– from Derek Lewers
(pictured: councillor chats with applicant after the public hearing was closed and before the council vote)
There are three reasons for in-camera meetings. Personnel, land and legal. The three topics are reserved for in-camera meetings at any municipal government.
However, seasoned politician/ council agitator, Councillor Kasper may have just put the taxpayers of Sooke on the hook for legal action, after stating several times in an open meeting that council could likely loose in court if challenged on a land use matter.
In what was a classic Kasper grandstanding moment at the Sept 17th Special Council meeting, Kasper engaged with the applicant of the illegal business at 5536 Sooke Rd, and asked the applicant if he was ever issued a cease and desist notice from the District of Sooke; the applicant said he had not. Again, in dramatic fashion, Kasper repeated his question. Again, the applicant said he had not. Upon hearing this from the applicant, Kasper stated that due to the fact the District had not taken any action against the applicant and had in fact used the services of the applicant on a few occasions, there would be a strong legal case against the District, by the applicant, for failing to take action all these years. He ended his statement with a Kasperism “and that is just the facts.”
Oddly enough, it was also Kasper who helped lead council down the wrong path in another matter pertaining to the same owner on Sept 18, 2017, when again, the same applicant had come to the District for a business licence for his illegal business. Kasper again, seized the moment and the speaking time to show his pro-small business stance and opposition to red-tape, wrongfully calling the business legal non-conforming, saying he was “shocked” this had been going on since 2007 and he was just trying to clean up the mess. He then demanded that Sooke council and staff fix the issue, and ensured that all the wording the applicant asked for be included in his business licence. [SPN note, that licence was shortly thereafter revoked.]
I don’t know about you, but this is not a behavior I want from my elected representative that is supposed to be taking care of the best interests of Sooke taxpayers. To admit any degree of culpability and giving not only the applicant legal ammunition against the taxpayers of Sooke, but in this case, anyone that is impacted as a result of council’s inaction, ammo to take legal action against the District, is grossly irresponsible, something that could ending up costing all Sooke taxpayers in the future.
The best part of the story, is that Kasper’s “facts” on both of these “Kasper moments” have been proven wrong. At the Sept 17th meeting, after the grandstanding had ended, staff presented a copy of a notice to cease operations given to the applicant in 2004 (two years after he got running). Also, in a staff report to council after the business licence debacle last year, it was stated that at no time was the business in question legal non-conforming: it was just plain illegal.
Despite these ACTUAL facts, and a public request for an apology, Kasper has failed to retract his statements, and has not asked for any laws to be upheld. Instead, claiming he was acting in the best interest of Sooke taxpayers out of fear of legal action, he voted to amend the OCP on October 1 to allow temporary use permits in the area. That action that did nothing to prevent legal action, but instead, just kicked it down the road.
I don’t know about you, but for me, this is an “Anyone But Kasper” #anyonebutkasper election. And that my friends, IS JUST THE FACTS.
It’s time for a change.
- Letter: Councillor puts District at risk, admits liability in public meeting
- Closing act: Sooke Council narrowly passes OCP amendment
- Delegation: Derek Lewers presents years of frustration to Sooke Council
- Legal matters prevent Sooke council from providing information
- Delegation: Lewers’ family asks the District to stand by their bylaws
- Want to do business with the District? Then a business licence from the District will be required
- Controversial licence rescinded, business owner to appeal
- Council to receive report that chastises Council for granting a business licence
- Delegation reveals Sooke Council divided on being informed
- DELEGATION: Recent bad Council decision tied to the lack of an up-to-date OCP
- District of Sooke grants improper business licence, violates its own zoning