Standing room only at WORCA-sponsored first all candidates meetings 

By Clare Ogilvie and Andrew Mitchell

WORCA’s meet and greet the municipal election candidates this week was a huge success.

There was even a baby to kiss, although not one politician took advantage of that photo opportunity.

Instead, those on the election trail spoke fast and furiously trying to cover their platforms and answer voters’ questions in the seven minutes they were allowed at each of the 14 discussion tables.

The Spruce Grove Field House was full to capacity, and then some, forcing candidates to kneel sometimes due to a lack of chairs at the discussion tables, as they answered a myriad of questions.

"The meeting was very good and the format was good," said Keith Auchinachie, a 20-year resident of Whistler.

"The seven minutes didn’t allow a huge amount of information to be disseminated by the individuals but it did give you an introduction to their personality.

"I have to say I have been leaning toward certain people, but after hearing them speak my lean has changed. There are some candidates I didn’t consider at all who I might now consider, although more information will be needed and more contact. Hopefully I will have a more informed opinion then."

For voter Brent McIvor the chance to meet the candidates, all 20 of whom showed up, reaffirmed his decisions on voting.

"It confirmed my decisions on who I was voting for for council," he said.

" I came here to hear what everyone had to say, but I’m strong on the incumbents because I think there needs to be continuity on council.

"The issues on our plate are hard. I don’t think new people are up to speed on the complexity of the community and the issues."

Said Shannon Gordon: "I do think it was very good. It confirmed the way I would vote more than change my mind.

"I think it was valuable to put faces to the names and hear candid views rather than speeches that are written down and thought out. I was very impressed with a number of the candidates, and it gave me some more to think about on Election Day."

The meeting, open to both WORCA members and the public got under way at 7 p.m. Tuesday and lasted about four hours. Over 170 people attended. Voters chose a table to stay seated at all night, enjoying free beer and chips, while the candidates moved from place to place.

There were no surprises in the main issues covered: Affordability, sustainability, housing, the Olympics, development and the bed cap, the Community Charter, and taxes.

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