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Council in Focus

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


February 7, 2023 edition

Event: Lions Bay Council meeting

Time: 6:00 pm: closed session; open session commenced at 7:00 pm

Agenda & reading package: HERE

Video link: HERE


Present at the council table were Mayor Ken Berry, Councillors Neville Abbott, Michael Broughton, and Marcus Reuter; along with Administrative Assistant Marina Blagodarov.


In an stunning follow-up to last week's meeting, Mayor Berry began the open part of the meeting by addressing what may be a record gallery of forty-seven attendees - ten in person and thirty-seven online - with a speech announcing the resignation of Acting Chief Administrative Officer Tobin, which had been presented to council earlier in the day. In response, Councillor Broughton said he was "blown away" by the number of things Tobin has done in the time he was in his role. Councillors Abbott and Reuter wished him well.


Long-time Building Inspector David Butler Resigns


Mayor Berry then went on to briefly announce the resignation of David Butler, a fifty-year resident of the village, and Lions Bay's Building Inspector of more than twenty-six years.


After these two surprise announcements, council moved to adopt the agenda, with a motion to put all oral reports forward to the February 21, 2023 meeting being unanimously carried.


Public Participation:


  • Online, kc dyer requested clarification from Broughton with regard to his statement in response to the Mayor's announcement of the CAO's abrupt resignation. She pointed out that Broughton said he had met and discussed the position of CAO with Anthony Tobin in September of 2022, when at that time, the CAO position was not vacant, but held by Peter deJong. Broughton stated that he mis-spoke, and that he didn't speak to Tobin about the position until Christmas-time of 2022.

  • From the podium, resident Tanya Cosgrave said that as a result of the divisiveness evident in the village, she asks residents and those sitting around the table to be kind in their questions to council, put aside their personal concerns and disputes and do what is best for the village as a whole.

  • Online, Rebecca Caspersen asked if Mayor and Council have employment equity targets for the numerous open positions over the coming days and weeks. She further asked if the now-vacant CAO position would be posted this time. Mayor Berry thanked Caspersen for her suggestion, but noted the positions are interim. As for posting the position, he said the resignations are so recent, council has not had time to discuss how they plan to move forward as yet.

  • From the podium, resident James Mole spoke with regard to the potential investment of village capital, noting that with interest rates being what they are, the current savings account might just be a good place to keep the funds, as it means there is near-zero risk.

  • kc dyer expressed concern over the worrying spate of departures. She noted that Councillor Norm Barmeier resigned December 9, 2022, followed by the termination of Peter deJong, whose last day was December 16, 2022. Works staff members Kyle McCallum and Clint Evernden tendered their resignations on January 6, 2023, followed by Chief Financial Officer Pamela Rooke, whose last day was January 18th. Dave Butler, who has had his hands on almost every house in this community as the building inspector over the last twenty-six years resigned this week, and finally today's resignation of CAO Tobin. She asked to what council attributed this catastrophic loss of staff over such a short period of time. Abbott chose not to comment, he said, given the mood in the room. Broughton replied that some people are finding change very uncomfortable, and that this is a big question better deferred to a later time. Reuter acknowledged a "degree of dysfunction" around the council table, and suggested bringing in a facilitator to help the group become more functional. Mayor Berry echoed Broughton's views that change is difficult and added that while he thinks they can do better, that everyone sitting around the table wants the best for the village.

  • An unidentified Lions Bay Avenue resident spoke out to complain about an event at 10:40 pm on the evening of February 6, 2023, when she stated that the coupling of train cars known as a 'hard join' created a noise so loud that it caused windows in houses near the tracks to crack and the houses to shake on their foundations. Reuter suggested that Works Manager Nai Jaffer might have some contacts with the rail companies to address this situation in the future.


Review and Approval of Minutes of Prior Meetings:

Council agreed that they would collectively postpone the minutes from this meeting and with those from the previous two council meetings, be brought forward and addressed at the February 21, 2023 meeting. Consequently, there was no business arising from the minutes.


