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October 19, 2014

YET ANOTHER BROKEN PROMISE

by Protect Our Park

Submitted by Rick Williamson

Item #3 of my list of Board’s inappropriate actions. . .Double Cross

In my opinion #3 on my list of this Board’s inappropriate actions is the way the majority of this Board treated the 2 Waterfront Commercial Leaseholders (CL) re the caretaker suite issue.

Here is a recap of how it all unfolded.

Prior to 2013, 5 Commercial Leaseholders (CL) had Board permission to have caretaker/security suites. While the 3 non-waterfront CL’s were allowed 12-month occupancy, the 2 waterfront CL’s were only allowed 6-month occupancy. All 5 paid an annual fee for the suite, which is in addition to the substantial commercial lease fee that they already pay for their business.

  1. Commissioner Carleton Toews approached the 5 CL’s and encouraged them to ask the Board for 12-month occupancy with standardized rates for all and he gave them advice on how to overcome some potential obstacles to help ensure the Board approved their request.
  1. Based on Toews involvement, advice and encouragement, the 5 CL’s approached the Board as a group and asked for 12-month occupancy with standardized rates for all and the Board approved this in late April 2013.
  1. In late April the 5 CL’s got a letter, signed by Ron Campbell, CAO advising them that the 12-month occupancy had been approved with an annual rate starting at $1,650/year effective January 1, 2014. This rate would increase at a rate of 5.5%/year.
  1. At the May 8 Board meeting, Skonberg made a motion to “reconsider” the previously approved Board motion noted in #3 above. This motion was defeated with Peter, Skonberg & Toews voting in favour of reconsideration and Hall, McCrea, Payeur & Shanks opposing reconsideration.
  1. On November 27, based on a motion from Skonberg, the Board rescinded the 12-month occupancy for the 2 waterfront CL’s and now gives these 2 CL’s 6-month occupancy while paying the same additional $1,650 as the 3 non waterfront CL’s. The 3 non-waterfront CL’s remain at 12-month occupancy.

Now to the procedural aspect. First some general information.

  1. When a Board votes on a motion and makes a decision, there is a procedure in Park Bylaw 001-2004 that allows for that Board decision to be looked at again. This is called “reconsideration” and it has some very specific requirements.
  1. Section 9 of Bylaw 001-2004 covers reconsideration. Section 9.4 says that after a decision has been made, a Commissioner may bring it back for reconsideration any time up to 1 month after the original decision. Skonberg did this with his May 8 motion to reconsider. 9.4 also says that the original decision cannot be discussed unless the motion to reconsider has been approved (i.e. the Board votes “Yes, we should look at this issue again”). Skonberg’s May 8 motion to reconsider was not passed, therefore, the 12-month occupancy was never re-discussed by the Board. To me this means it cannot be brought forward in the future as it has not been reconsidered. In other words, the issue is dead and the original decision stands.

9.5 & 9.6 say that an item can be brought back for “reconsideration” after 6 months as long as certain conditions are met. As the Nov. 27 motion to reconsider was more than 6 months after the original decision, it should never have been allowed. McCrea advised the Board that Skonberg’s motion does not comply with the Bylaw and should be deleted from the Agenda, but Chair Peter disagreed and allowed the vote to continue. To me, this is a clear violation of the Park Bylaw.

  1. Here is what happened at the Nov. 27 meeting:

(a) The motion to reconsider (i.e. look at the original decision again) is carried with Hall, Peter, Skonberg & Toews voting in favour and McCrea, Payeur & Shanks opposing.

(b) The motion to rescind the earlier Board approved decision allowing 12-month occupancy is carried with Hall, Peter, Skonberg & Toews voting in favour and McCrea, Payeur & Shanks opposing.

(c) The motion to restrict the 2 waterfront CL’s to 6-month occupancy for their caretaker suites is carried with Hall, Peter, Skonberg & Toews voting in favour and McCrea, Payeur & Shanks opposing.

So think about the above when casting your ballot in November.

Carleton Toews encourages the CL’s to ask for 12-month occupancy for all and then, when the 5 CL’s do as Toews suggests, Toews ultimately votes against them. What does that tell you about Toews?

In May, Charlotte Hall voted against reconsideration, but changed her vote in November. When asked why she changed her vote, Hall said something to the effect that when she voted on the issue, she thought she was just voting for the $1,650 additional fee. She claims she did not know that she was also voting for 12 month occupancy for all 5 CL’s. Interesting, as I asked McCrea, Payeur & Shanks if they knew they were voting for both 12-month and the $1,650 rate and all 3 said “Yes”. Even Skonberg, the biggest opponent of 12-month occupancy, knew he was voting for both 12 months and the rate. This is shown in his proposal to the Board (see May 8, 2013 Agenda package) where he says (bolding and caps added by me): My other concern is that this Board is offering ALL commercial businesses with security suites year round residency for $1,650 per year.

So Hall votes on a motion that can have a huge impact on a CL’s business and personal life, and she admits that she did not know what she was voting for. What does that do for your confidence in Hall as a Commissioner?

Some recent developments on all of this – it seems as though this Board is not satisfied targeting the 2 waterfront CL’s re their caretaker suites – they have now gone after Frosty’s. Remember, Campbell sent a letter to the 5 CL’s, incl. Frosty’s, telling them the caretaker suite rate will be $1,650. In the recent article in the Chilliwack Progress, Frosty’s owner says the Board now wants to charge over $20,000/year for the caretaker suites (Frosty’s has 2 of these suites). So I guess this Board does not feel it is obligated by the Ron Campbell letter that was sent out in 2013 confirming the $1,650/year rate.

To me, it is disgusting the way the Board has a handled this whole mess, and if you agree you can make your feelings known at the ballot box.

Remember – Charlotte Hall & Carleton Toews, in contravention to the Park Procedure Bylaw, ultimately voted to take-away the previously granted 12-month occupancy for the 2 waterfront CL’s, while Larry Payeur & Malcolm Shanks consistently voted to do the right, honourable and legal thing and stand by the original, April 2013 Board decision.

Keep this in mind when you vote.

WATCH FOR NEXT POSTING SOON. . . .for item #1 on Rick’s list

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