New council ‘engaged, committed, excited’ 

Team building first task

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Forsyth was at home in 19 Mile Creek Saturday night having a little party with friends when the election results came in.

"I was totally stoked," he said "It was something that I’ve worked really hard for."

Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said she was humbled to have received the highest number of votes in the election at 2,127. That was almost 500 votes above second place councillor Lorriman who received 1,646.

"It’s very humbling that so many people have so much confidence in me," said a glowing Wilhelm-Morden at Melamed’s party in the Garibaldi Lift Company Saturday night.

Wilhelm-Morden, who had aligned herself with Melamed throughout the campaign, praised the new mayor for running what she called a "fabulous campaign" which did not degenerate into any mud slinging against the other candidates.

"He really showed that he is the face of Whistler," she said.

Incumbent Gordon McKeever said he was disappointed that in the weeks leading up to the election there were slanderous personal attacks of different candidates by members of the community and some campaign teams. He called it "city-style campaigning."

But that’s behind the community now and it’s time to move forward, he said.

"The message is clear," added McKeever. "I hope the new team is prepared to hit the ground running because there’s a lot to get done."

With the Olympics and Paralympics just over four years away it is clear this is a crucial time for a new mayor and council.

"Time is one of our few enemies in this," said Maureen Douglas, spokeswoman for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the Games. "Everyone will be aware of that and all of us will have to address that accordingly."

The first priority from VANOC’s point of view, said Douglas, would be to flesh out the plans for the Paralympic ice arena, which Whistler finally decided to go ahead with last month.

"We will be looking to see what (council’s) thoughts are and what direction it will be taking quite keenly so that we can move forward on this," she said.

Douglas said VANOC is not concerned about working with Melamed, despite the fact that he was the only councillor who voted not to endorse the Games. She said he has made it clear that his endorsement was withheld only because he wanted to see more benefits for the community from the deal.

"I certainly believe that point of view from him and respect it," said Douglas. "I also have full confidence that he wants to work on making these the best Games ever."

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