The Resort Municipality of Whistler holds an annual Student Council competition in celebration of Local Government Awareness Week.
In preparation for the competition, municipal staff make presentations to Whistler’s Elementary Schools about local government. Students then submit applications explaining why they would like to take on the role of Mayor, Councillor, or the acting staff roles. The applications also include letters outlining how students would like to improve Whistler. The Student Council Agenda and Student Council Meeting are based on the student’s applications and suggested topics for discussion.
The Student Council Meeting was inspired by a resolution passed by 2015 Mayor for the Day, Abbey Mellor, who recommended a daytime Council Meeting for Whistler’s Grade 5 students to learn about local government.
Local Government Awareness Week initiative is a partnership between UBCM, CivicInfo BC and the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. The goal for the week is to generate awareness and educate the public about the roles and responsibilities of local government, and encourage the public to participate in local government processes.
2019 Student Council Meeting
The 2019 Student Council Meeting was held on May 21, 2019, and the Agenda included the creation of a new Street Art Festival, and increasing the number of no-smoking signs in Whistler Village. Student Mayor Olivia Rodig, and Student Councillors Juliet Williams, Fiona Campbell, Kaede Gossman, Kirra Horn, Edie Hampton, and Brooke Bessie heard presentations from Student Village Animation and Events Program Leader Natasah Allars and Student Bylaw Officer Samia Murphy. Students submitted more than 80 letters for the contest. Annabelle Decaigny, Kirra Douglas, Riley Frame, Krista Kearns and Dan Tubig were selected to read their letters at the Meeting.
2018 Student Council Meeting
The 2018 Student Council Agenda included presentations regarding cigarette butt litering prevention, tiny homes and dog waste management. The Acting Mayor and Council also received 17 letters discussing a wide range of issues from expanding recreation opportunities to hosting an annual chocolate festival.
2017 Student Council Meeting
The 2017 Student Council Agenda included topics regarding Dog Park Enhancements, Back to Basics programming, improving bike trails and more bear-proof bins in the Brio neighbourhood.
2016 Student Council Meeting
The 2016 Student Council Agenda included topics regarding emergency preparedness for wildfires, increasing access to books for younger children and environmental issues around tree cutting in Whistler. Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden, Whistler Councillors and municipal staff prepared the students. Other grade 5 students and the public sat in the audience.
The 2016 Student Council Contest was the first annual meeting, inspired by a request from 2015 Mayor for the Day Abbey Mellor, a student at Spring Creek Community School.
2015 Mayor for the Day
Abbey Mellor, a Grade 5 student at Spring Creek Community School, won Whistler’s Mayor for the Day contest. The contest asked Grade 5 students in Whistler to submit a letter about what they would do if they were Mayor for the Day.
Abbey chose her sister Mallory to accompany her as Press Secretary for the day. As Mayor for the Day, Abbey spoke with Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden and CAO Mike Furey, visited departments in Municipal Hall to learn how Whistler’s local government is run, attended Committee of the Whole and discussed proposals outlined in her winning letter, and declared Whistler Olympic Plaza’s great lawn officially open for the summer.
Abbey made a public speech at the Regular Council Meeting about her day at Municipal Hall and had a resolution passed to have a daytime Council Meeting for Grade 5 Whistler students to learn about Whistler’s local government.
2014 Mayor for the Day
Kate Risso, a Grade 5 student at Myrtle Philip Community School, was Whistler’s 2014 Mayor for the Day. Kate chose Siena Van Rosen to accompany her as Press Secretary for the day. Kate’s winning submission focused on encouraging physical activity, enhancing Whistler’s family friendly activities and creating more festivals and events.
Kate and Siena meet with municipal staff, Mayor and Council, participated in a Whistler Council meeting, and met customers at Meadow Park Sports Centre. Kate provided a mayor’s report at the June 17 council meeting, passed a resolution to hold a Go Outside and Play Day at Whistler Olympic Plaza, and won a pizza lunch for her class.
In 2014, daycare-aged students of four years and under were also invited to participate by drawing a picture that shows their favourite municipal aspect of Whistler. Cianna Weetman won this part of the competition with a drawing of her favourite Whistler park. Cianna rode alongside the Mayor in the 2014 Whistler Canada Day parade.