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Walker, Kolvek make bids for mayor

Whistlerites will now have a choice of five candidates on Nov. 15

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Two more mayoral candidates have thrown their hats into the upcoming municipal election, bringing the total nominees to five.

Writer Brian Walker, who ran for the mayor position unsuccessfully in 2005, and Miro Kolvek of Esquires Coffee House both filed nomination papers with municipal hall before the nomination deadline last week.

Walker and Kolvek join Kristi Wells, Jag Bhandari from Surrey, and incumbent Ken Melamed in the 2008 mayoral race.

Walker will be running a much more serious mayoral campaign compared to last term. He said he did not spend a cent on his 2005 campaign and ran only to “set the table” for this election.

“The mayor and council have lost the confidence of the community, and what is happening now is there is a swell of a desire to have an… almost a clean slate come through and get Whistler back to what people had in mind for what this place is all about,” said Walker.

Walker, who has lived in Whistler for 19 years, said there are a wide range of issues that need to be addressed, such as employee accommodation, service and being ready for the 2010 Olympics.

He said he also wants to add to his 2005 campaign message, which centred on the need to create a warmer resort community in Whistler.

“We are in a service industry. We are fundamentally dependent on service. Without that kind of service, this resort cannot just go on,” said Walker.

He added: “I think really the issue is people feel we have become a resort rather than a community. RMOW (Resort Municipality of Whistler) is kind of like a misnomer, because it is a resort municipality when it should be a community resort.”

Through his work as a food writer, as well as other jobs in hospitality, Walker said he has talked to a large cross section of people working in Whistler’s service industry. He has also studied Tourism Whistler and municipal hall.

Walker runs a Whistler dining website at todayatwhistler.com. He will likely use votewhistler.com, however, for campaigning on the Internet.

The other new mayoral candidate, Kolvek, said it is too early in the campaign period for him to speak about the key issues facing the municipality.

Kolvek, who has lived in Whistler for six years, said he decided to run for mayor three years ago.

“Somebody has to take care of people’s money, and of taxpayers money,” said Kolvek on Tuesday.

“We are not slaves here. We work hard for money, and somebody is not spending money very wisely.”

Kolvek grew up in the former Czechoslovakia. He escaped to the United States and lived there for 11 years before moving to Canada.

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