Wade looks forward to working on housing, CSP 

For Marianne Wade, Saturday’s runoff election capped nearly four and half months of campaigning for a seat on Whistler council.

For Dave Kirk, it marked the end of a 12-year stint as a Whistler councillor.

For voters, it was the end of the longest election in Whistler history.

Wade earned the sixth and final seat on Whistler council Saturday by capturing 432 votes in the runoff election to Kirk’s 389.

Wade said this week she thought the runoff election would be primarily between herself and Kirk.

"The feedback I was getting was people didn’t think all the (defeated) candidates should have been involved in the runoff," Wade said.

"I think the results are fair. They basically reflected the November results."

The runoff was necessitated by a tie between Wade and incumbent Kirk in the Nov. 16 civic election, when each received 1,057 votes. All 13 council candidates who were not elected in November were eligible to contest the runoff election. Eleven chose to run again, with only Stephanie Sloan and Bob Calladine opting out.

After Wade and Kirk, the challengers in the runoff election finished in almost identical order to the Nov. 16 results. The only discrepancy was in the November election Rick Andre finished one vote ahead of Amar Varma. On Saturday Varma finished ahead of Andre.

Wade was sworn in as a member of council on Wednesday and then travelled to Richmond that afternoon to take part in "councillor school" with fellow new council members Gordon McKeever and Caroline Lamont.

Wade said the voter turnout – 1,390 votes were cast – was much better than she anticipated. She predicted between 800 and 1,000 people would take the time to vote on a Saturday during ski season.

"I think that (voter turnout) showed the community was concerned and wanted this resolved," Wade said.

"I think even if people were skiing that day they went and voted after skiing because this was important to them."

Campaigning leading up to Saturday’s runoff election was, on the whole, much more subdued than during the fall municipal election. There were no all-candidates meetings prior to the runoff and only five candidates put up election signs, some waiting until after the holiday period to display them. Wade said she and Kirk agreed not to put up signs, although Wade did put up some posters around town following the holidays.

Wade said it was difficult to compete directly with Kirk for votes, someone she said she knows and respects.

"I think it’s a compliment that Dave and I are so close (in voting). It’s a compliment to be tied with Mr. Kirk."

Wade, a professional planner, said two of the big issues for her as a councillor will be working on resident-restricted housing within the municipal boundaries and the comprehensive sustainability plan. She called the municipality’s announcement of a new task force to review housing ideas "encouraging." She will be part of the task force, which will be chaired by Councillor Kristi Wells.

"There’s new energy and direction for housing," Wade said.

"Kristi, Caroline (Lamont) and I all sat on the Whistler Valley Housing Society. Caroline’s good on the policy side. I’ve got experience with the hands-on, getting things up and running."

She described the final composition of the new council, with three returning councillors and three new councillors, as healthy.

"I think there will be good discussion. People are going to ask questions. There’s new blood and enthusiasm."

Wade has done contract work on the Kicking Horse resort development near Golden, B.C. the last few years, which took her out of town for two weeks at a time, but says her work there is finished.

"I’ll do some contract work closer to home," she said.

Wade’s municipal appointments include the Transportation Advisory Group, the Whistler Museum and Archives Society, AWARE and the Advisory Design Panel.


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