A Strathcona Regional District director’s lawsuit against her own regional district has come to a close, with the B.C. Supreme Court handing down a decision on the matter.
The court decided that the Regional District was successful in their defence.
Cortes Island Director Noba Anderson sued the regional district in July 2020 to quash a censure motion and recoup legal costs from a different 2019 lawsuit. In January 2019, a group of Cortes residents asked the Supreme Court of B.C. to remove Anderson from office, alleging she profited from her constituents, who received political favours in return. Anderson was also censured by the board at the time.
That suit was dropped, but Anderson had requested that the SRD cover her legal fees in the matter. The regional district decided she would not be indemnified, which is allowed under the SRD’s bylaw depending on the case. Anderson filed suit to quash the 2019 censure motion and to force the SRD to indemnify her and repay her legal fees.
On June 24, the B.C. Supreme Court released its decision on the matter, which was read aloud by Mr. Justice Gaul via teleconference.
The decision is an item on today’s (June 30) SRD board meeting agenda. SRD board meetings are not held with the public or media present due to the pandemic, but are recorded and put on Youtube at a later date. Full details will be provided when they are available to the public.
However, SRD chair Brad Unger said “The SRD was defending an action brought forward by Director Anderson. The B.C. Supreme Court found the SRD to be fair, reasonable, operating within its authority and following proper process”
“I am glad to have the matter behind us, as a board we will continue to serve residents of Cortes Island,” he added.
According to a summary on the staff report on the matter, “In reaching his decisions Mr. Justice Gaul cited a number of precedents in Canadian law and offered a very detailed analysis as to why the petitioner had failed to convince the Court that the Regional District had acted in an unreasonable or arbitrary manner in reaching its indemnification and censure decisions.
“The fact that the Regional Board had dealt with these matters in a very methodical and deliberate fashion was duly noted and undoubtedly had an influence on the Court’s findings,” the staff report continued.
The board will be turning its attention to the costs of the suit, which will be decided by the end of July. A copy of the written reasons for judgement will be provided to the board when it is available.
Check back with the Mirror for updates on this story as they are available.