Village Highway Replacement Slated for 2023


Unfinished Business:

  • Councillor Broughton noted that the highway maintenance follow-up report will be issued on February 28th by Miller Capilano, and confirmed they are on track for replacement of the special "quiet" pavement through the village segment of the highway in this year's paving cycle.

  • Mayor Barry reached out to Metro Vancouver staff regarding the Speculation and Vacancy tax, who provided him a report explaining the reasoning behind the tax, and a link with information for residents. According to the report, residents of urban regions including Lions Bay will not be slated to submit declarations until the 2025 tax year. Reuter noted that all residents in the village will be affected by the tax, as it is reflective of the value of people's homes. Reuter further added that a request should be made to the provincial government to seek an exemption for Lions Bay, in light of the fact that we are once again designated a rural community.

  • Broughton confirmed that Lions Bay is cited on the unceded territory of Musqueam and Squamish nations, and will bring forward a proposal for a First Nations acknowledgement to the February 21, 2023 council meeting.

  • The Appointment of Election officials should have been overseen by the CAO, so the Mayor suggested that be passed to the new Chief Financial Officer.


Reports:


All verbal reports having been put forward for consideration at the next meeting, and the absence of CFO Ron Miller meant that no Budget or Banking reports were presented.

The Beach Advisory Committee met this week, but has nothing new to report, nor did the Climate Action Committee.



Bylaws:


A final draft of the Garbage Bylaw was expected from the CAO, but again his absence prevented any forward motion here. Abbott said he would talk to the CFO about getting something drafted for the next council meeting.


Broughton asked Abbott if he had discussed a plan for the budget with the CFO today, and Abbott confirmed that CFO Ron Miller now holds the budget plan created by former CFO Pamela Rooke, and that he would bring a draft budget to the next meeting. Broughton further suggested that as soon as a draft budget is prepared, the Finance Committee is prepared to offer advice.


Reuters initiated discussion as to whether in the absence of a CAO, the CFO would step in and take on those duties, including appointing a Chief Elections Officer, who will be needed to run the upcoming by-election, but it was decided to look into the legalities before proceeding. Berry added that he has reached out to some of the people originally on his potential CAO list, including former CAO Grant McRadu. Berry reported that McRadu said he would help support the village if he can. Berry also agreed to seek clarification on whether the CFO could be appointed to the position of CEO.


Correspondence:


(Correspondence is available to read, beginning on page 24 of the agenda package. Resident correspondence begins on page 72.)


Correspondence duties have moved from Abbott to Broughton. Broughton directed attention to three letters of note regarding LNG Woodfibre. He further stated that, going forward, resident letters requesting action would be referred to staff, but in letters where an opinion is expressed or a comment made, the letter will just be acknowledged and marked as received.


Lions Bay Connector Report to be made Public


New Business:


This topic was brought out of closed, and a motion was carried to defer discussion on the Lions Bay Connector for a further ninety days. This issue was originally put on hold November 1, 2022. A draft report on the project including a preliminary layout and cost estimates was provided to council on December 20, 2023 in a closed meeting.


Broughton moved that the draft report and associated materials be moved out of closed and brought to council for the next meeting once the contractor information has been redacted. This motion was also carried, and with this, the council meeting adjourned.


The next regular council meeting is scheduled for February 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm. As of this writing, the agenda and associated information package has not yet been posted.




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Wow! excellent summation of the council meeting. Thanks so much!

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Norma Rodgers
Norma Rodgers
Feb 09, 2023

Thanks for another enlightening post summarizing this Council meeting. kc dyer's questions during the meeting were once again spot on. Councillor Broughton's disclosure that he had begun discussions with Mr. Tobin about the CAO role in September 2022, while CAO deJong held that position, was a serious gaff. When kc questioned him about the timing his recanting failed to convince. I look forward to hearing Council's answer to her questions about the reasons or explanations for the catastrophic loss of staff. They deferred that answer until they could confer as a Council.

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