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qathet Regional District to potentially censure Area B director

A qathet Regional District (qRD) director is in hot water and may be censured after comments made about bylaw developments.

The qRD says there will be a special Regional Board meeting on Thursday, to discuss if they should make a resolution to censure Director Mark Gisborne.

The chair’s report said comments made by Gisborne at a meeting on Nov. 9 are the issue.

The report says Gisborne made comments during a proposed Douglas Bay Road bylaw debate. The proposed bylaws were from petitions from residents in the neighbourhood and under the proposed bylaws, cannabis production and sales, commercial use and industrial use within the neighbourhood would be prohibited.

Director Gisborne said the principles were an attempt to “regulate racial and economic diversity and to prevent racial and ethnic minorities . . . moving into the neighbourhood.” They say he referenced a Wikipedia article to validate his statements.

Further comments about the payment of the bylaws were also seen as offensive to the community.

In a Facebook post, Gisborne says the RD Chair report is filled with false information, and is a personal attack against him. he says he will make a full response in the Board’s second meeting of the month.

If the decision to censure Gisborne is made, it will be taken to a second meeting on Jan. 27. Director Gisborne would be given a chance to speak before the decision is made.

The district says if Gisborne is censured, he will be removed from the role of Vice Chair, will be denied financial support for being at the annual general meetings of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and the Union of BC Municipalities, and the Electoral Area Forum and meetings of the Local Government Leadership Academy.

The sanctions would take place immediately and would expire when his term expires in October 2022.

It wouldn’t be the first time Gisborne has been censured. According to the report, Gisborne “has demonstrated a frequent disregard for acceptable behaviour towards other directors, qRD staff, members of the public, and provincial civil servants.”

They say Gisborne was previously censured in November 2019, where he challenged a delegate’s qualifications to speak to an issue.

They say what followed was a refusal to apologize from Gisborne over four months. The district would later issue their own apology, and directed Gisborne to “treat all individuals who appear before the Board in a respectful and professional manner and that he was further directed to ensure that any comments he makes at Board meetings are respectful and professional.”

They say “his violations of the norms of conduct have resulted in fractious meetings where difficulty in maintaining order has degraded the ability of directors and staff to conduct the public’s business in a manner reflecting [their] responsibilities and obligations.”

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