The Verdict is in: Township of Langley Council Members in the Supreme Court of British Columbia vs 10 Residents of the Township – The Petitioners lose their case!

Posted: December 4, 2020 in Uncategorized

The case as presented in court along with my editorial comments are being left in place so readers can judge for themselves their views on the actions of 3 current members of Council and 1 that was defeated. What happens from here will be up to the opinion of residents leading up to the next election? Are you supportive of Council members making these decisions or not? Over to you……

No. S1914167 Vancouver Registry

BETWEEN

JOHN ALLAN, PENNY LYNNE ALLAN, JANICE LORRAINE BRADDELL,

JOHN FULLERTON, JULIE FULLERTON, GRIT HIGH, ALEXANDER

GRANT SCHIERMAN, NORA ELIZABETH SCHIERMAN, GARY DAVID SAWATSKY and LINDA ELIZABETH TEMPLE

PETITIONERS

AND:

STANLEY JACK FROESE, BLAIR GARNET WHITMARSH, ROBERT LONG and ANGELA DAWN QUAALE

RESPONDENTS

Report on Supreme Court Petition Hearing; You won’t get this in the Langley Advance Times!

langleywatchdog.com (lwd.com) Preamble: As a follow up to our Breaking News feature in our previous BLOG Post, we offer the following commentary which further refers to the Petitioners submissions. I will not refer in any way to the Court proceedings as there is a prohibition to any recordings of them. More importantly I want to lay out the substance of the Petitioners argument which deals with the timing, the amounts and the proposals that were voted on by members of Council. As the Petitioners outlined their case in detail, the Respondents response leaves one like me, a former politician and veteran of numerous election campaigns as a candidate and manager, gasping for air. Really?

One thing I learned very early on in politics through those with significant experience and through the distribution of information and instructions from Elections BC and/or the City of Delta and the Township of Langley – the Candidate appoints a Financial Agent, yourself or someone else, BUT YOU (the candidate) are responsible for knowing all aspects of your campaign! You (the candidate) are responsible for any and all debt and therefore for any and all fundraising, the amounts, from whom and when. Frankly, this is so obvious it is hard to believe anyone elected is pleading otherwise. To reinforce that point, every election I have been in, worked to a budget and a plan i.e. brochures, newspaper ads, signs etc.! Not knowing exactly where you were at, was just a non-starter. So a message to our Council who are respondents and subject to this current petition, as an old saying goes “you have either been lying to us or you are too stupid to be running this Municipality.”

What was this Supreme Court Hearing all about? In a clearly spelled out submission the Petitioners state that this is clearly a case of “Conflict of Interest” which is in keeping with the Don Lidstone opinion frequently referred to (all members of Council received this opinion as requested in 2016), outlining how a direct or indirect pecuniary Conflict of Interest can exist. Shockingly the Respondents, in their submission, came out of the gate making an accusation that the named members of Council are being accused of Bribery?

Conflict of Interest IS NOT Bribery, the Respondents strategy is to simply change the narrative!

Put another way it is and was nothing more than a misdirection play!

So, it is important that residents understand the detail of the facts on why the Petitioners brought this case forward. I must add, this must come at a significant personal financial cost to the local residents / Petitioners with absolutely NO benefit to them other than, hopefully, our municipality will be run in a very transparent way. Speaking personally from my experience as Mayor of the Township of Langley, that would be a refreshing change. I will use excerpts from the Petitioners submission interspersed with my commentary to provide, hopefully, an easily understood explanation.

IMPORTANT – When reviewing dates, remember, the Municipal Election in 2018 was on Oct. 20th!

