Following a court action launched against Area B Director Noba Anderson, a Cortes couple has been trying to appear as a delegation to the SRD to express concern about its actions in the matter, but Christine and Cecil Robinson were again turned down. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Cortes couple denied again from appearing before SRD as delegation

Strathcona Regional District treats request to appear at Feb. 13 meeting as correspondence

Three weeks ago, Christine and Cecil Robinson and a small delegation came from Cortes Island, wishing to speak before the Strathcona Regional District.

They were concerned with recent SRD actions and what this could mean to governance in Electoral Area B. They found out they could not speak because it was late, and Cecil Robinson was not surprised in light of when they made the request.

“That was fair enough. We considered that that would be a possibility,” he said. “Strictly speaking, it was a late request.”

The Robinsons immediately went about applying to appear as a delegation at the upcoming board meeting set for Feb. 13. Everything seemed fine when they received an email on Feb. 7, but the following day they received notification they were being denied the opportunity to present a letter.

“It certainly isn’t a question of a late request,” Robinson said.

In the first email, they were informed their submission would be entered as correspondence, which they interpreted to mean they were speaking, but a follow-up message clarified the submission will be considered correspondence because they were not to appear as a delegation due to the SRD policy on delegations.

“When we submitted our application for delegation on Jan. 24 after the SRD board meeting, we were not given the guidelines, nor was there any mention that they existed and we should refer to them in preparing a presentation,” Christine Robinson told the Mirror via email.

Regional district staff confirmed Friday that SRD guidelines state “delegations are not intended to be opportunities for debate, discussion or questioning of the board regarding its policies or decisions.”

According to a Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing spokesperson, local governments set their own bylaws for public input at meetings, adding that while procedures may vary slightly to meet specific circumstances of individual local governments, they typically establish standard rules of procedure, including how a council or board will receive delegations and petitions at meetings.

The Robinsons had hoped to outline their concerns about recent board decisions to leave the Cortes Island advisory planning commission empty and put on hold binding referenda concerning the establishment of first responder service as well as a proposed hall tax. The reason the SRD board is holding off is a recent court petition launched against Area B Director Noba Anderson. (Myrna Kerr, a member of one of the community associations calling for the hall tax, received an e-mail on Feb. 7 similar to the Robinsons’ email, stating the request to appear would be treated as correspondence and not as a delegation.)

RELATED STORY: Strathcona Regional District puts Cortes Island business on ‘pause’

This concerns allegations concerning the relationship between donors to a GoFundMe campaign launched to help Anderson’s father Bernie after a fire destroyed his cabin in January 2019. The allegations refer to Anderson, several people who donated to the campaign and a number of community organizations.

RELATED STORY: Cortes Island residents go to court to remove regional district director

The Robinsons also wanted to present a counter petition with their letter in response to the legal petition launched originally by 13, now 14 people on Jan. 2. After this, 196 Cortes residents have launched their own “counter petition” critical of the legal action as well as the SRD’s handling of the matter. More names were then added. (The latest version has grown to roughly 300 names, which includes a copy of the petition at the Gorge Harbour Marina store.)

As the Robinsons added in their letter to the SRD last month, “Every person who signed this letter was personally contacted and offered the opportunity to read background information (including newspaper articles and full text of the petition against RD Anderson) prior to their consent.”

Referring to the Jan. 2 legal petition, De Clarke, who put together the counter-petition, told the Mirror the SRD’s decision at the meeting last month to delay actions on the two referenda and avoid filling the Cortes advisory planning commission was setting a bad precedent because anyone could bring government actions to a halt by launching a legal case.

“This kind of petition is a very dangerous weapon,” she said, “We’ve got absolutely nothing to hide. Noba Anderson has absolutely nothing to hide…. If this is the future of regional politics, then we’re hooped.”

READ MORE: Strathcona Regional District still tackling how public emails from public should be made

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

The volunteers at the Campbell River Seniors’ Centre have been waiting seven months to welcome people back to the facility, and are happy to have all the necessary safety precautions in place to do so, including a sign-in booth at the entrance for contact tracing requirements. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbel River Mirror
Campbell River Seniors’ Centre re-opens after seven months of COVID closure

‘If we close it again, it’s possible it won’t ever re-open, and the community needs this facility’

Another modular unit is lifted into place on the second floor of the new supportive housing complex being built at 580 Dogwood Street on Thursday this past week. Photo by Cleo Corbett/City of Campbell River
Campbell River’s newest supportive housing facility rises on Dogwood Street

Pre-fab modular construction means the building can go on the foundation in under five days

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read