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Whistler has new mayor: Nancy Wilhelm Morden wins by landslide

Wilhelm Morden "overwhelmed" by win



By Alison Taylor, Jesse Ferreras and Andrew Mitchell

Local lawyer Nancy Wilhelm Morden has won the mayor's chair in Whistler, taking 2636 votes - a landslide for Whistler's first woman mayor.

It was clean sweep with six new councillors elected as well - a sure sign that residents are looking for change.

Elected are Jack Crompton (1665), Jayson Faulkner (1362), John Grills (1041), Duane Jackson (1428), Andree Janyk (1398), and Roger McCarthy (1933).

Said Wilhelm-Morden moments after learning of the win:" It's such a huge, huge mandate.

As news spread through Wilhelm Morden's election party at the Cinnamon Bear the room erupted in cheers.

Both Wilhelm Mordens' daughter's, Sarah and Jessie, were at her side as the news broke tears flowing in joy. Both said they ahd no doubt their Mom would win.

"The expectations are going to be so high. I'm overwhelmed, I'm absolutely overwhelmed."

It was a hard fought race between three front-runners, incumbent Ken Melamed (610 votes) councillor Ralph Forsyth (498 votes) and Wilhelm Morden.

Three others also ran for mayor but none of them were serious contenders for the seat.

With Melamed's loss the former artisan stonemason will be out of local politics for the first time since November 1996. He served three terms as councillor before being elected mayor in 2005, and leading the resort through the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Melamed struck a surprisingly celebratory mood Saturday upon learning he would not be serving a third consecutive term as Whistler's mayor.

As confetti rained down from the ceiling at the Brewhouse he told supporters gathered, "We ran a hard fight, we ran a good fight, we kept it clean, we kept it honest, and I've never had a better group of friends around.

"So thank you very much, I am celebrating my freedom!"

Forsyth's passion for politics was not dimmed by his loss.

"Politics ate a real passion for me ... You haven't seen Ralph Forsyth's name on the last ballot," he said after learning of the loss.

"I was talking to (wife) Stephanie tonight and we were saying that it's been nine years since I first ran for council...and I failed and it was humiliating... But I campaigned hard and three years later I won then I won again ... And I was no longer satisfied ... I didn't like the direction the town was going in."

With several hot button issues front and centre, including pay parking in the resort, what to do with an operational asphalt plant in a new community and an apparent lack of transparency in local government, the town's residents went to the ballot box to seek change.