Councillors Wolfgang Duntz and Daron Jennings handed in letters of resignation to the Municipality on Friday, March 14th. The remaining members of council passed resolutions stating both the acceptance of those resignations and the decision not to hold by-elections in order to fill their spots on council. A third resolution appointed Councillor Alison Morse as Duntz’s replacement as the Municipal Trustee to the Islands Trust.
The Municipality’s Chief Adminitrative Officer, Kathy Lalonde told council that according to the Community Charter, no by-election would be necessary to fill the now-empty council seats.
“Comments have been made about the new size of Council,” said Lalonde. “I would like to point out that most communities of our size only have five members of council, four council members and a mayor and that’s for any town or village within BC, a good example is Pemberton. We’re an exception to that size rule, I can’t really speak to why, but I do want to offer that.”
Lalonde also told council that a by-election would require three months of preparation and cost between ten and fifteen thousand dollars.
“It would probably cost closer to 15 thousand dollars, as we would need to hire an outside contractor to act as a Chief Election Officer. I would not have the time or capability to do it and prepare for a general election at the same time.”
Council voted unanimously in favour of all three resolutions.
In their letters of resignation, both Duntz and Jennings stated that the rezoning of public lands “may expose me to perceived or actual conflicts of interest.”Both Duntz and Jennings appeared in the audience for the Municipal budget meeting that followed the Special Meeting to formalize their resignations.
“We’ve put a lot of work into this budget,” said Jennings. “Not seeing it through is bittersweet.”
“The next few months will be interesting,” said Duntz. “Now that we are out of council we will insist that they deal with rezoning applications which we are bringing forward. Let’s see how the public reacts to that. I can’t see that the public will oppose those suggestions… We may be off council, but I will not get out of politics. I will get deeper in and challenge those people that tried to malign us.”