Pique Newsmagazine 3113

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(MIS)LEAD THE WAY New lawsuit alleges FortisBC deceived public over ‘renewable’ gas 14 HOUSING REPORT Taking a closer look at housing for Whistler’s most vulnerable 16 JAYDAY Eclectic ensemble the Four Jays plays Whistler April 7 58 DOGPATROL Catching up with Whistler Blackcomb’s avalanche rescue dogs FREE TO SCRATCH MY FACE OFF MARCH 29, 2024 ISSUE 30.13 WWW.PIQUENEWSMAGAZINE.COM
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Doggo patrol

Catching up with Whistler Blackcomb’s avalanche rescue dogs. - By Scott Tibballs





A Whistler resident is helping lead the charge on a new lawsuit alleging FortisBC deceived the public over “renewable” gas.


HOUSING REPORT A new report at municipal hall takes a closer look at housing for Whistler’s most vulnerable.


Three layers of government, along with residents themselves, are kicking in cash to pay for debris-flow mitigation work at Lillooet Lake Estates.


There was plenty of elite youth talent on display at the Junior Moguls Nationals in Whistler from March 20 to 24.


The District of Lillooet is once again renewing its calls for a passenger rail service to the community north of Pemberton.

58 JAYDAY Specializing in an eclectic combination of classical and jazz music, the Four Jays are “a match made in heaven.”

COVER Not all dogs wear capes, but all dogs are heroes! - By Jon Parris // @jon.parris.art
4 MARCH 29, 2024
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Opinion & Columns

08 OPENING REMARKS When it comes to living your best life, dogs get the truth of it, writes editor Braden Dupuis—and we don’t deserve them.

10 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR This week’s letter writers weigh in on the municipality’s new water-use bylaw, and offer thanks for a successful event.

13 SKI-TOWN RUNDOWN The long wait for snow at resorts near and far paid off last month— then out came the sun and dried up all the (frozen) rain.

74 MAXED OUT The likelihood Canada will rebuild itself into a lean, mean fighting machine is very slim, writes G.D. Maxwell.

Environment & Adventure

46 THE OUTSIDER After male slopestyle riders staged a protest at Crankworx Rotorua, Vince Shuley asks the question: Is slopestyle competition sustainable?

Lifestyle & Arts

56 EPICURIOUS Simranjeet Kaur’s new food-delivery service is providing home-cooked goodness to the people of Pemberton.

62 MUSEUM MUSINGS In late March and early April, 1980, Whistler Mountain played host to a very busy week of events—only some of which were planned.

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IT IS ALARMINGLY EASY to lose sight of the things that truly matter—to get all crossed up in nothing at all.

Manufactured interpersonal drama; horrid news headlines from abroad; artificial anxieties nagging at the inside of your frontal lobe, twisting your nerve endings and setting off alarm bells in your stomach.

But why? Why is that historical embarrassment still eating at you, years later?

What does it matter if the church group didn’t like your casserole?

What is this thing we’re all doing called “life,” and why is it so often so sad and uncomfortable?

Why can’t we find peace inside ourselves?

These are the types of enormous questions philosophers have probed for centuries; far be it from me to provide any kind of concrete guidance.

Though if I had to guess, I suspect shades of the real answer are evident in the simple, loyal love of a dog.

It was an easy revelation on my part, gleaned from a short, afternoon nap with a cuddly, stinky little pup.

Here was this fuzzy creature, so full of warmth and love and personality, motivated almost entirely by ancient, animal instincts, peering up at me with a heart-melting look of lazy affection I was sure in that moment could end any war.

If everyone had their own little lovable pup, I knew right then, there would be no more need for fighting.

Preaching to the choir, certainly. Whistler loves dogs.

For proof, look no further than Pique’s

annual Best of Whistler reader survey, which has crowned local shelter Whistler Animals Galore favourite non-profit too many years in a row to count.

According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, about 8 million Canadian households had a dog in 2022.

In Whistler, the number of dog licences issued annually varies. In 2023, there were 518 dog licences issued in the resort, according to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), or about 9.2 per cent of Whistler’s 5,600 or so households.

The actual number of pups in our community often feels, and likely is, much higher, factoring in all the unlicenced and just-visiting dogs on any given day.

No complaints here—I would argue there is no better place to spend a lazy, sunny afternoon in Whistler than Barking Bay, where the pups reign supreme.

But not everyone is onboard, particularly

another three mixed-use areas in Spruce Grove, Meadow Park and on the Valley Trail (off-leash dogs permitted in winter only).

In this week’s cover feature, you’ll read about some of the hardest-working, most heroic dogs in all of Whistler—Whistler Blackcomb’s avalanche rescue dog team.

Because what’s not to like about a dog with a job?

As if we needed more reasons to revere them, avalanche pups take the concept of human’s best friend to its ultimate end, using their powerful noses not to suss out the treats in the closet, but human bodies in distress under metres of compacted snow.

Bonafide lifesavers, avalanche rescue dogs can search an area in 30 minutes that would take a dozen humans several hours. And that’s just one of the more dramatic examples of canine resourcefulness.

Multiple studies have shown having a dog in your life can decrease loneliness, stress, and

the journal Anthrozoös found the presence of a dog was associated with “a higher rate of helping behaviour” among strangers.

Researchers found people were more likely to give strangers money, help them pick up dropped items, or even give them their phone number if a dog was present.

This is fantastic news for those of us who are, er, aesthetically challenged.

So if you find yourself struggling with the first two rules of dating (1: be attractive, and, 2: don’t be unattractive), it’s good to know you can potentially rebalance the scales with an especially cute pup.

For all the time and energy we expend on other humans, with their anxious meddling, and their social hang-ups, and their made-up drama, one has to wonder if we’re all barking up the wrong tree—if the real wisdom is found in the philosophy of woof.

There’s nothing here but us, and we’ve got nothing but time. The meaning of life? It’s

[O]ne has to wonder if we’re all barking up the wrong tree—if the real wisdom is found in the philosophy of woof.

when those pooches are off-leash where they shouldn’t be.

The RMOW passed a new animal responsibility bylaw in 2019, which sets out the rules for ownership. In short: leashes, licences, poo bags, and good behaviour. Oh, and don’t leave your pup tied up and unattended on public property (read more at whistler.ca/dogs).

The RMOW currently has four “official” off-leash areas for dogs, at Alpha Lake, Bayly Park, Rainbow Park and Lost Lake Park, with

anxiety, leading to lower blood pressure and reduced heart risk.

Dogs are proven to help humans cope with and recover from traumatic events—think military veterans with PTSD—and just having one can boost your fitness levels through the simple act of regular daily walks.

Still not convinced?

More than one study has proven dogs make a person more attractive, or trustworthy.

One such study from 2015 published in

this, right here.

To live, and live well.

Find the small joys in every moment, without complaint or reservation.

Love whoever is around to be loved.

Tomorrow is the distant future.

So let’s go outside and embrace today for what it is; then we’ll take a quiet nap together on the couch.

Dogs get the truth of it—and we don’t deserve them. ■

We don’t deserve dogs
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MLA Jordan Sturdy responds to Lil’wat criticism

In 2023, the Supreme Court of BC in Gitxaala v. British Columbia (Chief Gold Commissioner) agreed with the provincial government that DRIPA and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should be used only as an “interpretive aid.” The NDP went further and said that UNDRIP is not legally enforceable and again, the Court agreed.

Citizens of this province should expect that management of the 95 per cent of B.C. that is public land should be the responsibility of an elected government whose obligation is to govern in the interests of, and be accountable to, all British Columbians.

I stand by my comments.

Jordan Sturdy // MLA, West Vancouver-Sea to Sky

Whistler ‘needs to do better’ on wateruse bylaw

A version of this letter was sent to Whistler’s mayor and council, and shared with Pique. This letter is to express disappointment

after council approved a new water-use bylaw on March 19 (see Pique, March 22: “Whistler tinkers with water restriction stages”). The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) missed the opportunity to consult and failed to access knowledge of the horticulture industry.

The bylaw reduces watering of landscapes to every other day from May 1 to Oct. 31.

This is acceptable for established landscapes. To clarify, we in the industry are not against water conservation.

We understand water is a valuable resource,

and the frequency of hot, dry summers will increase. We work in it, and understand reality. We understand horticulture. We want to do this right, but weren’t allowed.

Specific concerns are related to timing, as well as the impact on new landscaping projects, repairs, and hanging baskets/containers.

May 1 is standard in some jurisdictions, but Whistler is just getting started then. This is the time to keep moisture in the ground, and give plants a good start for the hot summer.

If we truly want to conserve water, we

must use it efficiently where needed for the biggest impact. We can only plant during our short season.

Repairs and new landscapes simply cannot be done with watering every other day. We have to repair damaged lawns where snowplows and winter weather have caused damage. This is not possible without cumbersome permits now.

Containers/hanging baskets require watering to keep plants and soil(!) healthy. Many containers are used for edibles, offsetting expensive food bills.

“I stand by my comments.”

While allowed hand/drip irrigation, they are often connected to automatic irrigation systems, designed to water efficiently at ideal times. If professionally installed and maintained, with rain-sensors, sprinkler heads that use less water, and valves to hold water, they save up to 50 per cent of water. Why not allow exemptions with water-reduction measures to actually conserve water?

Hand-watering is done during daytime, often spilling water. If not watered regularly,

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water will run through dry soil and truly waste water. If watered regularly, we can water with small amounts.

We ask that the bylaw start July 1 and allow exemptions for repairs and new installations, as well as hanging baskets/containers to be watered as needed—with automatic irrigation in place.

With regard to FireSmart: Dry plants will pose a fire danger. Dry soil and plants will not help cool our environment, and will increase the risk for fire.

There cannot be fearmongering that watering your garden is bad! Healthy plants

On behalf of the horticulture industry and Whistler’s environment,

Stippler // Heike Designs, Whistler

Whistler Nordics says thanks

On behalf of everyone at the Whistler Nordics Ski Club, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to this season’s sponsors, volunteers, and supporters. Your generosity and commitment helped deliver a season full of events and programming in spite of every single challenge the weather delivered. Your contribution plays a crucial role in enabling us to provide exceptional Nordic

“Dry soil and plants will not help cool our environment, and will increase our risk for fire.”

help us with fire prevention. They help keep our environment cooler, keep moisture in the air, provide oxygen, filter the air. Soils and plants sequester carbon and feed pollinators, but only if they are healthy and watered.

There is much more, and horticulture is complex. We are here to help to truly conserve water. The new bylaw doesn’t avoid wasting water.

We need to do better! Together. As a community, for our community.

skiing programs and events to our vibrant local cross-country ski community.

Thanks to your unwavering support, we continue to nurture a love for skiing and outdoor activity, foster camaraderie among enthusiasts, and offer opportunities for growth and achievement to individuals of all ages and skill levels.

Thank you and see you on the trails next season.

Dan Wilson // President, Whistler Nordics n

Backcountry Update


After navigating challenging backcountry conditions for most of March, we can breathe a sigh of relief as the situation appears to be simplifying. A thick crust near the surface, a result of last week’s warm spell, has made persistent slab avalanches unlikely! With only light snow accumulation over the past week, our focus can shift towards managing surface problems like wind slab and wet, loose avalanches. These problems are relatively easier to manage by paying attention to the weather and surface clues.

Looking ahead to the weekend, the weather forecast suggests a gradual cleaning trend with unsettled, cloudy weather giving way to warm and sunny conditions on Sunday. You’ll want to be paying close attention to windloaded pockets around ridges and steep alpine terrain, and back off steeper slopes when

they are getting hit by the sun. These are the most likely places for avalanches under these conditions. While the crust near the surface has improved avalanche conditions, it may make travel more difficult in some areas.

The situation may be a little different to the north of Pemberton, where the crust may not be thick enough to rule out the possibility of triggering larger avalanches on older weak layers. Make sure to check the local forecast if heading north.

Dealing with persistent slab problems demands patience and vigilance. Thankfully, we’ve reached the point where we can step out into the backcountry with a bit more confidence, provided we remain attuned to signs of instability in the surface snow, choose terrain with care, and always practice good travel habits. n

CONDITIONS MAY VARY AND CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY Check for the most current conditions before heading out into the backcountry. Daily updates for the areas adjacent to Whistler Blackcomb are available at 604-938-7676, or surf to www.whistlerblackcomb.com/mountain-info/ snow-report#backcountry or go to www.avalanche.ca.



LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Write to us! Letters to the editor must contain the writer’s name, address and a daytime telephone number. Maximum length is 450 words. Pique Newsmagazine reserves the right to edit, condense or refrain from publishing any contribution. Letters reflect the opinion of the writer and not that of Pique Newsmagazine. Send them to edit@ piquenewsmagazine.com before 11 a.m. on Tuesday for consideration in that week’s paper.
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Ski-Town Rundown: There and back again

OH, WHAT A DIFFERENCE a month—and a week of sunshine—can make.

In our last instalment of Ski-Town Rundown on Feb. 29, we were buried under the weighty excitement of 80 or so forecasted centimetres.

It’s true. It really happened. I watched the snow pile up outside my window overnight. It kept me snowed in for an entire production day.

It feels like another lifetime.

As of March 26, Whistler Blackcomb had a base depth of about 231 centimetres—well above the 154 centimetres reported as of Feb. 29.

The latest Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin for the province won’t be posted until April 10, but as of March 15, the provincial average snowpack was at about 72 per cent of median, up from 69 per cent on March 1.

In the Lower Fraser Basin, which includes Whistler, the snow basin index had climbed to about 53 per cent of normal as of March 1, but was still well below a normal year.

While winter did arrive, eventually, it didn’t stay long.

All that snow I watched pile up outside my window lasted all of one week in the sun,

and Whistler Blackcomb is now gearing up for spring operations.

Here’s a high-level view of headlines from other ski resorts as March comes to a close.


Whistler’s big wait for decent snow this season was mirrored in resorts around the province, as was the late February storm sequence that buried B.C.’s mountains.

And once all that snow finally arrived, the warm temperatures didn’t discriminate in taking much of it back.

According to Environment Canada, hightemperature records were broken in 38 B.C. communities on Sunday, March 17.

Merritt was the warmest place in Canada that day, at 23.2 C.

The temperature spike led to some spicy conditions in the backcountry, and a special public avalanche warning was issued for much of the province in mid March.

Serious incidents were few given the conditions, but according to Avalanche Canada, a 58-year-old man from Alberta died in an avalanche near Revelstoke on March 3.

It was the second B.C. avalanche death this year, after a snowmobiler died in an avalanche in northeastern B.C. Jan. 27.

Fortunately, as of this writing, things have settled in the backcountry, with Avalanche Canada predicting relatively smooth-sailing in the days ahead. But as

always, exercise caution.

Tragedy struck Sun Peaks Resort last week, when a skier died after colliding with a tree.

According to a statement from the resort, the man was found near a beginner trail on Mount Morrisey after the March 21 incident.

“While enjoying the mountain environment is not without risk, events of this nature are rare, and we strive to provide a safe environment for everyone,” the statement said. “At this time, our focus is supporting those in need, including our employees who attended to the injured guest and have been involved with this situation.”


It ain’t over yet.

Warm weather and high temperatures may be dashing dreams of another winter resurgence here at home, but the snow is still falling south of the border.

Ski areas around Park City, Utah were anticipating up to 38 centimetres to close out March, according to forecasts from the U.S. National Weather Service.

Snowpack in that state was sitting at 124 per cent of average as of Monday, March 25.

“Our statewide snowpack has been consistently above normal since the beginning of February, which has really put Utah in a good position as we head into spring,” Candice Hasenyager, director of the Utah Division of Water Resources, said in a press release.

The fun isn’t over here in Whistler, either.

As March comes to a close, Whistler Blackcomb’s focus shifts to spring operations, with one eye to the summer, and the 25th anniversary of the Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

Both Whistler and Blackcomb mountains will remain open for winter operations until April 14, after which skiing and riding will shift to Whistler Mountain exclusively, with Blackcomb closing for the season to accommodate lift maintenance requirements, and to continue on the Jersey Cream project, which will upgrade the current 4-pack to a high-speed 6-pack chairlift ahead of the winter 2024-25 season.

The final day for skiing and riding in the 2023-24 season is May 20 (conditions permitting).

Throughout the spring, lifts will spin daily for both skiing and riding on Whistler Mountain. Sightseeing on Whistler Village Gondola is open until May 20, before shifting over to Blackcomb Gondola on May 21 through to June 14. The Peak 2 Peak Gondola will remain closed for maintenance before reopening for summer sightseeing on June 15.

“We are so grateful to our amazing guests and community for their support this season, and we know we’ll end on a high note,” said Whistler Blackcomb COO Belinda Trembath in a release. ■


FortisBC deceived public over ‘renewable’ gas, claims lawsuit


AN ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP and two B.C. residents are suing the province’s largest gas utility, claiming FortisBC deceived the public in an effort to convince British Columbians to continue purchasing gas it markets as “renewable.”

The case is the first time a major utility in Canada has been sued for allegedly making deceptive claims about renewable natural gas (RNG)—a catch-all term which can include hydrogen; gas pulled from coal, plants or wood; or methane emissions siphoned off manure, landfills, or wastewater plants.

The allegations were filed in the Supreme Court of BC on Monday, March 25 by Stand Environmental Society; Penticton resident and active climate change advocate Lorraine Goldman; and Edgar Dearden, a sustainable building designer from Whistler.

By misleading the public on the environmental impacts and affordability of gas, FortisBC has breached B.C.’s Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and is “obstructing efforts to reduce emissions” in line with B.C.’s climate targets, the lawsuit alleges.

“This misinformation is being done at a moment when we see local governments really trying to take the lead, do everything they can,” said Stand’s senior campaigns director Liz McDowell in an interview.

“We need to be doing everything we can to tackle the climate crisis, and that means


using all of our human ingenuity to develop solutions; not fighting fossil-fuel interests that are, quite frankly, lying about what the problem is and what the solutions are in order to make profit.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for FortisBC said it is aware of the lawsuit and “will not comment on the merits of the claim.”

“FortisBC takes climate change very seriously and is taking action to help B.C. meet its climate goals,” read the statement. “We’ve always worked to protect the environment— whether by helping customers reduce their GHG emissions, progressing initiatives to lower our own operational GHG emissions or implementing new environmental protections.”

Speaking at a webinar press conference on March 26, Whistler resident Dearden said he has become increasingly frustrated by what he called FortisBC’s efforts to mislead people, which he said he experiences first-hand as the owner of a sustainable home design company.

“I find particularly egregious how they misrepresent the environmental impact of their products despite the well-known impacts of continuing to rely on fossil gas to heat homes,” he said. “Consumers are therefore making decisions with a completely inaccurate picture of the substance they are dealing with … FortisBC’s promotion of gas has made people think that connecting to gas is climate-friendly—this is misleading.”

Dearden said he has stopped using gas in his home, and has since been targeted by advertising suggesting by using gas, he can help the climate.

“I joined this case because I’ve seen FortisBC engage in this enormous promotional campaign and push back against efforts made by people like myself who are volunteering our time to raise awareness about our concerns

with continuing to use gas, and in particular fossil gas, within our homes,” Dearden said.


Advocates of RNG say the gas is a carbonneutral solution that can be pumped through existing transmission systems without a massive overhaul of infrastructure. FortisBC says it’s aiming for 15 per cent of its natural gas supply to come from renewable sources by 2030, a target it says will reduce customer emissions by 30 per cent.

