Judge moves Fire Board election to September 25

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, August 7 2019

BC Supreme Court Justice Murray B. Blok has approved a request from the Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District to move the election of two Trustees to September 25, 2019 at 7pm.

Blok made the decision after a meeting with representatives of the Fire District and the petitioners who had requested the April 24 election be declared ‘of no effect.’

On July 2, Blok had declared the April 24 election of no effect and ordered a new election be be held on August 21, with the use of absentee ballots to accommodate people being gone for the summer. It had been Blok, not the petitioners nor the Fire District, who had suggested the absentee ballots.

Because the District bylaws allow for nominations from the floor, having absentee ballots would have, in the estimation of the District, made it very difficult to run the election.

As such, the District requested the Judge move the election to the fall, having received permission from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to have an election more than 60 days after a position has been vacated.

The petitioners consented to the request to have the election in the fall.

No statement was received from the Fire District or representatives of the Fire District on the date change.

The petitioners issued a statement saying they had consented to a request by the Fire District’s lawyer Jennifer Millbank to ask Justice Blok to reconsider his order regarding absentee ballots for the new election on August 21st, 2019. 

“We suggested to Jennifer Millbank that the date of the election be changed to a more suitable time in September and not during summer holidays since the reasoning behind Judge Blok’s order for absentee ballots was to ensure increased ability to vote in a summer election. 

“At the hearing on July 2nd, Justice Blok made the order for a new election to take place. Justice Blok questioned whether Fire District’s suggested date of August 21, 2019 was the most appropriate date given that it was during the summer months. 

“Out of his own concern regarding the proposed date for a new election, he ordered that GFPID to include arrangements for absentee votes should be made. On August 1, 2019, Justice Blok reconfirmed his intention regarding his order of absentee ballots in a conversation with GFPID lawyer Jennifer Millbank and petitioners representative Tim Leadem and was able to revoke the order of absentee votes with a new proposed election date of September 25th, 2019.”