Letter from Marcia Timbres to Gibsons Mayor Wayne Rowe, and Rowe’s response
Note: Information in the letter from lawyer Jonathan Baker to which Timbres refers is under a publication ban by the B.C. Ombudsperson’s Office at this time.
To read Rowe’s letter, please click on the images and make them larger in your browser if necessary
Tuesday, September 15, 15
Dear Mayor Rowe,
Citizens of Gibsons have made numerous verbal inquiries at Council and Committee of the Whole meetings and through written inquiries to Town of Gibsons staff members, seeking answers to concerns about a perceived conflict of interest related to “The George” hotel and residences rezoning and OCP amendment.
Complaints have been filed with the office of the BC Ombudsperson, who is currently investigating your potential conflict of interest.
You have stated publicly that you understand the provisions for Conflict of Interest in the Community Charter and you have denied any conflict of interest related to the developer. Yet you have also refused to answer questions about “The George” project properties, citing “solicitor client privilege”.
Attempts to understand whether you or the Town have sought and/or received a legal opinion as to whether or not you have a conflict of interest with respect to the George Hotel and Residences re-zoning and/or OCP amendment applications, have been stonewalled by the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Gibsons, Emanuel Machado.
When asked what citizens can do, the Corporate Officer of the Town, Selina Williams, pointed to the regulations in the Community Charter and suggested an appropriate course of action would be to seek independent legal advice.
Concerned that you are in a conflict of interest with respect to the George Hotel & Residences proposal, The Friends of the Harbour recently sought a legal opinion from a respected municipal law specialist in Vancouver. The legal opinion is attached to this correspondence.
Mayor Rowe, we are reasonable people. In our view, the appearance of conflict of interest between yourself and Mr. Fuerniss is material. For us, the fact that both you and the CAO refuse to answer simple questions about this, only increases the appearance of conflict.
We ask that you please declare a conflict of interest and recuse yourself from any discussion relating to the George Hotel and Residences application.
If you choose not to declare and recuse yourself, we will have no alternative but to apply to the Supreme Court for an order under Section 111 of the Community Charter, to have you disqualified from office.
Marcia Timbres and the Friends of the Harbour