November 16, 2011 Features & Images » Feature Story

Ken Melamed 

Fire in the soul

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What's one thing people would be surprised to learn about you? I have a good collection of Marvel Comics including # 1 Spider Man and Amazing Fantasy #15 where Spidey was first introduced. The Mighty Thor was my favourite. I loved Norse mythology.



What world leader would you most like to go for dinner/drinks with, and why? King Jigme Khesar of Bhutan to learn about democratization in the mountain kingdom and the Gross National Happiness progress indicator.



What book do you recommend everyone read and why? Lord of the Rings ; it is great fun and adventure, has stories of love and friendship, humour and wisdom. I am a big fantasy fan and this is one of my favourite books.



Give an example of a difficult situation you have overcome? Being the smallest person in class all the way through school.



What are your favourite sports to watch on TV? Hockey, Slalom racing, Volleyball, Table tennis, and Sumo wrestling.

The Emerald Forest is one of Whistler's natural playgrounds.

And it is here, mere steps from civilization, that Ken Melamed seems truly at home. As a councillor in 1999, he took a leading role in protecting it from development, and today its 139 acres of old growth and wetlands give hikers, cyclists and disc golf players a first-hand look at the bounty that nature has bestowed here.

The mayoral candidate, dressed in a Team Whistler cycling cap, brown Op jacket and blue jeans, blissfully takes in the morning mist as it flows down from the heights above and moistens the moss on the forest floor, and for a few brief moments he can forget the gruelling process that is running for re-election.

"Whistler's such a special place," he says as a chorus of birdcalls welcomes the sunrise. "It's a place people dream about being in, and we've been able to live the dream by being here."

At this spot, just a few steps from a disc golf course and the Shit Happens bike trail, Melamed shows off some extra-curricular work he has carried out while sitting in the mayor's chair. He has taken a broken section of bike trail, ravaged and bent by the elements, and fitted rocks like a jigsaw puzzle to make a smoother path for cyclists.

Only a mason could pull off this kind of work, and Melamed's 25 years in stonework clearly shows in this project. Where the path above is dishevelled and broken, here even a less experienced rider need not fear the trail.

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