RE Williams Neighborhood Plan / The Mitchell Group

April 9, 2018, the bylaw amendments that were required to implement the Williams Neighbourhood Plan were put before Council and passed first and second reading. Mayor Froese, Councillor Whitmarsh, and Former Councillor Quaale (the respondents who would end up receiving contributions from the Mitchell Group) were present and voted in favour of the Plan and opposed the referral of the Plan so that Council could receive additional presentations.38

April 23, 2018, the Plan went through public hearing before Council. Ken Mitchell was the first speaker. The minutes note the following:

K. Mitchell, Mitchell Group, Developer of the Williams Business Park and Retail Complex, was in attendance and stated that they want Williams to be a self-contained, walkable community with a neighbourhood retail centre to meet community needs. The Coriolis Consulting Corp. report confirms that four square feet of grocery and 20 square feet of commercial per person are industry standard metrics. The proposed Commercial Project will have a neighbourhood retail complex up to 150,000 square feet with a grocery store of 40,000 feet.39

May 7, 2018, the Plan was put before Council for third reading. At third reading, Councillor Whitmarsh moved to make an amendment to increase the total area for grocery use to 40,000 square feet. The amendment was seconded by Former Councillor Quaale. Mayor Froese also voted in favour, and 40,000 square feet was ultimately approved.40

May 16, 2018, Less than 10 days later Councillor Whitmarsh received $1,200 from Ken Mitchell, $1,200 from Diane Mitchell, and $600 from Ryan O’Shea.41

May 27 2018, Mayor Froese received $1,200 from Ken Mitchell and $1,200 from Diane Mitchell.42

June 18 2018, Former Councillor Quaale received $1,200 from Ken Mitchell, $1,200 from Diane Mitchell, and $600 from Ryan O’Shea.43

June 22 2018, Mayor Froese received an additional $600 from Jacilyn O’Shea and $600 from Ryan O’Shea.44

October 1, 2018, the Plan was before Council for final adoption. At that meeting, Mayor Froese, Councillor Whitmarsh and Former Councillor Quaale voted against an amendment to incorporate more park space. That amendment was defeated 5-4.45

In summary, Mayor Froese received $3,600, and Councillor Whitmarsh and Former Councillor Quaale each received $3,000 from persons connected to the Mitchell Group, when the Williams Neighbourhood Plan was between third reading and adoption. In Councillor Whitmarsh’s case, he received his contributions just 9 days after having moved to amend the Plan to increase the area for grocery use to 40,000 square feet, which matched exactly the proposal that Mr. Mitchell advocated for at the public hearing in April. The minutes from the October1, 2018 meeting showed that none of these respondents disclosed a conflict of interest or removed themselves from the meetings.46

RE The Beedie Group

June 30, 2018, Mayor Froese received $1,200 from Robert Fiorvento, the Beedie Group’s Managing Partner. This was only nine days before a development permit application for a 306.5 m2commercial building would be before Council. 47

July 4, 2018, Mayor Froese received another $1,200 from Jason Tonin, the Beedie Group’s Vice President of Land Development.48

July 9, 2018, Mayor Froese voted in favour of the development permit application for the 306.5m2commercial building for two restaurants (“Beedie Group’s Restaurant Application”).49

July 10, 2018, one day later Mayor Froese received $1,200 from Ryan Beedie, the Beedie Group’s president.50

July 15, 2018, Councillor Whitmarsh received $2,400 from persons connected to the Beedie Group.51This was just six days after he voted in favour of the Beedie Group’s Restaurant Application, and just eight days before he voted in favour of a development permit application for an 8,451 m2 industrial building in the Gloucester Industrial Park (“Beedie Group’s Gloucester Application”) on July 23, 2018.53 He also voted in favour of other Beedie Group applications on September 17, 2018 and October 1, 2018.

NOTE – By the time the Beedie Group’s Gloucester Application was before Council, Mayor Froese had already received $3,600 in the last several weeks from persons connected to the Beedie Group.

July 25, 2018, Councillor Long received $2,400 from persons connected to the Beedie Group.56 This was just two days after the Beedie Group’s Gloucester Application was approved,57 16 days after the development permit for the Beedie Group’s Restaurant Application was approved,58 and about two months before Councillor Long voted in favour of another two of the Beedie Group’s developments on September 17, 2018 and October 1, 2018.

