The Debate Over Corporate Social Responsibility About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis 17 total views, 1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 22 November 2007 | News
ColumnsTax Residency In The Time Of COVID – What Does The Supreme Court Ruling In Gaurav Baid v. Union Of India Mean For NRIs? Anandapadmanabhan Unnikrishnan28 Feb 2021 8:05 PMShare This – xIn 1885, a lady born and domiciled in Australia visited England with her mother and sister. Four-months after her arrival, she was certified as of unsound mind and thereafter, until her death fifty-four years later, she remained in England and did not recover. Fifteen years prior to her death, however, the receiver of her estate had been authorized by an English Court to concur in…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginIn 1885, a lady born and domiciled in Australia visited England with her mother and sister. Four-months after her arrival, she was certified as of unsound mind and thereafter, until her death fifty-four years later, she remained in England and did not recover. Fifteen years prior to her death, however, the receiver of her estate had been authorized by an English Court to concur in the sale of certain real estate in Australia, of which she owned half. The proceeds of that sale were duly remitted to England and, in accordance with the directions of the Court, invested in certain interest-bearing war bonds floated by the British Government. Upon her death, the administrator of her estate applied to the Court to determine, among others, if the deceased could, in the circumstances of her stay in England, be considered “ordinarily resident” in the United Kingdom for taxation purposes. The significance of this determination turned on the fact that section 47 of the Finance (No. 2) Act of 1915, under which the war bonds in question had been issued, stated that: “The Treasury may, if they think fit (…) issue any securities which they have power to issue (…) with a condition that neither the capital nor interest thereof shall be liable to any taxation (…) so long as it is shown (…) that the securities are in the beneficial ownership of persons who are neither domiciled nor ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom (…).” On behalf of the deceased, it was contented that a person who visited a country and was forthwith certified as a lunatic, and therefore made to remain there under constraint, unable to exercise any will of her own, could not be considered “ordinarily resident” in that country. By analogy, it was argued that however long a prisoner of war was a prisoner of war in a country, it could not be said that he had at any time become a “resident” of that country. For that reason, it was argued that neither the capital nor interest on the bonds could be subject to English taxes or duties. This contention was rejected. Writing for the Court, Mr. Justice Morton ruled that the deceased’s residence in England became permanent by reason of her condition and the fact that she required care and attention, in the ordinary course of her life, as events happened. In other words, if residence was initially taken up voluntarily, the fact that it later became involuntary would not count against the acquisition of ordinary residence. The Court also held that if the deceased was not ordinarily resident in England, during the last fifty-four years of her life, she was not ordinarily resident anywhere else. Since a person could not be “ordinarily resident” nowhere, in the circumstances of the case, the Court concluded that the deceased as “ordinarily resident” in England and therefore amenable to English taxes and duties. Much water has flown under the bridge since the decision in that celebrated case, reported as Re Mackenzie. Yet, it could provide useful guidance today in answering a similar question that has vexed countless non-resident Indians (NRIs) who were forced to remain in India on account of international travel restrictions introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19: will they be considered “tax resident” in India for Indian income-tax purposes? The incidence of income tax under the Income-tax Act, 1961 (“ITA”) is based on the residence of the taxpayer and the source(s) of his or her income. While a person “resident” in India is taxed on his or her worldwide income, non-residents are only taxed on their India-sourced income. Section 6 of the ITA treats an individual to be “resident” in India in any previous year if he or she is in India for: (a)182 days or more in that year; or (b)60 days or more in that year and has been in India for 365 days or more in the four years preceding that year. The ITA also contains a specific relaxation in how the second of these tests applies to citizens of India and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) who, being outside India, came to visit India: such individuals are permitted to spend up to 120 days in India in a previous year without qualifying as “resident” in India. When the country went into a general lockdown on account of COVID-19, several representations were made to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (“CBDT”) highlighting the difficulties faced by NRIs and PIOs who, while on visit to India during FY 2019-20, were forced to remain in India due to the imposition the lockdown and the accompanying suspension of international flights. It was anticipated that