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Council In Focus

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

September 19, 2023 Edition

Event: Lions Bay Council Meet

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, Marcus Reuter and Michael Broughton, newly appointed Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Ross Blackwell and Acting Municipal Coordinator Marina Blagodarov. Acting Public Works Manager Karl Buhr sat in the gallery throughout proceedings.

Council is back into the swing of things now that the school year has started, and four residents attended in person, with a further 27 online.

After noting there was nothing to report out of the closed portion of the meeting, Mayor Ken Berry introduced new CAO Ross Blackwell, noting he would bring "harmony to the village". In response, Blackwell quipped "no pressure", which got a laugh. After discussion as to correct process with a few pointers from the new CAO and a couple of amendments, the agenda was adopted.

Public Participation:

  • Marik Sredzki , speaking in person, objected to Councillor Marcus Reuter's behaviour at the council table. At this point Blackwell, exercising his new authority as CAO, noted that while it is appropriate to discuss Council's actions as a whole, addressing concerns regarding specific councillors by name is not. Blackwell suggested the resident set up a meeting with a councillor he may have a concern with, or put his concern in writing. Sredzki replied that he was asking that Council be respectful and not obstructive during the meetings. The conversation became so heated that Mayor Berry called a five minute recess, after which Berry thanked Blackwell for restoring calm. Blackwell clarified that the purpose of public participation is for community members to share concerns, but it is not a forum for addressing any individual member of council nor naming other neighbourhood residents. He added that public questions should be posed to the chair, and the chair can chose to answer the question or defer his answer to another time.

  • Kambiz Azgordegan stepped to the podium to thank Council for closing the Kelvin Grove parking lot and to once again ask them to take action on forming a Parking Committee. He asked why the parking signage has been removed, and Public Works Manager Karl Buhr said that he would respond to the question in writing.

Review and Approval of Minutes of Prior Meetings:

After discussion, minutes from the special Council meeting held August 31 (found on Page 6 of the agenda package) were adopted as read. Also adopted were the minutes from the last Council meeting, held September 5 (Page 8).

Business Arising from the Minutes:

  • Procurement Policy: Both Councillors Michael Broughton and Neville Abbott offered several corrections and amendments to the policy, but Blackwell suggested Council send it back to staff, to give him a chance to review it. Council agreed.

  • Bear Smart: Abbott said he had spoken with Inspector Gravel of the Conservation Authority (a delegate at the September 5 Council meeting), who confirmed that former Conservation Officer Chris Ford will return to the Village as liaison officer. Abbott suggested that quick progress can be made to gather all the stakeholders, including the waste removal providers, and anticipates calling a meeting in October. With regard to Gravel's remarks about communication from the last meeting, he said that in the past two years, the Bear Smart committee have organized four public events, issued 42 separate communications bulletins through the Village Update (VU), presented to the school, created a website, distributed a brochure, and installed informational posters in the mailroom. He noted this small group has done a lot of work to enhance communication.

Unfinished Business:

  • Reuter continues to pursue his research into the Vacancy Tax. He will present to Council when complete.

  • Broughton reported that he'll be meeting with the CN rep at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) this week, with regard to the stop signs at village rail crossings, and hopes to have the issue resolved in the next few weeks.

  • As noted in 'Business Arising' the Procurement Policy will be redirected to the CAO.

  • Public Works Manager Karl Buhr gave a report on the progress of the Bayview Bridge, noting that the bridge is essentially finished, apart from some missing timber that is now being sourced. He said that the resident family will be able to use the bridge as of this week to return to their home.

  • The best practices for Correspondence and Communication Policies will now be reviewed by Blackwell, along with the Village Update (VU) policy.

  • Berry said a meeting had been held with regard to the Klatt Building project with Andrew Oliver, Karl Buhr, Barret Germsheid, Phil Folkersen, Russ Meiklejohn and Michael Broughton. Buhr said that Oliver would take on the role of Construction Manager, with Buhr acting as Project Manager. He said that as construction will be started by the end of the month, they will meet the requirements of the grant. There are still a few design tweaks to come, but he anticipates the project coming in under the available budget. Abbott pointed out that Lions Bay Search and Rescue (LBSAR) manager Ed Langford was not at the meeting, but Berry said that omission was inadvertent, and Buhr said he would loop in Langford. He said a new building permit will be required, but he anticipates no difficulty acquiring one, as very little has changed from the initial plan.

Staff Reports:

  • Update of Audit and Annual Report Status. Abbott asked that Blackwell discuss the details of the Annual Report, including the comments he had sent to Controller Joe Chirkoff. Blackwell said that in his experience, Council doesn't have input into the annual report, but that they should with regard to the audit. Both documents were sent back to staff, so that Blackwell can review.

  • Staff brought attention to the need for an off-site storage container for document storage. Blackwell noted that both hard copies and digitized copies are, by law, to be held for varying amounts of time, depending on the documents. Two possible estimates were offered (beginning on Page 24), and suggested a cost/benefit analysis be done with regard to facility size, and whether to rent or buy. He said he will bring a brief report to Council for consideration.

