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Former baker set sights on job as town policy maker

Bob Lorriman announces a run for municipal council

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Upon rereading his letters to Pique Newsmagazine over the last three years Bob Lorriman said the good news is his message has remained consistent: we need meaningful public engagement, we need to build trust through transparency in local government and we need accountability to the community.

The bad news, however, is that in the last three years nothing has changed.

And that’s why he’s running for a spot on council in November’s municipal elections.

"We need a clear change of attitude and process from the mayor and council," said Lorriman. "I can no longer sit on the sideline writing letters, I want to be that change."

He has been setting the stage for this run at a council seat for the past several months, making changes in his life that would give him the time and energy it needs to be a Whistler councilor. Most notably, this June Lorriman sold his village business, Gone Bakery, which he had been running since 1997.

As a former business owner he said it’s frustrating that this council has not done much to help the economy in this town, which has been in decline over the past four years. For example, Whistler still has no economic development officer, unlike communities such as Squamish and Penticton.

"I think it just demonstrates the lack of economic focus that this council has had," he said.

Also, frustrating was council’s refusal to pay for an airport study, which would determine if an airport is technically viable in the Brandywine area. Ultimately it was left to the private sector to fund that study.

He said with all the talk of sustainability at municipal hall there is still an imbalance between the economic, environmental and social legs of the "sustainability stool," with the economy taking a backseat in recent years.

"Unfortunately while our tourism business has been in decline for the last four years, little attention was paid to the economic impact this will have as we move forward towards our vision," said Lorriman. "Now we are forced into a reactive mode, rather than having been more proactive about it earlier.

"So while our environmental strategies set us aside as an enlightened leader, our economy shows we have been negligent in recognizing (the) severity of our situation."

But it’s not just the economic challenges facing the resort that have Lorriman interested in a council seat. For the past three years he has watched as council argues, makes decisions behind closed doors and dismisses public engagement.

"I am mad as hell that this is a completely dysfunctional council," he said. "As a councillor I don’t want to be on a council where the community is always fighting the council."

The way to prevent that, he said, is by getting the community involved. If there had been public discussion on the Paralympic arena or the future of Lot 1/Lot 9 two years ago, for example, council would not be facing the community backlash about the lack of engagement now said Lorriman.

The bread maker/mountain biker/business person of the year is excited about this shot to make a difference in Whistler. He talks about local politics in Whistler the same way he talks about baking bread, as he did for so many years for Gone.

Bread has two basic ingredients he said, flour and water. But in his travels through Europe, Lorriman noticed the flavour of the bread always changed from village to village. And while there are slight differences in water and the flour, the real difference in taste comes from another ingredient altogether.

"It’s the passion of the bread maker (that) makes a huge difference," he said simply.

Lorriman joins Councillors Marianne Wade and Gordon McKeever and challenger Tim Wake as declared candidates for council in the next municipal election. To learn more about Lorriman’s platform go to www.lorriman.ca.

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