The nomination period closed on Friday for the 2005 Local Government Elections, with a full slate of candidates running in all Sea to Sky communities. Most candidates lost no time in launching their campaigns, with just a four-week window until the election on Saturday, Nov. 19.
For Whistler, always a hotbed for politics, the 2005 elections are the biggest ever with 17 candidates for council, seven candidates for mayor and two school trustees who ran unchallenged for a total of 26 candidates.
The last time Whistler held a municipal election this size was in 1996 when Hugh OReilly first ran for mayor. That year there were six mayoral candidates, 15 candidates for council and three school trustees for a total of 24 names on the ballot.
Things are only slightly more subdued in Squamish this year where there are two candidates for mayor, 16 candidates for council, and five candidates for school trustee.
In Pemberton there are four candidates for mayor, six candidates for council and two candidates for school trustee.
Meet the candidates
Although theres no law against voting for the candidate with the best road signs or name associations, there will be plenty of opportunities for voters to familiarize themselves with the candidates and where they stand on various issues.
For Whistler there are at least three All Candidates meetings planned. The major one, as in past years, is hosted by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Myrtle Philip Community School. If the teachers strike is still on the meeting will be moved to another venue.
The format is different this year. Each candidate will have three to five minutes to present their platforms, starting with the mayoral candidates, after which time there will be a "mix and mingle" period for people to speak to the candidates individually.
The Chamber of Commerce decided to do away with the traditional question and answer period because usually only a few of the candidates get questions from the floor and the organizers thought it was important to give candidates equal time on stage. The mix and mingle format also gives members of the audience a chance to talk and ask questions of any and all candidates.
The Chamber borrowed the idea from the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association, which is hosting an All Candidates event again this year on Thursday, Nov. 3 at Spruce Grove Field House. The time is still to be confirmed, but the format will be the same as last year. Members of the public will sit at tables around the room, and each candidate will be given a set amount of time to converse with each table.