The Union Bay Improvement District’s board is missing a chairperson.
The Comox Valley Record received a tip that new chair Paul Healey stepped down at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Staff at the UBID office could not comment publicly, saying the organization’s bylaws dictate the chair is the only person who can comment, but they did confirm there is no chair at this time.
The newspaper has not been able to confirm whether it was Healey’s choice or if he is still a board member. The Record has reached out to him for comment, but at the time the story went to press, had yet to hear back.
The UBID website includes video from the latest board meeting held Sept. 19. In it, Healey does refer to an upcoming committee meeting slated for the following Tuesday. The next actual board meeting is set for Oct. 14.
Almost from the outset the Sept. 19 meeting, a contentious debate breaks out between board members Susanna Kaljur and Rick Bitten over points of order and whether what they are discussing is even on the agenda.
A key issue is the absence of staff at the meetings because of concerns about violence. About six minutes in, Healey tells everyone to stop. The disruption continues through for until about the 10-minute mark. Board members start to discuss recent business such as water treatment and computer equipment for the fire department. Around 20 minutes in though, the discussion breaks down into more arguing, with members returning to issues around points of order and the agenda. At one point, someone tells Healey to get control of the meeting.
“Everybody, try to be respectful,” Healey tells them. “We had a good meeting on Aug. 8. If we can have a meeting the same way, that would be perfect.”
The topic of violence at meetings returns at the end of the discussion before the camera is shut off, prior to any adjournment.
On Aug. 9, Healey wrote the Ministry of Municipal Affairs requesting a study of board governance. UBID posted a response on its website from Marijke Edmondson, director of Governance Structures, about a possible incorporation study.
“Incorporation can be a contentious issue for a community in the best of circumstances. Over the past two years there is already evidence of significant community discord in Union Bay, given the governance challenges the board has had and the contentious interactions that have occurred between the board and members of the public,” she states, adding that before any study can take place, the Comox Valley Regional District and the electoral area director will need to take a leadership role in the process.