Nebbeling considers running for mayor 

Final decision will be made early next week

Former Whistler Mayor Ted Nebbeling is "very seriously considering" vying for his old job again.

Nebbeling confirmed this week that he has been speaking to people in the community, canvassing support for an election run in November.

"And so far it’s only encouragement to indeed do it," said the former MLA for the area, speaking from his Whistler home.

Nebbeling will be making up his mind early next week but as of Tuesday morning he was leaning more towards running than not.

Last week, three-term mayor Hugh O’Reilly announced he would not be seeking a fourth term as mayor. Immediately afterwards, Councillor Nick Davies announced he was hoping to win the top job. That immediately set the community speculating on the November election and who would run.

As it’s early days still few have yet to declare. The nomination period for potential candidates lasts from Oct. 4 to 14.

When asked why he wants to be mayor again, after leaving the post nine years ago, Nebbeling expressed a number of concerns about the state of the community.

"I’ve been quite unhappy with the direction that council has gone over the last couple of years, in particular the exclusion of the community in the process of setting a path for this community" he said.

Nebbeling as MLA for West Vancouver-Garibaldi championed the Community Charter, which replaced the Local Government Act as the legislation governing municipalities.

"I wanted to push for a Community Charter that mandated councils to involve the community in the process of decision making and actually be accountable to the community, rather than to the provincial government," he said.

When asked whether or not the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan was this council’s way of involving the community, Nebbeling said the planning process only involved a select 150 members of the community and not the entire community.

That document, which is Whistler’s official planning tool for the next 20 years, is also too thick and complex and, he argued, "subject to personal interpretation."

"It should be more clear and more concise as well so that it is understandable," said Nebbeling.

He believes with a little more work that problem can be solved.

Another major concern for Nebbeling is the financial management of the town.

He cites Millennium Place, where the municipality took on the financial liability of that building through bank guarantees, and the new library, which was supposed to cost the municipality $5 million in a cost sharing arrangement and is now costing close to $10 million, as examples of financial mismanagement.

"I just don’t understand how as a council they can spend all that extra money without the voice of the community through referendums," said Nebbeling.

"That is a serious concern of mine and I think just a general feeling that I pick up in the valley is that people just are walking away from local politics because they feel they have no say in it. And I want to bring that back."

As mayor, Nebbeling served Whistler from 1990 to 1996. During that time much of the development of Village North was planned and executed. The Meadow Park Sports Centre was built and the transit system was created.

In 1996 Nebbeling left Whistler to become the area’s Member of the Legislative Assembly, representing the Liberal Party in Victoria. He served as Minister of State for Community Charter for almost three years.

"I have built excellent relationships of course with the provincial government," said Nebbeling. "I know the civil servants that are the decision makers, I know the ministers that are the decision makers, I know caucus members that are the decision makers and to have direct contact with almost all of these people is very important."

He said he has no hesitation throwing his hat into the election ring in Whistler.

"I just want to make sure that I… have a group of people that are committed to work with me. You need a team. You can’t do it on your own."

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