News » Whistler

Melamed confirms his mayoral musings

Three-term councillor encouraged to run for mayor, yet to make a decision

by

comment

The most popular councillor in the last election, with 1,867 votes, is now thinking about a more full time political career.

Ken Melamed confirmed this week that he is carefully weighing his options should he decide to run for mayor in November’s municipal election.

"I’m considering it," he said simply.

Originally Melamed wasn’t thinking about the top job on council but a flood of phone calls and e-mails and conversations with supporters encouraging him to throw his hat in the ring has got him thinking otherwise in recent weeks. This reflection comes in the wake of last month’s announcement from three-term Mayor Hugh O’Reilly that he will not be seeking re-election this fall.

"It’s hard to ignore (the encouragement to run)," added Melamed.

To date just two candidates have publicly announced they are seeking the mayor’s job this fall. Those candidates are Councillor Nick Davies and former mayor and MLA Ted Nebbeling.

Others are expected to join the race closer to election day. The nomination period lasts from Oct. 4 to 14, with election day on Nov. 19.

Unlike the mayor’s job, which is a full time position, councillors are paid based on a workweek of roughly 20 hours. Often times they work more than those 20 hours.

Melamed has been logging his hours at the council table for nine years, since he first decided to run for a seat in 1996. In that time he has become a familiar figure on Whistler’s political landscape as well as on the mountains where he is a ski patroller, and on construction sites around town where he works as a self-employed stonemason.

He is renowned for his concern for the environment and his passion to keep growth and development limited. Many times he has been the lone voice in opposition of council decisions, most notably his "no" vote in October 2002 against the 2010 Olympics. At the time he said he could not support the bid because he felt it failed to protect the community from serious issues.

"At this time I do not believe we have sufficient safeguards to withstand the coming pressure that the bid brings," he said.

"I would like to see a number of policies put in place to put those safeguards in place. Locally we need an affordability strategy. We need a workable teardown policy and we need to have a new integrated capped growth employee housing strategy."

In his 2002 campaign interview with Pique Newsmagazine weeks after that decision he said: "I also wanted to address the perception that I say ‘no’ to everything and don’t have any solutions. It’s not true. I have the distinction of having more failed motions and amendments than anyone on council. I’ve always supported ideas that are new or different."

He would not say when he would make his final decision to run for mayor or not. He is waiting for friends who are part of his election team to return to Whistler and once here they will discuss options and possibilities for his political future.

Add a comment