Fire District opposes petition to BC Supreme Court

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, June 5 2019

The Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District (GFPID) has filed a response to the petition asking the Supreme Court to declare the April 24 Fire Board election of no effect.

In the response, the District opposes the petition.

The response from the District, served by Corporate Officer Paula Mallinson, states the District and Board of Trustees oppose the order asking the election be declared of no effect, and oppose the order of a new election.

The petition was filed with the BC Supreme Court on May 8 by islanders Drew Staniland, Ivan Bulic and April Vannini. It was served to Mallinson during the May 8 meeting of the Fire Board.

The Board and District had two weeks (by May 29) to file a response - they did so on Tuesday, May 28.

In the response filed, the District states two reasons under legal basis for opposing the petition:

1. Voting procedures used were as listed in the Improvement District Manual, page 19, which states that the only election rules outlined in legislation are the eligibility requirements, notice provision, the ability to use statutory declarations, the time when the election is to be held, and the method for challenging an election. The Board of Trustees has discretion to decide all other election procedures.

2. The Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District followed the exact same procedures that they have used for over 20 years.

Under factual basis, the Board says the election was held in accordance with the Letters Patent of the GFPID Bylaws; that it consulted with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing who assured the Corporate Officer that the requirements for an Improvement District’s election had been met; the voter’s list had 230 people signed in; 225 were confirmed from a report generated by the BC Assessment Office; 223 ballots were submitted; and the rules for registering on the voters’ list are printed on the top of the sign-in sheets provided at the entrance to the election. BC Supreme Court staff at the Nanaimo Courthouse said that as of Friday, May 31, there had been no notice of hearing set for the matter. 

As of press time, neither the Fire Board nor District staff had provided a statement on the Board’s decision to oppose the petition. A regular Fire Board meeting is scheduled for June 5 at 4:30pm at the Albert Reed Memorial Fire Hall #1.