top of page

Council in Focus

A brief recap of council meetings, as viewed from the gallery


May 16, 2023 Edition

Event: Lions Bay Council Meeting

Time: Public meeting: 7:00 pm

Agenda: HERE

Video link: HERE


Present at the council table were Mayor Ken Berry, Councillors Jaime Cunliffe, Neville Abbott, Michael Broughton, Marcus Reuter, and Administrative Assistant Marina Blagodarov. Joining online were consultants Randy Diehl, as contracted through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, and Deanna Campbell, as contracted by the Village. Also present was the Honourable Judge Gregory Fitch.


The meeting began at 6 p.m. with an almost full in-person gallery, and seventeen residents online to watch Councillor-Elect Jaime Cunliffe taking the Oath of Office, presided over by the Honourable Judge Gregory Fitch, a village resident. This ceremony was followed by the closed portion of the meeting.


When the meeting re-opened at 7 p.m., the only item reported out of the closed portion was to move the purchasing procurement policy into the open part of the meeting.


Councillor Marcus Reuter welcomed Cunliffe to the table, and commended her for her reasoned and thoughtful campaign. Mayor Berry thanked her for stepping forward to serve the village. Councillor Abbott echoed this, adding he was looking forward to what will be seven and half years of working with the returning Councillor.


Public Participation :


The sole public participant of the evening was resident Leslie Nolin. She noted that on April 18, she spoke at both the beginning and end of the council meeting, and asked that the record be corrected to reflect both sets of remarks in the minutes. Reuter said that he had noticed the omission and the issue would be dealt with when council reviewed the minutes.


Delegations:


For the third time in recent meetings, resident Kambiz Azordegan addressed Council on the topic of the parking situation in Lower Kelvin Grove. He reiterated his concerns about rowdy parties, public urination and abuse of parking bylaws, and asked Council to solve the problem by changing the signage and closing the parking lot to anyone but residents. He again volunteered to join a parking committee if it ever forms. He closed his argument by passing out copies of a Persian poem (by Sa'adi) that he noted is displayed on the walls of the United Nations building in New York, and which addresses the topic of consideration for others.


Review and Approval of Minutes of Prior Meetings:


Four sets of minutes were approved with uncharacteristic speed, and zero rancour. The minutes from the regular council meeting on March 21 were approved with a few minor alterations. The April 18 meeting minutes also had a few minor changes before being adopted, including spelling out the specifics of Norma Rodger's requests in her letter and ensuring Leslie Nolin's comments were reinstated into the record. Minutes from both the regular council meeting on May 2 and the special council meeting on May 12 were also adopted with minor corrections. Consultant Deanna Campbell reiterated that the minutes are meant as a record of council decisions and not as a narrative of discussions.


Unfinished Business:


Reuter gave a brief update to his research into the Vacancy Tax, saying that he hoped to speak with West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky MP Patrick Weiler or his staff on the topic, in addition to speaking with local MLA Jordan Sturdy. Councillor Broughton noted that Weiler has been reaching out to meet with Council, which might present a good opportunity.


Reports:

Staff:


Consultant Randy Diehl offered a status report of his work with the Council to date. He began by congratulating Cunliffe on her election, and said he looked forward to working with her. He spoke first about the orientation workshop that he ran with Council, including discussion about affirming the code of conduct, and the desirable qualities of councils in Canada (being ethical, visionary, respectful, open-minded and good communicators). He noted the four goals council members identified as important to achieve with this mandate: more respect and mutual trust amongst each other – adhering to the code of conduct; to improve community respect and trust –basic public relations, less chaos and more collaboration – good governance, and finally an agreement to defer major decisions until the byelection.


Diehl said it is important Council move ahead with the recruitment process to get staff in place, and also that they adopt the 'One-Employee Model', which means that staff report only to the CAO, who then reports to council, and that council members stay out of day- to-day operations to focus on policy. He noted they'd also spent some time discussing the budget deadline, and congratulated Council for completing the budget on time. He said Council has done a good job in holding better controlled and managed meetings but still needs to work on managing conflict.


