General News · 29th January 2019
I returned in mid-January from Christmas holidays to legal allegations, many distraught friends as well as irregular and disturbing governance practices. I have been carefully navigating what I can and cannot say and do, legally, ethically and as a member of the SRD team.
As there are so many interconnected moving parts to this quickly evolving situation, I struggle to know what to say and what is relevant to people. So, as a beginning, please find below some questions submitted by you and my responses. I welcome specific questions like these and will do my best to answer them as they come in.
1. What can you talk about and report on while all of this is underway? What limitations do you have on your communications to the Cortes community?
In a small place where people and issues are so interconnected, this is a delicate task. During this time, I have been consulting legal counsel and other authorities to find my feet, and in times of uncertainly just planting garlic. I have a limited ability to discuss the petition, although I will be responding formally. I cannot discuss any matters that the board is keeping in closed session. However, I can continue to discuss all other business and am very willing to answer any questions I can as we figure out how to respond, both individually and collectively.
2. The 2019 SRD budget process is underway. How do you see the timeline? What Cortes issues will and will not be affected in the 2019 budget with the SRD decision to table the 3 current key issues (APC, hall service tax, first responder). How do you anticipate the GIA funding will be handled?
The SRD budget is finalized in February or March of each year. This year will be no different. I do not expect that the Cortes portion of that budget will be adversely affected or delayed. I expect that through the budget process we will set aside Cortes Grant in Aids for future distribution, as we do every year. The actual allocation of those funds and the timing thereof may well be affected depending on the outcome of the investigation and when the SRD Board again decides to deal with Cortes business.
3. When submitting letters to the Regional District, where do we send them and by when?
If the intent is to have letters received by the Board, address them directly to the SRD Board and submit them as soon as you can. The next meeting is February 13th and letters should be submitted no later than the 6th for inclusion on the agenda. Write to administrationsrd.ca or 301-990 Cedar St, Campbell River, BC, V9W 7Z8.
4. How do you expect the SRD will respond to the issue of secret, anonymous, unrecorded lobbying of SRD directors?
Although I have witnessed this practice to be commonplace during my decade in office, and although multiple Board Chairs and Chief Administrative Officers have asked that it stop, the Board has not so far taken any decisive action on this matter, nor am I clear what options (or how much will) the Board has to effect change. I have brought this matter up verbally many times over the years and just submitted a report to the Board this month asking that this practice cease. We have all just recently been offered corporate email addresses for the first time, and I have accepted. Perhaps if other directors make this shift it will help. Beyond that I do not know.
5. Is there any provision for the SRD to give you any financial support?
As I understand the SRD’s policy, the District will pay for a director's legal costs unless the director fails to follow the bylaw, fails to cooperate or otherwise interferes. However, the bylaw is silent on the timing of payment which is left to the discretion of the board on a case by case basis. The Board may either reimburse a director for costs after a legal matter is settled or cover costs as they are incurred, either by taking control of the case and directly appointing legal counsel or by paying a director's legal bills as they are incurred.
6. What is the state of your legal defence to date?
I engaged my own legal counsel at the end of last year on this matter. I have been paying my own bills and need to make provision for continuing to do so.
I still sit in deep gratitude for calling this island home and offer a daily prayer that all the relevant truth be revealed and that we find our feet in restored community wellness.
Info on the Investigator
Comment by Paul Ryan on 30th January 2019
FYI, Craig Peterson is a retired RCMP officer who spent a lot of his working life on Quadra Island. He is now living there.