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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.

Wilhelm-Morden served four terms on council starting in 1984 with the most recent council term from 2005 to 2008.

She has been involved in several local Boards, such as the Chamber of Commerce ad the Whistler Health Care Foundation, and is a founder of the Community Foundation of Whistler.

A personal injury lawyer she is currently the counsel for Gilles Blackburn - a case that could have ramifications in Whistler and other ski resorts. Blackburn was stuck in the Golden backcountry for nine days, and watched his wife die there, before he was rescued. He is now suing RCMP, Golden Search and Rescue, and Kicking Horse Resort.

According to Wilhelm's website she believes it is, "time for Municipal Hall to return to municipal business.

"That means two things: "Focusing on doing what we do, and doing it well. In concentrating on providing municipal services, we will pay attention to value for money, efficiencies and excellence. We also need to get out of those services we have no business being in and let those businesses and organizations tasked with them do their job.

"Taxpayers, families, businesses, and our partner organizations all need the support of Municipal Hall in order to ensure that Whistler remains the best town in the world to live and to visit. There are serious issues that need to be addressed."

In all 3952 votes were were cast Saturday. In 2008, 2903 constituents voted. There are 7206 eligible voters.

Also elected were school trustees Chris Veron-Jarvis and Rachael Lythe in Whistler.

In Pemberton councillors elected are: James Linklater with 354 votes, Mike Richman wiht 331 votes, Ted craddock with 318 votes and Niki Vankerk with 308 votes.Mayor Joran Sturdy was acclaimed.

For the SLRD it's Moe Frietag for Area D and Susie Gimse for Area C.

Pick up this week's Pique for full coverage.



Nancy Wilhelm Morden - 2636

Ken Melamed - 610

Ralph Forsyth - 498

Brent McIvor - 117

Miro Kolvek - 19

Shane Bennett - 18



Roger McCarthy - 1933

Jack Crompton - 1665

Duane Jackson - 1428

Andree Janyk- 1398

Jayson Faulkner - 1362

John Grills - 1041

Steve Anderson - 1037

Corrine Allison - 983

Ted Milner - 957

Grant Lamont - 812

David Buzzard - 772

Allan Jenner - 752

Tom Thomson - 717

Eckhard Zeidler - 671

Kevin Rea - 661

Brian Reid - 545

Christopher Quinlan - 496

Jen Ford -425

Steven Andrews - 381

Hi Brooks - 302

Jay Rolston - 269

Finn Saarinen - 251

Rob Leblanc - 222

Jess Laframbois - 167

Richard Diamond - 143


School Board Trustees

Rachael Lythe - 1228

Chris Vernon Jarvis - 1138

Christine Buttkus - 1047

Riel Cairns - 499