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Pique n' your interest

A wiser council



Whistler’s new council probably shouldn’t read too much into their own vote tallies or the fact that less than a third of Whistler’s residents turned out on Nov. 16 to cast their ballots.

On the whole we’re an ungrateful, lazy and apathetic bunch when it comes to local politics, but deep down they know we care.

And who knows? If you could vote by phone, via the Internet, or by dropping coloured marbles into a giant cistern outside the village liquor store, the results of this municipal election could have been very different.

The new council, or what constitutes the new council until judges can rule on a mysterious dot on a ballot, is full of good people. The list of also-rans who didn’t make the cut is also full of good people. And never the twain shall meet.

It seems to me that in a town where the majority is too apathetic to vote, anyone who would even consider running for council – putting in all those hours for a monetary pittance and a parking space, sitting through endless meetings, leafing through the phone-book sized agendas – deserves the opportunity to serve the community. After all, they ran for council because they care about Whistler and they care about us.

Just because these candidates didn’t get in doesn’t mean they didn’t have a few good ideas.

Whatever happens with the one council seat that is still in contention, we should make an effort to keep all the candidates involved, or at the very least to keep their ideas alive.

Take Shane Bennett. He received the fewest votes, 141, of any candidate in this election. He also had one of the best and most original ideas.

To bring council and the community closer together on issues, he suggested the creation of a core of council ambassadors that would be comprised of aspiring and former councillors and representatives from different groups within the community. It would include a youth representative, representatives from groups like WORCA and AWARE, representatives from business and development, and representatives for all of us average Whistler ski bums. It could give input to the council on various issues to help them decide policy.

Take Amar Varma. He received just 161 votes, but had a lot of ideas on how to make Whistler more affordable, and keep long-term employees in town. Like a lot of other candidates, he supported the creation of a kind of local’s card that would give breaks to employees on goods and services.

Take Rick André. He had 162 votes. As a small business owner, he understands the need for employee housing projects for the majority of staff that don’t work on the mountains. He also questioned whether a bed unit that only gets used a few weeks a year should qualify as a bed unit.