By the time you read this, two of Whistler's election debates will be over and voters will likely have a better idea of the lay of the land when it comes to what municipal government will look like going forward.
One thing we know for sure is that the next council will be a very different one than the one in place for the last three years. And let's not forget that councils will now be in place for four years.
In many ways, the council we have had was a gift to the community. Each person brought a particular perspective to the table — from backgrounds as diverse as resort development, to transportation, to law — there was a depth of experience and skill that put them in good stead as they continued to move the resort forward out of the difficult years since 2008.
With a term under their belts, councillors Andrée Janyk, Jack Crompton and John Grills not only understand the issues before the resort they now have experience in local government as well (to add to the experiences they brought with them to the 2011 election). Does that automatically mean we should vote for them? Not necessarily, but looking back over how they dealt with some of the big issues in the last term — the proposed university on the Zen lands, the asphalt plant, pay parking, illegal space — their positions and comments were well considered.
So who else is on the table to vote for as we head toward Nov. 15? Though both local papers have covered the candidates, you might be forgiven for forgetting an election was underway if you were looking around for any signs of it.
As an aside, while there are many reasons to hate election signs all over the place, they do remind us all that an election is happening. These days driving around Whistler you would think there was no campaigning going on — you would be wrong, as some candidates are doing it the old-fashioned way, door to door.
Some candidate websites are up and running, but as you would expect, there is a range of information on them, making some a great place to get to know the candidate, while others — not so helpful.
Janyk (www.andreejanyk.com), Steve Anderson (www.andersonsteve.ca), Jen Ford (www.jenford.ca), and Sue Maxwell (www.suemaxwell.com) all have websites though, as is common in those newly seeking election; there is very little meat on the bones of their "platforms." A lot of grand phrases but no action plans. Look carefully at their skill sets. Do they have the skills to help direct planning, and have input on a budget that produces over a million dollars a day for provincial coffers?
Others are using Facebook pages. Jack Crompton's is very active (www.facebook.com/jackcromptonforwhistler), as is Pete Crutchfield's (www.facebook.com/CouncillorPeteCrutchfield)— who cheekily titled it "Councillor" Pete Crutchfield, putting the cart firmly before the horse. The bigger issue with Crutchfield's FB site might be why he has run it under the pseudonym Norm DePlume. If you are not willing to stand behind your words don't put them out there in public, especially if you are running for council.
Crutchfield (www.petecrutchfield.com) also has a website, which articulates the problems with "living the dream" here, but offers no real solutions to the problems.
Tristan Galbraith's website shares information, but says little about what he believes are the issues facing the resort. Indeed the website seems to mostly show that he likes writing letters to politicians.
Michael d'Artois — no information available yet, except the interviews in the local papers. Even a resume would help voters understand what skills he has as a candidate.
When it comes to the incumbents, looking at the council committees they serve on is helpful — a reflection of skills brought in to the job and those gained at the table: Grills was on the human resources standing committee, the advisory design panel, the liquor licence advisory committee, and was a liaison with the Whistler Bar Association, WAG, and the Whistler Housing Authority.
Janyk was also on the HR committee, the public art committee, the recreation and leisure committee, the measuring up committee, and was liaison with AWARE and the Whistler Chamber.
Crompton was on the audit and finance committee, the transportation advisory group, the transit management advisory committee, and was liaison to the SLRD and WCSS.
As the weeks slip by toward the election, it is not enough to put your name out there — voters want to know where all those running stand on certain issues and what strategies they want to put in place to address such issues as fiscal responsibility, development issues, affordability and so on.
Then there is the news this week that the nine people running for council have a "secret" Facebook page — the "agreement" not to put up election signs came out of that FB discussion.
What does that say about transparency?
Think about that as you prepare to go to the polls.