Despite giving serious consideration to running for mayor, councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden announced on Tuesday, Sept. 16 she will not seek any seat on council in November.
Wilhelm-Morden, who has served on council four separate times, said she made the final decision this weekend, although she has tentatively known she was not going to run for a few months.
“Quite a number of people actually approached me and asked me to consider (running for mayor), and I did,” said Wilhelm-Morden.
“I gave it very serious consideration, but it just was not going to work with where I am at with other things at my life. At least at this stage.”
The decision was both easy and hard for the councillor to make. Wilhelm-Morden said she has always enjoyed being on council, but the last three years have been “relatively frustrating.”
“I was not expecting with this council to be on so many minority sides of votes. With some other councils where that has happened, I kind of knew that going in, but I did not think that was going to happen with this council, and it did,” she said.
Some issues where Wilhelm-Morden has disagreed with other councillors include the five-year financial plan, residential taxation levels and Olympic spending.
“I am quite concerned about those aspects,” she said.
At the same time, Wilhelm-Morden said she thinks the current council moved a number of significant issues forward and have reason to be proud. She pointed to the additional hotel tax as a significant accomplishment, along with the athletes’ village and securing a legacy for affordable housing in the community.
“We have put in some things for the Olympics that I think were important. I think the strategic plan for the Olympics is a good one,” she added.
Even though Wilhelm-Morden will not be running in the up coming election, she has not bowed out of local politics permanently. The councillor said she might be interested in coming back to public office after the 2010 Winter Olympic Games or after she retires. And running for the mayor position at that time is a possibility, she said.
“I really do believe in community service, and I also do think with my experience, both with living in Whistler for as long as I have and with being on council as many times as I have, that at some point I would like to serve the community again in that capacity,” said Wilhelm-Morden.
Until then, Wilhelm-Morden will be focusing her energy on her law practice, which she opened in Whistler in 1987 and merged with Race & Company in 1988. She will also have more time to ski and garden, and she plans to take up golf again.
“I am also going to carry on with my community involvement,” said Wilhelm-Morden.
“I sit on the honorary board of the Community Foundation of Whistler. I will be devoting more time to that and will probably get involved with some of the other not-for-profit charitable activities around town that I have been involved with over the years.”
Wilhelm-Morden moved to Whistler in 1973 and was elected to councils in 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2005. During the 2005 election, she received more votes than any other candidate.
She also narrowly lost to Ted Nebbeling in the race for mayor in 1990.
The nomination period will run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 10 this year. The election is Nov. 15.
So far only one candidate has stepped forward for the mayor position and five people have announced their intentions to run for the six seats on council.
Mayor Ken Melamed announced he will seek re-election, along with current councillors Eckhard Zeidler, Bob Lorriman and Ralph Forsyth. Former councillor Kristi Wells and community member Bill Overing have also officially announced that they will run for council, and former councillor Ted Milner is “heavily considering” a campaign.