Area B Director Noba Anderson being sworn into office last fall following the local government elections. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Cortes Island director hopeful life in community can resume

Civil case against Noba Anderson was dropped in Supreme Court earlier this week

It’s time for life to move on for Cortes, says Area B Director Noba Anderson.

In Campbell River Supreme Court on Monday, Anderson’s lawyer and the lawyer for 14 people that had launched a petition to remove her office came to an agreement. The petitioners conceded there was no case for conflict of interest allegations against Anderson, that she did not accept gifts connected to her role in office and that there was no cause to remove her from office. For his judgment, Justice Ronald Skolrood accepted the submission to bring the case to a close.

Anderson later released an online post to summarize her feelings about the outcome.

“I have continually maintained the ill-spirited accusations were baseless, and today Justice Skolrood of the B.C. Supreme Court agreed,” she wrote.

Anderson alluded to the strain the situation has put on her, her family, people at the Strathcona Regional District and members of the public, including people in the community that had donated to a crowd-funding campaign to help her father after his cabin, on property Anderson co-owns with others, burned down. The 14 people launched the petition in early January.

RELATED STORY: Petitioners concede no conflict against Strathcona Regional District director

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

She acknowledged there are some in the Cortes community that will still not be convinced, continuing to believe she is corrupt despite the resolution of the court case. Anderson said she does not seek any retribution against them or any of their collaborators in the community. However, she added she hopes the truth will come out about what happened.

“We can deal with the truth, whatever it is. It’s the shadow that consumes us. I ask that in times of discontent, we first turn to dialogue rather than to the judicial system,” she said.

The case has delayed several items of regional district business on the island. The SRD board had put a number of issues on hold pending the outcome of the court case. Most notably, this included going to referenda to generate funds for first responder service and community hall operations. The board had brought back the former matter, though it has not identified when a vote might occur. The other key issues were the latest round of grants-in-aid requests from community groups and the addition of members to the electoral area’s advisory planning commission.

As to what happens now, Anderson referred in her post to a meeting over the hall tax issue last week as a sign for optimism for life on Cortes to move ahead. She also discussed a couple of positive outcomes from the experience. The first was that many people stepped forward to defend truth and democracy, while the other was that the situation allowed her to think about the community’s future and the need to examine issues of lifestyle and the pending climate challenges while working for change.

“Community is the only unit of true resilience,” she added.

As of press time on Wednesday, the SRD board had voted to support the grant-in-aid requests. As far as the other matters, staff will bring forward a report on their status for the next meeting.

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