Two Comox councillors who have been accused by a resident of having a conflict of interest regarding development issues defended their positions at the council table, even checking with legal counsel to clarify the situation.
At the April 20 council meeting, Coun. Nicole Minions and Ken Grant both took an opportunity during the meeting to address a letter sent to council by Terry Choquette that expressed concern about “the direction of development in Comox in very recent years…I feel strongly that there is a conflict of interest on issues of development for at least two members of our council.”
Choquette noted Minions, who is the owner of a real estate brokerage and Grant, who is a mortgage consultant, have been benefiting in their private businesses by their roles on councils in the Valley.
“Both have pecuniary interests in the growth of units, either commercial or residential in Comox and the Valley in general,” said the letter.
Choquette asked for both councillors to self-declare per the statute in the Community Charter and recuse themselves from votes and discussions regarding development, and encouraged the councillors in question to seek legal consultation if they felt there is not a conflict.
Minions noted it is a good question to ask council members to consider what are their legal and moral conflicts at the council table, as councillors come from diverse and different backgrounds.
“There is no moral or legal conflict – when I come I wear a community hat, I wear a personal hat and I can say in three and half years I have not benefited once from a new Comox condo, townhouse or home. I just hope that my actions are transparent and I would not plan on not voting on these things because I feel like the value is there.”
Grant echoed Minions and added whenever a conflict has come up in the past, he has received legal advice as to whether he should leave the council table.
“I have never been found in conflict of interest anywhere and on this particular issue with this person, I got legal aid to say that were are not in conflict. I just wanted to make that clear.”