Detractors of the alternative gas often note at the molecular level, RNG is nearly identical to fossil gas. That means if RNG seeps into the atmosphere, it acts as a greenhouse gas more than 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period.

Burning gas to heat buildings accounts for about 10 per cent of B.C.’s carbon emissions, but that number climbs past 50 per cent in the province’s largest cities.

To tackle those emissions, the province and several municipalities, Whistler included, have moved to adopt a Zero Carbon Step Code, which allows municipalities to target the carbon output of new buildings by pushing builders to install low-carbon heat pumps or by building more efficiently.

McDowell said in response, FortisBC has embarked on a public relations campaign to have its gas infrastructure included in the code. That advertising has flooded public spaces, social media and lawmakers’ inboxes with misleading and incorrect information hailing RNG as a solution to the climate crisis, she said.

McDowell said the latest lawsuit is an attempt to correct that misinformation.


According to the notice of civil claim filed March 25, the plaintiffs’ initial arguments will hinge on five categories of misrepresentation.

The first alleges Fortis markets RNG as something that physically comes into customers’ homes “from local farms, landfills and municipalities,” when in fact, the company currently buys more than 85 per cent of its RNG outside of B.C.—a product burned somewhere else by someone else.

In a second set of alleged deceptions, the lawsuit claims FortisBC’s marketing omits that more than 90 per cent of the gas delivered to people’s homes in B.C. is from fossil gas derived from fracked wells in northern B.C. and Alberta.

Third, while FortisBC has made several claims its RNG is certified by a third party as carbon-neutral, the lawsuit alleges no such certification exists.

The plaintiffs also claim FortisBC has falsely marketed gas as a home heating solution more affordable than electric heat pumps.

In one instance on its website, Fortis claims “heating with natural gas is about one third the cost of electricity.” And in the company’s online Home Energy Calculator, the court document claims FortisBC misrepresented the relative affordability of gas by listing a number of customer rebates for high-efficiency gas furnaces while omitting rebates for electric heat pumps.

The lawsuit counters: “The higher efficiency of an electric heat pump will often mean that it is more affordable to operate.”

And in a final category of alleged marketing deception, the plaintiffs claim FortisBC falsely depicted the impacts of gas on climate change in statements published

THE SUIT FITS A new lawsuit alleges FortisBC has used deceptive marketing tactics that misrepresent the potential of RNG in B.C. THOSSAPHOL / ISTOCK / GETTY IMAGES PLUS NEWS WHISTLER 14 MARCH 29, 2024

on its website and in several opinion pieces, including in the Times Colonist and Business in Vancouver

In one Fortis statement cited in the lawsuit, the company presents the choice of upgrading to a high-efficiency gas furnace, upgrading to RNG, or installing an electric heat pump as equivalent when it comes to impacts on climate change.

“The choice is yours,” says Fortis. “Remember, there isn’t a right way or a wrong way.”

Andhra Azevedo, a lawyer with Ecojustice representing the plaintiffs, said that kind of statement ignores that electric heat pumps are “much more efficient” and often cheaper than gas.

Azevedo will argue the case alongside Slater Vecchio LLP, a law firm with experience litigating consumer protection and classaction cases. Scheduling backlogs mean the court should take about two years to hear the case and render a decision.

Over that time, Azevedo said the public will have a chance to see how the evidence alleging FortisBC’s greenwashing is weighed and whether it stands up to legal scrutiny.

“FortisBC and other gas utilities are trying to survive and need to keep increasing their gas connections in order to continue to grow,” said Azevedo.

“And so they’re using this pitch of renewable natural gas… to try and wash over all of the rest of Fortis’ products, which are majority fossil-fuel based.”


Similar greenwashing allegations have been submitted in complaints to Canada’s Competition Bureau. In 2022, a group of doctors and nurses filed a complaint with the bureau claiming the Canadian Gas Association—a national group representing companies like FortisBC, Enbridge and TC Energy—ran a “false and misleading” advertising campaign that touted gas as an “eco-friendly” fuel.

While the bureau has yet to release a decision, evidence has emerged elsewhere that gas utilities are increasingly looking to RNG as a way to keep their business models relevant. Or as McDowell put it: “trying to do anything possible to keep their business model alive.”

At the global level, strategy documents leaked from the International Gas Union suggested it moved to create a global playbook, with messaging tailored to the promotion of gas based on the “environmentalconsciousness” of the market in question.

In Europe, the narrative included promoting the “greening of gas” by redefining it to include other alternative gases—such as renewable gas—without a fossil-fuel background.

For the domestic North American market, the union recommended members—which include the Canadian Gas Association—should highlight increased efficiency and new technology that will help the gas industry “play a vital role delivering a cleaner environment to the region,” among other measures.

FortisBC is far from the only gas utility framing RNG as the future of the industry.

In the United States, 2018 meeting notes obtained by the Climate Investigations

Center suggest the American Gas Association planned to use renewable natural gas as a tool to “mitigate the opposition’s furor against infrastructure expansion.”

And in 2021, a reporter from E&E News obtained presentation slides from Evensource Energy, in which the large utility reportedly urged a coalition of 15 gas companies to oppose electrification of building heating and cooling systems.

In one slide, the company states fossil natural gas is “in the fight of its life” and that RNG “likely will save” the natural gas business.


Few lawsuits involving RNG as an alleged tool for greenwashing have ended up in court. But one recent case in California offers a glimpse of a possible outcome.

In September 2023, the state of California settled a case against SoCalGas for allegedly misrepresenting RNG to the public.

As part of its injunction, the court ordered SoCalGas to refrain from “stating or implying that natural gas is ‘renewable’”—unless the statements complied with a set of federal standards meant to help marketers avoid making environmental claims that mislead consumers.

The court also ordered SoCalGas to publish a statement on its website informing customers of the true composition of its natural gas. However, by settling the case, the court never ruled on the merits of the arguments against the gas company.

If it’s heard, the latest case against FortisBC could offer a landmark decision in efforts to hold the alleged greenwashing of fossil fuels in check.

Should they win, the plaintiffs are seeking a declaration from the court that FortisBC breached the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, and an injunction restraining the company from deceiving the public through the marketing of its gas products and services.

They are also asking the court to order FortisBC to issue corrective advertisements to the public.

Azevedo said if the case is heard, arguments that gas utilities are using RNG to greenwash their operations will be limited to Fortis’ past, current and future activities in B.C.—operations under increased scrutiny in recent weeks.

Last week, a major pillar of FortisBC’s plan to burn renewable natural gas in B.C. hit a wall when the BC Utilities Commission rejected a company plan that would have mandated new buildings receive 100 per cent RNG without paying a premium.

The decision found the move would result in “undue price discrimination” as existing customers would be forced to subsidize the added costs (by one estimate, existing clients could have been forced to provide $750 million in subsidies).

The commission also rejected a Fortis plan to invest in liquefied natural gas due to “uncertain market conditions.” The commission did, however, approve the company’s long-term gas resource plan, including a proposal that will mandate a “notional” RNG blend for all of its customers across the province.

- with files from Scott Tibballs n

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Whistler tables vulnerable populations housing needs report


WHISTLER’S MAYOR and council received a final vulnerable populations housing needs assessment report on March 19, but that’s not to say immediate action is pending.

The report and its findings are intended to inform the municipality on the existing supply of, and community need for, emergency, transitional, supportive, and non-market rental housing.

The report, which will also serve as an input to the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW) long-term housing strategy, focused on four housing types that tend to support the community’s most vulnerable.

What the report didn’t look at was market rental housing, affordable home ownership, market home ownership, assisted living, or long-term care, staff noted.

In a nod to the informational nature of the report, planner Joanna Rees also added that, “while this project provides an assessment of Whistler’s vulnerable populations housing needs, it should be noted it does not attempt to provide solutions to meeting those needs.”

Carried out by RMOW staff and funded through Vancouver Coastal Health, the report

acts as a supplement to the 2022 Whistler Housing Needs report, which identified a need in the community for housing for lowincome and vulnerable populations.

Informed by community and stakeholder input with 19 community groups represented, on a high level, the latest report found households are feeling financial pressures through increasing rental rates, inflation, rising costs of food, and increased costs in childcare.

“With less disposable income, more people are resorting to social services and community supports, including the food bank,” said manager of planning and policy Courtney Beaubien in speaking to the report.

The staff presentation to council also noted key demographics of need are women and children, youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous households, recent immigrant households, and older adults.

Digging into the four types of housing considered, “emergency housing” was found to consist of stock only offered by the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) in the form of its emergency weather response shelter, and emergency housing the WCSS organized in tourist accommodation on a case-by-case basis. There is no yearround emergency housing in Whistler.

With a small amount of services available, the report found Whistler needs

at least six year-round beds dedicated to emergency housing, and by 2033 that number will be at least eight.

The report also noted Whistler has no transitional or safe housing for people fleeing violence or who require immediate accommodation. There is one “secondstage” housing unit operated by PearlSpace, where people experiencing or at risk of violence can live independently for six to 18 months.

“[T]here are limited options for those that cannot wait for housing,” Rees said. Whistler needs a safe home, she added, and by 2033, the community will need more intermediate housing options.

For the third category, supportive housing, Whistler again has minimal options, and none for adults, older adults or people with disabilities. There is one youth supportive housing program operated by Zero Ceiling.

Supportive housing is housing for those who require assistance to live independent lives.

The Zero Ceiling program has 13 people on the waitlist, while comparable communities require about 20 beds worth of supportive housing for older demographics. The report found Whistler needs at least 22 beds for youth, and 20 beds for all other demographics—numbers which will rise by

2033 to 28 for youth, and 26 for adults, older adults and people with disabilities.

Finally, non-market rental housing is for those with a low to moderate income. Non-market rentals are the most welldeveloped segment under the report, with 347 units through the Whistler Housing Authority and Whistler Valley Housing Society, while there are 1,038 units throughout Whistler governed by housing agreements to keep rents low, and there are estimated to be 45 households in the private rental market that receive rent supplements through BC Housing.

Staff reported that while the WHA is reputable and does well by the community, its strict eligibility requirements are a major hurdle. Long wait-list times also take the WHA off the list of solutions for those in emergency housing situations.

The full report with a breakdown of the four categories and considerations can be read on the RMOW’s website.

In summarizing lessons learned, staff said the report found housing is complex, and no one group can solve the challenges facing Whistler, which require more partnerships and data collection in key areas to better inform policy decisionmaking. Finally, staff recommended the report should be revisited “in a maximum of five years.” n

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Tributes pour in for woman who died on Blackcomb Mountain


A SNOWBOARDER WHO DIED in a treewell incident at Whistler Blackcomb this month is being remembered as an “extremely intelligent” engineer regarded for her pioneering research on CO2 conversion.

Danielle Salvatore, 32, was snowboarding with her partner on March 9 when they became separated, after which her partner contacted Whistler Blackcomb Ski Patrol, according to a Whistler Blackcomb spokesperson.

Patrol found Salvatore unresponsive on Renegade—an advanced gladed trail near Catskinner Express Chairlift.

“On behalf of Whistler Blackcomb, our Ski Patrol and the entire Vail Resorts family, I would like to offer my deepest condolences,” said Belinda Trembath, Whistler Blackcomb COO, in a release.

“Tragedies like this weigh heavily on all of us, and our hearts go out to the guest’s family and friends. We are here to support during this extremely difficult time.”

Now, tributes are pouring in and fundraisers are racking up the donations in Salvatore’s memory.

Salvatore, a resident of Garibaldi Highlands in Squamish, excelled at every level of her studies, according to an obituary.

She became internationally known as a graduate student for her pioneering work in CO2 conversion, designing and building the world’s first membrane reactor for converting waste CO2 into fuels.

“While there are now thousands of researchers around the world working on her technology, this was not even her greatest achievement. She later invented a reactor capable of coupling the two distinct steps of CO2 capture and CO2 conversion,” the obit read.

“Danielle’s discovery, which was featured in the Globe and Mail, launched an entirely new field now known as ‘reactive carbon capture.’”

Her work landed her an invite to move to the US National Renewable Energy Lab to lead a program on CO2 reactors as an NSF Presidential Fellow—but when she was unable to cross the border due to COVID, she instead joined the founding team of Miru Smart Technologies Corp., an energy-efficient window company in Vancouver.

In September 2023, she was named one of Canada’s Clean50 emerging leaders for 2024.

“Her innovative work in decarbonizing the built environment is widely recognized,” the obit read. “Danielle’s impact on future society will be felt for generations.”

Her impact on the present is notable, too. A pair of GoFundMes in her name had amassed thousands of dollars as of press time.

“In celebration and memory of Danielle Salvatore” is organizing a group donation in Salvatore’s name to Protect Our Winters Canada, and has already raised $4,650 of a $2,000 goal.

A second fundraiser, for a “Danielle Salvatore Memorial Soccer Tournament,” had raised $2,955 of a $4,000 goal as of press time.

The University of British Columbia has also created scholarship in her memory—the Danielle Salvatore Memorial Scholarship, which will “recognize future bright minds in perpetuity.”

“Inside and out, our beautiful, brilliant Danielle was captivating and fun-loving. Her expressions drew a crowd wherever she was and enchanted the hearts of too many to mention,” the obit read.

“She will be incredibly and passionately missed. Her legacy of her unwavering commitment to family, friends, and her community will be treasured forever. The world is a better place because our Dani was in it.” ■

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District of Lillooet repeats calls for rail passenger service


THE DISTRICT OF LILLOOET is renewing its calls for the province to re-establish passenger rail service to the isolated northern community.

Mayor Laurie Hopfl secured the support of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District at its Feb. 29 board meeting by asking for a letter of support in efforts to lobby the province.

“Public transportation is a serious impediment for thousands of residents living within the B.C. Interior,” wrote Hopfl in a letter to the SLRD.

“With the cessation of passenger rail service serving communities between North Vancouver to Prince George in 2002, not only is direct access to medical care, social opportunities in major centres and family visits not possible, but tourism has also declined.”

Lillooet also lost its only public transportation link to Whistler earlier this year, when the Owl Bus formally ceased operations.

Speaking to her letter at the SLRD meeting, Hopfl said “the need is definitely great” for transportation links.

During discussion, SLRD director Jenna Stoner queried the viability of a rail link,

citing previous studies into high-speed rail along the Sea to Sky corridor as the reason for any hesitation on her part.

“All the research we’ve done for this … the rail track isn’t up to scale anymore for passenger service, or it would be extremely slow.

“My understanding is that it’s not doable on the tracks that we have.”

Greyhound Bus services in Western Canada, while the District of Squamish made similar requests in 2016.

Hopfl’s request was supported by Area C Director Russell Mack, who said the tracks linking Lillooet to Vancouver are good to go.

“Rocky Mountaineer uses this track … it’s perfectly safe and usable,” he said. “CN keeps it safe and usable in case they need it in an emergency.”

He added while high-speed rail is unlikely, a passenger service would be possible.

She added it is the District of Lillooet’s intention to just keep asking.

“If we don’t touch on these initiatives it will never happen,” she said.

“We’re hoping that with ongoing interest and year after year of asking, that they’ll look at this as a feasible study.”

Lillooet has long campaigned for the re-establishment of rail links—previous Mayor Marg Lampman made formal requests through the Union of BC Municipalities in 2018 in the lead-up to a cessation of

Hopfl said the Rocky Mountaineer uses the tracks between Vancouver and Lillooet and on to the Interior, and BC Hydro is even considering using a “rail bus” to transport workers between Lillooet and Seton Portage for various long-term infrastructure projects in the area.

The link from Lillooet through the Sea to Sky towards Vancouver is leased by CN Rail, and acts as a secondary link from the Interior to the Lower Mainland for freight being moved to and from ports in Vancouver. CN Rail’s primary lines to ports are through the Fraser Canyon—a link that was cut, along with lines owned by CPKC Rail, in 2021 following the atmospheric river event in November of that year.

CN previously increased its freight traffic along the corridor due to wildfires in the Fraser Canyon.

The SLRD board voted unanimously to support the District of Lillooet in its calls for the provincial government and the Ministry of Transportation to re-establish a passenger rail service, and Hopfl said the District is considering expanding its ask to other municipalities along the corridor. n

THE OLD DUSTY RAIL A former BC Rail unit used for passenger rail service sits unused at the Squamish rail yards in 2023.
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Scapegoating the carbon tax a distraction from climate change: Weiler


LIKE HIS LIBERAL colleagues, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP Patrick Weiler has dismissed the letter sent to Liberal and NDP MPs by Pierre Poilievre encouraging them to vote against the April 1 carbon pricing increase.

“It’s not altogether surprising,” said Weiler in an interview with Pique

“It does bring me back to December, when [Pierre] Poilievre and the Conservatives were having a bit of a temper tantrum that they were going to keep all MPs through the holiday season to axe the tax and sure enough, after a few hours that was over and we voted on what we needed to vote on, and then people went home for the holidays.

“This letter is right in the same vein.”

Weiler said there are multiple votes coming up to do with the end of the financial year.

“They’re all confidence votes—this isn’t about the carbon tax, but that’s what he wants to make it about and that’s how he wants to talk about it. Fine.”

In the letter, sent March 14 to Liberal and NDP MPs, Poilievre asked they join the Conservatives in voting against the scheduled federal carbon tax increase, set

to kick in April 1.

It’s an annual increase that will continue through to 2030, though B.C. has its own carbon tax that negates the federal tax.

But that didn’t stop Poilievre from getting into it with B.C. Premier David Eby about British Columbia’s own carbon tax.

“It’s really what the premier [David Eby] termed very appropriately as ‘the baloney factory,’” said Weiler.

“It’s trying to frame the price on pollution as if it’s responsible for the cost-of-living challenges that we have in Canada right now, but really it’s just a scapegoat that [Poilievre is] using to undermine climate action.”

Weiler argued most Canadians end up better off under the federal carbon pricing scheme due to rebates.

“When you look at how that works, it’s only people that are, on average, making more than $250,000 that end up paying more.”

The government offers carbon rebates to Canadians based on their income.

As a key part of the Liberal government’s climate plan, Weiler said he will of course be voting against any efforts by the Conservatives to stop the carbon pricing scheme’s scheduled increase.

“It’s going to be responsible for 30 per cent of the emissions reductions we have planned to make between now and 2030,” he said.

“And it’s not just about affordability— we’re seeing the impact of climate change right now, especially in B.C. It was 20 C over the weekend in West Vancouver, and that’s breaking records for this time of the year.

“It really underscores the necessity for us to do what we can to fight against climate change, because the alternative is much, much costlier, and it’s going to leave a country and a world that is much less livable for our generation and for future generations, too.”

Conservative candidate for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, Keith Roy, said in an email continued increases in the carbon pricing scheme are irresponsible considering cost-ofliving pressures on Canadians.

“After eight years of this Liberal-NDP government, life in West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country has never been more expensive, yet Justin Trudeau and the NDP have decided to hike the carbon tax again on April 1 by 23 per cent,” he said.

“I was talking with a farmer in Pemberton on Monday who explained that almost every piece of machinery on his farm runs on diesel fuel and there are no reasonable alternatives. The increased fuel cost for farmers has a direct impact on the high price of food.”

Roy said Weiler “should have listened to his constituents” and voted to stop the increase.

“Instead, Mr. Weiler voted to make the hardworking people of West VancouverSunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country pay even more for gas, food and heating.”

Roy said he supports efforts by Conservatives in Parliament to call a vote of no confidence in Justin Trudeau in order to force “a carbon tax election,” and “turn the hurt Trudeau caused into the hope that Canadians need.”

