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Voters left in the cold, Millennium Place too small for crowds

Election campaigns promise change

Many Whistler residents left an election debate disappointed last night after failing to get a seat in the small auditorium at Millennium Place.

"We paid for parking and went there to get informed," said Rick Clare Tuesday.

"It's an important time," he said, adding that people are craving information and trying to learn as much as they can about the candidates.

Millennium Place, which only holds 240, was not the right venue to host a meeting with more than 30 candidates, added Clare.

Hundreds of voters showed up to hear from the six mayoral candidates, all 25 council contenders, and three of the four school trustee candidates, with the crowd overflowing out of the Millennium Place auditorium and spilling into the foyer and entrance.

This all candidates meeting, hosted by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the Whistler Arts Council, was one of the few public forums to see the candidates debate, think on the spot and put their best face forward.

While there was no clear winner during the mayoral debate, the race has narrowed to the three frontrunners, with incumbents Mayor Ken Melamed and councillor Ralph Forsyth defending their decisions this term and outlining their plans going forward, while former councillor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden clearly listed her 10-point campaign promises.

It was those promises that made the audience sit up and take notice.

It's still anyone's game for council but the tough job now lies with the voters who must separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to campaign promises.

That much was evident at Monday's all candidates meeting, less than two weeks out from the municipal election, where the mood for change in the community was palpable, but the way to achieve that change wasn't as clear.

For full coverage of the meeting pick up this week's Pique .