government will pay attention to the value and importance of our women centres and restore our $1.7 million in core funding which they took away?

I have to say that most of our government officials have no clue what a women's centre in their community (if they still have one) and see the value and importance in keeping our voices heard.

A future endangered species,

Wanda Groetelaars

Squamish

Say yes for genealogists' sake

Editor,

For a few years I have been doing genealogical research, looking for cousins from Byers ancestors in Ontario and Turner ancestors in the Red River Valley. Part of that research has me receiving regular emails from CAN/BC, a British Columbia genealogy mailing list.

Census information has been a large topic of discussion for the last couple of years, since under the Statistics Act the 1911 census information was due to come into the public realm. As I understand it, the problem was that the archivists were loath to actually allow that information to be accessed by the genealogists. It's not clear to me why.

The genealogists are mostly amateurs, interested in family history of just history in general. Some of them urged the lawmakers in Ottawa to help their cause, and Muriel Davidson and Gordon Watts did a lot of work on private members' bills to help them out. The material is now accessible, and people have been busily transcribing it, making it available in electronically searchable form.

The latest census form asks if you and I will allow the government to unseal the census information in 2098. This is what that is all about. Genealogists need the information to accurately trace their ancestors. Sometimes people are interested in family history because there are health issues to research: if you were descended from certain English monarchs, you would want to know, since they might have been hemophiliacs. Some of us are simply curious. I have been connecting with some cousins whose ancestors went in different directions than mine did.

Historians also depend on census information. One can't research history out of nothing. Primary sources are the key to good historical work. A historian needs all kind of information taken during the period he or she is researching, sources like financial records, church registries, newspapers, birth/marriage/death records, and census information. More information makes for better, more accurate interpretations of the historical period.

What I'm saying is that we should consider allowing the 2098 unsealing of our census information. Sure, it feels "Big Brother"-like, but it will benefit posterity more.

For more information go to http://globalgenealogy.com/ and type "reasons to say yes" in the search box, then click on "Gordon Watts Reports - 13 April 2006".

Laurence Byers

Squamish

American hands off our census

Editor,

To all who are concerned and for the information of those who are unaware:

As few people are aware, this year's census is to be done, computer-wise, by Lockheed Martin of Texas. Among their many activities, throughout the world, they make weapons of mass destruction!

Despite many objections to Census Canada about the wisdom of using a foreign, American corporation to do the computer work on our Canadian census, the Statistics Canada people insist that security is such that there should be no fear of foreigners accessing information about Canadians. This despite the fact that many Canadians are fully aware of the things that can be done with computers these days to access anything. An example would be when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police got a Windows program from Microsoft and, surprise, surprise, there was a window in it which allowed access to the program from other locations!

Our problem, it seems, is that NAFTA says "thou shalt not discriminate against American corporations". Because of that, even the Canadian Firearms Centre has been forced to use Electronic Data Systems, (EDS) of Texas to do the computer work for our firearms registry, thereby putting the locations of Canadian's firearms in the hands of foreign corporations! Corporations whose information is subject to the American Patriot Act.

Now for the worst part. When the Canadian government tried to find a Canadian alternative for the firearms registry, because of concerns by Canadian citizens, they contracted with a team of CGI and BDP Data, of Montreal. Resolve Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio, bought BDP.

Since boycotting the census brings a fine of $500 and/or three months in jail, some alternatives, have been proposed. Among these are any accidents that render the written form inaccessible to computer work, thereby requiring manual counting of the information and perhaps leaving Lockheed-Martin out of the loop.

Some true Canadians may well feel the need to boycott, if they have the time or money, but no one has control over such acts of civil disobedience if people are willing to commit themselves to a cause.

Rene Moreau

Toronto, Ont.

McCartneys will be missed

Editor,

I would like to take the time to say thank you and acknowledge three gentlemen who have been members of our business community for as long as I can remember. (Sorry, guys!)

They represent the epitome of service with a smile, helpful advice, friendly service, the handyman's (or woman's) friend. All of these phrases that businesses use to try to earn customers' trust do not come close to describing these three fellows. Going to one of them is like talking to a friend. You can always count on an honest opinion and good conversation.

I am speaking of Dave, Norm and Doug McCartney, and anyone who has lived in Squamish for even a short time knows these gentlemen. They are three of the McCartney "boys", the hardware guys, the fellows in the red shirts, and soon to be, dare I say, retired? Whether it was Valley Hardware, Link Hardware or Home Hardware, they were the go-to guys.

