Features & Images » Feature Story

Whistler Election Results

Melamed wins as mayor



Whistler Municipal Election

(Unofficial results)


Ken Melamed 1,769

Ted Nebbeling 1,416

Kristi Wells 346

Nick Davies 106

Mike Brew 83

Stacy Kohut 26

Brian Walker 15

Council (six elected)

Nancy Wilhelm-Morden 2,127

Bob Lorriman 1,646

Gordon McKeever 1,480

Ralph Forsyth 1,469

Tim Wake 1,465

Eckhard Zeidler 1,385

Marianne Wade 1,329

Michael d’Artois 1,306

Chris Quinlan 1,204

Sonya McCarthy 1,039

Jamey Kramer 876

Inge Flanagan 817

Ken Achenbach 698

Steve Jiu 381

Doug Lundgren 293

McCaul Balmer 203

Shane Bennett 145

Melamed has 60-day action plan for Whistler

By Clare Ogilvie

It was down to the wire tonight as candidates waited to hear the results of the civic election.

But to applause and a few whoops the crowd gathered at the Myrtle Philip polling station learned just before 9 p.m. that popular three-term councillor Ken Melamed was to be the resort’s new mayor.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief,” he said toasting his success at the GLC, a popular apres watering hole with supporters.

“It has been a fantastic campaign and of course quite nerve wracking but now the wait is over and we are happy. It is a happy day for Whistler.

“The community put me out front. Their support came through again and the community knows what is best for Whistler and they have elected, I think, a very strong and positive council.

Melamed’s chief rival for the mayor’s chair was former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Ted Nebbeling, who also served as mayor of Whistler from 1990 to 1996.

It pitted Melamed, seen as a protector of the natural environment and a strong supporter of sustainability, against Nebbeling who was focused on the business climate of the resort.

Throughout Melamed’s campaign he was dogged by the fact that he was the only councillor to vote against bringing the 2010 Winter Olympic games to the resort.

He wanted to withhold support until the provincial government, which has earned up to $1 million a day in revenue off Whistler, came through on a promise to allow the resort to get more money from visitors.

Tonight he said he was determined to see the Liberal government come through on that promise.

“We are looking for satisfaction on (those issues),” he said.

The new mayor and council must also address the serious issue of the economy in Whistler, which has been battered in recent years with amongst other things a high Canadian dollar, fewer US travellers, high gas prices and a freaky rain storm last season which spooked skiers.

Some of these challenges will be addressed in a 60-day action plan, which Melamed plans to implement as soon as possible.

“The action plan starts off with a review of governance and roles to bring council and staff together into a team making body so it will be a team building exercise,” he said.

“Then we need to reprioritize our work plan because we have so much to do. The next three years are going to be intense like Whistler has never seen before.”

High on the list of things to do said Melamed is finalize affordable housing projects at Rainbow and the athletes village at Cheakamus South.

“These are two key housing initiates,” said Melamed.

Planning is only part of the challenge with these projects. Both will be drawing on a construction climate already stretched by demand.

Melamed intends on tackling the challenge head on.

“I want to get together with local contractors and see how we will manage that issue.”

Melamed said he and his new council, Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Bob Lorriman, Gordon McKeever, Ralph Forsyth, Tim Wake and Eckhard Zeidler, will also be looking at the municipal budget to find increased funding for marketing the resort.

“I think one of the most powerful things we can do is get Whistler’s brand back on track,” said Melamed.

“We need to make sure that we attract families back and ensure there is value and service in our product mix and bring the guests back into the resort.”