September 17, 2018, Council considered another Beedie Group development permit application for a 4,531 m2 industrial building, that was to be operated by Inno Bakery, also in the Gloucester Industrial Park (“Beedie Group’s First Bakery Application”).60 Mayor Froese, Councillor Whitmarsh and Councillor Long voted in favour, and did not disclose the fact that they had received substantial campaign contributions from persons connected to the Beedie Group.61

September 25, 2018, Former Councillor Quaale received $1,200 from Todd Yuen of the Beedie Group.62 This was only five days before Council would consider a development permit application for a 4,651 m2 industrial building adjacent to the property subject to the Beedie Group’s Bakery Application, which was also to be operated by Inno Bakery (“Beedie Group’s Second Bakery Application”),63 and only eight days after the Beedie Group’s First Bakery Application had passed.64

October 9th, 2018, eight days after Mayor Froese voted in favour of the Beedie Group’s Second Bakery Application, he received $1,200 from Todd Yuen, the Beedie Group’s President, Industrial.

RE Vesta

May 16, 2018, Councillor Whitmarsh received $1,800 from persons connected to Vesta.66 This was only nine days after Vesta’s development of 73 single family lots, 39 rowhouse lots, 18 semi detached lots, and 122 townhouse units (“Vesta’s First Latimer Development Application”), was approved.67 This was also only approximately a month before two significant Vesta projects would be before Council for first reading (June 25, 2018).68

June 18, 2018, Former Councillor Quaale received $600 from Marlene Best, Vesta’s then Senior Development Manager.69 This was only seven days before two significant Vesta projects would be before Council for first reading (June 25, 2018), one for 56 townhomes and 186 apartments (“Vesta’s Second Latimer Development Application”),70 and the other for 449 apartments, 3,398 m2 of commercial space and 10,033 m2 of office space (“Vesta’s Carvolth Development Application”).71 It was also less than a month from when the two Vesta contracts would be considered by Council on July 9, 2018.72 The contribution was made just over a month subsequent to when the bylaw amendments for Vesta’s First Latimer Development Application were adopted (May 7, 2018).73

June 26, 2018, Mayor Froese received $1,000 from Kent Sillars of Vesta. This was only one day after Vesta’s Second Latimer Development Application and Vesta’s Carvolth Development Application passed first and second reading, and less than a month before both applications passed third reading.74

NOTE – This contribution from Mr. Sillars to Mayor Froese was also two weeks before Council considered and approved a Development Cost Charges Front-ending Agreement between the Township and Vesta. At that same meeting on July 9, 2018, Council also passed an amendment to another by-law to allow for the execution of a Development Works Agreement between the Township and Vesta.75Further, this contribution was also received less than a month before a 792 multi-family unit and hotel development of Vesta’s was considered before Council on July 23, 2018 (“Vesta’s Carvolth High-Rise Development Application”).76The contribution came less than two months after Vesta’s First Latimer Development Application was adopted,77and approximately two and half months after a rezoning application for 153 Vesta townhomes passed third reading on April 9, 2018.78

September 11, 2018, Councillor Long received $3,200 from persons connected to Vesta.79This was only 20 days before third reading of Vesta’s Carvolth High-Rise Development Application.80This was also less than two months after Vesta’s Second Latimer Development Application and Vesta’s Carvolth Development Application had passed third reading but were still pending final adoption.81

September 18, 2018, Councillor Whitmarsh also received another $500 from Braedon Sillars, Vesta’s Development Coordinator.82This was less than two weeks before Vesta’s Carvolth High-Rise Development Application was brought before Council for third reading.83

September 26, 2018, Former Councillor Quaale also received an additional $1,700 from persons connected to Vesta.84 This was just five days before Vesta’s Carvolth High-Rise Development Application was before Council for third reading.85

RE Lanstone

May 16th 2018, Councillor Whitmarsh received $1,000 from Lanson Foster of Landstone. This was less than a month before Lanstone would have a 54-unit residential development (“Landstone’s Application”) before Council for first reading on June 11th, 2018.

