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Whistler council sworn into office

Melamed outlines the work ahead in inaugural address



It was succinct and ceremonious Monday night as the 15 th Whistler council took their oaths of office.

And though there was no official municipal business on the agenda, the hard work ahead wasn’t far from many minds.

Mayor Ken Melamed highlighted several key issues facing the new council in his inaugural address. They range from Olympic planning and driving more visits to the resort to employee housing projects and provincial negotiations. The list is long. The projects are complex. And the timelines for some things are tight.

"Your new team is not shy of hard work and is ready for the challenges ahead," said Whistler’s new mayor.

"We have a great plan to guide us, and an engaged populace ready to respond to the call."

Several community members, council members’ family and friends, and municipal staff were on hand to witness the ceremony, which began with O Canada performed by the Whistler Singers.

Dressed in a dark blue suit to mark the solemnity of the occasion, Melamed was the first to be officially sworn into office by Madam Justice Sunni S. Stromberg-Stein.

He then stood in his place at the mayor’s seat in the centre of the council table, flanked by two Mounties.

The new councillors then took their turn one by one, each pledging to serve the community for the next three years as the Resort Municipality of Whistler rolls up its sleeves and gets ready for the 2010 Olympic Games.

Council’s work officially begins this week.

"What I said to the administrator is: we’ve got a new council with a lot to do," said Melamed after the ceremony. "I don’t want to put orientation off until January. We need to start to get off the mark."

Originally council was to meet for an all day budget orientation session on Wednesday, Dec. 14. The mayor asked council to meet on Dec. 7 also for a two-hour orientation about how municipal hall works and council’s roles and responsibilities.

"There’s a big learning curve for the new councillors," added the mayor.

There are four rookie councillors on this team – Bob Lorriman, Ralph Forsyth, Tim Wake and Eckhard Zeidler – as well as Nancy Wilhelm-Morden who served three terms on council throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

The only incumbent is Councillor Gord McKeever, who said Monday he was feeling "pleased and eager to get on with it."

The evening ceremony capped off a day that began with a council meeting for the first time on Whistler Mountain for a "team ski." That was the first small step in building a team, something the last council was challenged to do throughout its term.

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