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Richman wins Pemberton mayoral election

Molinaro, Helmer, Ross and Linklater form council



Two days after finding out he was the new Mayor of Pemberton, Mike Richman was still in a mild case of shock.

"It's slightly surreal, I won't lie to you," he said.

But once the shock wears off, what's the first thing on the agenda?

"Really the No. 1 priority is to start working on team building," Richman said.

"To start getting us all together and working in the right productive way and establishing a discussion amongst us."

The new mayor and council will be sworn in on Dec. 2.

"I think it's a really good, diverse collection of people there," Richman said of his new council.

"I think the town is well represented by the people at the table."

There were 705 people registered to vote in the election — up 154 from the 551 who registered in 2011.

Like Whistler, Pemberton has elected a female-majority council.

Joanne Molinaro, Jennie Helmer and Karen Ross are all newcomers to the table, joined by incumbent councillor James Linklater.

For Molinaro, Saturday's election win was made even bigger by a different personal accomplishment.

"I graduated from the (Certified Management Accountants of Canada) on Saturday night and my family was with me celebrating down in the city," she said.

"It was a big night for our family."

Molinaro's 510 votes were highest among all councillors.

"I'm absolutely overwhelmed and so taken aback by the support," she said.

"I feel extremely honoured and privileged to represent our community for the next four years."

Former Pemberton councillor Jennie Helmer had the second most votes with 486.

"It was a long month," Helmer said, of the campaign trail.

"A lot of knocking on doors and handing out flyers and talking to people, but Pemberton makes it fun. They're so engaged and interested, so you don't feel like you're trying to talk to people about something that they don't care about."

And talking to the residents of Pemberton has resulted in a longer to-do list than Helmer started out with.

"There's all this stuff that's come up throughout the campaigning, that I've just got my list and I'm just going to go through it. I don't think I can bring it up all at the first meeting, I think that would be overwhelming," she said with a laugh.

"I think I'm going to have to just filter my own list so I don't overwhelm people with all of these things, and then we'll just work our way through it. We've got four years."

Karen Ross, who garnered 344 votes in the election, pointed to the upcoming town budget as one of the first things on the agenda.

"Initially what I see us looking at is the budget, to just really have a good look at the spending and see what opportunities we can find to reduce spending," Ross said.

After that, she'd like to see council look at boundary expansion possibilities, economic development and improving communication with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.

"Improving that is really going to help us," she said.

"That will allow us to really look at what opportunities there are for us as a community and then work together and build on that."

James Linklater, who had 420 votes, was not immediately available for comment.

Richman said Pemberton residents could look forward to a council that will work hard to represent them.

"We're going to look long and hard at our budget as we move everything, we're going to try to stay creative and make sure Pemberton's identity is protected as we continue to grow here," he said, adding that he would like to thank all of the candidates who ran in the election.

"I think it's not an easy thing to go through, so thanks to everybody, and good luck to Jerry (Mohs, who ran for mayor but had to withdraw for health reasons) with his health."

Official election results can be found at