June 18, 2018, Former Councillor Quaale received $1,000 from Lanson Foster of Lanstone. This was just seven days after Lanstone’s Application passed first and second reading and less than a month before it would pass third reading on July 9, 2018.87

September 12, 2018, Mayor Froese received $1,200 from John Tilstra of Lanstone. This was approximately two months after Lanstone’s Application passed third reading.88

RE Infinity

May 16, 2018, Councillor Whitmarsh received $500 from Timothy Bontkes of Infinity. This was approximately two months after Infinity’s 51 townhouse development (“Infinity’s Application”) passed third reading on March 5, 2018, and two months before it would be adopted on July 23, 2018.89

June 18, 2018, Former Councillor Quaale received $500 from Timothy Bontkes. This contribution was made approximately one month before Infinity’s Application was adopted on July 23, 2018.90

June 27, 2018, Mayor Froese received $1,200 from Timothy Bontkes. This was approximately three and a half months after Infinity’s Application passed third reading on March 5, 2018, and less thana month before it was adopted on July 23, 2018.91

RE Polygon

June19, 2018, Mayor Froese received $1,200 from Scott Baldwin of Polygon. This was just six days before Polygon’s 589 unit apartment building application came before Council for first reading on June25, 2018.92

RE Essence

October 9, 2018, Councillor Long received $2,400 from persons connected to Essence. This was approximately two and a half months after Essence’s application for a 102 townhouse unit and 75 apartment unit development application passed third reading on July23, 2018, and two months before it would be adopted on December10, 2018.

D. The legal opinion

62. Importantly, the respondents engaged in this voting behaviour despite having received a legal opinion that doing so could constitute a conflict of interest.

63. In June 2016, the Township sought a legal opinion from Lidstone & Company as to whether campaign contributions from a developer would disqualify a council member from voting on that developer’s rezoning application. The opinion was received by Council on June 13, 2016.94All the respondents were on Council at the time.

64. In the opinion, Don Lidstone, Q.C. advised that campaign contributions without more did not constitute a conflict of interest. In the opinion’s summary, he stated the following:

…the campaign contribution by itself does not create a conflict of interest, even if that developer later applies for a rezoning. An exception would be if a developer gives a Council member a donation when the rezoning application comes before Council.95

65. Mr. Lidstone also concluded his opinion by stating:

There could be a conflict if the Council member was personally or privately connected to the developer, if development was in-stream at the time of the election, or if the developer made a donation after the rezoning application was made. However, we understand that none of these apply in relation to the Brookswood rezoning applications.96

The respondents’ evidence

66. For their part, the respondents do not deny that they received any of the contributions at issue in this proceeding, nor do they deny that they participated in, and voted on the various applications without making any declarations of conflict of interest. Rather, they universally say that: (a) there was never any indication from the contributors that the contributions were made with any intention or expectation of an agreement to vote a particular way; (b) none of their votes were influenced by campaign contributions; and (c) they were always motivated to vote in the best interest of the Township.97

67. Much of the respondents’ evidence is focused on their recollection or knowledge of who made the impugned contributions, as well as their recollection of the development applications in question. As set out below, the petitioners say that, on the application of the proper legal test, the respondents’ subjective recollections or motivations as to how they voted on any particular project are irrelevant.

The interpretation of the conflict of interest provisions and the applicable legal test

72. The B.C. Court of Appeal’s decision in Schlenker is the most recent and leading authority on the interpretation of the Community Charter conflict of interest provisions.98 In that case, the Court of Appeal overturned the chambers judge’s decision that the elected officials were not in a direct or indirect pecuniary conflict of interest when they voted to award service contracts to societies of which they were directors. The Court held that the chamber judge’s reasoning that the elected officials were not themselves enriched, and therefore there was no pecuniary conflict, applied too narrow an interpretation to the phrase “direct or indirect pecuniary interest”. Such a narrow interpretation was said to undermine the purpose of the conflict of interest provisions.99