For his part, Weiler described the Conservative campaigning on the issue as dishonest, and a distraction from efforts to fight climate change.

“It would be one thing if the Conservatives were proposing a different plan of their own, but the fact of the matter is they reject any action on climate change,” he said. “The only thing they’ve proposed is extracting more fossil fuels in Canada as their plan to fight climate change—it’s really not serious, and by trying to scapegoat the price on pollution it is really dishonest and it mischaracterizes what it does at the same time.”

The federal carbon tax will increase on April 1, with the price on carbon to go from $65 a tonne to $80, and will continue to go up annually until it reaches $170 a tonne by 2030.

BC.’s own carbon tax currently sits at $65 a tonne, and will also increase on April 1. n

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WVHS requests housing agreement amendment


WHISTLER’S MAYOR and council voted to expedite a modified housing agreement with the Whistler Valley Housing Society (WVHS) on March 19, as it opens applications for its new building on Mount Fee Road.

In a letter to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), the board of directors of the WVHS—which is a separate organization from the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA)— wrote the organization wants to expand the definition of “essential workers” who apply to live in WVHS properties; to allow social service agencies to rent from the WVHS and then sublease to their clients; and to allow over-housed tenants from one WVHS property to move into its new building at 1400 Mount Fee Road.

“The clauses we request modified would make the project more viable for the oversight and support of the clients of social service agencies and use WVHS’ existing housing stock more effectively,” the letter read.

As announced by the WVHS earlier this month, the new property consisting of 30 units will be open to applications from essential service workers from April, with 15 allocated to those who qualify as defined by the WVHS.

The WVHS seeks to expand the definition to also include social service workers, pharmacists, and veterinary doctors.

The remaining 15 units are earmarked for clients of social service agencies, though the WVHS letter said RMOW staff determined the current housing agreement does not allow for this.

With the amendment, those groups could lease directly from WVHS, and sublet them to clients as needed.

Finally, the last amendment requested was to allow for the WVHS to move residents who

are “overhoused” at its other property—2178 Sarajevo Drive—into units at 1400 Mount Fee Road.

The 2178 Sarajevo Drive property is made up of 20 three-bedroom townhouses, and according to the WVHS, is in need of some upgrades due to its age.

“The overhoused tenants we would like to move meet the housing agreement conditions of working in Whistler a minimum of 30 hours per week, but would not meet the criteria of either an essential service worker or a client of community services, or be at the top of the

WHA waitlist,” the letter read.

According to the letter, 12 of the 20 units are under-used, as they were occupied by families with children who have since moved out.

“The vacated units would be used by either essential service workers or social service clients that would be underhoused in Mount Fee.”

The 1400 Mount Fee Road property is made up of 18 one-bedroom apartments, and 12 two-bedroom apartments.

The WVHS indicated there is urgency to the requests, hence the desire to expedite the changes to the housing agreement with the RMOW. The build at Mount Fee Road is currently going through the finishing touches of construction, and the WVHS expects to sign leases in May, for a move in date of July 1.

During discussion at the March 19 council meeting, councillors expressed support for the changes, though Mayor Jack Crompton queried the impact on speeding up the request and allowing it to jump the queue for an already over-burdened municipal department.

“Anything we expedite will have an impact in delaying other projects,” said chief administrative officer Ginny Cullen.

“So if we are to expedite this particular item, based on who this would fall to and what their workload is, we could see that there

VALLEY VIEWS The Whistler Valley Housing Society currently has two properties: 2178 Sarajevo Drive in Creekside, and the under-construction 1400 Mount Fee Road in Cheakamus.
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Taking in that new car smell: Whistler adds more EVs OF 150


THE RESORT MUNICIPALITY of Whistler (RMOW) has taken delivery of another two electric vehicles (EVs) as of mid-March, with a third on the way as part of its 2024 vehicle replacement program.

“We have had two new EVs delivered, and we are in the process of getting them ready for service,” said an RMOW communications official in an email to Pique

The vehicles joining the fleet are a Ford F-150 Lightning, for the facilities construction management team, and a Ford E-transit van for electrical and plumbing.

A second F-150 Lightning is due for delivery in the first half of this year, and will replace a 2011 truck used by the FireSmart team.

The acquisition of the three EVs is part of the RMOW’s ongoing vehicle procurement policy, which is intended to slowly replace internal combustion vehicles with electric vehicles over time as vehicles reach the end of their service lives.

The RMOW currently has about 150 vehicles in its fleet, of which (with the three added in 2024), 11 are electric.

Up until recently, most EVs on the market have been smaller passenger vehicles, but

more classes of vehicles are being electrified by carmakers—giving local governments such as the RMOW more opportunities to replace work trucks and vans with vehicles in line with climate goals.

“Manufacturers continue to branch into more classes of vehicles and equipment, and we anticipate the pace will pick up,” said the RMOW official. “As we get into 2025 and beyond, we are expecting to see

an increase in classes, types of vehicles and equipment in the marketplace. The vehicles are expected to be more robust, have longer run times and suit the requirements of our work better.”

They added the RMOW is providing feedback on what sort of engineering considerations work best for municipal fleets.

“Until now, there have only been full EV options for passenger cars, SUVs, half-ton


would be other affordable housing projects that may be delayed.”

Councillors still decided to move ahead with supporting the request, and Councillor Jessie Morden went a step further by suggesting an amendment to waive the $5,500 application fee for the WVHS to make the changes with the bureaucracy.

“This is social housing, and this is directly related to the vulnerable needs assessment,” she said.

“The more money we’re tagging on to the WVHS bill, the more rent is going to be in the long run.”

Coun. Jen Ford said it was a “fairly reasonable ask” and indicated support, while Crompton expressed concern with making an exception for one group over others.

“I’m concerned about doing this on the fly when we haven’t actually done this before and we’ve built thousands of units of affordable housing,” he said.

Ford noted the RMOW has heard local government should take more opportunities to speed up housing options.

“Local governments have an opportunity to reduce the barriers and reduce any of the red tape that comes along with these kinds of applications,” she said. “[The WVHS] is a unique society to our community. There aren’t very many groups like them that have collaborated in the way that they have to make this housing possible. It’s a very small number to ask for but could make a difference for this group.”

Cullen said the RMOW needs to apply

pick-up trucks, and compact work trucks. Considering the type of work we do, we are phasing EVs in where appropriate.”

The new vehicles come online at the same time the RMOW recently acknowledged it is not keeping up with its goals in reducing carbon emissions, with EVs one of many levers the municipality can pull to reduce its own corporate greenhouse gas emission footprint. n

procedural fairness to such applications, noting even its own subsidiaries pay the required fees.

“There’s a system in place,” she said. “To waive it for one organization over another, in a way that feels it’s just from the floor … I don’t think it’s good process.”

Crompton felt the same way, but he, along with Coun. Ralph Forsyth, were on the losing side of the vote to waive the fees for the WVHS to apply for a housing agreement amendment.

Council voted 6 to 1 to receive the WVHS letter, to direct staff to change the housing agreement with the amendments requested, and to expedite the process, with only Forsyth opposed, who said as he opposed the amendment to waive the fees, he had to oppose the entire motion. n

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RMOW signs off on more than $3M in infrastructure upgrades


MORE PRICEY WATER and sewer work is set to get underway in Whistler after council awarded two contracts on March 19—one for $1,199,690 to go towards water main upgrades, and one for $1,828,906 for a water and sewer valve fitting replacement project.

Speaking to the first contract—water main upgrades—the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW) manager of infrastructure projects, Chelsey Roberts, talked about the need to upgrade the infrastructure in the Creekside and Emerald areas due to corrosion causing water main breaks, and interruptions in water service to the community.

Capital projects supervisor, Scott Morphet, explained to council the existing infrastructure there was originally installed in

The contract was awarded to Whistlerbased Coastal Mountain Excavations, which underbid the only other application considered by staff, though both were over the original engineers’ estimate on project cost when it was put out for tender.

Roberts explained both bidders expressed concern with the ground conditions in the area as a reason for the higher cost—an explanation staff chose to accept, as both bidders have worked in that area before. The soil in the area is also the reason for the shortened life span of existing infrastructure, as it is noted to be corrosive.

While the contract issued to Coastal Mountain Excavations was for $1,199,690, the budget for the project is $1,500,000.

Work will begin in April, with substantial completion expected by July.

The second contract awarded March 19 was for $1,828,906, also to Coastal Mountain Excavations, for a water and sewer valve

“The root cause of these challenges lies within our water infrastructure reaching its end of life.”

the 1980s, and is declining in condition.

“Over the past 10 years, the Creekside neighbourhood has experienced numerous unscheduled corrosion-related failures, and additionally, residents on Summer Lane in Emerald consistently encounter discoloured water,” he said.

“The root cause of these challenges lies within our water infrastructure reaching its end of life.”

The upgrades include Summer Lane, Lake Placid Road, and Taylor Way—all areas that will have traffic control measures in place to manage temporary road closures and detours.

The scope of the work for 2024 will see almost 400 metres of pipe and fittings replaced, along with new fire hydrants and relevant infrastructure linking residential properties to the mains, and the restoration of road surfaces upon completion of the underground work.

Roberts said investing in replacing the water mains will allow municipal staff to focus on other areas.

“The utilities department frequently has to flush this section of main on Summer Lane and Emerald,” she said in relation to discoloured water going to homes.

replacement project.

The scope of that work is for 12 repairs to valves in the water distribution system, and 14 repairs to valves in the sewer connections system in the area between Village Gate Boulevard and Nicklaus North.

Previous works were carried out in 2022 and 2023 to replace valves in Whistler’s water and sewer infrastructure, with the broader project designed to reduce unplanned service interruptions due to infrastructure failure from corrosive soil.

The 2024 work will span from the Spruce Grove baseball fields to Fitzsimmons Road. Residents can expect minor traffic delays, pedestrian detours, and water service interruptions.

Roberts said residents along the area affected by the works will see no interruptions to sewer services due to temporary bypasses being installed.

As with the first contract, the RMOW received two bids, and awarded the contract to Coastal Mountain Excavations, which was the lowest bidder, and below the engineers’ cost estimate. Coastal Mountain Excavations successfully carried out the previous year’s upgrades in 2023.

Work is scheduled to wrap in September. n

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Whistler non-profits to benefit from new RMOW agreement


THE RESORT MUNICIPALITY of Whistler (RMOW) approved four value-in-kind lease agreements with four organizations that operate in the community at the March 19 regular council meeting.

Defined by the RMOW’s general manager of community engagement and cultural services, Karen Elliott, as “a benefit provided by the RMOW to local non-profits in recognition of services they provide that benefit our community,” value-in-kind is essentially a waived lease agreement for them to operate within RMOW facilities.

The four groups to receive the agreements in 2024 are the Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment (AWARE), the Conservation Officer Service (COS), the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council (SSISC), and the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP).

“All of these organizations provide programs or services that council considers desirable to help us reach our Official Community Plan goals,” said Elliott, explaining partnerships with groups offering services not provided by the municipality are key to creating “a thriving community.”

“Often municipalities can’t deliver everything,” she said. “We don’t have the

expertise, or the resources, or the budget, so we turn to really valuable community partners to do that on our behalf, and we make sure that they’re aligned with our policy and our goals.”

Elliott explained an assessment of the office space provided to the four groups was done in 2022, and as an existing lease was not in place, they were asked to make an application. Notably, her report said as RMOW office space is at a premium and the four groups were already using the space, such a value-in-kind agreement was not proposed to be expanded beyond the four recipients.

Three of the non-profits share space in the forestry building in Cheakamus (AWARE, COS, and SSISC), while the fourth (WASP) uses space at Alta Lake South House. According to Elliott, the RMOW quantified how much office and shared space each was using and divided up the rental valuation between them based on floorspace used to calculate the value-in-kind agreement.

No money changes hands, with the agreement simply a way to value what the RMOW provides to the groups—with that number coming in at $54,027 between all four groups for the spaces before adding in

hydro fees, which are also covered by the municipality.

The total value-in-kind provided by the RMOW to the four groups is $59,655 for 2024, as recommended by staff.

Elliott went into the value provided by all four groups to Whistler as part of justification on signing off on the agreements, noting providing space to the COS, which is a public safety provider, means a local presence in Whistler.

During questions, Councillor Ralph Forsyth queried whether there are other instances of local governments providing space for the COS, given they are another arm of government, to which Elliott responded often it is difficult for agencies to find a small enough office space to operate out of at a reasonable cost.

Chief administrative officer Ginny Cullen also chimed in.

“The key point on that is if we didn’t provide office space, their response time would be slower,” she said. “They would locate themselves out of another office in Squamish. This is to our benefit more than it is to theirs.”

The COS accounts for $11,142 worth of the 2024 value-in-kind funds while AWARE accounts for $12,760, the SSISC $7,137, and WASP takes up the lion’s share, at $28,616.

Councillors voted unanimously to support the agreements. ■

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Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre announces new executive director


THE SQUAMISH LIL’WAT Cultural Centre (SLCC) has a new executive director, with Liza Walli set to join the landmark organization starting April 2.

With a long resume at multiple Whistler businesses, Walli most recently worked as the general manager at the Brew Creek Centre, and has experience with Whistler Blackcomb, Ziptrek Ecotours, and Nita Lake Lodge.

“I am thrilled to be joining such a skilled and dedicated team; continuing to create meaningful experiences to learn, share and invite the world to the SLCC—a spectacular cultural landmark, showcasing two unique nations,” said Walli.

She said she sought the role to share her knowledge, and learn.

“It was a desire to work and collaborate again as part of a team, meaningful connection to the community, purposeful work and a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the two nations—trusting that with my curiosity and skill set I can be a conduit to ensure their distinct cultures are brought forward with vibrancy each day at

the SLCC,” she said.

During her time as general manager of Brew Creek Centre, Walli worked to grow that business in alignment with surrounding communities and the environmental ethos

of its brand.

“[Walli] successfully galvanized a team and resources to create a clear vision for sustainability and commercial success, creating an iconic destination venue

and farm,” reads the SLCC release on her appointment.

She steps into the role last occupied by Heather Paul, who was executive director of the SLCC for a little under three years before moving on to become chief administrative officer for the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

Walli’s appointment brings to an end a months-long search for Paul’s replacement.

“[Walli] will work very closely with the team on delivering the SLCC’s strategic plan, in development between SLCC ambassadors and the board of directors,” reads the release.

She said there is a lot to look forward to in the role.

“With Indigenous tourism growing exponentially globally, I am excited to review the strategic plan and the potential for growth and impact, meet the team that is the foundation for success and gain more insight into what’s next and what’s possible.”

The SLCC has long been a major establishment in the Whistler cultural space as a central showcase of the Skwxwú7mesh and Lilwat7úl—the two First Nations communities that first called this part of the world home, with regular rotating exhibits, cultural tours, events and more year-round. n

TAKING THE LEAD Liza Walli brings experience with Whitler Blackcomb, Ziptrek Ecotours and Nita Lake Lodge to her new role as executive director of the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.

Funding secured to protect Area C community from debris flow


THREE LAYERS of government are stumping up millions of dollars for improvements to protect the community at Lillooet Lake Estates from landslides.

According to releases from the federal government and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD), the combined funds from the feds and province together with contributions from the SLRD will help mitigate risks posed to residents of Lillooet Lake Estates from debris flow events on Catiline Creek.

Catiline Creek has been an ongoing source of debris-flow events for the small community at Lillooet Lake Estates, which is southeast of Pemberton and Mount Currie, on the shores of Lillooet Lake.

The project will see the creek channel enlarged to allow debris to flow more freely from Twin Goat Mountain, through the community and into the lake, with excavated material to be used to construct berms.

“The Catiline Creek debris flow mitigation

project is important work that will reduce the debris flow risk for the Lillooet Lake Estates community,” said SLRD board chair Jen Ford.

“We are grateful to the provincial and federal governments for their generous contributions to this project, ensuring the work can move forward with reduced financial burden on the community.”

Confirmed funding for the project comes in at a shade under $11.7 million.

recovered through an annual tax requisition for Lillooet Lake Estates.

The SLRD will be responsible for any additional funding required.

“These funding programs are fundamental to the success of this project,” said Ford. “The cost to complete this project is significant, and these funds reduce the financial burden on this community.”

Area C director Russell Mack—who

“This community has experienced significant landslide activity and remains at risk.”

Of that, $5.7 million comes from the “green infrastructure” stream of the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. Another $2 million is from the province’s Community Enrichment Preparedness Fund, while according to the SLRD, the community of Lillooet Lake Estates will make up the remaining $4 million through a loan authorization bylaw adopted by the SLRD in 2022. The bylaw allowed the SLRD to borrow the funds, with the costs to be

represents Lillooet Lake Estates—said the project was a long time coming.

“This community has experienced significant landslide activity and remains at risk,” he said. “The debris flow mitigation project has been a priority for the community for many years, and we’re all relieved to see the funding come through for this project.”

The project has a wide scope, with the funds to go to designing and constructing a debris flow mitigation structure along with ongoing

maintenance and operation to prevent loss of life and damage to the community. The existing channel will be expanded to allow for up to 100,000 cubic metres of debris flow that can travel down the mountainside and into the lake without taking out any of the community or its associated infrastructure.

“This project is very important for the safety of our community, which has experienced a number of dangerous debrisrelated events over the years and is at great risk of further events,” said Gary Young, president of the Lillooet Lake Estates local association.

Federal MP for West VancouverSunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, Patrick Weiler, said projects like this are key to adapting to climate change.

“Extreme weather, including heavy rainfall events, are becoming more common, increasing the risk of significant landslides and floods,” he said.

“We need our communities to be resilient to a rapidly changing climate. That’s why we’re working with our provincial and municipal partners to protect Lillooet Lake Estates from these risks, so that it can remain a safe place to live and raise a family.”

The project is in the detailed design phase, and is expected to begin construction late in 2024 for a late 2025/early 2026 completion schedule. n

LAY OF THE LAND A top-down view showing the property layout of
Lillooet Lake Estates.
‘It was created for settlers by settlers’

A YOUNG PERSON’S first week in university should be an exciting and equally nervewracking time, but for 22-year-old Aiyana Kalani of the Lil’wat Nation, it was an eyeopening experience.

Kalani went to Vancouver Island University (VIU) in 2021 to major in digital marketing and minor in journalism, but found the experience incredibly isolating. She has since returned home and does not plan on continuing her studies.

“We rarely have education, because the school system was built against us,” she said. “It’s such a struggle for native students to complete a four-year degree because of that. The education system wasn’t built for our people. It was created for settlers by settlers.”

Kalani said the system alienates First Nations people and makes it difficult for them to succeed. The young woman also feels there is a lack of “higher-ups” representing her people in local businesses, and believes a solution is needed to address the inequalities in Canada’s education system, which she said mostly caters to one way of living and learning.

“Our people have a different way of life,” she said.

But feeling like the odd one out in friend groups, classrooms and workplaces has been a part of the artist’s life for as long as she can remember.

“Indigenous people are finding themselves being one of the only Indigenous students in a classroom,” she said. “It gets discouraging, or makes them uncomfortable attending class. The school system was made against us. We were placed in residential schools that were instructed to ‘kill the Indian in the child,’ which created intergenerational trauma affecting generations yet to come.”

Director of Indigenous Education and Engagement at VIU, Lillian Morton, understands the difficulties Indigenous students like Kalani face on campus. Morton is Coast Salish (Penelakut and Stz’uminus) and European.