Diehl said that while the financial plan has been completed, the next big task is the annual report that is due by June 30. Temporary staff are being used to help with the budget process, and consultant Deanna Campbell is engaged to help with legislative and governance issues. He said Campbell will also help update the procurement policy and the procedural bylaw, and also assist with the upcoming governance workshop. He noted the workshop will highlight the importance of learning how to work together, even when there is a difference of opinion, and how to use Roberts Rules of Order and Village bylaws to make meetings more productive. Diehl said that he will also assist Council with the CAO/CFO recruitment process, and review the quality of the applicants as soon as possible.


During the governance workshop, Campbell will assist with both managing the Freedom of Information process, and letters to Council, following guidance from the Community Charter and other legislation.


Diehl stressed the significance of the strategic planning workshop, which will provide a guideline for village priorities over the next three and a half years. He also said it is important to establish a relationship with a single corporate law firm to advise the village, to avoid receiving conflicting advice. He said he's seen much improvement in council meetings since he first attended.


After discussion, the governance workshop was set to run June 4, and the strategic planning workshop was set for June 25.


Reuter asked that council review all prospective resumes for CAO/CFO positions when they are provided to Diehl, and asked that any open positions be posted. There was some discussion regarding the rewarding of a contract for the Building Inspector position to resident Mike Jury by the Acting CAO Ron Miller. Reuter read from the bylaws that indicate that only Council can appoint the Building Inspector, not staff. Campbell said she would look into this issue on behalf of council, and report back.


Abbott asked about a time limit for completing a Code of Conduct, and if Diehl would set aside time to address the One-Employee rule. There was discussion on whether the organization of Council needs to change. Diehl noted that both items could be covered in the governance workshop.


Chief Election Officer:


A report from Mark Brown, the Chief Election Officer, regarding the 2023 Local By-Election (found on page 39) was received.


Council Reports:


Broughton attended a Harm Reduction and Healthy Communities workshop in North Vancouver, and noted the staggering statistics around the opioid crisis, with British Columbia recording six fatalities every day. He said that many residents of Lions Bay had family and friends who have been affected.


Committees:

  • Abbott and Broughton offered a brief update on the status of the Beach Park Committee, saying the request for proposals (RFP) for the playscape has been issued. They also noted the paperwork has been submitted for the emergency repair of the jetty, which is unlikely to survive another king tide.

  • The Procurement Policy was brought forward from the closed part of the meeting for discussion, as it requires review before approval. Broughton noted the policy, which was first drafted in 2002 and last updated in 2016, requires the wording to be updated, particularly in reference to Village's acknowledgement of the climate crisis. All members of Council concurred. Abbott said there is a sense of urgency here, as the purchasing for the Beach Park Committee will be impacted by the result. A redrafting of the policy is required, using the language approved by the previous council, so it was sent back to staff.

Correspondence: (beginning on page 44).

Reuter noted he hadn't yet addressed the correspondence, but will respond after seeking collaboration from the other councillors. He also asked that resident Leslie Nolin's letter be returned to the minutes and included in the next set.


General correspondence (beginning on page 46), came from Jean-Paul Kamand regarding his catch basin filtration system, from Meghan Lahti on behalf of Port Moody Council with regard to Casino Revenue Sharing in Regional Districts (page 48), and several letters from Member of Parliament Patrick Weiler on topics including a program to deal with abandoned boats (page 49), the Local Food Infrastructure Fund (LFIF) (page 50), the Canada Digital Adoption Program (page 53); and from Weiler's assistant Kevin Hemmat, a public transit survey aimed at young people from 15-30 (page 51).


Resident Correspondence begins on page 54. New resident Jeff Clune wrote about his concern over highway noise (page 54), Ute Phillips brought up her concern with a by-election impropriety (page 55), Penny Nelson sent praise regarding the installation of new village banners (page 56), Norm Barmeier wrote of his concern regarding grants in the budget (page 57), George Harding expressed his concern for dangerous highway driving by pointing to an article in the North Shore News (page 58), Gail Craig addressed her concerns regarding the budget (page 59), and also her surprise that the May 5 Liberation Day Event was celebrated without inviting community members (page 60), Norma Rodgers wrote of her concern around budget secrecy and included several budget questions (page 61), Rodgers also wrote a letter asking why her questions around Council transparency remain unanswered (page 62), and a third letter in which she asked if municipal experience will be prioritized when Council considers CAO and CFO candidates (page 63).