Dave, Norm and Doug, you have been a part of our lives, either completing projects, solving repair problems, or, when our daughters were very little, coming in to rub the moose's nose and getting a bright-coloured fishing worm. (Norm, I think we still have a couple of those.) We will miss having you there to count on, but we wish you all the best. (Hey, how about a help line?)

To the new owners we wish the best of luck, but remember, you have three pairs of very big shoes to fill.

Monique and Shane Molloy

Squamish

Leaving the garden

Editor,

It is rather ironic that, just as spring is kicking into high gear in Sea to Sky, our family is, quite literally, pulling up roots to move to a new, smaller community.

My husband JD and I have called Squamish home for the past 13 years and have had an incredible journey of firsts here - our first home, first child (then second and third!) and first uncontained permanent garden. We dug in our roots and reveled in being part of such a closely-knit neighbourhood. We have had epic joy here, as well as devastating loss. And through it all, there has always been a supportive community standing behind us.

It's funny how important my Brackendale garden was, and will continue to be. To me, this garden has very much been a place of healing, both physically and spiritually. At current count, there are over 625 varieties of herbs, fruit and heritage perennials, a true testament to both the level of my insanity, and the profound patience and love of my husband who, always obligingly did all the grunt work, and never once, balked at my plans to rip up yet another chunk of grass.

My Brackendale garden is an oasis for myself and my family. It is a refuge from the bustling world, a quiet, peaceful, contemplative place where one is directly confronted by the magnificence, diversity, power and usefulness of nature.

In my garden I have everything anyone needs for nutrition, to cure almost any ill, or to uplift the spirit. God lives in my garden. So does Mother Nature. We have squirrels and birds, worms and bugs, snakes, frogs and fish; even the occasional Heron, all despite three loud kids and two neurotic, operatic dogs.

I think the most important gardening lesson I have learned in my 13 years in Squamish is that my responsibility does not end at my property line and that what I do in my yard does indeed affect the yards of my neighbours. Just ask anyone who is still dealing with overwintering ladybugs!

The pesticides that we spray on our lawn do end up in our neighbours' yard. The Round-up that we spray makes its way into the food we grow in our gardens. The trees we cut down end up in loss of habitat for the birds who live here in the summer, and the insects, both harmful and beneficial. When left to themselves, they balance each other out. It is we humans who are constantly upsetting the balance with our ideas of what things should be like.

Brackendale has been a fabulous place to live and raise our children. It is a very hard community to leave. It shall remain home for all of us. Squamish is growing and changing, and with change comes the opportunity to make yourself and your ideas heard. Grow some stuff, make a difference in someone else's life, talk to your neighbours, plant trees, and be good to each other.

Oh, and by the way, if you're ever in Revelstoke, look us up. We'll be the ones with the jungle in the front yard

Good gardening and happy trails,

Sandra and JD Davis

Revelstoke

SoccerFest organizers thankful

Editor,

The Squamish Soccer Association would like to thank the 36 men's and 34 ladies teams that played in the Squamish SoccerFest 2006 Tournament on the weekend of April 22 and 23.

The weekend was a great success thanks to all of you. We would like to extend a huge thank-you to our main sponsor Labatt's. Sam Lenarduzzi, Territory Manager for Labatt's was instrumental with his knowledge and support. Our other main supporter that made the weekend a huge success was Mother Nature- she couldn't have behaved better!

We would especially like to thank our local businesses for their sponsorship and support. Without them the tournament would not have been the same. Pemberton Transport for the donation of their 5-ton for the weekend, The Sea to Sky Hotel for their sponsorship of the referee rooms, and McDonald's, Carney's Waste Systems, Squamish Credit Union, the Rental Network and Howe Sound Taxi all provided services that were greatly appreciated. Thanks also to The Chief for the coverage you have provided the tournament.

We would also like to thank our local RCMP for their presence and the 2006 grads for their Safe Ride program. That was appreciated by many!

To all volunteers that assisted over the weekend we could not have done it without you!

We are looking for more local sponsorship and support for the tournament as it has become a huge success and our fields are maxed out with games beginning on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. and continuing through to the last game being played at 6:30 p.m. to repeat again on Sunday with the finals taking place late afternoon. All proceeds are going towards our entire soccer community for a turf field. The Squamish Soccer Association is a committee of nine volunteers, each representing a sector of the soccer community. We have estimated that the tournament brings in over 1,050 players and their families to this community and they fully occupy the hotels, restaurants, establishments, campgrounds, etc. Our entire community benefits from the tournament!

Squamish Soccer Association

Squamish