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Mayoralty candidates trade blame for past actions

Sparks fly amongst contenders

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"Had council been with me to withhold support… we wouldn’t be where we are today," said Melamed.

"No one is more committed to making these the best Games and leverage the best potential for Whistler."

His comments drew loud applause.

Nebbeling, however, took the opportunity to question incumbent candidates why Whistler has not applied for Olympic legacy funding, saying Whistler had "missed the boat." Nebbeling, who was minister responsible for the Olympic bid, said there was a fund specifically to support the ongoing costs of Olympic facilities after the Games.

"That’s something you should have been negotiating because it was doable and achievable and your failed to do it as a council," accused Nebbeling.

"And you were our MLA," shot Davies in a deadpan retort, a comment which drew laughs and whistles from the audience.

Most of the tough questions were directed to Nebbeling, who like Melamed was also asked to explain parts of his track record.

One audience member asked the former mayor if he would stay on until the end of his term if elected this time around. The question, which is a sensitive one these days in the wake of Mayor Hugh O’Reilly’s early departure to Hawaii, referred to Nebbeling’s early departure in 1996.

He explained that when he became MLA in May 1996 he remained working as Whistler’s mayor, commuting back to the resort every week after his work was finished in Victoria. He said it was the first time an MLA from Whistler had been elected and that was a good thing for the community.

"I was running two jobs," added Nebbeling. "I didn’t have a day off. I did a good service to the community."

That comment was followed by a wave of support from the audience.

If support, however, can be gauged by applause of the roughly 200 audience members, Melamed came out as the clear choice for the community at Sunday’s debate. Nebbeling was a close second.

In his opening statements, which he began in fluent French, Melamed said the resort needs a mayor to represent Whistler on the world stage. He said he would be the community’s ambassador.

"I’ve made no enemies in Victoria or elsewhere," he said.

Nebbeling in his closing comments said: "My experience in Victoria will open doors for Whistler."

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