Councillor Ralph Forsyth announced on Friday, Aug. 29, that he will run for council again during November’s municipal election.
“We are facing some uncertain economic times and some difficult decisions,” wrote Forsyth in his press release that was displayed on Facebook.
“I think there is a need in the community for the right vision, some confidence and the leadership skills necessary to provide a positive direction for Whistler.”
The first term councillor decided to use the social network website to launch his campaign because he wants to engage more young voters.
“It is not that young people have been ignored, but I do not
think anyone has been successful in engaging them,” said Forsyth during an
“I hope to do that.”
Through his work with the Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit Program, Forsyth has talked to thousands of young people living in Whistler. And almost all of them have said that housing is the number one challenge they have faced.
Forsyth took this feedback into account and chose to continue to focus on the same three priorities he ran on during the last election: economic sustainability, retaining young families and providing support for small businesses.
“Those are the real drivers of how it helps someone like me stay in the resort,” he explained.
“How are we going to balance our economic future? If we have build out, how are we going to continue to pay our bills without just increasing taxes every year? That is an important one for me, and I look forward to the challenge of trying to figure that one out.”
Forsyth pointed to sponsorship opportunities that the Resort Municipality of Whistler could tap into. For example, New York has their parking meters sponsored. And advertisements on the sides of buses could also bring in more revenue.
Whistler also needs to start talking about the extra four per cent hotel tax that was negotiated three years ago and will expire in 2011, he said.
As for his priority to retain young families, Forsyth said he wants to work on attracting back families that have chosen to live in Pemberton or Squamish instead of Whistler. The municipality also needs to have a policy on childcare, he said.
“We need to have that. Right now, we sort-of debate it, but if we have a policy, then we have something we can stick to. This is one of the things I am hopeful Whistler 2020 will be able to help us achieve.”
Forsyth entered Whistler’s political realm for the first time three years ago when he was elected as a councillor. During that time, he has learned that you cannot accomplish anything by yourself. To get anything done, he said, it is absolutely crucial to have the support of council colleagues and the community at large.
He added that one thing he would do differently next term, if elected, is to nurture more relationships in the Sea to Sky corridor.
“You can’t look at Whistler in isolation. You have to look at it in the broarder context of the region, the province, nationally and almost internationally too, because the world is coming here,” said Forsyth.
“I am going to keep my finger on the pulse of what is happening out there and really nurture those relationships.”
Bob Lorriman and Eckhard Zeidler are the other current councillors that have confirmed they will seek re-election in November. Councillors Tim Wake and Gord McKeever have announced they will not seek re-election. Councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden has yet to announce her intentions.
Mayor Ken Melamed will be seeking re-election.
Forsyth moved to Whistler in 1991 and lives with his wife and two sons. Beyond council, he works as an entrepreneur and ski instructor.
Some of the community organizations Forsyth works with include the Whistler 2020 Affordability Committee, the Whistler Childcare working group, the Parish Finance Committee for Our Lady of the Mountains Catholic Church and the Whistler Toastmasters Club. He is also head coach of his children’s flag football team, The Whistler Saints.
More information on Forsyth’s campaign is available at www.ralphforsyth.org .