73. After noting the “modern approach” to statutory interpretation, Mr. Justice Donald, speaking for a unanimous Court, held that the conflict of interest provisions in the Community Charter must be given a broad and liberal interpretation consistent with its purpose,100 which is to prevent elected officials from having divided loyalties. The Court quoted with approval from the following passage in Re Moll and Fisher:

This enactment, like all conflict-of-interest rules, is based on the moral principle, long embodied in our jurisprudence, that no man can serve two masters. It recognizes the fact that the judgment of even the most well-meaning men and women may be impaired when their personal financial interests are affected. Public office is a trust conferred by public authority for public purpose. And the Act, by its broad proscription, enjoins holders of public offices within its ambit from any participation in matters in which their economic self-interest may be in conflict with their public duty. The public’s confidence in its elected representatives demands no less. Legislation of this nature must, it is clear, be construed broadly and in a manner consistent with its purpose.101

74. In an earlier decision, the Court of Appeal held that these provisions are “intended to enhance and protect the integrity of local government.”102 This is consistent the reasoning of other appellate courts with respect to the objective of similar conflict of interest provisions. For example, the Alberta Court of Appeal has stated that such a provision “sustains the right of an elector to the even-handed, independent consideration of his elected representatives on questions before Council, unaffected by any influence that could potentially flow from a direct or indirect pecuniary interest”.103

Summary:

This hearing wrapped up Friday December 5th, 2020. Justice Walker stated he expected to release a decision early in 2021. He went on to state that it is a very interesting case with interesting issues. Further he stated he is generally very quick at getting judgements out, but this one may take a while.

Obviously what I have published in this BLOG Post deals mainly with the guts of the Petitioners argument based on the “close temporal proximity between the contributions and votes on applications” as the Petitioners lawyer Mark Underhill has stated in his admissions. All of this in the face of asking for and receiving a legal opinion from a recognized municipal legal expert, Don Lidstone Q.C. a short two years before.

We won’t get into any discussion or debate on any potential Respondent culpability or finding by the courts however an objective assessment of “whether a reasonably well-informed observer would conclude that the campaign contribution might influence the duty of the elected official”, is the crux of the argument.In this case, there exists a unique constellation of facts, including:

1) the sheer number of contributions from multiple developers;

2) the timing of contributions while those developers had matters before counsel, sometimes within days of a vote on that matter;

3) the fact that there were several individuals making contributions from the same developer, effectively circumventing the restrictions on campaign contributions;

4) the proposing and passing of amendments to coincide with the proposal of a developer (in the case of the Williams Neighbourhood Plan); and

5) the. repeated pattern of conduct despite legal advice to the contrary

111. A reasonably well-informed person would conclude that, given these extraordinary facts, the respondents might have been influenced by these contributions to vote in the best interests of the developers or their own political careers rather than in the best interests of their constituents. Public confidence in the integrity and transparency of municipal governance cannot be maintained if these circumstances are deemed acceptable.

IMPORTANT – Message to Township of Langley Taxpayers and VOTERS!

Win, lose or draw, are you comfortable with your municipal politicians accepting donations in this fashion without at least disclosing receipt of contributions received while proposed development applications are “in stream” at the time of their vote? I am not!

RG

I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors, and relatives!

Comments
  1. Neil Ziola says:

    The whole affair looks like a witch hunt to me. You have a number of Professional Developers risking millions and millions of dollars that wish to support their candidates of choice that would be a sound business practice. Silly to think the timing of those donations would have any effect on anything. But their you go regulators making regulations without accountability.

    • A witch hunt? What are you thinking. It has been widely stated that there is no problem with a donation from a developer, what this clearly points out, if you follow the events closely as described, there is obviously something wrong with the number of donations, the timing of the donations as that relates to a particular projects in stream process and the multiple donations by numerous executives of numerous companies. If this is allowed the loser on the process is the taxpayer.