this forced stay might unintentionally render them “resident” in India and therefore subject their worldwide income to Indian taxation. To allay these concerns, on May 8, 2020, the CBDT issued Circular No. 11 of 2020 (“Circular”) clarifying that the period from March 22, 2020 to March 31, 2020 (or a date prior to March 31, 2020 as applicable) would be excluded in determining the residential status of an individual under section 6 of the ITA for FY 2019-20. A press note released by the Ministry of Finance along with the Circular stated that as the lockdown had continued into FY 2020-21, a further circular excluding the period of stay of individuals stranded in India up to the date of normalisation of international flight operations, for determining the residential status during FY 2020-21, would be issued after such normalisation. Curiously, this statement was omitted from the text of the Circular itself; no such further circular has been issued so far for FY 2020-21. In this background, a writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court by a UAE-based NRI who, having come to India in March 2020, was finally able to return to the UAE only after spending upwards of 182 days in India during FY 2020-21. It was submitted by the petitioner that his involuntary stay in India would result in him losing his “non-resident” status under the ITA, thereby subjecting his worldwide income to Indian taxation. The petitioner therefore sought a direction to the effect that he would be considered “non-resident” for Indian income tax purposes for FY 2020-21, irrespective of the duration of his stay in India, on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. Taking note of the fact that certain relaxations had been granted by the CBDT for FY 2019-20 through the Circular, and the fact that the pandemic had continued beyond March 31, 2020, because of which many people had remained stranded in the country, the Supreme Court directed the petitioner to make a representation to the CBDT and further directed the CBDT to consider the same within three weeks of the receipt thereof. The Supreme Court’s order is a welcome one and it is hoped that the CBDT will provide relief to the many individuals who involuntarily remained or continue to remain in India in FY 2020-21, beyond the thresholds to be considered “resident” in India. Several countries and organisations have already issued detailed guidance on when physical presence in a country may be disregarded for determining residency on account of the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, the Australian Tax Office has published guidance clarifying that a person not otherwise tax resident in Australia would not become tax resident purely on account of his or her temporary stay in Australia due to COVID-19. Similarly, the Irish Revenue Commissioners have issued guidance clarifying that where an individual is prevented from leaving Ireland on their intended day of departure because of COVID-19, planned days pf absence would be disregarded when determining residence in Ireland. Moreover, as the decision in Re Mackenzie indicates, it is doubtful if taxpayers would obtain relief in such situations through the judicial route. This is not, however, a foregone conclusion: English courts have held since time immemorial that residence must be “adopted voluntarily and for settled purposes”, and Indian courts have followed suit. For instance, in CIT v. Suresh Nanda, the Delhi High Court held that where a person was compelled to stay in India because his passport was impounded, the period for which his passport was impounded had to be excluded in determining whether he was “resident” in India for the relevant assessment year. In coming to this conclusion, the Court noted that the taxpayer had consciously chosen to be non-resident consistently since 1985 and had never visited India for more than 182 days in any given year. As the Court noted: “23. (…) It naturally follows that the option to be in India, or the period for which an Indian citizen desires to be here is a matter of his discretion. Conversely put presence in India against the will or without the consent of the citizen, should not ordinarily be counted adverse to his chosen course or interest, particularly if it is brought about under compulsion or, to put it simply, involuntarily. There has to be, in the opinion of this Court, something to show that an individual intended or had the animus of residing in India for the minimum prescribed duration. If the record indicates that – such as for instance omission to take steps to go abroad, the stay can well be treated as disclosing an intention to be a resident Indian. Equally, if the record discloses materials that the stay (to qualify as resident Indian) lacked volition and was compelled by external circumstances beyond the individual’s control, she or he cannot be treated as a resident Indian.” Similarly, in Re Spek and Lawson, a prisoner who was sentenced to life imprisonment and transferred to a prison in Ontario was held not be ordinarily resident in Ontario as she had been transferred there against her will for the sole purpose of serving her sentence. Yet it should be remembered that the ITA does not permit a subjective determination of residence and even fraction of day spent in India for whatever reason, should, strictly construed, count towards a determination of residence. In that sense, the decision in Suresh Nanda stands as a useful counterpoint, preferring an equitable interpretation over a literal one to obviate the unjust result that that the latter would have produced. Nevertheless, as the Court itself noted in Suresh Nanda, the ruling in that case should not be treated as a thumb rule and each claim of involuntary stay should be examined on its own merits. Whether the exceptional justification of a COVID-19 enforced stay fits with this rationale remains to be seen. If the CBDT does not provide any relief in respect of FY 2020-21, it is likely that the higher judiciary would be asked to step in and adjudicate on the question of involuntary residence again soon! Views are personal.The author is an advocate practising before the High Court of Kerala with Ninan & Mathew, Advocates.  