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Nine candidates join council race at deadline

New entries bring number of council candidates to 17



The once small field of candidates for Whistler council more than doubled in size at deadline on Friday, Oct. 14, with nine people joining the eight who had already declared their candidacy.

Shane Bennett, who was running for mayor, decided to run for council and James Hyndman failed to complete his nomination forms for mayor, reducing the number of mayoral candidates to seven.

That gives Whistler a total of 24 candidates in this municipal election, not counting school trustee candidates Andrée Janyk and Christopher Vernon-Jarvis, who were acclaimed.

Who are the new candidates?

Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and Eckhard Zeidler declared their candidacy weeks earlier but did not make it official until the deadline. Both have profiles in Pique this week.

The other new candidates are, in alphabetical order, Ken Achenbach, McCaul Balmer, Inge Flanagan, Stephen Jui, Jamey Kramer, Doug Lundgren and Sonya McCarthy.

Achenbach gives part credit to Pique columnist G.D. Maxwell for his decision to run for council. Achenbach wrote a letter to the editor suggesting the Whistler Golf Course driving range be converted into a surfing park. Maxwell asked why Achenbach wasn’t running for office. Since then his friends have suggested that it’s not a bad idea.

Achenbach runs the Camp of Champions ski and snowboard summer camps and is, with Doug Lundgren, the co-owner of Powder Mountain Catskiing and Catboarding. Lundgren is also running for council this year.

"It’s basically a coincidence that we’re both running, both of us had different people urging us to throw our hats in the ring for a while now, but in the end it did come down to ‘dude, I’ll run if you run’," said Achenbach. "People I respect said that I had to run. I’ve got good ideas, some fresh perspectives, and I’m not in it for any ulterior motives.

"Doug is made for council. He reads everything that comes out of the municipality, and knows everything there is to know about every issue. I think we could work well together on council… and I’d look forward to working with a lot of the other candidates as well. There are a lot of people who have this community’s best interests at heart in this."

Achenbach has three specific issues he would pursue on council. The first is to get rid of all the pay parking in town. "People come from a long way away to spend money here, and the first thing they find when they get to town and go shopping is the parking meters," he said. "I’d like people to feel more welcome than that."

Another issue he would like to see resolved is affordable housing. He likes Norbert Doebelin’s proposal for the Paralympic arena that would include staff housing, but thinks if we can have 10-storey hotels in the village we can have eight- or 10-storey apartments for staff. He would also like to see more infill housing, and to give residents the ability to divide their lots to build additional housing.

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