A steady line of well-wishers paid their respects to Whistler’s new mayor Saturday night, including the successful and the unsuccessful candidates in the municipal election.
Among the people who came to the Garibldi Lift Company to congratulate Ken Melamed were newly-elected councillors Tim Wake, Bob Lorriman and Gord McKeever.
“The community has spoken clearly and it’s time to move forward,” said McKeever, who was the only incumbent councillor re-elected as a councillor. “I hope the new team is prepared to hit the ground running because there’s a lot to get done.”
Mayoral candidate Nick Davies also came to the GLC to congratulate Melamed on his win, along with council candidate Michael d’Artois.
The new mayor accepted all the well-wishers in between phone interviews and a TV interview.
Though it was a hard loss for some of the candidates, there was a palpable feeling of excitement in the room, particularly among the successful candidates who had aligned themselves with Melamed.
“Ken ran a fabulous campaign,” said Nancy Wilhelm-Morden who was the most popular councillor in the election.
She said Melamed stayed above any mud-slinging in the campaign and he spoke from the heart with passion at the meetings leading up to the election.
“He really showed that he is the face of Whistler,” she said.
Wilhelm-Morden said she was humbled to have received the highest number of votes in the election, garnering 2,127. That was almost 500 votes above second place finisher Lorriman, who received 1,646.
“It’s very humbling that so many people have so much confidence in me,” said a glowing Wilhelm-Morden.
Melamed also addressed the negative campaigning, which seemed to gather steam as election day drew closer and some of his opponents painted him as the councillor who always said “no."
The mayor of Whistler, said Melamed, should have the kind of dignity and integrity that Whistler deserves and tried to stay above the negative campaigning.
When asked to reflect on his own campaign, Melamed said he felt the Chamber of Commerce all-candidates meeting was the turning point for him. It was at that meeting Melamed delivered a powerful speech that was met by a wave of support from the community.
“From that point I started to feel confident,” he said.
As for his feeling Saturday night, he was concise and heart-felt when he said simply: “I feel awesome.”
Eckhard Zeidler, the sixth councillor elected, was also upbeat.
“I’m so thrilled about this town because everybody’s on the same page,” he said. “We’re thinking the same way. We have the same values.
“I’m truly inspired by the town and we’re only beginning to do great things.”
Ralph Forsyth is the other new councillor elected Saturday.
When asked how he planned to spend the rest of the weekend, Whistler’s new mayor, who was called by some as the hardest working councillor in Whistler, stayed true to form.
He had a council package to read and digest in preparation of Monday’s meeting, he was hoping to take a few turns on Blackcomb Mountain and he also wanted to watch his son’s hockey game.
Mayoral candidate Kristi Wells, who was at the polling station on Saturday night where the results were first made public, said of Melamed: “I know he’ll put his heart into the job.”