      • Neil Ziola says:

        So what exactly did the tax payer lose when these individuals exercised their democratic right to support candidates of their choice. Is there a regulation denying these people that right. Someone has spent a great deal of time and money making a mountain out of a mole hill.

      • Neil, I believe the argument is laid out very well. I have been elected as Alderman and Mayor, I have accepted a donation from a few developers, that isn’t the issue or the problem, it is about the number while projects are in stream and the dates of them – That speaks volumes in this case. So I will repeat from our BLOG – an objective assessment of “whether a reasonably well-informed observer would conclude that the campaign contribution might influence the duty of the elected official”, is the crux of the argument. In this case, there exists a unique constellation of facts, including:
        1) the sheer number of contributions from multiple developers;
        2) the timing of contributions while those developers had matters before counsel, sometimes within days of a vote on that matter;
        3) the fact that there were several individuals making contributions from the same developer, effectively circumventing the restrictions on campaign contributions;
        4) the proposing and passing of amendments to coincide with the proposal of a developer (in the case of the Williams Neighbourhood Plan); and
        5) the. repeated pattern of conduct despite legal advice to the contrary
        111. A reasonably well-informed person would conclude that, given these extraordinary facts, the respondents might have been influenced by these contributions to vote in the best interests of the developers or their own political careers rather than in the best interests of their constituents. Public confidence in the integrity and transparency of municipal governance cannot be maintained if these circumstances are deemed acceptable.

        To me the case is very clear, and I believe the case law that has been made public speaks to the issue quite well. Thanks for offering comment.

    • David Bridges says:

      So it’s just fine to violate the Community Charter like that (the spirit at the very least, if not the letter?) Crazy if you’re just fine with that. Expect this to get worse then.

      • David, I agree. This decision has virtually given license to the wild wild west of campaign donations. It will be up to the Provincial Government to plug the unintended loop holes! As I have said, their actions are at the very least immoral and unethical!

  2. Geoff D says:

    It is also quite interesting that Neil Ziola, that is on the board of directors for a building materials company would be so vigilant about protecting the rights of developers to bribe counsel members… I get it though… profit is profit. lets cram as many people in this town as we can until we cant see all the trees that are no longer here.

    Yes, that last bit was sarcastic.

    • Neil Ziola says:

      Sir, You may call the donation a bribe if you like, I call this a democratic right of individuals to support political candidates of their choice. As far as development is concerned would you prefer low density housing from here to Hope, much like LA, higher density, which we should have been doing 20 years ago, or leave our kids and grandkids to live on the streets?

      • Neil: It is obvious that you don’t get the issue here, or you don’t want to. Once again, the issue is not about supporting a a politician of your choice! The issue is based on a few things in particular – 1) Multiple donations with developer principles to get around the legislation totaling more than what is described 2) The timing of donations in, around, before and immediately after specific members of Council’s approvals of 1st, 2nd, Public Hearing, 3rd, and 4th readings. Quite frankly this is completely out of the norm from what used to be normal fundraising just prior to an election. As stated previously, accepting donations during mid term especially in and around development applications mid-stream is quite frankly obscene. So some people justify what has happened because the law states that all donations must be disclosed. The major problem there is that doesn’t happen until a good period of time after the election. The public were not aware of these donations when they voted. So all of this likely won’t satisfy you and that is too bad, but a legal decision is necessary to determine its legality. I have no doubt if they lose it will be appealed, if they win the legislation MUST be strengthened.

    • David Bridges says:

      Bingo!

  3. John says:

    Donations to elected officials should be done away with, period. Everyone should just get a certain amount from taxpayers to run for office. I think we all know what conflict of interest is by now.