“It is always hard, especially coming from a small community,” said Morton. “Part of my job is to help as much as I can and ensure they have a good learning experience. The more I know, the more proactive I can be.”

Morton said the university hosts events to help Indigenous students connect.

“Over a tenth of our student population are Indigenous or self-identify as Indigenous people,” she said. “Of course, a lot also don’t self-identify. We had a welcoming event that is specifically for Indigenous students. Something I noticed is that just because you don’t look Indigenous, doesn’t mean you aren’t Indigenous.”

Kalani said she did attend several freshman parties and mixers on campus, where she experienced micro-racism regularly.

“I was introduced with ‘this is my native friend Aiyana’ quite a bit. It bothered me, but I didn’t say anything because I knew these young adults probably haven’t made any Indigenous friends before,” she said. “I had a girl tell me I was her ‘spirit animal.’ I had to pull her aside to explain why that wasn’t OK, especially because it was over the fact that I was drinking and partying a lot.”

Leaving reserve can also cause a serious culture shock for those heading to university, Kalani added. “On reserve things are very different,” she said. “We have one grocery store, one police station and one fire house. It was a bit of a shock moving and having two liquor stores, three gas stations and endless fast food within a 15-minute walk of my new place.”

The lack of community and a connection to the Lil’wat Nation’s traditional culture is something that affected Kalani the most, she said.

“The people are different,” she said. “I never met my neighbours and I lived in Nanaimo for eight months. I didn’t connect with any of the reserves out there, either, so I had nothing to do with my culture anymore.”

A dedicated space for Indigenous students is currently under construction at VIU.

“It is intended to be a home away from home for students coming in,” said Morton. “There are Elders in there daily. Many of the Elders are connected to specific faculties. They host gatherings for students. There is a peer mentorship program that does a lot of work with leading, selfesteem and feeling connected on campus. The Students’ Union also has an Indigenous student rep.”

According to the 2021 census, just under half (49.2 per cent) of Indigenous people aged 25 to 64 had completed a postsecondary qualification, with the most common being a college, CEGEP, or other non-university certificate or diploma. The overall rates of postsecondary completion were 45.3 per cent for First Nations people, 56.3 per cent for Métis and 33.6 per cent among Inuit—all below those recorded for the non-Indigenous population, at 68 per cent.

In 2021, Indigenous women (53.5 per cent) were more likely than Indigenous men (44.4 per cent) to have completed a postsecondary qualification.

Morton agreed Canada’s education system was made for settlers by settlers, and that is why the university as a whole is dedicated to creating positive change.

“This is priority. We are working so hard to change it,” she said.

“That’s why we work on all these things. Residential schools were not intended to educate people.” n

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Zoning AmendmentBylaw (1000 Alpha Lake Road) No.2436, 2024 (the “proposedBylaw ”)

Purpose: Thepurpose of theproposedBylaw is to realignthe zone boundary betweenthe IS5 and CS2zones so that it is concurrent with theparcelboundary of theproposedsubdivision plan shownonthisno�ce.The proposed amendmentwill result in proposed Lot2 beingen�rely within theIS5 zone,while proposed Lot1 will remain en�relywithinthe CS2zone. If not splitzoned, proposed Lot2 will have amaximum floor spacera�ocalculatedbased on thefull size of theparcelratherthanjustthe por�on within theIS5 zone.Thisresults in slightly more permi�edgross floor area compared to if proposed Lot2 were split-zoned SubjectLands: Thelands that arethe subjectofthe proposed Bylaware shownonthe map a�achedtothisno�ce,and arelegally describedasDISTRICTLOT 8078 GROUP1 NEW


BylawReadings: Considera�on of thefirst, second andthird readings of theproposedBylaw will be at theRegular Council Mee�ng on April9,2024.

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BC NDP’s enduring popularity a puzzler for opponents

IF ANYTHING CAN RIVAL the surprising status of the Vancouver Canucks, it must be that of the BC NDP. A half-year from an election, the script wasn’t supposed to play out this way.

When Premier John Horgan stepped down in 2022, most everyone believed the party would take several steps back in popularity. It hasn’t happened.

When the health-care lineups lengthened, it didn’t come about.

When the housing supply failed to materialize, it failed to occur.

When $10-a-day childcare didn’t blossom, it wasn’t fatal.

When chronic repeat offenders weren’t kept off the streets, when the 10-digit deficit resurfaced, when accusations arose of antisemitism in the ranks, the poll command ought to have buckled and evaporated. Not really.

Even if its numbers aren’t what they were, its prospects are plumper as an emergent three-party presence takes hold in the province.

Typical of this Teflon government was the recent dissection by the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) of the vaunted CleanBC plan’s pain for our economy. The BCBC didn’t have to conduct any of its own research on this—the government’s own numbers told the tale—but it ought to have been

the public loves, even is addicted to, any government that furnishes rebate cheques. That would be particularly powerful now when inflation and interest rates have made affordability the top concern. In B.C. that has meant not only the carbon dividend for more families than not, but windfalls for lowincome families, small businesses, drivers, hydro customers and energy savers.

Now, it’s not entirely clear sailing here.

An Angus Reid Institute survey released last week suggested just as many people (51 per cent) do not support the BC NDP as do. Half of the province is calling for a change, yet voter intentions are primarily in the government’s camp, in part because it now rules with the emerging benefit of a second serious opponent to split the nonNDP vote: the BC Conservatives. Last week’s Mainstreet poll even indicated a wipeout of the BC Liberals now rebranded as BC United, with the Conservatives draining their followers to add to their own and breathe a bit down the NDP necks.

The question is how enduring that Conservative surge is. A huge benefit for the NDP is that it’s the only party without an identity issue. Voters are having trouble understanding who the United and Conservative parties represent—the oncemighty former one is wounded by that, the once-teensy latter one is boosted.

In case it needs mentioning, the BC Conservatives are not the provincial version of the front-running federal Conservatives,

A huge benefit for the NDP is it’s the only party without an identity issue.

a loitering odour and a campaigning pinpoint as we approach the election. We’ll see.

It takes quite the craftiness for any government to actually shrink the size of an economy, but the NDP crew appears to have relished the task as it seeks leadership on climate change. Trouble is, we pay the price for front-running. Consider that by 2030, the government’s own numbers show the B.C. economy will be $28.1 billion smaller. We will be back to a 2013-sized economy. We trade nation-leading economic performance for world-leading green plans.

Yet as an NDP insider told me: “I can agree with the assessment, but it doesn’t matter to the public right now. It’s not costing us votes.”

but never underestimate the impact of under-information. (Poilievre will not campaign for either; he wants both of their constituencies.)

The Reid survey had an eerie None of the Above quality to it. Nearly half of respondents said their vote choices weren’t about supporting a party but really about blocking the others. And while the BC NDP were the preferred party in handling the challenges of affordability and health-care—the two top issues as a campaign looms—on four of the five top issues, nearly seven in 10 respondents said it was doing a bad job.

It is worth recalling the Vancouver Province’s 2013 picture of then-NDP leader Adrian Dix on the front page, noting he could “kick a puppy” and still win. Following a terrible leaders’ debate for him, in the campaign’s last 10 days, half of Christy Clark’s vote came out of the woodwork.

Indeed, Premier David Eby is prepared to make a meal on contentious issues like the ill-timed 23-per-cent increase April 1 of the carbon tax. He is in a small political cohort— seven premiers, including one Liberal, have called for the increase to be cancelled, and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has turned his axe-the-tax sights on him.

The provincial tax used to be revenue neutral in B.C., but in lockstep with the federal version has taken on a role for income redistribution. And why not? The NDP knows

Could that dynamic of party overconfidence and underestimated public discontent surface to topple Eby? It’s a devilyou-know situation. At least for now.

Kirk LaPointe is a West Vancouver columnist with decades of experience in Canadian media. n

44 MARCH 29, 2024 Resort Municipality of Whistler whistler.ca/RZ001184 SubjectLands � Parcels ! 01530 1' =======::i Meters IS5Zone CS2Zone
Portiono proposed Lot2 to be rezonedfrom CS2toIS5
MARCH 29 , 2024 45 604-698-5 247 @PIONEER_CARPENTRY_DRAFT ING FINE FIN ISHIN GR ENOVATIONS ADD ITIONS DESI G NE D FO R L IF E WWW.PION EERCARPENTRY.CA EV EN T ANN OUNC EM EN T AN NU AL GENERAL MEETING TUESDAY APRIL 16, 2024 6:30 pm @ The Pe mber to n Mu seum 74 55 Pr osp ect St ., Pe mber to n, B C V0N 2L0 www.pembertonartscouncil.com

Is slopestyle competition sustainable?

LAST WEEKEND , the flagship event of Crankworx Rotorua—the Men’s Slopestyle— did not proceed as planned. Rather than the usual factors we hear about for this sort of cancellation such as weather or unsafe riding conditions, in this case it was due to the 16 competitors refusing to. The riders

collectively signed a statement which you can read in full online, but the meat of it is here:

“[W]e want to secure a stable and sustainable future for Slopestyle—including the current and future generation of riders. This decision was made to ensure a minimum industry standard is achieved moving forward with rider welfare, safety, compensation, but also communication and decision-making established. Not just singularly for the Crankworx Rotorua event, but for the whole Crankworx and FMB World Tour.”

If you’ve ever witnessed the Red Bull Joyride slopestyle in the Whistler Bike Park’s Boneyard area at the base of Whistler Mountain, you know what a spectacle it is. And if you’ve been around for as many Crankworx events as some of us, you’ll also know how much

this particular discipline of mountain biking has pushed the sport, and rapidly at that. I’d argue Rampage (another Red Bull event) is the only other event in the same tier. Rampage is a livestream spectacle where some of these slopestyle athletes compete as well, and raised the bar of big mountain freeride even further.

Further, if you’ve ever witnessed a rider go down during a slopestyle competition, you know how much risk these athletes expose themselves to. Yes, they train for it. Some even make a living through competition and sponsorships. But regardless of how much the sponsors are chipping in, the risk keeps going up as these riders continue to push what’s possible on a bike going off a big-ass jump.

The public reaction to the slopestyle protest at Crankworx Rotorua has been mixed. Many folks sided with the riders, believing them overdue in putting their collective foot down. Many others sided with the disappointed organizers and spectators, who had a flagship livestream event pulled from underneath them.

And therein lie the nuances. This isn’t David standing up to Goliath, far from it. At the end of the day, this was an ill-timed negotiation where neither party was going to walk away with what they wanted.

Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit. Of the three demands from the riders, the two Crankworx immediately fulfilled were: covering hotel accommodation for all invited athletes, including alternates; and scheduling the slopestyle final before noon to avoid wind delays and maximize chances of a full livestream.

These two points are a no-brainer. Covering accommodation for the athletes of the biggest-ticket event is not hard.

Understandably, it’s not feasible for every athlete at a Crankworx festival. But for 16-ish riders? That’s eight hotel rooms that can easily be covered with an accommodation partner. As for moving the scheduled start of the livestream, I’m sure Crankworx scheduled the slopestyle event to maximize viewership, both online and for the spectators coming out to see the event itself. This may work for most racing events, but slopestyle can’t have unpredictable gusts of wind or a setting sun blinding the riders mid-trick.

If you were watching the 2023 Red Bull Joyride last year, that’s exactly what happened. It delayed the event for hours, and the riders didn’t even get to complete their two runs. If 16 of the best slopestyle riders in the world are telling you it has to move earlier to be safe and provide the best conditions for a fair, complete competition, then do it.

The last point is where things get sticky. Requesting an “appearance” fee of 2,000 euros per rider, per event, ads up quite fast. With 16 riders, that’s 32,000 euros per event. With four Crankworx events, that’s 128,000 euros per season. The Crankworx team can’t pull that amount of cash out of a hat, even if riders have asked for it for years.

Last year was the single worst year for the cycling industry globally. Marketing budgets have all had their belts tightened. You can imagine what the conversations would look like for sponsorships and partnerships when Crankworx needs to cover another six-figure line item.

Initially ,when I read the riders’ statement, I was on their side. I believe they should be taken care of and they should be set up at these events, whether they win a spot on the podium or not. Crankworx raised their prize

purse substantially for 2024. But that’s not the point, say the riders. The guy who places seventh in the field is still taking the same risks as the guy who wins.

What I didn’t approve of with the riders was their strategy and timing for this, well, let’s call it a publicity stunt. Handing over a list of demands with a sub-48-hour deadline, then refusing to compete, threw a lot of hard-working event folks under the bus, not to mention the spectators in New Zealand who paid good money for their festival passes (Crankworx Rotorua is not a completely free event to view like Whistler). This all could’ve happened months ago by sending an open letter to the organizers and the freeride community saying they were not going to compete in 2024 unless they saw change.

Lastly, the whole debacle overshadowed the first-ever women’s slopestyle event at Crankworx. The significance of the women competing in slopestyle on the same course as men can’t be overstated. This is something Red Bull Rampage wouldn’t do, or at least won’t do yet. So bravo Crankworx for making it happen, and awarding women with an equal prize purse to the men.

Both parties in this debacle have a bit to answer for. The riders need Crankworx as much as Crankworx needs the riders, so I’m sure they’ll agree to meet in the middle at some point. But with three more Crankworx events scheduled for this summer and certainty of the flagship event in question, the future of slopestyle competition hangs in the balance.

Vince Shuley’s best bike trick is a half-assed moto whip. For questions, comments or suggestions for The Outsider, email vince.shuley@gmail. com or Instagram @whis_vince. ■

SLOPE STYLIN’ Crankworx Rotorua showcased its first-ever women’s slopestyle event this month. The 16 men chose not to compete in protest over safety and sustainable remuneration for riders.
46 MARCH 29, 2024


Applications are now being accepted for our April 1st, 2024 Spring Funding Deadline.

The Whistler Blackcomb Foundation is dedicated to providing financial support to community groups and charities whose activities provide benefit to residents of the Sea to Sky Corridor in the areas of health, human services, education, recreation, arts & culture and the environment. Special emphasis is placed on children, youth and family programs. For more information, eligibility requirements and to complete an application, please visit our website at whistlerblackcombfoundation com, Or contact Mei Madden, Executive Director at mmadden@whistlerblackcombfoundation com


Paid On Call Firefighters Wanted

Enjoy a physical challenge?

Enjoy a team environment?

Enjoy serving your community?

This could be the opportunity for you.

The Whistler Fire Rescue Service is now accepting applications for Paid On Call Firefighters. Interested applicants are also invited to attend a question and answer session being held at Fire Hall 1 4400 Village Gate Blvd on April 18 at 7 p.m.

For information and applications please go to: www.whistler.ca/careers

Closing Date: April 23, 2024 13 at 7 p.m.

MARCH 29 , 2024 47
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48 MARCH 29, 2024
DOGPATROL PATROL Catching Whistler avalanche

histler Blackcomb ski patrol is a big operation for a big resort, with hundreds of patrollers across both mountains—and eight canine patrollers, too.


up with Whistler Blackcomb’s avalanche rescue dogs

Trained from puppyhood and paired with a handler for life, Whistler Blackcomb’s avalanche rescue dogs are tasked with making sure there are no humans buried under the snow anytime there’s an avalanche either in or out of bounds around the resort.

It’s a serious job, and while Pique got to chat with some of the team, Eva, an eight-year-old black Lab, wanted to get on with it, and had a lot to say.

Her owner and handler, ski patroller Matt O’Rourke, says she has always been a keener.

“She validated this year for the seventh time,” he says. “Validation” refers to passing the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association (CARDA) courses every dog and their handler needs to clear at regular intervals through their career on the slopes.

“She validated for the first time quite young—she was only 20 months old,” says O’Rourke.

“With how much drive she had, there were issues with validating that young—she was really good at searching and not so good at listening, but she’s gotten better with age,” he jokes.

The dogs usually work eight to 10 seasons as an avalanche rescue dog—granted they pass their tests every year—so Eva has a few more years to go.


Whistler Blackcomb’s avalanche rescue dog rotation is long-standing, having been established way back in the ’80s, with new dogs coming on almost every year to replace those that retire to live with their owners as pets.

The newest recruit is Millie, a six-month-old, fox-red Labrador.

She is pretty keen to just play around—which her handler Jimi Martin says is all part of the training early on.

“Right now, in the puppy phase, training consists of a lot of play,” he says.

“A lot of it is about building the bond between the two of us.”

CARDA and the Whistler Blackcomb avalanche rescue dog program are not new, which means there is a lot of knowledge and experience to download as Millie gets older.

“There’s a lot of information you don’t know, and it’s released to you at an appropriate time to keep people from getting too far ahead of themselves,” Martin says. “So I get told to just keep focusing on playing, and every week we do a small gradual introduction to the idea of searching for people in the snow.”

For now, that consists of having someone hold on to Millie while Martin tries to hide with her favourite toy.

Millie will get a chance to validate as a CARDA-certified avalanche rescue dog when she’s closer to two years old, but in the lead-up to then, training will become gradually more intense.

Small steps for now, though.

“A lot of it is exposure,” Martin says.

“We spent two months just playing around and climbing on the snowmobiles, starting them up and turning them off. Now we’ll ride the snowmobiles. Same with the chairlift, just hopping on and off when it’s stopped, and now we’ll ride the Peak Chair.”

Martin, who has spent seven seasons at Whistler Blackcomb, says he has wanted a dog for a long time, and after four years of applying to enter the avalanche rescue dog program, he finally got an in (and a dog).

“I was interested in this because my uncle was a dog handler back in the ’80s through the early 2000s,” he says. “He validated his first dog the year I was born … When I moved out West I got to know him a lot more and do a lot of the stuff he did, and learn about it, and it always piqued my interest, and seeing the dogs at work was super cool.”


Throughout the chat with the patrollers and their canine colleagues,Jasper, an eight-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever, obediently sits by his human, Kevin Tennock. The obedience is the result of thousands of hours of training over years—from simple things like getting used to having so many people around, to more complex things (for a dog) like hopping on a chairlift—and that’s not even getting into the CARDA certification.

Tennock says his desire to become an avalanche rescue dog handler came from a previous career.

“It comes from when I used to work for Air Canada as a customer service agent and worked in the customs hall,” he says.

“They had drug dogs there, and I got to know the dog handlers, and I just found it amazing

MARCH 29, 2024 49

what they could sniff out in the airport. Then from there, when I started working here and found out about the avalanche rescue dogs, I decided I had to do that. I got into it as soon as a position became available.”

Tennock describes the job as rewarding, being another part of the team keeping skiers safe, getting them out of danger, or making sure nobody is hurt.

“A lot of times we’ll go to a site and it’s just a relief knowing where we head out there and we can clear a site and say positively, we don’t think there’s a human buried,” he says.

On arriving at an avalanche site, a dog’s job is to scope out the site (after it is deemed safe to operate on) and patrol back and forth across the slope, checking for the smell of any humans below.

(Remember the training by running and hiding with a favourite toy? Same idea.)

“It’s always amazing what these dogs can do,” says Tennock. “To this day I’ve never been more amazed every time we go out. It’s shocking how intelligent they are.”

Both Jasper and Eva went through the CARDA program together, so they’re almost like siblings on the mountain—but the closest connection is that between dog and human.

“Bonding—it’s huge. These dogs are 100 per cent our dog,” says Tennock about Jasper. “They will listen to us more than anyone in the world, they’re totally focused on us. You wouldn’t think you can have that kind of connection with anything or anyone, but it’s definitely there.

