News » Whistler

New council ‘engaged, committed, excited’

Team building first task

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By Alison Taylor and Clare Ogilvie

Filled with a sense of renewed energy and optimism after Saturday’s victory, Whistler’s new mayor and council are ready to hit the ground running.

Mayor-elect Ken Melamed, who won a hard-fought election race by a margin of roughly 350 votes, already has a 60-day action plan chock full of pressing things that need to be done, not the least of which is creating and fostering a team among four rookie councillors, one incumbent, and one veteran councillor who last served during the 1996-1999 term.

"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," said Melamed of what he describes as a "strong council."

Among Melamed’s long list of things to do in the next two months is to finalize the Rainbow employee housing project, complete the pre-planning for the athletes village and find more marketing dollars for the resort to generate more room nights and stimulate the economy.

Newly elected candidate Bob Lorriman is confident the community has picked a good team to tackle all the work ahead. He is also keen to follow up on Melamed’s idea that the new team head up the slopes for an inaugural ski together before they are officially sworn into office Monday, Dec. 5 th .

"When you look at his 60-day plan the number one thing is to build an effective team," said Lorriman. "So I feel pretty good about it and I feel with the mayor’s race it was pretty decisive. I would have been more concerned if it was really close but it wasn’t close. So I think now it’s time for the community to put it all aside and move forward."

Newly-elected candidate Ralph Forsyth, who was not successful in the last election, but came fourth this time around with 1,469 votes, has his own ideas about moving things forward. He is keen to ensure Whistler’s youth is a voice that will be heard by the new council.

As the youngest councillor at 36 years old, Forsyth has already approached the new mayor about starting a Youth Advisory Committee so young people can voice their opinions and let council know what they need to survive in this unique town.

"I think there’s an impression out there that young people like me aren’t equipped to do it or aren’t smart enough to do it and that’s false," said Forsyth. "I’m pleased that there’s someone under 50 on council and that that person’s me. I think that for a long time young people have been underrepresented in our town."