Even though Tim Wake is thrilled to have sat at the council table for the past three years, the first-term councillor announced on Friday, July 4, he will not seek re-election in November.
Three things in Wake’s life — a new house on Bowen Island, a growing business and a passion for sailing — have all played into the councillor’s decision.
While Wake initially planned to work on council for two terms, he and his wife bought the new house earlier than he had anticipated. As well, his affordable housing consulting business has taken off. And he has plans to buy a boat with a friend next summer.
“I saw all of those three things, Bowen Island, my consulting business and my sailing, all being mutually exclusive with being tied to Whistler and doing the job properly on council, so something had to give,” said Wake.
“It was a tough decision, but at the end of the day, you have to say, ‘I can’t do everything, and I better do what I love most.’”
Wake also pointed to one last issue that was on his mind when he made his decision — the harsh criticism from the public.
Anyone elected to office expects criticism, and it is important to always remember the source, said Wake. You are always going to get criticism from people who are either not completely informed, have a real strong personal agenda or bias, or have a real vested interest in something.
“But when you get what I would call destructive criticism from your colleagues in the community who you trust and respect, and who are also providing leadership, it is just not helpful, especially when those trusted and respected colleges do not have the full story,” he said.
“It doesn’t help to have somebody simply taking shots at us saying, ‘Well you are all wrong’, or ‘Look what happened with the library’, ‘You are spending like kids in a candy store,’ ‘You are not listening to us’ and ‘There was no public input.’”
Despite these frustrations, Wake said he is going to miss being involved in Whistler politics.
One of the strengths of this current council, said Wake, was their ability to make decisions efficiently and move forward. In particular, Wake pointed to three decisions that that he sees as good examples of this: London Drugs, Lot 1/9 and the proposed P3 model for operating the wastewater treatment plant.
“So often we see councils and governments stalling and not providing much direction, and I think we provided a clear direction,” said Wake.
He added: “I am sure some of the community will not agree with me, but I think we did a great job on the budget challenges.”
“We were faced with a 14 per cent problem, and through some very hard work on the part of our staff and through a lot of hand wringing, we were able to come up with a 5.5 per cent increase, a whole bunch of cuts, and some smart math to get us to a workable situation.”
As to disappointments, Wake said there haven’t been many.
“The disappointments I think are water under the bridge,” he said.
“And when a decision doesn’t go the way a particular councillor wants it to go, I think it is important to recognize it doesn’t mean it is the wrong decision. It is the decision. And the important thing is that there is enough respect across council that a decision is a decision and you get behind it.
“When you see a split vote on council, that means generally that the community is split on that issue. But the worst thing you can do is waffle in the indecision. You have to make a decision. And I think this council has been good on that.”
Wake is the second councillor to announce he will not seek re-election in November. On June 24, Gord McKeever also said he was going to step away from political life.
Councillor Bob Lorriman and Mayor Ken Melamed are the only members of council who have confirmed they will seek re-election.