The Union Bay Improvement District board has complied with one of the demands of a letter sent by the lawyer of suspended trustee Susanna Kaljur.
On Jan. 10, UBID trustees Ted Haraldson, Rick Bitten, Glenn Loxam and Peter Jacques voted unanimously to suspend Kaljur from the board, for what they deemed as inappropriate behaviour.
Kaljur challenged the suspension, saying it had no legal standing.
The board received a letter from Kaljur’s legal counsel on Feb. 12, demanding a published apology signed by Haraldson, Bitten, Loxam and Jacques, with the threat of a lawsuit for non-compliance.
There was a Feb. 15 deadline to meet the demands of the letter.
On Feb. 14, the UBID board posted a letter of apology on its website, signed by the four trustees who originally voted to suspend Kaljur.
“We have been advised by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing that there are no provisions under the Local Government Act allowing the Board to suspend an elected Trustee from office,” read the note, in part. “We acknowledge that the decision to suspend Trustee Kaljur is of no force or effect. We sincerely apologize to Trustee Kaljur for our actions in this manner and regret any inconvenience our decision may have caused her.
“We hope that as a Board, moving forward, we can work collectively and cooperatively to serve the interests of our residents.” (see end of article for pdf of letter)
A second portion of the Feb. 12 letter threatened legal action against Haraldson specifically, for what Kaljur’s counsel deemed as defamatory comments “published in the Comox Valley Now(sic) online newspaper.”
Kaljur pointed out that the publicly posted apology was only one of the demands in the letter.
“There are a number of issues which the board has not addressed adequately, which may result in further legal action,” she said.
“Both the apology for suspension letter and the apology letter from Ted Haraldson for defamation against myself (which has not yet been received) must be sent by mail to every landowner as Union Bay has a large number of seniors who do not use computers.”
Kaljur is also questioning the validity of any decisions that were made at UBID board meetings during her illegal suspension.
“The board meetings of January and February 2019 occurred without my knowledge or public notice, due to my being illegally suspended,” she said. “Now that the board has agreed this was illegal, this decision renders those meetings null and void which includes the highly irregular alteration of Union Bay’s election days and AGM.
“The simplest, fairest remedy is for the original election dates, open/close of nominations and the AGM revert back to the original dates voted on and passed at the 2018 AGM April 19, 2018.”
The Feb. 15 deadline remains in place for all other demands in the letter.
“Until all these conditions are met I will not be accepting any apology and I will have no other recourse but proceed with my lawsuit,” said Kaljur.
When contacted by The Record, Haraldson said the board has complied with all the demands it deems reasonable.
The publicly posted apology will not be sent to landowners by mail.
“The apology has gone out on our website, [which] goes to all the landowners,” said Haraldson. “It has not been mailed out – it’s gone out on the website to all the landowners.”
When asked how those without computers are to receive the apology, Haraldson was curt.
“That’s why there’s a newspaper.”
According to Haraldson, the change of dates for the election and nomination period was to rectify an error in the original posting and was strictly administerial, in order to comply with Elections BC.
“Those election dates were set wrong the previous election, and that’s why we are [changing them],” he said. The change didn’t [require] her to be there, or myself.”
The dates for the upcoming election and annual general meeting are as follows:
March 5 – Call for nominations
April 2 – Nomination window closes
April 9 – Advance poll
April 20 – Election
April 25 – Annual general meeting
As for a personal apology regarding the allegations of defamation of character, Haraldson sees no reason for an apology.
“There is no defamation of character,” he said.