In re Mackenzie,  Ch 69.  Gaurav Baid v. Union of India and Ors, order dated 10.02.2021 in W.P. (C) No. 136/2021.  See Shah v. Barnet London Borough Council,  2 AC 309.   375 ITR 172 (Del).  (1983) 2 DLR (4th) 672. Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Story
Uruguayans admit France gave ‘football lesson’ at World CupMontevideo, Uruguay | AFP | Uruguayans were gracious in defeat after France ended their World Cup hopes on Friday with a 2-0 quarter-final victory.“France crushed Uruguay!” admitted Observador, one of Uruguay’s main newspapers.“They handed out a football lesson, dominating the light blues from the first minute to the 90th, and deservedly qualified for the World Cup semi-finals.”El Pais insisted the players were nonetheless heroes.“Thanks lads!” said its title, before adding: “The dream is over.”Despite defeat, fans took to the main Independence Square in the Old City of Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, and sang songs, honked horns and danced.On social media, the hashtag “More Uruguayan than ever” proved popular. Share on: WhatsApp Uruguay’s Tabarez admits France deserved victoryA disappointed Oscar Tabarez conceded that his Uruguay side were second best in their World Cup quarter-final loss to France on Friday, which saw the European side progress to the last four.The veteran coach, who has been in charge of Uruguay for 12 years in his second spell as national coach, also refused to comment on his future when asked by reporters.“We don’t play as good as our rivals, that’s why we lost,” said a downbeat Tabarez after the 2-0 defeat.France went through after goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann, after a mistake by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, secured victory.“The boys really gave everything, but France were able to control the match very well,” added Tabarez.“After the second goal, there was a huge gap between the teams.”Asked about his frustration at going out of the tournament, the 71-year-old said it should be stressed how far La Celeste had gone in the tournament compared to others.“There are many countries that belong to the world of the footballing elite but left the tournament before us.”On his future, Tabarez said: “I still have a contract but I am not going to speak about this, it’s not for me to decide.”Asked about Muslera’s howler, Tabarez said simply: “Only those who don’t do anything don’t make mistakes.” FULL MATCH REPORT: France into World Cup semiFrance became the first nation to book their place in the World Cup semi-finals on Friday, making an ominous statement of intent in easing past Uruguay 2-0 as Neymar’s Brazil prepared to take on Belgium.Uruguay were dealt a devastating blow before kick-off in Nizhny Novgorod when Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani was ruled out following an injury he picked up in the win against Portugal. Raphael Varane opened the scoring shortly before half-time from a set-piece, steering a header past a diving Fernando Muslera after Antoine Griezmann whipped the ball in with his left foot from the French right.But France were indebted to Hugo Lloris for pulling off a stunning save at full stretch moments before the half-time whistle to deny Martin Caceres.Didier Deschamps’s team doubled their lead in the 61st minute when Muslera made a terrible error, failing to parry a speculative shot from Griezmann and watching in horror as it looped across his goalline.Deschamps said his side had “again raised our level” after the 4-3 win over Argentina in the last 16.“I have a good team that still has plenty of room for improvement,” Deschamps told BeIN Spots“You can see our lack of experience sometimes, but we have so many qualities too.“In any case, it definitely won’t be a failed World Cup now, and we’ll wait to find out our opponents and see what happens.”France, the 1998 winners, started slowly in Russia but have now slipped into gear, with a sharp attack led by Griezmann and teenager Kylian Mbappe buttressed by a powerful midfield marshalled by Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.Losing finalists on home soil at Euro 2016, they will fancy their chances of going one better in Russia.Uruguay, who only conceded a single goal in reaching the World Cup quarter-finals, threatened in patches but missed the threat of Cavani, who forms a devastating partnership with Barcelona’s Luis Suarez.