Whistler residents receive the Freedom of the Municipality
On June 4, 2012, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) honoured two citizens with the Freedom of the Municipality distinction. Four other living citizens currently have the “Freedom of the Municipality.” These include Drew Meredith, Garry Watson, Al Raine, and Jim Godfrey. The only other female recipient of the Freedom of the Municipality has been pioneer Myrtle Philip.
"This is the highest honour a town can bestow,” says Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden. “We have honoured Florence Petersen and Joan Richoz for their outstanding contributions to the community. The Freedom of Municipality Award gives both of these women the power to vote in Whistler elections regardless of property ownership or if they live here.”
For over thirty years, Joan Richoz has been the cornerstone of Whistler’s arts and cultural community. One of her most significant contributions was her singular vision for the development of the Whistler Public Library, where she was the first librarian.
Nobody in Whistler knows more about the resort's past and its journey than local historian Florence Petersen. Thanks to Petersen, that rich history and the true story of Whistler have been preserved. Petersen founded the Whistler Museum and Archives and has authored various books on Whistler's past.
Florence and Joan were awarded the Freedom of the Resort Municipality of Whistler during a special council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on June 4 at the Whistler Conference Centre. Florence and Joan were also joined by ten previous members of council. Speakers included past councillor and current Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Garry Watson (past alderman and freeman), Drew Meredith (past mayor, councillor and freeman) and John Hetherington (past alderman). Other speakers will include past councillors Sonya McCarthy, Ted Milner and Chris Quinlan.
The special council meeting was followed by a reception. Both the meeting and reception were open to the public.
Prior to yesterday's ceremony, only nine people had received the Freedom of the Municipality distinction, including Whistler’s pioneer settler, Myrtle Philip; original council members Garry Watson, Al Raine, and Pat Carleton; Franz Wilhelmsen, who led the company that developed Whistler Mountain; Trevor Roote who guided the first phase of the Valley Trail and parks construction; Whistler Land Corporation Chairman Chester Johnson; former mayor Drew Meredith; and most recently Jim Godfrey, former chief administrative officer for the RMOW, who served on the VANOC board of directors and helped secure Whistler's pivotal role in the Olympics.
About the Resort Municipality of Whistler
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) is Whistler’s local government led by an elected council and administered by an executive team and staff on behalf of 9,824 residents and two million annual visitors. The RMOW manages municipal planning and development, park and Village operations, sports facilities and recreation, public utilities and environmental services, bylaws and enforcement, fire rescue, fiscal planning and financial services, legislative services, human resources, communications and the administration of the Whistler2020 Comprehensive Sustainability Plan and Whistler’s Official Community Plan. The RMOW collaborates with in-resort and external partners to create visitor experiences and enrich community life.
Whistler’s vision is to be the premier mountain resort community as it moves toward sustainability. Whistler was the proud Host Mountain Resort for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.