“One of our older handlers once said he spends more time with his dog than he does with his family, and it’s true, because they’re at home and then they’re at work—they’re with us 24/7.”

O’Rourke shares a similar sentiment.

“I get to bring my best friend to work, which is pretty rad,” he says.

All three patrollers Pique spoke with are first-time dog handlers, and they all said they love it.

“Watching them do what they do is kind of miraculous,” says O’Rourke. “The first time they validate, there’s definitely this huge pride that they can do this.”

O’Rourke notes there was less training with Eva as she got older—but that was because she was dialled in.

“We were out the other day on an avalanche response, and they’re straight into it,” he says. “They know exactly what they need to do, they get the game.”

On that, O’Rourke says Eva is locked in to the work, and pretty good at ignoring guests even if she draws their attention by being a dog.

That patroller was Bruce Watt—he survived the experience and was encouraged to pursue an avalanche dog rescue training program back in 1978—and pursue it he did.

There were avalanche rescue dogs at the time, but their handlers were with the RCMP, which to this day continues to have oversight of the “validation” and training process for avalanche dogs.

Through consultation, the CARDA program was eventually launched in 1982 by ski-patrol volunteers, and worked to help ski patrollers train dogs through a rigorous program with input over the years from the RCMP, Parks Canada, search and rescue, and more.

The training manual has been fine-tuned over the years, with the first live recovery by a CARDA-certified dog in 2000, at Fernie Alpine Resort.

“She just ignores guests unless I’m specific. I can get her to engage with someone, but she definitely doesn’t run up to guests or chase after guests, they’re so focused. And that comes from years of getting them to ignore humans,” he says.

“At work, it’s her and I, it’s our time … up here she just wants to work, she wants to engage. Standing around like this, she’s like, ‘what are we doing?’”

Pique can confirm Eva didn’t want to stick around for an interview.


The story of avalanche dogs in the resort didn’t start recently, and in fact, CARDA has its roots in Whistler, having been “inspired” (if that’s the right word) by an avalanche that caught a patroller who had the know-how, and the foresight, to think there was an extra something to be done for safety on the mountain.

Between them, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains have had 29 different handlers since the beginning of the program, with handlers often having more than one dog over the course of their careers. The current avalanche dog coordinator, Yvonne Thornton, has trained five dogs, while fellow Whistler patroller, Anton Horvath (who currently works as a CARDA instructor), has trained four dogs locally. Whistler Blackcomb’s senior avalanche forecaster, Tim Haggerty, explained the team works to ensure there is coverage every day the mountain is open—both inside and outside the patrolled boundary.

“We can have up to 12 dog teams in the system,” he said. “At this time we have six validated dog teams, one team in training and one puppy team.”

Validation is no small task—a dog has to do two-and-a-half years of training and four CARDA courses, and then stay validated through in-person courses every two years with an annual check-in from RCMP police dog services and a CARDA validator.


The rookie, Millie, needs to focus on her training—and even if that training looks a lot like playing, it’s still training nonetheless, so Martin will spend time and effort making sure she bonds with him, and guests don’t pat her while she’s at work (hence the harness saying “do not pet”). Of Eva and Jasper, neither has had to locate or help dig out a trapped skier or snowboarder on the slopes.

“That’s the good news story,” says Tennock.

“A lot of sites we end up going to, it’s to clear the site, an unwitnessed avalanche, and we go in there and we can positively confirm that there’s nobody buried at the site.”

Luckily, most folks who ski in the backcountry wear transceivers and travel in groups, so ski patrollers or search and rescue can find them quickly; an avalanche rescue dog’s job is really another layer of insurance.

Every day on the mountain, ski patrol have a dog-handling team ready to respond, so there’s always a dog on the mountain ready to jump into action.

“Whether it’s in the backcountry or in-bounds, we respond as a team,” says Tennock.

Thornton’s current pup, Dina (a Labrador), is validated in avalanche, wilderness searching and RCMP Level 1 tracking—making her integral to the program.

“Without people like Yvonne around, this program would be a lot harder to educate all of us,” says Tennock. “It’s not just our dogs that need training, we need training too.”

Want to support the local program? You can’t pet the dogs, but you can buy a buff from the team, with all funds going to the program.

They’re $25, and you can buy them from the ski patrol hut at the top of the Peak Chair. ■


Whistler hosts first Junior Nationals freestyle contest in seven years


THE LAST TIME Whistler played host to a Junior Nationals freestyle skiing event, it was in 2017 for park and pipe. The Junior Moguls Nationals returned to town from March 20 to 24, and lots of young talent was on display.

Quinn Ridgeway made a big splash, locking down the women’s U18 overall title by way of prevailing in dual moguls and earning bronze in single moguls with a score of 55.07 points. She also demonstrated her versatility with another bronze medal in aerials (98.8).

Close behind her was fellow KR Academy mate Lia Matsuda, who grabbed silver in aerials (99.4), sixth in dual moguls and seventh in single moguls (47.67). It all added up to second place in the combined results.

Apex Freestyle’s Emelie McCaughey distinguished herself as well, not only winning U16 singles gold, but notching the highest score of any female athlete in any age group (70.06).

Maxx Ederle failed to podium in any of his events, but the KR product managed a consistent weekend coming fifth in aerials

(101.90) and dual moguls, and 11th in singles (60.02) to be the overall runner-up among U16 boys.

“Our athletes definitely came to play, and took home some solid hardware that signifies a milestone and a huge achievement in their young careers,” said KR Academy founder Kristi Richards. “Whether they were out to win gold or it was their first time at an event of this level, the experiences and the magic

really talk about results and kept it focused on skiing … and she crushed it.”


Annika Cooper bested her fellow U18 ladies for single moguls gold (64.04) ahead of Hannah Vouligny (55.08) and Ridgeway. Cooper and Audrey Penarroya finished second and third in the dual event.

“Our athletes definitely came to play, and took home some solid hardware...”

of sport that Junior Nationals instilled in this generation is priceless.”

Rob Kober, who heads up Apex Freestyle, agrees. “It’s one thing to be good, but everybody has to learn how to win. Except for the phenoms, the Mikael Kingsburys of the world … kids need to learn how to frame the event for themselves, have their own personal goals and try to not worry too much about where they end up on the results page,” he said.

“I was really pleased, overall. I knew [Emelie] could do well. She was definitely not expecting to win, but I think she’s had a great season and tremendous gains. We didn’t

In U18 women’s aerials, only Aria Loewen (100.90) had what it took to overcome Matsuda and Ridgeway.

Bradley Koehler struck gold in the men’s U16 single discipline (75.56), edging out runner-up Owen Cooper (72.49). Christopher Daigle held on for bronze (70.83).

Koehler outperformed Cooper in dual moguls as well, and the pair finished onetwo for a second time last weekend. Edouard St-Andre swooped in for third.

Meanwhile, Elliott Primeau proved to be the class of the men’s aerials field with his breakthrough (135.70). Daigle, who had lost to

St-Andre in the dual race, secured silver (117.70) and bronze went to Mason Solomon (105.70).

Four Whistler girls saw action in single moguls, led by eighth-place U16 finisher Ellysaiya Haddad (47.75). Syvienne Lawrie-Lie (24.87) and Zoe Henderson (21.05) were 14th and 15th respectively, as Kaia Kersten held down 11th amidst U14s (15.26).

James Tsang, the lone Whistlerite on the boys’ side of competition, placed sixth among his U14 peers (5.96).

“Our hope was for our athletes to be able to see what moguls skiing at this level looks like,” explained Freestyle Whistler director Chris Muir. “We want to grow our moguls program, and for kids across the country, we want them to be able to experience Whistler. The Gemini venue is incredible—it’s such a showcase of Blackcomb.”

Both Richards and Kober went on record to praise Whistler as a host location, expressing their hope to return for future national-level contests. All in all, Muir is more than happy with how things unfolded last weekend.

“We had amazing weather, and we joke that we always seem to have terrible weather when hosting [so that was great],” he said. “There wasn’t a single course hold, a single injury … and we definitely learned a lot. My favourite part of the whole weekend was being able to work with other coaches and event organizers—just to be as one for the whole event.”

Full results are available at freestylebc. ski/results.  ■

ONE-TWO PUNCH Quinn Ridgeway (left) and Lia Matsuda took first and second overall in the U18 women’s division of the 2024 Junior Moguls Nationals in Whistler. PHOTO COURTESY OF KRISTI RICHARDS
THE SCORE 52 MARCH 29, 2024

Marielle Thompson clinches fourth career Crystal Globe


IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE Marielle Thompson began the 2023-24 season slowly (by her standards anyway), but she’s returned to the promised land with her fourth Crystal Globe.

The Whistlerite prevailed in the campaign’s last race on Saturday, March 23 under an overcast sky in Idre Fjäll, Sweden, besting French athlete Marielle Berger Sabbatel who settled for second. Brittany Phelan also joined the party in third: her eighth medal of the season and 20th overall.

Thompson’s first three Crystal Globes were earned in 2012, 2014 (the same year she won the Sochi Olympics) and 2017. Now, she is tied for first all-time in FIS season titles to go along with 31 World Cup victories, 67 podiums, the 2019 World Championship and Olympic silver from 2022.

“It’s really special to win a fourth Globe,” said Thompson in a press release. “It’s a real privilege to race against these women and it means a lot to finish on top. This season has been a struggle, and my crash in seeding on Thursday was another struggle. We have a great team and they got me healthy enough to be able to race this weekend.

“I love Idre. This place is special and the people are special, to win here and to get the Globe here is amazing!”

With silver around his neck, Chilliwack’s Reece Howden stood on the men’s podium between Swedish brothers David and Erik Mobaerg who were first and third, respectively. Howden also found himself second in men’s overall rankings, narrowly missing out on his third Crystal Globe to David Mobaerg.

“Feel like I did all I could today and I’m happy with my skiing,” said Howden in a release. “David skied great today and earned the Globe. Overall, I’m happy with my season. I feel like I missed a couple of opportunities to get some important points, but I battled hard and I’ll come back stronger next season.”

Tiana Gairns (Whistler) and India Sherret (Cranbrook, B.C.) wound up fifth and seventh

among women, while Jared Schmidt (Ottawa, Ont.) and Carson Cook (Edmonton, Alta.) were sixth and 23rd amidst men.

All the Canadians pushed the Maple Leaf to its third consecutive Nations Cup title, and the seventh in nine years. In fact, Team Canada has won 11 out of 17 total Nations Cups.


With a victory in Saturday, March 23’s dual slalom, Jakob Jewett clinches a medal of every colour from Crankworx Rotorua 2024.

The Squamish rider beat out Aussie Jackson Frew by the narrowest of margins to claim victory, forcing last year’s champ to settle for runner-up status. Jewett thus punches into third place in the King of Crankworx rankings with 240 points behind incumbent monarch Tuhoto-Ariki Pene (302) and Ryan Gilchrist (269).

Pene, the affable Kiwi, added a dual slalom bronze to his collection.

“What a week … three events and three podiums!” said Jewett, who also wrapped up downhill silver and air DH bronze last week. “It’s been a fun week [at Crankworx] and I couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season off! Time to go home and keep chipping away.”

Great Britain’s Martha Gill broke through in the ladies’ competition as Kialani Hines and Jordy Scott finished second and third for the United States. All athletes had to deal with wet and slick conditions on course throughout the day.

Gill also opened up a slim lead in the Queen of Crankworx race (345) over Shania Rawson (340) and Hines (240).

Later on Saturday, Gilchrist took a pump track challenge title home to Australia. Pene found enough speed for silver, and Dutch contestant Niels Bensink snatched bronze to leave Tegan Cruz of Pemberton in fourth.

“Fierce competitor,” said Gilchrist of Pene

CRYSTAL CLEAR Whistler’s Marielle Thompson is the 2023-24 FIS ski cross Crystal Globe winner.

in a press release. “Just nothing but the best he brings to the table at every race. I knew I needed to bring my best, and I did rise to the occasion and I’m very, very proud of how I put myself together there.”

The tenth iteration of Crankworx Rotorua culminated Sunday, March 24 in a piece of history: the first-ever ladies’ slopestyle event.

Robin Goomes ascended to first prize on behalf of her native New Zealand with an outstanding 90.75-point effort that netted her $16,000 NZD. Harriet Burbidge-Smith took runner-up position (85.50) and Caroline Buchanan held on for third (80.25).

Close friends Goomes and BurbidgeSmith opted for a celebratory jaunt down the track after their first runs.

“The plan for run 2 was just to clean that [first] ride up, but instead, Haz [BurbidgeSmith] and I stayed in our positions, and Haz was saying that if she stayed in second, she was happy to just party train down,” Goomes elaborated in a release. “Honestly, that’s the dream: having fun with your friends. It’s been a good week!”

Buchanan was pensive shortly following the festivities.

“One of those things I remember, two years ago sitting in the booth here when the men were on and I said, you know, it would be unreal to see women. Fast forward to two years later, now I see the top six ladies in the world who are completely ready for this course and this experience, to just all shine,” said the reigning Crankworx Queen to

reporters. “There were so many little girls in the stands, there were so many spectators, so many people cheering.

“For me, growing up in BMX since the age of five, it’s really hard to be what you can’t see, so being seen I think is the most important thing right now for the future of women’s slopestyle. To be one of the older girls in the class at 33, still throwing down, this is probably one of my career highlights today.”

The men elected not to participate amidst ongoing disputes regarding athlete remuneration, weather and course design. However, they did join their female peers in an honourary party train for mountain bike icon Kelly “McGazza” McGarry, who died in 2016 after going into cardiac arrest.

Full results from Rotorua are available at crankworx.com/results.


It’s all systems go for Marcus Goguen, who knocked down his second career Freeride World Tour (FWT) gold medal in Verbier, Switzerland.

The triumphant Whistlerite skier would not be denied, looking like a veteran in the face of massive exposure. He stomped his first 360 with little hesitation before opening up a brand-new line on the Bec des Rosses venue, sending one of the biggest double airs freeride fans have witnessed in quite some time. A panel of impressed judges rewarded him with a score of 96.00.

As a result, Goguen punched into second

place for the 2024 FWT overall ranking.

“It’s such a stress relief getting down here, as my legs were burning by the end of the line. I came here to have fun and ski my line,” Goguen told reporters after the event. “My goal next year is to continue having fun and maybe even win the title. I will keep trying to put down these lines and stay consistent. I’m excited for the future!”

“[I]t’s really hard to be what you can’t see...”

Max Hitzig (94.67) was not far behind in runner-up position with a full-throttle performance of his own. After battling head to head with Goguen for months, the German ultimately claimed the season title with 41,100 points to the Whistler Freeride Club (WFC) alum’s 39,420.

Bronze in Verbier went to Finn Bilous (93.33), who became the first to 360 off the Hollywood Cliff. His fellow Kiwi Ben Richards wrapped up third overall (32,435).

A youth movement is truly afoot. Both Goguen and Hitzig are in their second FWT campaign, while Richards has just gotten

through his rookie outing.

“I can’t believe it,” said Hitzig in a press release. “I was so nervous before my line. I have worked so hard for this. The level is getting so high, so I know it is getting harder to claim the title every year, which makes me happy to win it this year. I was scared to ski the Bec des Rosses from the top, but when you are in competition mode, you just go full send!”

While Erin Sauve is no spring chicken, she is new to the FWT scene. The Rossland, B.C. resident capped off her inaugural season with an overall championship in the ladies’ snowboard division (38,400).

Sauve broke through in Verbier (89.33), lining up three huge cliffs and a number of smooth turns. Núria Castán Barón brought a silver medal home to Spain (81.67) by hitting a few big drops of her own, while France’s Anna Martinez held onto bronze despite struggling with her control at times (56.67).

Castán Barón (37,275) and Martinez (35,275) also joined their Canadian rival in the season-ending top three.

“I am beyond words. I am so excited that my run went well and the snow was great,” said Sauve in a release. “It will take a while to sink in. I am so excited to be World Champion, but I want to return next year and push it even harder, go bigger, and show the world what women snowboarders can do. I dedicate this to everyone who helped me get here—all their time, energy, and support—and I couldn’t have done this without them.”

Full results are available on the FWT website. n

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Whistler’s Claire Buchar rides again to spotlight ovarian cancer research


IF YOU’RE READING THIS, you’ve probably encountered or heard of several cancer-related money-raisers before. Most of us have done Terry Fox runs in school, and some have donated to (or even participated in) various initiatives to join the continuing effort against this insidious group of diseases.

What you may not know is that, according to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), an estimated 1,950 women died of ovarian cancer in 2023. In fact, survival rates for this particular ailment remain low, and have not meaningfully improved in the last half-century.

Claire Buchar is not going to take that grim outlook lying down. That’s why she’s organizing her second annual Ride for Ovarian Cancer: a 50-kilometre bike jaunt in Squamish with 1,800 metres of elevation gain. Her goal is to raise at least $5,000, and she’s optimistic about reaching it since her first event two years ago produced nearly $8,000.

“Ovarian cancer affects a lot of women and it’s basically terminal,” said the former professional downhiller. “I refuse to believe that it’s going to stay that way. We need to fight for more awareness and more funding.”

For Buchar, the battle is personal. She lost her mom to ovarian cancer when she was 17 years old, an event that understandably rocked her world. The longtime Whistlerite essentially had to grow up overnight, but now she cherishes the opportunity to ride on in her mother’s memory.


Buchar chased her athletic dreams for decades, and has plenty to show for it. She owns a bronze medal from the 2011 World Championship in Champéry, Switzerland, made Team Canada on a dozen separate occasions, and is the 2009 national titleholder. Now, she wants to give back.

There’s more than one way for Buchar to do that, of course. She works in graphic design at Chromag Bikes in Function Junction and

has been a prolific brand ambassador for some time. She also coaches the Canadian squad at Worlds most years.

Yet, there’s obviously something different about raising money for cancer research.

“Sport is important in our culture. I very much supported it, and now I support all the young athletes,” Buchar said. “But this community supported me so much for so many years, and it’s time to give back—to pay it forward a little bit more. To be able to do something like this, where I can give back to a cause through my riding, is super cool.”

Buchar mounted up and hit the road in 2022, determined to see her newfound mission through. A crew of close friends rallied to join her on what turned out to be a memorable eight-hour trek beneath sunny skies and rain alike. Fifty kilometres may not sound like much to an experienced rider, but single- and double-track trails early in the spring can pose a stiff challenge to those who have been hibernating all winter.

“It was really special to have other people believe in the cause, because we’re all affected,” said Buchar. “It’s our mothers, sisters, wives, aunts: women in our lives that are integral. And [that first ride] was a long day … a wake-up call to the legs.”

The former World Cup athlete wants to see an uptick in pre-emptive surgeries for women who are at risk of ovarian cancer, as well as more education and awareness on how to mitigate one’s risk through healthy lifestyle choices. A cure is the obvious and ultimate goal, but there are numerous milestones that can and hopefully will be reached along the way.

A family emergency forced Buchar to cancel her 2023 fundraiser, but it’s back and slated for Saturday, April 6. Money raised will go towards Ovarian Cancer Canada, the lone registered Canadian charity focused on eliminating and reducing the disease’s impact from coast to coast. All who donate $50 or more will have a chance to win a new bike handlebar, stem and saddle from Chromag Bikes (valued at over $450).

