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Council team takes centre stage

Mayor Wilhelm-Morden calls special meeting to bring free parking to Lots 4 and 5

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The new captain of council, Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, says she's got a dream team to back her up this term.

"When I look at this line-up, it's absolutely awesome," said the lifelong hockey fan, pointing to her team in her inaugural mayor's address.

The new council was planning to score a hat trick at a special meeting Wednesday, Dec. 7 that could see free parking back in some of the village day lots by Christmas. Also on the agenda was a $10,000 reduction in the mayor's salary and addressing the seemingly elusive illegal space within buildings bylaws.

"I'm hoping that we can knock three of those things (on her top ten campaign list) off within 24 hours of being sworn in," said the new mayor after the official swearing in ceremony on Tuesday.

That could mean free parking in some of the day lots before Christmas, but it will be up to the team to decide together.

"I can't promise that my top ten items are necessarily going to be shared by all of my colleagues," she said to the crowd, packed in to Millennium Place with standing room only. "That said, I know that I can speak for all of council when I say that we will be getting the message out that Whistler is open for business again."

That was met with stirring applause, a sign, much like the election results that saw Wilhelm-Morden sweep into office in a landslide, that the community is hungry for change.

Familiar faces like Whistler Blackcomb execs, the presidents of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Whistler, the fire chief, and other interested community members, were on hand to witness the ceremony, presided over by B.C. Provincial Court Judge David St. Pierre (Port Coquitlam) and watched over by two RCMP officers in Red Serge.

"It's an awesome responsibility that you have as elected representatives," said St. Pierre to the new mayor as she stood before him.  "It's a privilege to be here and congratulations to you."

Wilhelm-Morden was the first to swear her oath of office, her outfit punctuated by bright red high heels that she reserves for "special occasions."

"My hands are shaking," she said, as she put pen to paper after repeating her oath to the judge, promising to faithfully perform the duties of the office.

"There. It's official," said St. Pierre, adding his signature to the paper.

The new mayor took her place behind her chair in the middle of the council table, staring back at the crowd with her family front and centre in the audience.

That's when it really began to sink in. That unreal feeling she's had since she was elected on Nov. 19 was no longer a vague promise of things to come — she was now mayor of Whistler. And unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who had to click her red heels to get back to Kansas, Wilhelm-Morden's red heels were right at home, planted firmly on the ground. 

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