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Mayor-elect Melamed shares his vision

After five weeks on the campaign trail in what was a hard-fought race, mayor-elect Ken Melamed is certainly happy and relieved it’s all over.



But he is aware that the real work is just beginning.

During his time as mayor, Whistler will be full steam ahead with Olympic preparations as the countdown to 2010 really begins.

Despite the looming deadlines, the unknowns and the tough decisions that undoubtedly lie ahead, the feeling of optimism when talking to Whistler’s new mayor is so strong it’s almost tangible.

Ken Melamed took time Tuesday to sit down with the Pique’s Alison Taylor to talk about the election campaign, the new team that the community has chosen and the road to 2010.

Pique: With a couple of days' reflection what are your impressions of the election and the new council the community has chosen?

Melamed: I guess we’ll start with the election. Obviously we’re thrilled and very, very happy and I think there are a lot of people in the community who are very happy and relieved somewhat. That being said, I’m concerned about what seems to be a polarized split in the community…. This is almost a repeat in my mind of 2002 (the mayor race between Hugh O’Reilly and Dave Davenport). So clearly the business community doesn’t feel like it’s being served by the mayor, by municipal hall, by council or by the combination of all three…. And one of the things that I think needs to happen is to reach out to that sector, to try and end that polarization – not end it, but maybe mend it.

I would like to acknowledge the campaign team. Without my campaign team, the victory wouldn’t have been possible. As much as it was a very tactical and strategically thought out campaign, we also had strong support from the grassroots. People worked so hard to get me elected. I understand that is now critical in any campaign. I think it’s a lesson maybe some of the new councillors learned – campaigning is a craft almost and it requires work and strategy and listening to the community.

Pique: And the team that’s been elected?

Melamed: Strong council. I’m actually very impressed… I couldn’t judge where the community was going to go with that and I think at the end of the day they have made wise choices. What I sense already in talking with the new councillors is everyone is very engaged and very committed and very excited about the potential and the opportunity for the next three years.

Pique: Tell me about some of the key highlights in your 60-day action plan which you introduced during the campaign.

Melamed: I think I can probably remember them all! This is not to say that this is the be-all or end-all. It was just a suggestion to the community that I am committed to action, that I’m just not, now that the election is over, going to sit back and drink coffee all day. One of the key things that came up in the campaign, is the need to have an effective team. Obviously there was a lot of criticism of the last council. Not all of it was just. But it was a criticism. The fact is there are only two incumbents on council and although Bill Barratt, (the new administrator) has a long history in municipal hall, he has not been the top dog so it’s a new role (for him). We need to go through a team building exercise and right now we’re contemplating… some kind of team-building retreat.