– All eyes on Neymar –Brazil are aiming to continue on the path towards winning a record-extending sixth World Cup at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on July 15.But first, Neymar and his star-studded supporting cast have to get past Belgium, who boast an array of their own firepower, to reach the last four.In a Kazan Arena expected to be awash with yellow-clad Brazil fans, Belgian trio Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne have a chance to prove they can cut it at the highest international level after so many disappointments.Belgium coach Roberto Martinez acknowledged the gulf in World Cup pedigree between his side, who have never been further than the semi-finals, and Brazil.“They know how to win World Cups, they’ve done it more than any other nation so they have that psychological barrier out of the way,” the Spaniard said.Brazil coach Tite said he was desperate to win without resorting to the “horror” of penalties after three of the last-16 ties were settled by spot-kicks.“A football match should never be settled with the horror of penalties. I don’t see that as a valid result,” Tite said Thursday. “For me, there has to be another way.”Brazil made a slow start in Russia but hit their stride with an impressive performance to shut down Mexico in the last round.All eyes will again be on Neymar’s performance. The world’s most expensive player has attracted praise for his goals and fierce criticism for his play-acting at the merest contact from an opponent.– England fever –In England, World Cup fever is building as hopes rise that Gareth Southgate’s young team can beat Sweden on Saturday and reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.Southgate has urged his young squad to seize their chance.“It’s a great opportunity, and although our team will be individually better in two years, we might not have this opportunity again,” he told the BBC.Even if England do reach the final, British political leaders and royals will not attend the match in Russia. The boycott imposed over a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy living in southwest England has taken on new significance after a fresh case of exposure to the same poison nearby.FIFA President Gianni Infantino told President Vladimir Putin that everyone had fallen “in love with Russia” during the World Cup, during a meeting Friday at the Kremlin.“Everyone who has been here for a period of time now has discovered a country that we didn’t know,” Infantino said, flanked by former stars including England’s Rio Ferdinand.England or Sweden will play the winner of Saturday’s other quarter-final, in which host nation Russia hope to keep their rollercoaster ride through the finals going when they play Croatia.
With replacement platforms safely housing the nests in plain view of former posts, returning ospreys should find their new perches without a hitch, thanks to the work and initiative of JCP&L and Troop 58. By Jenna O’DonnellSpring is in the air, which means many migratory birds will soon return to various waterside perches to mate and raise chicks – a perilous task when some nests are built on electrical equipment.One such osprey nest atop a Monmouth Beach utility pole was recently moved to a safer nearby platform thanks to the combined efforts of Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) and a local Boy Scout troop.Michael Hornung, 17, a member of Troop 58 of Oceanport, said he learned about the Griffin Street osprey nest from his father, who works as a lineman.“I saw the nest on the (utility) platform, which was a very dangerous place for it to be,” Hornung said. “We decided that, since we’re Boy Scouts, we should work to help protect nature because that’s the fun of scouting.”Hornung took the task on as part of his Eagle Scout project and worked with fellow Scouts to build a wooden platform to house the osprey nest. JCP&L, which has committed to relocating several osprey nests built on utility poles in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, supplied a pole to support the platform and nest. On Feb. 25, Troop 58 helped JCP&L workers successfully move the nest to its specially constructed perch.Members of Boy Scout Troop 58 from Oceanport show the osprey nesting platform they builtbefore it was raised into place by a team from JCP&L. Photo courtesy of JCP&L“Scouting is mainly about helping nature and protecting the community,” Hornung said, noting that moving the osprey nest to a safer spot while also reducing the risk of power outages to Monmouth Beach residents made it a good project for aspiring Eagle Scouts.With the pending return of the migratory birds, JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano said the utility company is working to get all the nests previously identified for relocation moved this month and is working closely with the Department of Environment Protection and conservation groups to make sure they comply with regulations.“The nest moving is well under way,” Morano said, noting the program would be complete before the ospreys returned.Ospreys, distinctive raptors with a speckled brown and white plumage, return to the same nests, year after year. They seek high roosts, like utility poles and streetlights, and often nest within sight of the coastal water ways where they dine primarily on fish. Nesting in coastal communities like Monmouth Beach, ospreys use available materials like grass, sticks, seaweed and often trash to build large nests that can weigh as much as 200 pounds. The birds’ inclination to build heavy stick nests on dangerous electrical equipment and other utility structures presents unique challenges for coastal towns and conservationists alike.
