Former Whistler mayor and longtime resident Ken Melamed received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal during Tuesday’s (Nov. 20) council meeting to mark his many contributions to the community over the years.
“I am grateful to council for their efforts in nominating me for this honour. It was a great privilege for me to have served Whistler over the years, and I am very proud of what we achieved,” Melamed said in an email. “I am deeply thankful to all those who have supported and guided me over the years. I am particularly cognizant of my parents, who instilled in me the integrity and values which kept me steadfast through all of the challenges of political service.”
The medal will be awarded to 60,000 notable Canadians throughout the year who were nominated for making “a significant contribution to a particular province, territory, region or community within Canada, or an achievement abroad that brings credit to Canada,” according to the Governor General’s official website.
Melamed was integral in ushering in the 2010 Winter Olympics and also spearheaded many environmental initiatives, including the creation of Whistler2020, a municipal document guiding the resort town’s long-term vision for sustainability.
“I am really pleased that (Melamed) was recognized,” said current Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, who sat on council with Melamed in the late ’90s and during his first term as mayor from 2005 to 2008. “He was way out in front of the pack on environmental issues. He was very passionate about the idea of sustainability and led the community to the Whistler2020 position. He’s certainly been a very passionate person with respect to environmental issues and sustainability.”
Melamed, who moved to Whistler in 1976 when he worked as a lift operator, served three terms as councillor before being elected mayor. He completed two consecutive terms before losing to Wilhelm-Morden in the last municipal election.
“From my earliest days on council, I held to a vision and promoted a Whistler that is not well recognized by outside observers. There is more to this place than a recreation mecca; we are a caring, spiritual community, innovative and creative strategists, and we have led and inspired the world with our actions,” said Melamed.
The award also serves to mark 2012 as the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, a hallmark for the British monarchy matched only by her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.