Learn more about Buchar’s Ride for Ovarian Cancer at noca.convio.net/site/ TR?px=1701792&fr_id=1841&pg=personal.  n

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FORWARD Retired World Cup downhill biker Claire Buchar rides to raise money for ovarian cancer research in Squamish on April 6. PHOTO BY DYLAN SHERRARD
MARCH 29, 2024 55

‘I cook like I’m cooking for my family’


SIMRANJEET KAUR’S family table has expanded lately to include the entire population of Pemberton after the local created a side hustle from her lifelong love of cooking nourishing Indian food.

Simi’s Kitchen is a “ghost kitchen”—a food service business serving customers exclusively through delivery.

“I love cooking, but I didn’t have any physical place to run it from. I heard about CloudKitchens,” said Kaur. “Basically, they provide pick-up and delivery services. Lots of places in Vancouver are running a similar style of business.”

Kaur was initially worried her business would not take off, but her family and friends urged her to allow others to enjoy her homely recipes.

“They were all pushing me to do something,” she said. “I also have a rich culture. They told me to pursue it as a side hustle and that if it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I didn’t have any self-esteem at the beginning. I started researching about it.”

The self-taught cook has followed her

passion since she was 13 years old. She is no stranger to a professional kitchen, but had to come to grips with the business side of things to provide a product the community has come to love.

Kaur admits her road to success had a few bumps on it—finding a physical space to cook chief among them.

“My cooking style is more aromatic stuff. I use spices that are traditional to East Asia, Indian and Arabian,” she said. “Most of my spices are really aromatic and they need to be fried and stuff. We didn’t have any places in Pemberton to work from. One of my friends urged us to talk to the community kitchen in the community centre. I didn’t even know there was one!”

Kaur started accepting orders via phone and on Facebook on Christmas Eve 2023.

“On the morning I first posted, I was shaking. My husband said it was a really good day to do it,” she said. “I got three orders the next day and I was so overwhelmed with all the love. I was so grateful in that moment.”

The people of Pemberton were stoked when Kaur filled a gap in the food-service market. Kaur works at Petro-Canada, so is a familiar face to locals, one people couldn’t wait to support.

“Most people know me. I am really blessed with angels around me,” she said. “When I posted online, they literally bombarded me with all the love and shared the word like fire. Hearing positive feedback just makes you feel so good.”

Appetizers, main meals, desserts and extras

are all included on the menu at reasonable prices. Kaur’s butter chicken has become a major talking point in the community.

However, Kaur is always open to cooking a meal a customer really wants. She tailors the meals around each individual customer like a mother cooking for her own children.

“I offer customization,” she said. “If someone has something they really want, I can make it up. All my food is kept in a way that the meals can be nut-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan and customized. They are interchangeable. I can suit the needs of the person I am cooking for.”

Kaur’s dedication to getting her meals to her customers’ kitchen tables is as remarkable as her cooking.

“I don’t have a car, but my husband bikes on our bike,” she said. “Sometimes, I just walk around and deliver. It’s a small village! Mostly, people are so welcoming. If it’s raining or snowing really hard, we let people know we can’t deliver because we bike around. When I cook, I cook like I’m cooking for my family.”

Kaur said she travels to the city at least twice a month to make sure she has all the spices she needs, buying ingredients in bulk and making her own spices at home.

“My uniqueness is in my taste. I grew up in India where things were done on the stone,” she said. “Things were authentic. I have learned from that. I see here that so much is whitewashed. You find recipes that aren’t even Indian. When I serve food, I know it would help a customer’s gut.

“I want it to be so healthy, so filling and so yummy that it will benefit their health, plus their mind and heart. My mom used to say if the food looks tasty and it provides nutrition, the person will also come back.”

While having her own physical space would be a dream, Kaur is happy to keep cooking for as long as her extended family wants her to.

“I am a go-with-the-flow person,” she said. “If it is in the stars and if a place comes up, great! If it doesn’t, we are still here.”

Kaur’s mouth-watering menu and contact details can be found at facebook.com/ simiskitchen0124. ■

ALL IN THE FAMILY Simranjeet Kaur’s new fooddelivery service, Simi’s Kitchen, is like ‘cooking for my family,’ she says.
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‘A match made in heaven’


GET READY FOR musical worlds to collide when the Four Jays swing by to close out the Whistler Chamber Music Society’s (WCMS) spring concert season.

Pianist Jane Hayes, violinist Joan Blackman, saxophone player Julia Nolan and bassist Jodi Proznick are not your typical chamber music group, to say the least. According to Hayes, however, they’re “a match made in heaven.”

“Our quartet is very much into this eclectic mix of repertoire commissioning, trying to find repertoire for us that we’ll all feel comfortable with—classical meets jazz,” she says.

The former Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) music department chair has a long-standing friendship with Nolan, and met Blackman playing a Berg chamber concerto she describes as “monumental.” They first performed together in 2017 with Vetta Chamber Music in Vancouver, for which Blackman serves as artistic director.

Though that initial collaboration required the right sales pitch—violins and saxophones don’t normally go together—the trio enjoyed their experience.

Shortly after the onset of COVID-19, one

of Blackman’s Vetta associates reached out to her about a virtual concert series to be professionally recorded and distributed. Blackman floated the idea of adding jazz to the mix, and that’s how a certain bassist entered the picture.

Locals might remember Proznick from last December, when she and Dawn Pemberton played at the Maury Young Arts Centre as O Come All Ye Soulful. She’s a three-time Juno

of playing what’s written, when it’s written. It’s been really interesting: freeing up the classical and imposing discipline onto the jazz end of things.”


Hayes is acquainted with Whistler, given she has sons who love to ski, bike and ride their

“Our quartet is very much into this eclectic mix of repertoire commissioning...”

Award nominee and an expert in her field… but less so when it comes to classical music. Her presence in the Four Jays has led to a unique cross-pollination between genres.

“I’m rigidly classically trained,” admits Hayes. “What’s amazing with the jazz world is that it allowed [Nolan, Blackman and I] to be free of the concept that every note has to be exactly right and at the right time. Jodi was telling us: ‘just keep the beat and go.’

“For Jodi … she wasn’t used to changing metres, so we kind of challenged her in terms

snowmobiles. Yet she’s never performed in the Sea to Sky, and looks forward to doing so alongside her peers in “an absolutely spectacular part of the world.”

Their program will include three tracks from Proznick’s Sun Songs. The album is of particular personal significance to the Vancouverite, themed with the metaphor of life as a sunrise and sunset. It was inspired by two sets of emotionally-charged news: the joy of Proznick’s entry into motherhood and the devastating knowledge that her own mother

was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

“Jodi had imagined this wonderful connection that her son would have with her mother, and of course, it just wasn’t meant to be, so the songs are beautiful,” Hayes says. “She arranged them as instrumentals for us … but because the originals had voice, we had to take over all of the vocal lines.

“There would have been drums, so the piano part tends to be more of the rhythmic background, and the violin is this new voice. Joan is just a monster when it comes to being free—she’s had so much fun improvising.”

Rounding out the jazz end of the repertoire is work by University of British Columbia composer Dave Dagta, whom Hayes praises for featuring an infectious rhythm and gorgeous melodies.

The Four Jays also plan to bring some tango to the table, namely that of Argentine national Astor Piazzolla. Throughout his nearly six-decade career, Piazzolla ushered in “nuevo tango” by introducing elements of jazz and classical music into the genre. Critics have referred to him as one of the world’s leading tango composers.

“That’s the main thing when you’re marrying jazz and classical: you end up with great tunes, and you end up with great rhythm,” remarks Hayes. “Those are the two benchmarks of our program.”

The Four Jays grace the Maury Young Arts Centre on April 7 at 5 p.m. Tickets and more information are available at whistlerchambermusic.ca/concert/the-fourjays.  n

JAYDAY Members of the Four Jays, left to right: Jane Hayes, Joan Blackman, Julia Nolan and Jodi Proznick.
58 MARCH 29, 2024


Rob LeBlanc goes from job site to studio


WHEN ROB LEBLANC first moved to Whistler in 1990, he wanted to spend as many days as possible in the mountains. That, of course, put him in the same boat as most who arrive here, and he wasted little time becoming a snowboard instructor. The New Brunswick native sought work as a labourer during summer months, which is where he developed his carpentry skills.

Two-and-a-half decades later, LeBlanc’s joints were beginning to wear out and he realized he couldn’t snowboard as much as before. That prompted a move to Vancouver and a stint constructing sets in the film industry until COVID-19 shut it all down.

Fortunately, LeBlanc had already discovered a new way to utilize his passion: wood art.

“I got to work with some really fancy stuff, building some really intricate sets, and it inspired me to figure out a way to work with wood for fun—hopefully for a career,” he says.

“When I moved back up to Whistler, I realized: this is the land of snow and mountains. I should be making snowflakes and animals and bears and things like that, so that’s where I’ve focused for the last few years.

“When I moved here, I just wanted to snowboard and mountain bike and rock climb, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there’s more to life than just those extreme physical pursuits. Art is really enriching.”


Sustainability is one of LeBlanc’s key concerns.

He appreciates the fact wood is a naturally-occurring resource, and he does not use any artificial chemicals to stain or paint his art. The vast majority of the wood he uses is somehow recycled from something else—the Re-Build-It and Re-Use-It Centres are a treasure trove of raw material, as are the inventories of local ski manufacturers, as well as canoe and kayak builders.

“I’m used to seeing old ski cabins being torn down and homes being renovated and wood being thrown out,” LeBlanc says. “In Whistler there’s a lot of stuff that gets turfed, and it just killed me to see this beautiful wood getting thrown out. So I started collecting some of it, and then I realized that I could make beautiful art out of this stuff.”

LeBlanc has participated in three shows over the course of the last calendar year, including the Anonymous Art Show and the Teeny Tiny Show, plus numerous farmers’ markets. He’s brushed shoulders with a lot of people along the way.

“The art scene in town here is very welcoming,” he remarks. “We all kind of support each other. We buy each other’s art. A lot of people who know me have come up to me at a farmers’ market and gone: ‘I didn’t know you make art!’ Then you start talking,

and you find out that they’re doing something creative as well.”


LeBlanc still works in construction to help pay his bills. He has experience running job sites with more than 20 people looking to him for guidance, and figures he’s built more than a dozen multimillion-dollar luxury homes in the Sea to Sky corridor. Even so, he hopes to gradually transition into being a full-time artist.

“You kind of feel like an old-world craftsman, using little hand saws and doing [most] things manually—some machinery for a few things,” LeBlanc says. “The bulk of the effort that goes into making this art is very time-consuming, but it’s very zen-like. It’s relaxing, as opposed to using big saws and framing nail guns and working on a job site.”

Perhaps the most fulfilling thing LeBlanc has gotten to do is make things that hold some type of personal significance with his clients.

One of his more recent projects came courtesy of a woman who brought him wood left over from her great-grandparents’ shipping containers. He combined the old Egyptian wood with stuff from Whistler, and the resulting snowflake is on its way to be displayed in Sydney, Australia.

“By far, the most satisfaction I get is when I get to use material from a client’s past to create a piece of art that resonates with them both emotionally and aesthetically,” he explains. “It’s really neat when your art can tie together different people or places or events.

“You feel like you’re doing something more than just creating something to look at. You’re creating a memory and a touchstone. In my perfect world, that’s all I would be doing.”

Check out Leblanc’s portfolio at artworkarchive.com/profile/robert-eleblanc.  n

SKILL TRANSFER Whistlerite Rob LeBlanc has learned to use his carpentry skills as a budding artist.
MARCH 29, 2024 59 COME TO UR WH IS TL ER WAL DORF TO LE AR NM OR E Ongoing Registration for Kindergarten to Grade12 WhistlerWaldor fSchool fostersindependent, confidentand socially consciouslearnersthrough a strong academic foundation, balanced by theartsand enhancedbyanoutdooreducation specialization BOOK ATOUR admissions@whistler waldor f.com APPLYONLINE whistler waldor f.com/admissions LET’STALK 604-932-1885 HAPPY HOUR 5-6PM DAILY STARTING APRIL 8TH • $9 Cocktails • Antipasto platter $14 pp • $1/oz wine SCAN TO MAKE A RESERVATION 604 905 4844 4319 Main Street, Whistler Village @quattrowhistler

Here’s a quick look at some events happening in Whistler this week and beyond. FIND MORE LOCAL EVENT LISTINGS (and submit your own for free!) at piquenewsmagazine.com/local-events



The longest-running Canadian snowboard competition is back with a slopestyle event not to be missed. Presented by Burton, Vans, Volcom, Salomon, Dakine, 686, Guru, Oakley and GoPro, this event is a jam format contest with a custom-built venue in Blackcomb Park thanks to Showcase Snowboards and Whistler Terrain Parks. Open to all ages, with more than $15,000 of great prizes up for grabs!

> March 30

> Blackcomb Mountain

> $42.92


Do you love to sing? Do you love meeting new people?

Do you like all types of rock music, new and old? Come out and sing with Barbed Choir, Whistler’s rock choir. Meetings are drop-in, no registration or experience necessary.

In April, we’re singing “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.

Read more at whistlerlibrary.ca/event/barbed-choir.

> April 3, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

> Whistler Public Library

> Free


This Whistler Institute speaker series event will be an investigative discussion about today’s contemporary research with a focus on concussion in sports and traumatic brain injury. Topically relevant to our community, this exploratory session brings together a panel of academic professionals and a high performance athlete who will share his lived experience. Find more info at whistlerinstitute.com/courses/ concussions.

> April 4, 6 to 7:30 p.m.

> Maury Young Arts Centre

> $30


Join the Whistler Naturalists on the first Saturday of the month for a walk to Rainbow Park. Open to anyone interested in learning about birds and contributing as a citizen scientist. There will be experienced birders on hand who are happy to share their knowledge. More information at whistlernaturalists.ca/birding.

> April 6, 8 a.m.

> Meet at the bottom of Lorimer Road by the catholic church.

> Free for members, by donation for nonmembers

60 MARCH 29, 2024 ONE EMAIL EVERY DAY, AND NEVER MISS A STORY AGAIN Scan the QR co de to receive your newsletter 5 days a week We’ve got you covered. Pick up the latest issue of your favourite read in Whistler. Glacier Media Digital experts help businesses succeed online. Contact your Sales representative at Pique Newsmagazine today for a free digital audit Get noticed! • Social • Google • Websites • Programmatic • SEO/SEM • Sponsored content 604-938-0202 sales@piquenewsmagazine.com

Maximum exposure

SOME WEEKS are busier than others, whether planned that way or brought about through unexpected changes. In late March and early April, 1980, Whistler Mountain had a very busy week of events, only some of which it planned to host.

The Labatt World Cup Freestyle Championships were scheduled to take place on Grouse Mountain from March 28 to 30. However, by March 20 it was announced warm weather meant Grouse would be unable to host the competition.

“It’s unfortunate, but we had to face the fact that we would have to move an enormous amount of snow to provide a safe and adequate ballet and mogul course,” said Peter McKaySmith, spokesperson for Grouse.

Instead, the three-day event featuring about 100 skiers from around the world was shifted to Whistler Mountain.

Canadian skiers were looking strong heading into the competition, with Stephanie Sloan and Greg Athans leading the women’s and men’s divisions. Along with ballet, aerial, and moguls competitions, a pro-am mogul bash was also planned for March 26 to help set up the bumps ahead of the mogul competition on the upper T-bar headwall. Teams of three consisted of one professional and two amateur skiers, and the event was used as a warm up for both competitors and the lift company.

As with many events held on Whistler Mountain, the weather was not all that cooperative. Conditions for the World Cup Ballet Championships held on Friday, March 28 were described as “somewhat unfriendly with blowing snow and high winds,” even blowing out the fencing and banners that lined the course near the top of the Little Red Chair. The mogul event scheduled for Saturday, March 29 had to be postponed after 35 centimetres of snow fell on the course. Both the moguls and aerials took place on Sunday, March 30, making for a busy and tiring day for competitors. All of this was

followed by a presentation ceremony at the base of the lifts where, having both held onto their leads, Athans and Sloan were crowned World Cup Freestyle Champions. Sponsored by Labatt, there was also $30,000 in prize money given out.

Though running the World Cup Freestyle might seem like enough for one week, there were also downhill races running on Whistler Mountain Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (March 30 to April 2). While freestyle skiers demonstrated their acrobatic abilities, a Nancy Greene Ski League GS race was held on part of the Orange Chair downhill (today part of Upper Dave Murray Downhill). About 50 skiers aged six to 14 from the Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) and the Red Mountain Ski Club of Rossland raced to earn points for their clubs. In the end, Red Mountain came out ahead with 197 points to Whistler’s 154. The top-placing WMSC racer in 7th place was Willy Raine (son of Nancy Greene and Al Raine).

Even as the freestyle competitions went on and young skiers raced down the GS course, slightly older junior racers trained on the Back Bowl course for two downhill races held Monday and Tuesday (April 1 and 2). These races made up the first Bob Parsons Memorial Downhill race, named for one of the founding Weasel Workers and chief of course for many downhill races on Whistler Mountain before his death in 1979.

These races were restricted to racers who were “up and coming” with “100 FIS points or more.” Unlike the freestyle events, both downhill race days were cold and clear, and the event went smoothly. Over the two days, Jill Warland of Kimberley and Jamie Parsons (fittingly the grandson of Bob Parsons) came in first in both downhills, and the Bob Parsons Memorial Trophy was awarded to Jamie by his mother, Lee.

According to the Whistler Question editorial following all these events, Whistler Mountain came through with “a minimum of confusion and a maximum of exposure,” leading to a lot of positive publicity for the growing resort. n

SPEED DEMONS The Labatt World Cup Freestyle Championships on Whistler Mountain. WHISTLER QUESTION COLLECTION, 1980 62 MARCH 29, 2024 GET YOUR FREE ESTIMATES TODAY. CALL MARC: 604-783-1345 marc@peakmasters.ca Your friendly Whistler roofing experts Thinking about a new roof? NOW BOOKING SPRING 2024 INSTALLS • Enviroshake premium composite • Metal roofing • 50 year manufacturing warranty • 10 year workmanship warranty FREE PARKING out front! Bring the kids in for brunch on Saturday & Sunday this weekend from 11am-2pm. Roland’s Cold Beer & Wine Store is open all weekend from 11am-11pm. NEW WINTER WHISTLER MAGAZINE IS OUT!  Get your new edition in hotel rooms and select locations around Whistler. WHISTLER’S PREMIER VISITOR MAGAZINE SINCE 1980 /whistlermagazine
SEND US YOUR PHOTOS! Send your recent snaps to edit@piquenewsmagazine.com 1 2 5 4 3 MARCH 29, 2024 63 Stay Stinky 21-4314 Main Street ! Recycle? Yes or no? Get the BC RECYCLEPEDIA App www.rcbc.ca RECYCLING COUNCIL OF B.C. MEMBER
1 ICECAPADES The inaugural sailing of the HMCS icebreaker “Alta” paddling through ice on Alta Lake on March 24. PHOTO COURTESY OF VICTORIA GUY 2
JUNGLE Nobody can
Pique’s art director Jon Parris doesn’t have a green thumb. PHOTO BY JON PARRIS 3 BIRTHDAY BASH A pair of lovely ladies celebrate at the 50th birthday party for Dr. Shea Colpitts held Friday, March 22. PHOTO
Pique reporters Scott Tibballs and Roisin Cullen pounded the pavement (and gravel) up to Lillooet—enjoying the views along the way—for an upcoming cover feature. PHOTO BY SCOTT TIBBALLS 5 BRUNCH BUDDIES A gang of Whistlerites made their way to Pemberton on
March 23 for brunch at the Sunstone Golf Club—with spectacular Mount Currie as their view. PHOTO


Free Will Astrology

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the coming days, your hunger will be so inexhaustible that you may feel driven to devour extravagant amounts of food and drink. It’s possible you will gain 10 pounds in a very short time. Who knows? You might even enter an extreme eating contest and devour 46 dozen oysters in 10 minutes! APRIL FOOL! Although what I just said is remotely plausible, I foresee that you will sublimate your exorbitant hunger. You will realize it is spiritual in nature and can’t be gratified by eating food. As you explore your voracious longings, you will hopefully discover a half-hidden psychological need you have been suppressing. And then you will liberate that need and feed it what it craves!