Mayor's Report:

  • With regard to the Village Evacuation Plan and the Community Emergency Plan, Abbott said the current document is a brochure, not an Evacuation Plan, and is incomplete. However, he learned from Emergency Program Coordinator (EPC) Phil Folkersen that the provincial standards are changing, so a new plan would only have to be redone later. Abbott also noted that missing from this plan is any reference to the loss of the village water supply. After discussion, it was decided to provide a link to the current Emergency Plan (but not the Evacuation Plan) to residents, acknowledging that the information is not the final plan. Abbott and Reuter felt the document needed to go to the Emergency Planning committee first for updating, however the motion passed, three votes to two.

  • A motion was made to limit access to private property to Bear Smart representatives and that written approval must be obtained. Abbott noted that Bear Smart members do not go on people's property, so after discussion the motion didn't pass.

Council's Reports:

  • Abbott congratulated Val Morton and her team on achieving the David Suzuki Foundation Butterfly Way status by having 12 recognized gardens in Lions Bay. Cunliffe noted that the Village is now bird, bear and butterfly friendly.

  • Cunliffe then asked for Council support for a Substance Abuse Awareness Overdose Prevention campaign which will primarily take place on transit vehicles. She noted that the aim is for corporate and community sponsorship to cover costs. Her motion seeking support passed unanimously.

Committee Reports:

  • Abbott reported that the Climate Action Committee met recently and came up with two actions. They want to begin a communications campaign through the Village Update, and are hoping to leverage materials provided by Metro Vancouver's climate organization. The committee asked Mayor Berry to approach the Metro Climate Action committee to see if there is a program the Village can join. Their second initiative is to distribute a survey to the community (as seen on Page 63) that will be made available in October. Council delegated this to staff for review.

  • Broughton reported that Lions Bay Beach Park Committee has been active through the summer, and directed Council to a report in the most recent VU. He said there are currently three outstanding RFPs, for the washroom, construction management and playgrounds, and said a new report is due October 3.


  • Ross Blackwell was appointed as Chief Administrative Officer; Corporate Officer; Approving Officer; a Bylaw Enforcement Officer; as a Bylaw Enforcement Screening Officer; the Head for the purposes of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA); and added as a banking signatory in accordance with the requirements of the Bank of Nova Scotia. All appointments are effective immediately. The vote was unanimous (and enthusiastic). At this point Blackwell had to exit the meeting, and Buhr also departed.

  • Before he left, Blackwell recommended that Council sequester the issue of reopening parking and trailheads to a special meeting where there would be time for a full debate. After some scheduling discussion, a meeting was set for this Thursday at 4 pm.

  • Council agreed that the Village would support National Rail Safety Week (Page 66), which is being held across Canada September 18 – 24, 2023.


The list of correspondence begins on Page 69 of the agenda package. This quarter, Councillor Cunliffe is in charge of responses.

  • General correspondence came from West Vancouver resident Shannon Bell in support of trailhead closures within the village. (Page 70).

  • Isaac Keast, wrote protesting the closure of trailheads. (Page71).

  • Kephra Beckett, BC Nature Conservation Coordinator, wrote regarding a webinar on Municipal Protected Areas. (Page 72), which Abbott agreed to attend.

  • The organization lobbying to keep the RCMP in Surrey wrote about a vote at the Union of BC Municipalities (UCBM) meeting. (Page74).

  • Cathy Peters wrote about the Anti Human Trafficking Initiative at the UBCM (Page 77).

Resident correspondence begins on Page 78 of the agenda package.

  • Rose Dudley and Brigitta Shore wrote asking Council to reopen the parking and trailheads (Page 78 and 79).

  • Tammy Leigh McDonald wrote regarding a possible prowler on Bayview Avenue (Page 80). Cunliffe noted that Blockwatch in the village currently has no volunteers. Abbott confirmed new volunteers need to be reorganized and the fee paid.

  • Ehsan Monfared, wrote to note that there is an evacuation plan dating from 2019 on the Village website. (Page 83)

  • Anonymous resident wrote in with a screenshot of a Facebook post in which a resident disregarded parking restrictions. (Page 84).

  • Realtor Craig Doherty wrote of his concern regarding local realtors advertising in the Village Update (Page 85). Cunliffe asked the CAO to review this question.

  • Noellene Searle Valleau wrote of her concern regarding a speeding incident, and reminded drivers that school is back in session (Page 86), (Cunliffe thanked staff for putting a reminder of back-to-school in the VU). Searle Valleau also encouraged council members to click the link she offered regarding a lost opportunity for educating visitors to the Village (Page 91).

  • Former Mayor Douglas Miller wrote of the contradictory information regarding parking restrictions and trailhead closures in the North Shore News. (Page 87 and 89), and of further information available via CBC (Page 90).

  • Alison Dudley wrote asking Council to lift parking restrictions, and to consider a parking lot for hikers (Page 93).

  • Norma Rodgers wrote a letter asking about the missing Annual General Report, due last June (Page 94), and a letter of thanks to Conservation Inspector Simon Gravel for his willingness to work with Bear Smart in Lions Bay (Page 95).

The correspondence was received as read.

And after a meeting length of just over two hours, no further comments were offered from the public gallery so the open portion of the meeting adjourned.

The next meeting will take place October 3, with the public portion of the meeting to begin at 7 p.m. As always, The Watershed welcomes your thoughts. Leave your comments below, or email us at

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It is definitely encouraging to see the tone of the council meeting evident in these minutes. We appear to be emerging from the “banana republic” level of discourse that we have endured over the past few months

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