Reversing Rapids between Squirrel Cove and the Hidden Lagoon (An Analogy of the battle within the SRD)

Battle Within The SRD

By Roy L Hales

On June 10 the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that “there is no basis for the declarations sought by the petition” that 14 Cortes residents filed to remove Cortes Island’s Regional Director, Noba Anderson, from office. She was not in a conflict of interest. The results of last October’s election, which is what this lawsuit really appears to be about, stand. Yet the battle continues within the SRD.

The Electoral Area Services Committee

Cortes is one of the four districts that sends a representative to the Electoral Area Services Committee, or EASC. While few outside this little group know why, this is where the opposition is the strongest. 

At the EASC meeting of June 12, two days after Director Anderson’s vindication in court, the committee continues to block Cortes Island matters. 

In vain, Anderson protested, “If I had a substantive concern with the matter, I would raise it in open session for discussion so the director from the area could know what the issue was and refute it. That is the kind of process I would expect from this government.“

The other EASC Directors were unresponsive. 

FOCI’s Transportation Grant

This morning’s skirmish was about a  $7,000 grant in aid application from Friends of Cortes Island, to hire a transportation coordinator, had just been turned down with no word of explanation. The successful applicant was to be paid $20 hr for, on average, 10-15 hours of work a week over a 5 to 7 month period.

For this money, the co-ordinator is expected to:

  • Fundraise the required money to initiate pilot projects, further studies, work and implementation. 
  • Liaison with professional consultants, contractors, government and the community of Cortes Island and/or Quadra Island to the extent needed to undertake the Committee’s work. 
  • To manage the budgets for all activities and report the same to the FOCI’s Transportation Committee and FOCI’s Executive Director as directed. 

Audio Quality

I apologize for the poor quality of the audio clips in the podcast above. They were made with a hand held recorder which appears to function best within five feet of the speaker. The Strathcona Regional District meeting room is many times larger than that and the persistent hum throughout the recording most likely originates from an air conditioner.

I was sitting directly behind Gerald Whalley, Director for Kyuquot/Nootka-Sayward, in the visitors’ section. This is close enough to pick up Director Anderson’s voice, but I had to voice over some of the other speakers.

In The Podcast Above: 

  • How FOCI’s application for a grant in aid transportation grant was denied when EASC met in the morning.
  • In the afternoon session of the entire SRD Board: Chair Michele Babchuk’s report on the Cortes Island Hall Tax Consultation
  • Her plan to bring all Cortes matter back to the table. How far back will staff have to look?
  • Director Leigh’s statement that there are other concerns, besides the legal petition, delaying resolution of Cortes Island issues.
  • Why the impending staff report how to bring transparency, accountability, appropriateness, and clear procedural guidelines to Cortes matters is being referred to EASC.
  • The battle to approve seven Cortes Grants in Aid: Directors Abram & Leigh recuse themselves for legal reasons; two other SRD directors follow suit, saying the matter should go through EASC.

When they go into closed session to consider an action, the SRD record which segments of the Community Charter call for this. I suspect they were talking about Director Anderson’s situation on June 12 because the following subsections of 90(1) are cited:

  • (f) – law enforcement, if the council considers that disclosure could reasonably be expected to harm the conduct of an investigation under or enforcement of an enactment;
  • (g) – litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality;
  • (i) – the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose
  • (j) – information that is prohibited, or information that if it were presented in a document would be prohibited, from disclosure under section 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;

(In addition, the board also considered actions under 90(1) c, n and o.)

Cortes Island Grants-in-Aid Passed: 

  • – $600 to the Cortes Island Museum & Archives to assist with the Cortes Wild Linnaea Exhibit; 
  • – $2,000 to the Southern Cortes Community Association to assist with core operating expenses; 
  • – $2,000 to the Friends of Cortes Island Society to assist with core operating expenses; 
  • – $2,000 to the Cortes Radio Society to assist with core operating expenses; 
  • – $2,000 to the Linnaea Farm Society to assist with core program operating costs; 
  • – $2,000 to the Whaletown Community Club to assist with core program operating costs; and 
  • – $2,380 to the Cortes Island Women’s Resource Centre to assist with program expenses. 

Top photo credit: Reversing Rapids between Squirrel Cove and the Hidden Lagoon, Cortes Island – Amy Forest photo

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