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Taurus novelist Lionel Shriver writes, “There’s a freedom in apathy, a wild, dizzying liberation on which you can almost get drunk.” In accordance with astrological omens, I recommend you experiment with Shriver’s strategy in the coming weeks.

APRIL FOOL! I lied. In fact, Lionel Shriver’s comment is one of the dumbest thoughts I have ever heard. Why would anyone want the cheap, damaged liberation that comes from feeling indifferent, numb, and passionless? Please do all you can to disrupt and dissolve any attraction you may have to that state, Taurus. In my opinion, you now have a sacred duty to cultivate extra helpings of enthusiasm, zeal, liveliness, and ambition.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): At enormous cost and after years of study, I have finally figured out the meaning of life, at least as it applies to you Geminis. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to reveal it to you unless you send me $1,000 and a case of Veuve Clicquot champagne. I’ve got to recoup my investment, right?! APRIL FOOL! Most of what I just said was a dirty lie. It’s true that I have worked hard to uncover the meaning of life for you Geminis. But I haven’t found it yet. And even if I did, I would of course provide it to you free. Luckily, you are now in a prime position to make dramatic progress in deciphering the meaning of life for yourself.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): For a limited time only, you have permission from the cosmos to be a wildly charismatic egomaniac who brags incessantly and insists on getting your selfish needs met at all times and in all places. Please feel free to have maximum amounts of narcissistic fun, Cancerian! APRIL FOOL! I was exaggerating a bit, hoping to offer you medicinal encouragement so you will stop being so damn humble and self-effacing all the time. But the truth is, now is indeed an excellent time to assert your authority, expand your clout, and flaunt your potency and sovereignty.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Michael Scott was a character in the TV sitcom The Office. He was the boss of a paper company. Played by Leo actor Steve Carell, he was notoriously self-centered and obnoxious. However, there was one famous scene I will urge you to emulate. He was asked if he would rather be feared or loved. He replied, “Um, easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” Be like Michael Scott, Leo! APRIL FOOL! I was half-kidding. It’s true I’m quite excited by the likelihood that you will receive floods of love in the coming weeks. It’s also true that I think you should do everything possible to boost this likelihood. But I would rather people be amazed and pleased at how much they love you, not afraid.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Now would be an excellent time for you to snag a Sugar Daddy or Sugar Momma or Sugar NonBinary Nurturer. The astrological omens are telling me life is expanding its willingness and capacity to provide you with help, support, and maybe even extra cash. I dare you to dangle yourself as bait and sell your soul to the highest bidder. APRIL FOOL! I was half-kidding. While I do believe it’s prime time to ask for and receive more help, support, and extra cash, I don’t believe you will have to sell your soul to get any of it. Just be yourself!

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Happy Unbirthday, Libra!

It’s that time halfway between your last birthday and your next. Here are the presents I plan to give you: a boost in your receptivity to be loved and needed; a constructive relationship with obsession; more power to accomplish the half-right thing when it’s hard to do the totally right thing; the disposal of 85 per cent of the psychic trash left over from the time between 2018 and 2023; and a provocative new invitation to transcend an outworn old taboo. APRIL FOOL! The truth is, I can’t possibly supply every one of you with these fine offerings, so please bestow them on yourself. Luckily, the cosmic currents will conspire with you to make these things happen.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Now would be an excellent time to seek liposuction, a facelift, Botox, buttocks augmentation, or hair transplants. Cosmic rhythms will be on your side if you change how you look. APRIL FOOL! Everything I just said was a lie. I’ve got nothing against cosmetic surgery, but now is not the right time to alter your appearance. Here’s the correct oracle: Shed your disguises, stop hiding anything about who you really are, and show how proud you are of your idiosyncrasies.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): I command you to love Jesus and Buddha! If you don’t, you will burn in Hell! APRIL FOOL! I was just kidding. I was being sensationalistic to grab your attention. Here’s my real, true oracle for you: Love everybody, including Jesus and Buddha. And I mean love them all twice as strong and wild and tender. The cosmic powers ask it of you! The health of your immortal soul depends on it! Yes, Sagittarius, for your own selfish sake, you need to pour out more adoration and care and compassion than you ever have before. I’m not exaggerating! Be a lavish Fountain of Love!

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): If you gave me permission, I would cast a spell to arouse in you a case of ergophobia, i.e., an aversion to work. I think you need to take a sweet sabbatical from doing business as usual. APRIL FOOL! I was just joking about casting a spell on you. But I do wish you would indulge in a lazy, do-nothing retreat. If you want your ambitions to thrive later, you will be wise to enjoy a brief period of delightful emptiness and relaxing dormancy. As Buddhist teacher Sylvia Boorstein recommends, “Don’t just do something! Sit there!”

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): In accordance with current astrological omens, I suggest you get the book Brain Surgery for Beginners by Steven Parker and David West. You now have the power to learn and even master complex new skills, and this would be an excellent place to start. APRIL FOOL! I was half-kidding. I don’t really think you should take a scalpel to the gray matter of your friends and family members—or yourself, for that matter. But I am quite certain that you currently have an enhanced power to learn and even master new skills. It’s time to raise your educational ambitions to a higher octave. Find out what lessons and training you need most, then make plans to get them.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): In the religious beliefs of Louisiana Voodoo, one God presides over the universe but never meddles in the details of life. There are also many spirits who are always intervening and tinkering, intimately involved in the daily rhythm. They might do nice things for people or play tricks on them—and everything in between. In alignment with current astrological omens, I urge you to convert to the Louisiana Voodoo religion and try ingenious strategies to get the spirits to do your bidding. APRIL FOOL! I don’t really think you should convert. However, I believe it would be fun and righteous for you to proceed as if spirits are everywhere—and assume that you have the power to harness them to work on your behalf.

Homework: Speak aloud as you tell yourself the many ways you are wonderful. Newsletter.FreeWillAstrology.com.

In addition to this column, Rob Brezsny creates EXPANDED AUDIO HOROSCOPES In-depth weekly forecasts designed to inspire and uplift you. To buy access, phone 1-888-499-4425. Once you’ve chosen the Block of Time you like, call 1-888-682-8777 to hear Rob’s forecasts. www.freewillastrology.com
WEEK OF MARCH 29 BY ROB BREZSNY 64 MARCH 29, 2024 Whistler WITH SUPPORT FROM Celebrating22Years HAPPENING APRI L7TH AT THEG LC! “Shave ForThe Brave” Help raise$25,000 in support of kids with cancer andblood disordersat B.CChildren’sHospital Register online today whistlerbaldingfordollars.com

HarmonyVetsisanewHouse-Call onlysmallanimalveterinaryservice toWhistlerandPemberton. OfferingCertifiedFearFree veterinaryexamsincluding:at homeeuthanasias,wellness exams,vaccines,routineillness consults,chronicillness management(diabetes,chronic kidneydisease,skinallergiesetc) tocats,dogsandothersmall exoticpets.Locallyownedand committedtoservingthese amazingcommunitiesintheSeato SkyCorridor.604-906-4824 www.harmonyvets.ca

WhistlerSmilesDentalClinic $20-$25

OuridealDentalAssistantforour practiceisoutgoing,enjoys workinginabusyenvironmentand valuesplayingtheirpartforthe team.Wearelookingforsomeone whoisorganized,kind,caringand trulymakesourclientsfeelatease. Experienceisnotnecessaryaswe providein-officetraining. Comprehensivemedical,dental, andvisionbenefits.604-966-4500 info@whistlersmiles.com

Fairmont Chateau

Whistler Resort is growing its Housing portfolio and sourcing additional Chalet and Condo Rental contracts for our Hotel Team Members. Our leaders are mature, career driven drivers that know the word respect. Contract terms for property Owners are stress free with no commissions and includes representation from our 4 person fulltime Housing Department working with you 24/7; maintaining all aspects of the tenancy including quarterly inspections.



have tired with

Airbnb game or Property Fees.


we can make a match and develop a long-term relationship here. General inquiries please email mark.munn@fairmont.com

MARCH 29, 2024 65
• Kitchen and Bath • Renovations & Repairs • Drywall • Painting • Finishing • Minor Electrical & Plumbing Serving Whistler for over 25 years Wiebe Construction Services Ray Wiebe 604.935.2432 Pat Wiebe 604.902.9300 raymondo99.69@gmail.com Starting at $1.00 / SQFT mariomarble@shawbiz.ca Showroom #103-1010 Alpha Lake Rd. TILE CLEARANCE SALE Slate. Marble. Porcelain 604-935-8825 Call 604-902-MOVE www.alltimemoving.ca big or small we do it all! 3weekpositionforNanny $3,500 Dates:April9thtoApril28th ResponsibleprofessionalNanny neededtotraveltoBarbadoswith twogirlsages7and10,where theyattendschool. Hoursonceinschoolhoursare 6:20am-7:20am&3:30pm-8:30pm Nodrivingrequired.Needpassport SeriousInquiriesOnly. Email:vibe@duck.com 604-932-0677 info@mountaincountry.ca ANNUAL & SEASONAL For Whistler Property Owners Long Term Rental Management MOUNTAINCOUNTRY.CA Accommodation LONG-TERM RENTALS MULTIPLE LOCATIONS Accommodation SEEKING ACCOMMODATION WANTED HOME SERVICES BUILDING AND RENOVATIONS MOVING AND STORAGE SERVICES PROFESSIONAL SERVICES DISPLAY ADS DEADLINE FOR PRINT ADS Tuesday 4pm RENT SELL HIRE Classifieds Where locals look Î Secure & scamless Î Fully searchable Î Targeted online community Î Categorised listings Î No reposting Î Trusted by locals Î Make your listing stand out with featured locations CALL OR PLACE YOUR CLASSIFIED WITH OUR ONLINE SERVICE FOR EITHER PRINT OR ONLINE...OR BOTH! Get the added punch to make your business ad standout with a classified display ad. Free ad design, colour options, incentives for ad frequency. Contact a sales rep today. List your accommodation rental in print & online from only $5* a week Sell your stuff Advertising Options Î Packages start with 4 lines of text. Additional text $1/line Î Add one image in print and up to three online as per package level. Î Bolding .50¢/word Î Border $2 * Rates are based on using Pique’s selfserve online application at classifieds. piquenewsmagazine.com piquenewsmagazine.com 604-938-0202 online only Free* for 30 days print & online $11* per week PRINT & ONLINE SELF-SERVE CLASSIFIEDS.PIQUENEWSMAGAZINE.COM www.whistlerwag.com Dont forget to scoop the poop! It’s not fun to step in, or to see around town. Help keep Whistler clean and pick up after your dog. piquenewsmagazine.com/ local-events/ PET SERVICES
A great next move


is looking for a


Preferably with a technical school program in geomatics


We are currently seeking a detail-oriented and driven individual to join our team as a








Experience and Proficient in the use of robotic survey instruments and GPS equipment is an asset. Work in engineering and building construction layout, topographic site surveys, site improvement surveys and precise monitoring.


Experience with AutoCAD Civil 3D also an asset to assist in office with computations and drawing preparation.


In this role, you will be responsible for collecting data and conducting surveys in various locations. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who enjoys working outdoors, has a strong attention to detail, and possesses excellent problem-solving skills.

Please call Ian @ 604-932-3314 or email @ ian@dbss.ca

building construction layout, topographic site surveys, site improvement surveys and precise monitoring.

Send Resumes to Ian@dbss.ca

66 MARCH 29, 2024 See our full page schedule ad in this issue of Pique for details
Fitness Classes
– Yoga & Pilates Blend 7:30-8:30am w Liv
am w Susie
– Zumba 10:30-11:30
Vinyasa Flow 9:00-10:00am w Nicki
–Strength & Mobility 6:45-7:45pm
– Gentle Fit 1:00-2:00 pm w Diana
– Spin 5:15-6:15 pm w Alex LOVE WHISTLER?? Live, Work & Study here Contact us: 604 935 4783 shelley@whistleradventureschool.com www.whistleradventureschool.com 1 Year & 6 Month Diploma Programs International & Domestic Students • MARKETING & MEDIA MANAGER • MOUNTAIN SPORT TECHNICIAN • ADVENTURE TOURISM • BIKE & SKI GUIDE TRAINING ACCREDITED POST SECONDARY PROGRAMS Services HEALTH & WELLBEING SPORTS & ACTIVITIES WILDERNESS FIRST RESPONDER COURSE Essential certification for working in the Adventure Tourism Industry Contact us: 604-935-4783 info@whistleradventureschool.com www.whistleradventureschool.com @Whistleredu 80 hour full certification in Whistler $1200 40 hour recert $560 Starts May 4, 2024 Located at Whistler Adventure School in Function Junction EDUCATION FIRST AID AND SURVIVAL EDUCATION CLASSES & COURSES NOW HIRING Housekeepers Guest Services Chef de Partie Dishwashers Servers LIVE HERE WORK HERE Employee accommodation Three meals per day Employee use of facilities and watercrafts Be part of a fun and welcoming diverse team Put money aside for your travel plans is looking for a SURVEY FIELD TECHNICIAN:
with a
technical school program in geomatics
Experience and Proficient in the use of robotic survey instruments and GPS equipment is an asset.
call Ian
or email @ ian@dbss.ca
Alpha Lake Rd. Whistler
Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton
@ 604-932-3314
0H9 Serving
Resort Municipality of Whistler whistler.ca/careers Resort Municipality of Whistler Employment Opportunities · Lifeguard/Swim Instructor · Skate Host · Wastewater Treatment Plant Process Supervisor · Labourer I – Village Maintenance · Youth and Public Services Specialist · Legislative and Privacy Coordinator · Program Leader · Lifeguard/Swim Instructor · Solid Waste Technician · Accountant • Records Digitization Assistant Casualpositionwithastartingwageof$27.57anhour. • Village Host Team Assistant Permanentpart-timepositionwithastartingwageof$27.57anhour. Resort Municipality of Whistler Employment Opportunities We've Got You Covered VISITORS’ GUIDE 2017-2018 FRE PICK UP YOUR COPY TODAY! Whistler’s premier visitor magazine is on stands now! Look for our Winter 2024 Issue! Find it on select stands and in Whistler hotel rooms. Sign up at www.whistlerwag.com Become a monthly donor today!

Why Work at Whistler Waldorf School?

• Competitive Wages & Full Benefits

• Supportive & Collaborative Team

• Tuition remission for children

• School working schedule with summers off

Currently looking for a:

• Middle School Science and Math Teacher

View whistlerwaldorf.com/employment

Email principal@whistlerwaldorf.com


for more information.



A commercial cleaning company, in Whistler. BC, is looking for full-time, long-term employees/cleaners

Competitive wages, starting at $27.50 per hour (reviewed after 3 months)

Must have a valid Driver’s License

A high school diploma and fluent in English are a prerequisite

Working hours: must be available to start early – 5am

Duties will include the following:

• General cleaning of commercial properties and offices.

• Replenishment of essential supplies where relevant.

• Reporting of supply status at the various commercial properties and offices.

• Reporting of deficiencies in any of the working locations

Send resume to: teamcwhistler@telus.net

Or call: 604 935 8715

MARCH 29, 2024 67 Shuttle Drivers Guest Service Agents Guest Services Supervisors Tour Guide Scan the QR to apply NOW HIRING FOR SUMMER 2024 High school students encouraged to apply! start as early as April 8th! wages start from $20.50 - $24.80 We’re Hiring! Experienced Carpenters! Come and join our team and see why we are consistently voted Whistler’s # 1 Construction Company. $30-$50 an hour, Wage based on Experience TM Builders is a leader in the Sea to Sky construction industry. We specialize in high-end architecturally designed homes and commercial construction projects. Our wide variety of work offers opportunities to advance your career and grow your knowledge. Experience a culture of transparency, high-quality craftsmanship, and solution-oriented attitudes. Why work with us? Competitive Compensation Packages Annual Tool Allowance Extended Health and Dental Benefits for Employees and their Families Continued Education and Professional Development Opportunities We promote from within and are committed to the long-term development of your career We support apprenticeships and will help you get your Red Seal • Great Team Culture Positive Work Environment Apply to connect@tmbuilders.ca tmbuilders.ca/careers/ We are looking to hire another member to our team at Straightline. Experience in Plumbing is
and HVAC
would be preferred but not essential.
are based
Please call 604-935-8771 or email straightlineplumbingandheating@gmail.com
on experience.
or Full-time positions available.
Whistler’s only dedicated wedding magazine. AVAILABLE

Come build with the best team.


Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler is seeking a Director of Security

What we offer:

• Competitive wage Monthly housing allowance

• Ski Pass

• Comprehensive health, dental, and retirement savings plans

• Fun, engaging work environment and opportunities for growth and development

If this exciting opportunity sounds like a fit for you, please apply directly on the Four Seasons website


Or through the QR code below:

Our team of people is what sets us apart from other builders. As we continue to grow as the leader in luxury projects in Whistler, our team needs to expand with us.

We are currently hiring: Experienced Carpenters $30 - $45.50/hourly. Wage based on experience. Red Seal is a bonus, but not mandatory.

EVR is committed to the long-term retention and skills development of our team. We are passionate about investing in our team’s future.

We offer:

• Top Wages

• Training & Tuition Reimbursement (Need help getting your Red Seal?)

• $500 Annual Tool Allowance

• Extended Health and Dental Benefits (Also includes Family Benefits.)

• Flexible Schedule - Work Life Balance. (We get it. We love to ski and bike too.)

• Assistance with Work Visa and Permanent Residency (We can help.)

• Positive Work Environment

We promote from within and are looking to strengthen our amazing team. Opportunities for advancement into management positions always exist for the right candidates. Don’t miss out on being able to build with the team that builds the most significant projects in Whistler.

Send your resume to info@evrfinehomes.com We look forward to hearing from you!



Part Time, Contract (One Year)

The Copywriter is responsible for writing engaging and targeted content for Tourism Whistler’s email program, and also provides copywriting support for collateral and advertising campaigns.

This role requires an individual with a passion and knowledge of Whistler, experience writing for various media channels, and the ability to think strategically and creatively to produce response-driven copy across various channels.

What we offer: part time flexible schedule (16 hours per week) with a hybrid approach that balances in-office and remote work, a commitment to health and wellness, and a fun and supportive team environment.

The starting wage range for this role is $27 - $29 per hour.