LYNNE WARD Turning Point in Little Silver welcomed diners when pandemic restrictions allowed for out- side dining. By Allison Perrine COURTESY BEACH TAVERN Beach Tavern in Monmouth Beach served its seafood specialties and more this week when outside dining was given the go-ahead. But June 12 the governor filed a lawsuit against the city preventing Asbury Park restaurants from serving food and beverages indoors. The city’s restaurants may provide outdoor dining. Steve Bidgood, co-owner of Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, said it’s been a learning process to get everything set up and prepared, but things are going well. Staff members set up 23 tables outside of the establishment each day and bring it all back in by the end of the night so the wooden tables and other supplies do not get ruined. They have set up string lights outside and have posted proper signage mandated in the governor’s executive orders. “We learned a lot lastnight and it was prettysteady,” said Bidgood,the day after reopening.Things will be adjusted asthey continue to operatein a new normal, for now,he said. The call for outdoor dining had been made by many for several weeks. Business owners and employees throughout the state have suffered financial burdens resulting from limited service and shutdowns. Burke was one of many advocates for reopening the restaurant scene, pointing out during a press conference in Sea Bright May 29 that the restaurant business has always been held to a high standard of cleanliness and proper sanitization. This week, Burke told The Two River Times that people were happy to be out. Surfaces in his restaurants are constantly being sanitized and his employees all wear face coverings, as required by the governor’s orders. One person is permitted in the restroom at a time. Silverware is wrapped up so that it is not loose or exposed. And while the transition to open for outdoor dining only was easier at restaurants like Drifthouse, other establishments he owns required more work, like his South Orange-based restaurant Orange Lawn. There, he had an outdoor garden terrace constructed for a new dining experience. Lyristis’ restaurants are also not serving coffee or dessert at the moment to help other businesses in the local area, he said. “There are a bunch of coffee shops and stuff like that that could really use the business as well.” “It’s been a day, but it was better than Sunday,” Lyristis said Tuesday morning. “People were very happy to be out, they’re very conscious about doing the right thing. It has a lot to do with education. Us in the restaurant business are all over it but the customers themselves, this is all brand new and they’re only seeing what they see on TV,” he added. “They have to be educated as to what they’re allowed to do, what they’re not allowed to do.” LYNNE WARD Diners at Buona Sera enjoyed outside dining on Maple Avenue in Red Bank Wednesday at lunchtime. Chef George Lyristis, owner of The Bistro at Red Bank, Teak and Greek Eats, said he and his staff are being as conscientious as possible. He is currently limiting each table to hour-and-a-half windows due to limited outdoor space. At Bistro and Teak, barcodes are placed on every table so customers can scan the codes to view menus on their phones; there is no need for physical menus. However, he does have disposable menus available in case they are needed, he said. For three months, New Jersey residents were not able to sit down at their favorite local restaurants and enjoy meals with friends and family due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Per the governor’s orders, tables must be limited to eight customers or fewer with seating arranged to keep at least 6 feet between par ties. Signage must be posted at entrances stating that anyone with a fever or symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter the establishment. All tables, chairs and shared items like pens or menus must be disinfected after each use. And employees must undergo daily health checks, such as temperature screenings, among several other guidelines. “Restaurants and bars throughout New Jersey have been immensely cooperative with necessary public health measures that were placed upon them while battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Gov. Phil Murphy June 3 in a press release. “Allowing outdoor dining and the expansion of alcohol-serving areas will allow restaurants and bars to begin welcoming customers back while continuing to comply with necessary social distancing guidance.” “It’s just a gorgeous setting,” he said. “We’re lucky in that respect, that all of our restaurants have outdoor seating. For those who don’t have outdoor seating, it’s terrible…their customers are going somewhere else,” said Burke. After hearing complaints from restaurant owners in Asbury Park throughout the shutdown, city council members decided to approve a resolution allowing indoor dining against the governor’s orders but with the same capacity limits as the executive order permitting other indoor gatherings. Under this resolution, restaurants could have up to 25 percent capacity or 50 people whichever number was lower inside the restaurant for dining services. Red Bank resident Alexandra Hough was one of the customers who dined at Bistro Monday night when it reopened. And she had “no real apprehensions” about doing so, she said. LYNNE WARDRestaurants got the green light for outside dining this week and hungry-for-eating-out diners flocked to eateries throughout the Two River area. Diners at Temple Gourmet Chinese restaurant in Red Bank savored the day on Wednesday. That changed Monday, June 15, as the governor permitted the reopening of outdoor dining across the state. Overall, customers seem happy to get back out and enjoy some sense of normalcy, several restaurateurs told The Two River Times. But the diners have been greeted with some changes to keep everything as sanitary and safe as possible. “I was just excited to getout of the house and havea nice dinner that I didn’thave to cook for once,”said Hough. Asbury Park “Restaurant workers, in general, are trained to work very clean. The board of health is on us like no other business,” he said May 29. “There is a sanitary effort all the time, year-round when we feed people. We’re responsible people.” “We hope our position will encourage the State of New Jersey to outline guidelines for indoor dining in the upcoming weeks,” the city posted on its website, cityofasburypark.com. “We invite Governor Murphy to our City next week to meet with the local restaurant community and discuss alternate opportunities to support these businesses who rely heavily on the summer. The article originally appeared in the June 18-24, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. “It feels like junior high when we were returning back to school and seeing old friends again. We have missed seeing everyone so much,” said chef David Burke, owner of Drifthouse and Nauti Bar by David Burke. “Please be assured we are going above and beyond safety guidelines so both our guests and employees are safe. We understand while some folks can’t wait to get out, others will prefer takeout, which we will also continue.”