Correspondence was accepted as read.


New Business:


Committees including infrastructure, highway, parking and grants are all pending, but Abbott noted that the formation of an infrastructure committee can't wait. There was much back-and-forth on the merits of a standing committee – appointed by the Mayor – and a select committee, which, Abbott noted, has fewer councillors, and only three to five core members, while employing a larger pool of experts. He noted that members of the previous infrastructure committee felt it failed because there was "too much politics" in the room, and reiterated that the committee would take direction from Council. He added that the group who asked for the select committee this time are the same group who formulated the Infrastructure Master Plan.


Campbell explained that a standing committee is created by the Mayor, and made up of councillors and members of public, whereas a select committee is created by councillors, and is typically established for a specific purpose for a select period of time. Berry noted that he's not willing to relinquish the Mayor's right to form a standing committee, but was willing to attend a meeting of all interested parties set up by Abbott.


Council decided to put committees on the agenda for the next council meeting, and set up a committee of the whole meeting regarding the formation of volunteer committees.


Public Questions and Comments:


An unidentified member of the gallery asked why the previous infrastructure standing committee folded. Abbott replied that the committee never really folded, but members and staff had difficulty communicating, and when there wasn't a specific project lined up, the Mayor stopped calling meetings.


Following the closed portion of the meeting, Council reported they are now actively recruiting a new CAO and other staff with the guidance of Randy Diehl. And on that cheerful note, the meeting adjourned for the final time.


The next regular Council meeting is scheduled for June 6 at 7 p.m. As of this writing, there are no special meetings scheduled before that time.



624 views7 comments

Recent Posts

See All

7 Comments


Commenting has been turned off.
Norma Rodgers
Norma Rodgers
May 19, 2023

Once again I appreciate kc's council summary because I can't hear everything discussed. kc has dedicated herself to reporting important and entertaining issues. I understand how hard she works to inform us.

The highlight of this meeting for me was Advisor Diehl requesting resumes for the CAO and CFO positions. He plans to advise Council about candidate qualifications and ensure we hire people with municipal experience. Mayor Berry's cronies are costing tax payers since the village had to hire advisors to train them and lawyers to advise them about municipal governance.

Like
Replying to

It is time to start collaborating for the good of Lions Bay. That means it is also high time for contributions on this site to stop using false and inflammatory language, the above comment is yet another example of slandering the mayor without any basis in fact. Really?

Like

Love the new eyeball!!!

Like

Unknown member
May 19, 2023

I think it is important to note that Ms Dyer did not include some key information from the end of this meeting. A member of the in person gallery asked why the standing committee had folded and although C. Abbot explained that the standing committee is technically still in place, it wasn’t achieving and C. Reuter asked if it was dysfunctional because there was not an equal number of staff and councillors? Mayor Berry answered by clarifying that it is his understanding that the difficulties occurred due to the manner in which staff communicated with the committee. That the staff wanted to do the work themselves without any input or suggestions or guidance, therefore the volunteers became frustrated and decide…

Like

It is encouraging to see a degree of peace and harmony developing at the Council table. The temperature in the room seems to have dropped considerably. I am grateful that the Minister of Municipal Affairs recognized that our community needed assistance to get on the right track with its leadership and governance. Randy Diehl has had a positive impact on the way our community's affairs are being conducted. I hope this trend continues.


Thanks again KC for your fine work in keeping Watershed readers fully informed about events and developments as they unfold in our Village. You are greatly appreciated.


As a side note, I am regularly intrigued by people who purchase a home near one of the parking lots…

Like
Comment policy:

Only site members of The Watershed may comment. User names are open to choice, but members

must register with real first and last names before commenting.

We are looking for comments that are productive, insightful and contribute to the conversation.

We're interested in your perspective!

Disrespectful and anonymous comments will be removed without explanation.

Comment sections will remain open for a month, and after that time, further commentary may be directed to editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca

Thank you for joining the discussion!

small magnesia creek.jpg

Stay in the know...
Subscribe to The Watershed HERE

bottom of page