Whistler champions the Olympics at FCM 

But Federal government downloading continues to be main issue at Toronto conference

Rekindling the Olympic afterglow was top of mind for the four of Whistler's lawmakers who journeyed to Toronto recently for the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) conference.

Mayor Ken Melamed, who was accompanied by councillors Chris Quinlan, Tom Thomson and Ted Milner, said the group promoted the Olympics as well as Whistler's successful FCM event last year.

"We wanted to make sure that the presence of Whistler was still front and centre in people's minds," said Melamed. "I was glad to see a relatively strong contingent here in terms of the four of us, partly because we attended to make sure our presence was known and to help delegates remember how great a time it was in Whistler."

During the May 28 to May 31 conference, Whistler's lawmakers manned a trade booth to drive those goals home. The trade booth was set up with help from Tourism Whistler, who agreed it was important to remind people of the Olympics and last year's FCM event, said Melamed.

The mayor said the booth was "all smiles" and received an enthusiastic response from the other delegates.

"I talked to tons of people who said they had extended their trip at FCM (last year) and plan to come back and bring their families," said Melamed. "I felt a bit sorry for the Mayor of Toronto. Whistler was a very hard act to follow, but Toronto did a great job. They were very gracious hosts, but let's face it, the delegates across Canada really responded well to being in the medium that Whistler provided."

During the FCM trip Mayor Melamed was also invited to Quebec City to speak to their mayor about the Olympic bid. According to Melamed, Quebec City is wondering whether they should put forward another Olympic bid. The city's bid to host the Winter Games in 2002 and 2010 was unsuccessful, the latter bid losing out to Whistler in a Canadian Olympic Committee vote.

Beyond promoting the Olympics and Whistler's successful FCM the mayor said the Whistler lawmakers fostered relationships with other municipal leaders throughout Canada.

Whistler is regarded as a leader in local government for community engagement and sustainable community planning, said Melamed, and it is important to develop that reputation.

The specific cost the lawmakers spent travelling to the FCM will be released at the end of the year. The municipality's total council training budget is $26,000 this year.

Meanwhile, Melamed said there are no concrete plans to bring another FCM conference back to Whistler.

Last year, Whistler's FCM conference saw 1,700 delegates from municipalities across Canada attending the resort, with an economic spin off of approximately $6 million.

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