A pair of Qualicum Beach councillors have called a special meeting, aiming to save the historic St. Andrews Lodge from demolition.
Teunis Westbroek and Adam Walker, basing their decision on a section of the Community Charter, scheduled a virtual special meeting for Friday, Nov. 6 at 11 a.m.
Coun. Robert Filmer indicated he, along with Westbroek and Walker, officially made a request to Mayor Brian Wiese on Nov. 4 to call the special meeting. But Wiese, in an open letter to councillors and posted on the town’s website, stated he has no plans to hold one.
Filmer said they waited 24 hours for a special meeting to be called and when nothing happened, that’s when Westbroek and Walker jointly scheduled one under the Community Charter.
“This has never happened before in our town’s history where the mayor has refused to call the meeting,” said Filmer. “The demolition is set to start tomorrow, so we are hoping to have all this reversed and halted.”
Coun. Scott Harrison questioned the validity of the way the special meeting was called, as well as the merits of the proposed motion to rescind a decision by council that was acted on by staff. He feels they might be breaching a contract and may face legal repercussions for doing so.
“Under our procedure bylaw, once a council decision has been acted on by staff, in this case a contract has been signed, you cannot reconsider,” Harrison explained. “So reconsideration is off the table. What’s left is to rescind. Do you want to basically undo everything and make it disappear? So you had that vote in the public meeting, the motion to rescind requires a two-thirds majority and it failed. The question is at this stage is can you rescind a decision after deciding not to rescind?”
The PQB News made calls to both Wiese and town chief administrative officer Daniel Sailland, but they were not immediately returned.
The proposed special meeting’s agenda focuses on repealing council’s decision on Oct. 28 to demolish the St. Andrews Lodge.
There is also a motion that directs staff to support and work with the Qualicum Community Education & Wellness Society to establish the St. Andrews Lodge Historical and Cultural Society, which will be tasked to undertake the restore the building at no cost to the town. Once the building is restored, the town will lease the lodge to the society similar to the current agreement it has with the The Old School House Society.