Some voters are asking that Area B Director Noba Anderson be disqualified from holding office because of a GoFundMe campaign started after a fire on her property. Photo, screenshot

Cortes Island residents go to court to remove regional district director

Questions arise over GoFundMe campaign following fire on Anderson’s property

A fire on her property almost a year ago has come back to haunt Area B Director Noba Anderson.

On Jan. 2, a group of 13 people filed a petition in court to have the director for Cortes Island disqualified from her position on the Strathcona Regional District boar until the next election. In October, she was re-elected to the SRD board as director for Area B.

The residents’ petition is in response to a GoFundMe campaign started to help her and her family following the fire on a jointly-owned property on Jan. 31, 2018. Her father had been living in the cabin at the time when it was destroyed by fire.

RELATED STORY: More SRD results, Anderson wins in Area B

Last March, a neighbour on the property initiated the campaign to raise funds to help the family build an addition to the home so Anderson’s father could live there.

“After my father’s wee sleeping cabin on my property was lost in January to fire, we decided to add a room onto our home so that he could be closer and all the more integrated into our daily lives, as he does now need our regular care,” she wrote on Tideline, the community website.

The petitioners point to a number of people who donated through the GoFundMe site and have connections to the regional district, such as work contracts or are part of organizations receiving grants-in-aid from the Strathcona Regional District. They allege 27 people who donated to the GoFundMe effort had benefited personally or were in organizations that had.

“Anderson took money from her constituents for personal gain and a number of those same constituents received gifts and grants in return,” the petitioners state.

The petitioners are listed as Luke Daniel Douglas Lafleur, William John Cathcart, Kenny Bryan Carpenter Hanuse, Michael Edward Hansen, Jason Barry Jeffery, Bertha Louise Jeffery, Wendy Marie Lotnick, June Carol Barton, Thomas John Drew, Roderick Charles Gray Lee, Richard Patrick Boas, Mary M. Georgina Tallon, Helene Andree Aube and Edward Charles Milan.

The GoFundMe campaign was started in March 2018 by Lovena Harvey, who is another part owner of the property on Whaletown Road. To date, the site has raised about $3,700.

The court petition asks Anderson be disqualified from holding office until the next general election in 2022. It also asks for costs as well as for Anderson to account for any funds received as well as “voting privileges exercised” in her role as an elected official.

The GoFundMe site is public and Anderson wrote a note to a community website on Cortes Island to thank people that had helped out with the efforts to add the space for her father to live.

“It wouldn’t have happened without this awesome community!” she stated.

The Mirror contacted Anderson by email for comment. At an SRD meeting in December she indicated she would be away on holiday in early January, so she had not been privy to any news last week. She added she was “not in a position, due to SRD decisions, to speak on this matter.”

The regional district, itself, has sent a response from chief administrative officer Dave Leitch: “The SRD is aware of the concerns that have been brought forward by a group of Cortes Island residents in relation to the Electoral Area B Director. The Strathcona Regional District board and staff are committed to pursuing the highest standards of ethical conduct and accountability to all residents of the region.”

READ MORE: Questions arise about who’s seeing Strathcona Regional District emails

One of the key questions for the court could be the extent to which the area director was influenced by her existing relationships. A Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing spokesperson confirmed that according to legislation, “an elected official must not accept a fee, gift or personal benefit that is connected with the member’s performance of the duties of office.” However, this does not prohibit elected officials from receiving personal gifts “if they are not connected to their duties in office.”

A potential complication for the case is the fact the land in question is owned by four different parties. Anderson owns one-quarter of the property. An SRD emergency evacuation maps shows four different addresses on the property, though the BC Assessment Authority only lists one address for assessment purposes.

As well, the recent assessment notes that, despite the work on Anderson’s house this past year, the assessment value for the property as a whole dropped, particularly in the value of buildings. This perhaps reflects the absence of the cabin destroyed in the fire a year ago. In 2018, the value dropped from $926,000 to $919,000. The value of the land increased but that of the buildings on site dropped by $37,000 from 2017.

Just Posted

Strathcona Gardens shuffles ice time to accommodate BCHL game ousted by ammonia leak at Port Alberni rink

Campbell River’s Rod Brind’Amour Arena will host a British Columbia Hockey League… Continue reading

Local salon raises $5,300 for Ovarian Cancer Canada

Affected team member catalyst for fundraiser

BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs set to play in Campbell River after ice rink closure

City of Port Alberni waiting on Technical Safety BC approval to re-open multiplex

Campbell River RCMP investigating after two stabbing incidents Tuesday night

Police are treating each case separately and have one person in custody

Campbell River celebrates National Child Day on Friday

Annual event at Community Centre recognizes the rights of children and lets them let loose for a day

VIDEO: Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Vancouver Island soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Beer-infused olive oil soap comes out just in time for holiday shopping

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Killer who fled to Taiwan day after shooting B.C. man over $80 sentenced 13 years later

The sentence comes 13 years after Shaoxin Zhang, 19, was killed in a Burnaby parking lot

Most Read