By Timothy Schafer, The Nelson DailyFor those looking to get first tracks (legally) at Whitewater, mark this date on your calendar: Dec. 4.The first weekend in December is expected to usher in a new season in paradise as Whitewater Ski Resort will deliver over 600 acres of new skiing, three new top-to-bottom intermediate runs, and the Glory Ridge chair lift (2,044 vertical feet), said the hill’s general manager, Brian Cusack. Although initial predictions were for the third week of November, warmer temperatures haven’t brought the snow they should have, he said. Even still, there hasn’t been a damper put on the start of the season, which will still start one week before it historically has. “The long-term forecast is for a snowy, cooler winter with lots of storms, so I think we are looking for a remarkable season,” Cusack said. The new lift will open by the 16th of December, with the final pieces of the lift and testing still yet to be completed this month. The galvanized metal triple lift was brought in from Vail, Col., at “a steal” of a price. The Mountain opens fulltime on Dec. 11. Last year, thanks to a huge dump of snow in the middle of November, Whitewater opened in the third week of November. Over 50 centimetres of snow have fallen on the top of the mountains at Whitewater, with around 20 cm. accumulating at the base. Ski hills across the province are gearing up for an early season opening this month, with many hoping a La Nina weather cycle will bring record snows this year. It is not yet clear how this year’s cooler La Nina pattern will affect the ski season. In 2009, the warmer El Nino weather pattern led to mid November openings. Sun Peaks, located north of Kamloops, is expected to open on Nov. 20 while Silver Star plans to open its Nordic ski tracks on Nov. 18 and the downhill area on Nov. 26. Blackcomb’s official opening day is still set for Nov. 25, and Whistler is pegged for this Friday, but with freezing level at 1,200 metres and 68 centimetres of snow already on the slopes, Blackcomb could potentially open earlier. In areas with heavy snowfall, changes are in the works. Backcountry skiers heading to Revelstoke’s Glacier National Park will find anyone entering a prohibited area or a winter restricted area that is closed could be hit with fines of $2,000. For information on the Winter Permit System call 250-837-7500 or check out www.parkscanada.gc.ca/[email protected] Note The second annual Avalanche Awareness Beyond the Boundaries Society (AABBS) gear swap is coming up on Sunday, Nov. 21 at the Gravity Adventure Climbing Gym located at 513 Victoria St. This is a swap for all gear: hiking, biking, back country, kayak, canoes. The best part about your purchase is 20 per cent of the proceeds will go to the AABBS.AABBS is a non-for-profit society founded in the spring of 2009 by a group of Nelson ski industry and business professionals concerned about the increase in the number of teens venturing out into the back country without any avalanche and mountain safety training. Thanks to the generosity of the many donors that have supported the effort, the society provided free Canadian Avalanche Association approved Avalanche Skills Training courses to 30 Nelson and area youth between the ages of 13-18 this past ski season. Whitewater has also provided five, one-day Avalanche Awareness Courses for approximately 75 youth aimed to raise awareness and prepare these youth for the AST 1 courses.If you would like to know more about this program for youth, or would like to find out how you can help, check out http://www.skiwhitewater.com/beyond_the_boundaries.php.Registration is on a first come, first served basis.