    • John, the issue of campaign donations has long standing issues behind them. You should have the right to donate to anyone you want within certain guidelines, that was dealt with through recent changes to campaign financing laws. I can speak from experience that not everyone that donates to a political campaign is a developer. The recent changes of eliminating unions and corporations was a good one, however in the first election after those changes a way has been found to skirt those changes. Now corporations are getting multiple senior employees and family members to donate up to the limit allowed. In some ways you could argue it could now be worse than before. Taxpayers paying the freight, I can’t imagine a scenario where the public would buy that, I could go on for an hour on those pitfalls. A better solution would be to address the problems with the changes that are being taken advantage of. There is a lot to think about, but there has to be changes. To allow what just happened is morally wrong.

  4. John says:

    how in the world were they found innocent? i’m confused

    • Well, that is what the courts are for – It is or was the judges interpretation of the law as written. It is cases like this that are precursors to legislative changes that are needed. In my opinion what was presented as part of this petition was worthy of court action. I have written on this a number of times, when Gordon Campbell got elected Premier he set about creating the “Community Charter”, the forerunner was the Municipal Act. In the Community Charter they basically neutered the rights of the public’s ability to fight issues against there City or Municipality. We have done reviews of both and when it really came to light to me is when I got elected Mayor. So there was a time a resident if not happy could got the Minister of Municipal Affairs in Victoria and file a complaint and receive an investigation of their actions. Today, the answer you will receive is if you don’t like the decision you will have to go to court. Obviously any residents would be and are fighting extremely deep pockets, your tax dollars! An unfair fight.

      • David Bridges says:

        As usual you hit the nail on the head, Rick. A scumbag ex-mayor, now (then) Premier (Campbell), with no work history prior to public office other than working for developers, and his first priority was to neuter the highly-useful and constitutionally-appropriate Municipal Act so as to unfetter he malign influence of land speculators/developers on BC municipal Councils. And hence, the BS we’re dealing with now. Bravo, Campbell! Bravo, scumbag Township! Job well-done and mission accomplished! Rule by and for the BC Developer Mafia.

      • David: We will keep hounding our Provincial Government for the wrong doing within the Community Charter. The general public understandably are not aware of what has been done to their rights. When I was in the Mayors office it really came to light, Staffs answer to any complaint was they will have to go to court, and of course the average citizen does not have the financial resources to do so. It unfortunately will take a wide spread public outcry to get any changes made.

  5. Holly says:

    I think most local British Columbians have no idea their rights were taken away like this. What do we teach school children: “Canada is the best country in the world.” What you’re saying about rights being taken away is horrible; how do we get them restored? So much of the damage has been done. Young families have to move away. There is litter everywhere. Trees pulled down. Offshore influence in our housing market. It’s really the dark ages. What is the way forward?

    • What happened to the public’s rights was driven by Gordon Campbell when he was the Mayor of Vancouver and his club of similar thinking Mayors and Councillors throughout the Province of B.C, at the time. It was all about Municipalities and Cities gaining more control over what they could do and who they would ultimately be responsible to. Through that initiative he also garnered political support through all of these local power bases throughout the province. If you were to poll municipal politicians today as to whether they would like to go back to that era there would be a revolt. Unfortunately it would not be politically correct provincially to do so. I was a Councillor in 1987 under the old Municipal Act and know first hand the impact of the change to the Community Charter. Not all of the changes made were bad BUT on balance the public’s right to fight the impact of a Cities and Municipalities decisions has been dramatically affected. I have said this for years, politics is not a spectator sport it is participations sport. To regain many of our rights it will have to be one change at a time through Provincial legislation.

  6. Josh says:

    So, let’s say many of us would like more urban forest parks and passive parks and would like to save what is left of the urban tree canopy, both in TOL and on ALR lands. How would you go about that?

    • Josh, as I have repeated in this BLOG since 2013 with respect to holding your local government to account for many of their transgressions – get involved politically! Their is no silver bullet for you and ALL others and in my opinion over 45 years of very active political life, our current Township Municipal Government is serving the needs of the political elite 0 in other words the Township of Langley Mafia! That is a crude term many of us use for insiders! It is out of control. Sorry if you were looking for an easy and quick answer – there isn’t one! Politics is not a spectator sport it is a participation sport!

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