Letter to the Editor – May 12

Letters to the Editor this week focus on the Fort McMurray relief effort, climate change and a thank you from Grace Burlotte.

Letter to the Editor re: Climate change

As primary caregivers, many women in poorer countries are responsible for trekking miles to collect water and fuel.   When climate change depletes water, women notice first.  Water is a climate change issue.

In many parts of the world women have already walked long distances to find water, but, as sources dry up, those treks are becoming more difficult. Searching remote areas for fuel and water exposes them to greater risks of violence like rape or kidnapping.

“Women are the first to be affected by climate change in every single country in the world,” said Yannick Glemarec, deputy executive director of United Nations Women, adding that “women in so-called developing countries are hit the hardest.”

As climate change puts pressure on natural resources, fresh water is becoming scarcer, food prices are increasing and infectious illnesses like the Zika virus are on the rise. Worldwide, women tend to be poorer than their male counterparts and have less representation in policy-making.

We need to focus on women’s leadership development; build finance skills and policy skills and move women to positions of power in government and business. The people most likely to be hurt by climate change are also the ones best positioned to fix it, Glemarec said.

Marylee BaryardNelson, B.C.


Letter to the Editor re: FIRE Thank you

I feel very proud in saying that FIRE Adaptive Snow Program has completed its fourth year of operation. My goodness, what a season it was! Contributing to our success was the snow, which thankfully remained till our closing date… Anything is better than last year, am I right?

We started off our season by welcoming 14 new volunteer instructors, bringing our team numbers up to 22 in total. In our first year we had a team of nine volunteer instructors. The fact that we more than doubled in size is something to be proud of. Thanks to this growth, we were able to help 12 students get FIREd up about skiing and snowboarding this winter. Of this 12, we introduced three new students to the wonderful world of adaptive snow sports. Every year our students are a reminder that anything is possible, and this season was no exception. Our students conquered the mountain in their own special way, and with the help of their wonderful instructors, each one had incredible progress.

A few of them, having never skied before at the start of the season, confidently conquered the Bear chair by the end. One of our students graduated from using the teaching pole, and was able to ski the Mighty Moose for the first time with an assist from her instructors. We had two students venture up the Deer Chair for the first time, and we all were able to hear one student proudly boast at our year-end dinner of his adventure up White Pass. Every one of our students had a success story this season, and we couldn’t be prouder of their determination. I am very happy to say that we gave 77 lessons this season, which is an all-time high for the program.

Thank you so much to our two new sponsors; GearHub Sports, who sponsored our equipment maintenance, and the Fernie Rotary Club who, through the sale of Griz pins, donated $1300 to our program. Welcome to our team! Speaking of the Griz, for the fourth year in a row FIRE had a float in the Griz Days Parade, which was awarded second place. Thank you to Fernie Rentals, Telus, and everyone who was involved with building and designing the float!

I am very pleased to say that the FIRE society was able to fund a team of nine instructors and five students to attend the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers (CADS) Festival, which was held in Kimberley BC. This is the first time that FIRE has been represented by such a large number on a national level. Our students reached amazing heights during the week, with three of them winning awards for their ski racing skills. I feel very honoured and privileged to be recognized as CADS Administrator of the Year as well. Our whole team really did shine at festival, and we are very proud. FIRE also received an invitation from Whistler Adaptive to come and take part in their program for a week at the beginning of April. A team of five was able to participate in, and learn from this incredible program. The insights we gained will only benefit the future success of our growing program. I know I speak for each member of the team when I say that this experience was a special one we will always remember.

Goals for next season include creating strategies to strengthen the society and the program, increasing community awareness through promotions, and creating volunteer committees to enhance program development. We hope to expand our program lesson days, and continue to raise funds to purchase the most up-to date-equipment for our students and their needs. We would also like to expose our instructors to more training opportunities, so they can advance their students even further. Every year we will continue to work towards making FIRE even better.

We have many people to thank in contributing to FIRE’s success this season, and will mention a few of them in no particular order. Thank you to Fernie Alpine Resort, and those who helped us with lift tickets and rentals. Your support throughout the years has been incredible. We offer our thanks to Highline 100 for their annual donations and support. It is because of organizations like yours that we are able to keep FIRE affordable and accessible. We are very grateful to our other sponsors from the community who support our program as well. Thank you to the FIRE Board for their hard work and dedication in overseeing the program. Thank you to our devoted volunteer instructor team, who donate their time and efforts to seeing the ability. Without you, our program would not be possible, and because of you, our students are able to reach new heights. To our students, you should be very proud of your accomplishments,  and we hope to see you next season. Thank you to every volunteer who donated his or her time to help FIRE become even better.

Grace BrulottePresident and Founder of FIRE


Letter to the Editor re: Fort McMurray relief challenge

During the afternoon of May 5, the Windermere Valley Men’s Club held its weekly competition. Our thoughts were not on golf, but rather on the families displaced by the fires raging in northern Alberta.

At the conclusion of the event, our membership decided to donate the prize money that would normally have gone to the afternoon’s winners to the disaster relief efforts currently being undertaken.

Al Wittke, a longstanding member of our club, also donated $2,000 to the Salvation Army. Al lived in Fort McMurray in the Beacon Hill subdivision. His former residence has burned to the ground.

The Windermere Valley Men’s Club is challenging men’s and women’s golf clubs across B.C. and Alberta to do the same. Take the prize money from one afternoon of golf to assist our friends and neighbours in the Fort McMurray area.

Dean MidyettePresident, Windermere Valley Men’s ClubWindermere, B.C.