‘No’ Vote Lands Canadian Body in Hot Water
A landowner aggrieved over a rejected development permit application has called in the lawyers, the Comox Valley Echo, Courtenay, British Columbia, reported
Amandio Santos of River Dam Holdings had warned Comox Valley Regional District directors he would work to overturn their decision to reject his application to develop an RV campground at Holiday Road in Fanny Bay, located on the east side of Vancouver Island.
Staff had recommended approval in line with the site’s zoning for tourist-commercial development, but the board eventually went along with residents’ objections and rejected the plan back in September.
At the Jan. 17 meeting of the electoral areas services committee, directors were shown a letter from Vancouver lawyer Jonathan Baker acting on behalf of Santos.
Baker noted “councillors are generally immune from personal liability for decisions made in good faith within the scope of their duties.”
But quoting from case law, he added: “Where a councillor votes on a zoning matter ignoring mandatory provisions, after having been advised in advance that his action in doing so is illegal, he may be guilty of the tort of abuse of public office.”
He added: “A review of the applicable bylaws supports the proposition that staff was correct (in recommending acceptance) and provides no indication as to (on) what possible grounds our client’s application was refused.”
In view of this, Baker suggested directors reconsider their decision. Regional District chief administrative officer Debra Oakman said staff were considering the correspondence and would report on options to a future meeting, so for now the letter has simply been received without comment.