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Full house for all candidates meeting

Mayors, councillors meet the public

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Incumbent mayor Ken Melamed said his priorities if elected would be to work with the province to renew the RMI program, to update the resort business plan to reflect the recession and to reign in costs and taxes. "We started that process in 2010, and we're already seeing success in the first phase and there will be more phases to come. It will be a nuts to bolts review to find efficiencies and create a leaner government to keep costs down."

Incumbent councillor Grant Lamont said he wants to see a return to a traditional local government with departments for planning, engineering, bylaws and parks and recreation. He also had ideas how to help the tourism economy. "One question I got was what was the next big thing that Whistler has to market, and I said it was the value-added stuff - all the things we take for granted in the community that people are blown away by when they see it. That's our lakes, parks, trails, open spaces - all things that people can come to Whistler and enjoy for free."

Council candidate Kevin Rea said the resort needs a clean slate. "At the end of the day, a new slate of councillors and mayor is required, and the group to come in for the next three years has to have the same goal in mind. The finances of our government is the overriding issue."

Council candidate Steve Anderson said the next council would have to be tough. "What set me off and got me running for council was that budget meeting and the announcement that our taxes would be going up 20 per cent in three years, which was a big hit for homeowners. And to be honest from what I've seen I don't see how we're going to avoid more double digit increases  - it's going to be tough... I feel there are other ways to deal with expense issues than raising costs."

Council candidate Dave Buzzard said there was consensus at most tables over the top issues, namely the budget and pay parking. "People wanted to know what I was going to do about the budget, and I basically said it was an 800 pound gorilla that needs to be wrestled to the ground. And it was interesting because we had people from the municipality there, some long-term employees... and even those guys seemed to agree with that. And the thing to do with pay parking is to take the hard line and fine $1 million per year n the budget to cover the cost and bring it back to free."

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