There will be 15 candidates for the six seats on Whistler council, six contestants for the mayor’s job and three people challenging for two Whistler seats on the Howe Sound School Board when Whistlerites go to the polls Nov. 16.
Five more people announced they will be running for council prior to the Oct. 11 nomination deadline. The five are former alderman Garry Watson, Doug Walsh, a night auditor at the Fireplace Inn, Greg Dobbin, Geoff Mann and Bert Archibald.
Andrea Janyk, a mother of three and a former instructor and program co-ordinator at Capilano College, is challenging incumbents Ele Clark and Laurie Vance for a seat on the school board. Janyk has been involved with school parent advisory councils and district parent advisory councils and served on school board committees in West Vancouver and Whistler.
The Howe Sound School Board is being reduced from nine trustees to seven this election. Both Whistler and Squamish will elect two trustees, rather than three. The reduction in numbers is a cost-saving measure.
Current school board chair Don Ross, Squamish trustee Howard Kelly and Pemberton trustee Jan Systad are not seeking re-election.
The final list of candidates will be drawn up next week. Today, Oct. 18, is the deadline for challenges to any of the candidates and for candidates to withdraw. All of the candidates were checked for eligibility, none had been disqualified as of earlier this week.
With Ted Nebbeling not seeking re-election as mayor, the next person elected to the position is sure to be a novice. Three of the mayoralty candidates, Thelma Johnstone, Max Kirkpatrick and Hugh O’Reilly, currently sit as councillors. At least two, and possibly all three, will not be on the next council. But despite that fact, there could still be a lot of experience on the next council. Both Watson and Wilhelm-Morden have had two terms on previous councils. And the three other members of the current council, Dave Kirk, Bill Murray and Kristi Wells, are seeking re-election.
Watson, 63, was involved in the Garibaldi Olympic Development Association in the early 1960s, which sought to bring the Winter Olympics to what was then known as Alta Lake. He was elected to the first Whistler council, in 1975, and is a Freeman of Whistler. Watson is a retired lawyer who has worked as a consultant on housing and urban redevelopment issues. He has had a strong interest in affordable and employee housing in Whistler for years and served as executive director of the Whistler Valley Housing Society in 1990-91.
Watson said his campaign will focus on sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
Walsh, a former director of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the Whistler Valley Housing Society, feels transportation, housing and Whistler’s transition from a developing to a mature community are key issues in the election.