68 MARCH 29, 2024
JOB OPPORTUNITIES • Youth & Family Support Worker ($55000 - $60000) • Community Health Nurse ($90000 -$100000) • Home and Community Care Nurse ($90000 -$110000) • Clinical Services Manager ($100000 - $125000) Learn more at sshs.ca/careers/ Send your application to Julia.schneider@sshs.ca YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES –CANADA SUMMER JOBS Full Time, Summer Contract Canada Summer Jobs is a program under the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, which aims to provide flexible and holistic services to help all young Canadians develop the skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition into the labour market. Tourism Whistler has applied to participate in the Canada Summer Jobs Program, and will be hiring for the following opportunities: • Junior Coordinator, Member Relations ($22 - $24 per hour) • Coordinator, Human Resources ($22 - $24 per hour) As a requirement of the Canada Summer Jobs Program, these positions are available to applicants up to 30 years of age, who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada. TO VIEW OUR CAREER OPPORTUNITIES, AND TO APPLY, VISIT US ONLINE AT: WHISTLER.COM/CAREERS. piquenewsmagazine.com/ local-events/

Lil’wat Health & Healing

• Nurse Manager ($59,787 - $99,717.80 per year)

Lil’wat Business Group

• Accountant ($50,000 to $70,000 per year)

per year)

Vacasa’s forward-thinking approach and industry-leading technology help set us apart as the largest full-service vacation rental company in North America. We are seeking individuals with a passion for providing exceptional vacation experiences for our Owners and Guests.

We offer competitive wages and benefits: Travel allowance for Squamish/Pemberton-based employees OR Ski Pass/Activity allowance,

70 MARCH 29, 2024 NOW HIRING! Our Team enjoys: ü Flexible schedules ü Training and experience ü Substantial Employee Discount Card & Benefits ü Prime location in Pemberton ü Short commute = less time, more $$$ Full Time Meat Manager ($64,480 – $76,960 (+ benefits) depending on experience) Full Time Assistant Meat Manager ($54,080 – $70,720 (+ benefits) depending on experience) Download or fill out our online application at https://www.pembertonsupermarket.com/ about/employment/ or stop by the store and we will give you an application to fill out. You can also email us at jobs@pembertonsupermarket.com or call us at 604-894-3663. Lil’wat Nation Employment Opportunities Please visit our career page for more information: https://lilwat.ca/careers/ Benefits • Pension Plan • Employee Assistance Program • Gym facility • Extended Health Benefits • Professional Development Ullus Community Centre • Social worker ($80,371.20 - $91,673.40 per year) • Band Social Development worker ($38,038 - $53,599 per year) • Housing Administrator ($46,683.00 to $63,973.00 per year) • Transition House Support Worker ($20.90 - $29.45 per hour) Xet’òlacw Community School • Social Worker/ Counsellor ($80,371.20 - $91,673.40
Extended Medical, RRSP match, Fun & Safe Work Environment-Great Team, opportunities to grow and more. Apply online today! https://www.vacasa.com/careers/positions or email: paul.globisch@vacasa.com or call to find out more details at 604-698-0520 We thank all applicants for their interest but only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Night Duty Manager $26.50 per hour Maintenance Technician $26.25 per hour (**THE ABOVE POSITIONS PLUS SIGNING BONUS** $1000 FT) Owner Relations Manager $55,000 per year Full Time all year round Glacier Media Digital experts help businesses succeed online. Contact your Sales representative at Pique Newsmagazine today for a free digital audit 604-938-0202 sales@piquenewsmagazine.com Get noticed! • Social • Google • Websites • Programmatic • SEO/SEM • Sponsored content WE ARE HIRING! CERTIFIED DENTAL ASSISTANTS $30-35/Hour Full or Part Time Available Relocation Bonus Available Send Your Resume To Us liz@whistlerdental.com MORE INFORMATION whistlerdental.com/careers APPLY NOW

Overnight Support Worker (Casual)

The On-Call Overnight Support Worker will support our efforts by providing coverage for our regular staff team. You will foster a sense of community/family under our roof. This includes:

• Nurture a safe, supportive, comfortable home environment.

• Provide as needed assistance to participants.

• Respond to critical incidents.

• Facilitate conflict resolution with program participants.

• Provide supervision to ensure drugs and alcohol are not being used in the house.

• Support participants to uphold the house rules.

• Keep the house clean and orderly.

• Assist with participant cleaning duties.

• Complete case notes in our case administration management system (CAMS).



HYDROVAC OPERATOR - Valid Class 1 or Class 3 with air brakes required. Manual transmission. 2 years experience preferred. $32-$37 per hour.


HEAVY EQUIPMENT OPERATOR, Squamish - Minimum 5 years or 5,000 hours operating experience on excavator. Full-time, Monday – Friday. $33-$42 per hour.

HEAVY DUTY EQUIPMENT MECHANIC, Whistler – Red Seal Certified, Commercial Truck & Transport, Transport Trailer required. CVSE Inspector’s ticket, Air Conditioning ticket, Class 1 or 3 with air brakes preferred. Toolbox available for rent. $37.70-$39.80 per hour.

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE SPECIALIST – Keen eye for detail and proficiency in data entry and management required. Completion of accounting courses preferred. $24-$28 per hour.

ACCOUNTANT – Prepare financial information, statements, reports and develop internal control procedures. CPA or working towards designation preferred. $26-$32 per hour.

MARCH 29, 2024 71 APPLY coastalmountain.ca/careers
instagram.com/coastalmountainexcavations BUILDING
- 6am (Must be able to commit to at least 2
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Communicate and strategize with support team. 6pm
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IS HIRING Help Us End Youth Homelessness To apply, send a resume and cover letter to: info@zeroceiling.org Open Until Filled More info at zeroceiling.org/join-our-team
we are hoping to fill this role ASAP, we will reach out to candidates on a
enthusiastically welcome applications from all qualified people, including those with lived experience, racialized people, people of all sexual orientations, women and trans” people, Indigenous peoples, those with diverse abilities, mental illness, and from all social strata. RED DOOR BISTRO IS SEEKING A FULL TIME LINE/GRILL COOK. • Duties include prepping/portioning/cooking steaks, seafood and pan cooking. • Imagine working in a well respected fine dinning bistro which is well run, fun, and does 60-70 covers a night. • Wage is $25-$28/hour based on experience, plus tips. Medical & Dental benefits and staff discounts in Roland’s Pub. Email resume to info@reddoorbistro.ca 1-2 years experience working in a similar station an asset. Answers #33 HARD#33 926 543 379 728 95 817 938 795 563 374912586 859467321 162385794 728531469 916874235 435296817 693758142 287149653 541623978 #34 HARD#34 13 29 854 421 197364 269 836 37 65 259164783 341278596 768359142 873546219 195723864 426891375 987432651 534617928 612985437 #35 HARD#35 2 673 548 7196 86 3518 597 624 6 389762514 267145398 154983762 871439625 925816437 643527189 438251976 596378241 712694853 #36 HARD#36 513 592 481 9846 6137 128 257 647 295147836 813659274 647328159 978435612 134762598 526981347 751296483 482573961 369814725 www.sPage9of25 udoku.com4/11/2005 Sign up at www.whistlerwag.com Become a monthly donor today! Apply and learn more via the QR code, or email applications to bbeacom@audainartmuseum.com The Museum is currently seeking: Monitor artwork in galleries, enforce and implement security protocols, and communicate rules and guidelines to visitors.
Part-Time • Starting at $23 per hour • No Experience Necessary • Benefits Packages Available Guard

1 End piece

6 Mascara target

10 Water balloon sound

15 Rds.

18 Give up willingly

19 Part of a pinball machine

21 Go after

22 River duck

24 Range in South America

25 Lapse

26 Masterless samurai

27 Wild water buffalo

28 “The Gold-Bug” author

29 Mystical practices

31 Candid

33 Took a left

35 Antitoxins

37 Elders’ knowledge

38 Dirt

39 Command

40 Comfortably large

42 Blueprints

43 Outspoken

44 Better half

46 Sci- humanoid

69 Paints for artists


85 Designer -- Cassini

127 Commotion

128 Israel’s airline

129 Worth

131 Tempt

133 Fully conscious

135 Dimple

136 Antelope

137 Brought up

138 Spearlike weapon

139 Piggery

140 Change purse items

141 -- Scott decision

142 Inched


1 Exchanges

2 Simple watercraft

3 Jockey

4 -- Maria

5 Money in Mexico City

6 Costly indulgence

7 Suf cient

8 Rod for roasting

9 That ship

10 Flees

11 Ring up

12 Tall and thin

13 “Do -- -- say ...”

14 Octopus limb

15 Shock

16 Roo ng material

17 More reasonable

19 Grow

20 Hold back

23 “Luck Be A --”

30 At hand

32 Peel

34 Cable network


Tees and jerseys

36 “-- the World in 80 Days”

38 Radiance

39 Not fully dry

41 River in England

42 Liable

43 Low-lying area

44 Lady of Spain

45 Pitchfork parts

46 Male duck

47 Hit a softball

49 Innocent one

50 Reputation

51 Not any

52 Pied -- of Hamelin

53 Lunar landscape feature

54 As such (2 wds.)

55 Dross

58 Neutral color

59 Valley of Mexico builder

61 Fit to -- --

63 “The -- Bunch”

64 Biblical book

66 Cram

70 Charged particle


47 Curved handle 48 Black 52 Read
53 Cover for a tooth 54 Throbs
56 Oklahoma city
57 -- -- fell swoop
58 High- ber food
59 Doctrine 60 Toil
62 Body of still water
63 Lab vessel
65 Table scrap
66 Diluted
67 Work unit 68 -- of passage
71 Blockade 73 Too hasty 75 Mature
76 Struck, poetically 77 Tip 78 “If all -- fails ...”
Type of snake
84 Dwindle
86 Corn serving
102 Go
Reach across
87 Off the true path 90 Metal container 91 Stick together 93 -- Hari 94 Cripples
Tumbler 97
among nations 98 Shipboard crane 99 “All About --” 100 Pester
Bull ghter 105
worker 107 Employment bene t 108 Polish 109
the ocean 110
(with “up”) 112 Water park feature 113 Armadillo’s plate 114 Toss 117 Pokes 118
Type 125
Chosen 72 Sluggish 74 Injury 76 Cheese variety 79 Yeast is one 80 Lampoon 81 One of the Muses 83 Recipe amount 85 Where they land in Chicago 87 Iowa city 88 Except 89 Cake part 90 Chore 92 Think 93 Actress -- Hemingway 95 Cupidity 96 Fat for cooking 98 Dummy 101 OK’d 102 Tremble 103 Sets of parts 104 Tease 106 Teaching staff 108 Brake part 109 Alarmed 111 Upset 112 Beliefs 113 With added avorings 114 Act 115 British -116 Meager 117 Do a garden job 118 English county 120 Chimp cousin 121 Compulsion 122 Fabric for suits 124 “Ka-pow!” 125 Headliner 126 Retail event 130 Ring champion 132 Flanders of “The Simpsons” 134 Soft mass LAST WEEKS’ ANSWERS Solution, tips and computer program at www.sudoku.com ANSWERS ON PAGE 71 Enter a digit from 1 through 9 in each cell, in such a way that: • Each horizontal row contains each digit exactly once • Each vertical column contains each digit exactly once • Each 3x3 box contains each digit exactly once Solving a sudoku puzzle does not require any mathematics; simple logic suf ces. LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: HARD HARD#33 926 543 379 728 95 817 938 795 563 HARD#34 13 29 854 421 197364 269 836 37 65 72 MARCH 29, 2024
CALL THE EXPERTS Want to advertise your service on this page? Call Pique at (604) 938-0202, or email sales@piquenewsmagazine.com MARCH 29 , 2024 73 AUTO GLASS SPECIALISTS Frameless Shower Enclosures Complete Window/Door Packages · Custom Railing Glass Systems Fogged/Failed Window Replacements mountainglass.ca | info@mountainglass.ca 604-932-7288 THE COMPLETE GLASS CENTRE GLASS HEATING AND COOLING BLACKCOMB CHIMNEY PATROL LTD. Serving Whistler since 1986 Specialized in cleaning Chimneys, Furnace & Airducts, Dryer vents. 604.932.1388 / 1.877.932.5775 blackcombchimney@yahoo.ca CHIMNEY BLACK BEAR CARPET CLEANING LTD. www.blackbearcarpetcleaning.ca • 604 698 6610 100% ECO FRIENDLY CERTIFIED • Carpets • Upholstery • Tiles • Furnace • Airducts • Dryer vents CARPET CLEANING www.summersnow.ca Summer Snow Finishings Limited WIND OW COVERINGS Whistler’s Source forBlinds since1989 David Weldon david@summersnow.ca 604-938-3521 •Wood blinds •Sunscreens •Shades •Motorization david@summersnowfinishings.com BLINDS & SHADES • Full service cleaning • Residential, commercial & construction • Carpet/ upholstery cleaning • Property Maintenance • Established 2011 (604)966-1437 coastmountaincleaning@gmail.com www.coastmountaincleaning.com Using Tea tree oil based products since the begining for a better future CLEANING Tel: 604-935-2101 Email: windowcov@shaw.ca www.whistlerwindowcoverings.ca Custom Blinds • Shades • Draperies Connie Griffiths BLINDS & SHADES SUNCREST WINDOW COVERINGS • BLINDS • SHADES • SHUTTERS • DRAPERY Custom Window Treatments Contact us today for a free quote or consultation info@suncrestwindowcoverings.com 604.698.8406 BLINDS & SHADES Full Service Plumbing & Heating northridgemechanical.ca 604-262-6801 RESIDENTIAL INDUSTRIAL COMMERICAL STRATA PLUMBING AND HEATING DOUG BUSH SURVEY SERVICES LTD. dbss.ca PH: 604-932-3314 • Whistler, B.C. STU PINKNEY stu@dbss.ca IAN STIRK ian@dbss.ca SURVEYING • Hot/cold pressure washing • Interlock restoration • Wood restoration • Soft washing (roofs/houses) • Stone and concrete sealing • Property management www.peakpressure.ca Peter@peakpressure.ca 604-902-PEAK PRESSURE WASHING WANT TO ADVERTISE your service here? Call Pique at (604) 938-0202 , or email sales@piquenewsmagazine.com www.withoutahitch.ca 604-902-1350 withoutahitchbc@gmail.com DESIGN,INSTALLATION &MAINTENANCE Gardens, Seasonal Plantersand Stonescapes Established 2004 LANDSCAPING

Our own worst enemy?

SUPPOSE YOU opened your fridge one day, looking for something to have for dinner, and found half or more of whatever was in there was inedible. I don’t mean, “Ugh, I don’t want to eat that!” I mean mouldy, foul-smelling chemistry experiments you should have gotten rid of a long time ago.

Being an accomplished cook—if lousy housekeeper—you go to your pantry for an

alternative and find half of what’s there has turned rancid, shot full of things squirming or so far beyond its best-before date you can’t even remember what you were doing that year.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Toss the bad stuff and go grocery shopping? Eat out? Takeout? Ignore it and have a delicious rancid peanut butter sandwich on only slightly mouldy bread?

Okay, let’s be honest for a moment. Not long, just a moment. Won’t hurt that much. Will hurt some.

With respect to all those who ever bravely donned Canadian Forces uniforms, Canada simply isn’t a player in the military universe. Never a leading man, the country has historically embraced supporting roles. King and country. Canada’s been the goodnatured buddy who throws himself on a grenade to save everyone else, or the guy who rushes headlong toward certain death because someone has to. Canada doesn’t start wars, threaten others with nuclear annihilation, or overthrow unfriendly governments. Canada doesn’t have The Bomb, which puts us somewhere well below Pakistan in the Threat to Humanity race.

The thought of this country invading another country or actually starting a war seems as absurd as the idea of Talk—whoever that is—doing a tribute album of Neil Young covers. Okay, maybe not that absurd… but farfetched nonetheless. I mean, heck, simply getting around to buying military hardware has been an angst-ridden, unfulfilled exercise for successive Canadian governments as far back as most of us can remember.

Perhaps because of our profile, and our relative isolation, Canada doesn’t really have what you might call an external enemy. We don’t fear the terrorist boogeyman the way the U.S. or even Britain seems to. We lack the international skullduggery infrastructure to conjure up real threats to our national security. Our network of spies bears closer resemblance to the black-and-white duo who used to grace the pages of MAD magazine than a crack intelligence network. We largely “borrow” threats to appease the paranoid Americans rather than perceive any ourselves, the recent spat with India notwithstanding.

It’s inconceivable we would ever go to war with, say, France over Saint Pierre and Miquelon the way the English did with Argentina over the Falklands decades ago. It’s so… so unCanadian. We worry about the

sovereignty of the Arctic, but we’ll never have a military infrastructure sufficient to “defend” it against frozen interlopers.

Truth be told, our continued existence relies on close ties with our southern neighbour, the rule of international law, good relations with most of the rest of the world, and a global profile resembling a prairie landscape. We are easily overlooked, and in the current geopolitical climate, that is a blessing.

Despite the occasional chest-beating coming out of Ottawa and the uncomfortable transition of the Canadian Forces from peacekeepers to combat troops to whatever

enemy. Enemies are more important than you may think. Aside from the obvious benefits of providing a focal point for worry, fear and hatred, enemies are to politicians what distractions are to magicians. They divert attention to the right hand while the left hand palms the coin. In the case of politicians, it is generally our coin being palmed while we wait for the rabbit to appear.

Traditional military enemies are simply too expensive and, thankfully, still not very appealing to Canadians.

By contrast, our southern neighbours have more enemies than they know what to do with. Successive governments have seen

[E]nemies are to politicians what distractions are to magicians. They divert attention to the right hand while the left hand palms the coin.

they are now, Canada, for the most part, does everything it can to foster its Mr. Rogerslike good neighbour profile. We welcome immigrants and refugees, albeit forcing them to drive taxi instead of using their medical or engineering degrees. We cling stubbornly, if less proudly, to the tenets of multiculturalism. And our politicians tend not to harp on the shortcomings of other countries, thus depriving the leaders of those countries the reciprocal pleasure of harping on our own, China notwithstanding.

The problem with all this nicey-nicey complacency is this: It deprives us of an

to that, none so successfully as the four-year blundering of the Orange Monster who even considers his “friends” enemies-in-waiting.

His bluster has brought the question of Canadian military readiness front and centre. His invitation to his bosom buddy Putin to feel free to invade any NATO country failing to spend two per cent of its Gross Domestic Product on defence has put the fear of dog into Canadians.

If you’ll forgive a brief segue into, ugh, math, the Canadian military budget in 2023 was $36.7 billion. Was that two per cent of GDP? It was not. It was 1.29 per cent. To get it

up to the NATO threshold—itself established by agreement in 2014—Canada would have to spend an additional $20 billion... annually, until that number grew bigger in lockstep with GDP. Add that to the current $40-billion deficit and watch politicians and concerned Canadians set their hair afire.

To get back to your fridge and pantry, it was reported earlier this month about half of what the Canadian Armed Forces calls military equipment isn’t really equipment at all. It’s junk. More than half for the Navy and Air Force, just under half for the Army. Junk. Obsolete. Unserviceable.

The combination of Canada’s failure to meet the two-per-cent solution and the growing military junk pile have brought more than half the country to support spending the NATO target, 53 per cent according to an Angus Reid poll. That support jumps to 65 per cent when people are confronted with the unthinkable—a second Orange Monster presidency.

Of course, the poll doesn’t delve into where the funds come from or touch on the fact national defence is already the fourthlargest-spending ministry in the country. Canada currently spends $10 billion more on defence than, for example, health.

With half its equipment junk and a spending target that would add another 50 per cent to a deficit everyone in the country except the Prime Minister thinks is too high, the likelihood Canada will rebuild itself into a lean, mean fighting machine is very slim.

In the immortal words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Now we have to figure out how to stop being our own enemy. ■

74 MARCH 29, 2024


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