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Arthur De Jong drops out of election race

Mountain planner withdraws council candidacy citing potential conflict of interest

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Whistler Blackcomb (WB) mountain planner Arthur De Jong has withdrawn his name from consideration for council in next month’s local election, citing a potential conflict of interest.

“(Whistler Blackcomb’s) internal counsel has indicated there are potential conflicts of interests with respect to my knowledge of internal (planning) information,” De Jong said. “I certainly respect that and it was my lack of due diligence to not cover that initially.”

De Jong, who also serves as the WB’s environmental resource manager, announced his first foray into local government last week, and promised to bring a strong environmental focus to municipal hall if elected.

Without his name on the ballot next month, De Jong said he’s motivated to increase his engagement with local political issues in the future, and intends to maintain his roles on several community organizations and municipal committees, including the Whistler Alliance for Cultural Tourism, the Whistler Bear Working Group and the Whistler Fisheries Stewardship Group.

“I will certainly increase my observing of local politics, so should I decide to run in the future I’ll be all the more advised and knowledgeable on local government,” he said.

The mountain planner also hopes residents will increase their own involvement in the local political sphere, and encouraged voters to make their voices heard when Whistler heads to the polls on Nov. 15.

“Not everyone’s going to run for office but everyone needs to get more engaged on the political, economic and environmental matters that involve governments,” De Jong said. “I encourage people to get involved, evaluate the candidates, who I all wish the best for, to ensure that we elect the people that best represent our values.”

While he admitted he hasn’t reviewed all of the candidates in next month’s election, De Jong expressed his “deep respect” for incumbents Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and councillors Andrée Janyk, Jack Crompton and John Grills, and hopes they return for a second term.

He also threw his support behind council candidate and waste management specialist Sue Maxwell, principal at environmental consulting firm, Ecoinspire.

“Certainly, if there’s one person I’m going to indicate I support it’s Sue Maxwell, being that Sue is well educated and impassioned on environmental matters, and this council needs that,” De Jong said.

The full list of candidates in Whistler’s upcoming municipal election can be viewed at www.whistler.ca/municipal-gov/elections/candidates.

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