I just watched the January 17, 2019 ‘secret’ public board meeting, all 22 minutes of it..Where is the motion to delete the Saturday April 13, 2019 voting day?!
The landowners have a right to know why the Board has decided to limit voting to only one day a week before the AGM! Even if this decision was made In Camera a motion must be brought forward at the next public meeting which must include reasons why?
Could it be that the current Board does not want to be accountable to landowners for their actions and instead will expect two newly elected Trustees to answer questions?!
Also, the land recently sold on Mcleod Road was DONATED to UBID not purchased by Union Bay.
NOTE: I tried to correct a misleading and inaccurate portrayal of myself during the October 18 meeting. Isn’t it curious that the October minutes (which the Board approved in November despite my objection) have not appeared online!
Residents concerned over month-long boil water advisory
Joel Ballard · CBC News · Posted: Jan 19, 2019 11:00 AM PT | Last Updated: an hour ago
Turbidity in Langley Lake on Vancouver Island has risen above acceptable levels for drinking water. (JET Productions)comments
Union Bay resident Kathy Calder wants to know why she can’t drink her tap water.
Her community, in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, has been on a boil water advisory for more than a month. Calder was looking forward to asking some questions at Thursday night’s Union Bay Improvement District [UBID] public meeting.
However, a letter posted to the district’s website Jan. 10 says residents are banned from attending the public meeting, which consists of elected officials.
The officials say they invoked the ban because past meetings have been sidetracked by heckling.
The boil water advisory and the subsequent banning of residents from public meetings has fuelled tensions in the small coastal community of 1,200, where some residents believe their most basic democratic right — access to information — has been thwarted.
An Improvement district is a local authority that provides services for a community. In Union Bay, it’s run by five elected trustees.
‘Are we not entitled to see and hear what’s going on?’
Since Dec. 15, 2018, the residents of Union Bay, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, have been forced to boil their water due to a high turbidity level in nearby Langley Lake, where the community draws its water.
Some residents wonder if increased development and logging near town may have affected the water quality. But district officials say heavy rain and winds have kicked up particles in the water and increased turbity.
Turbidity is the measure of the cloudiness of fluid.
Residents say the poor water quality is an urgent matter, noting some local stores are running out of water.
“We’re very, very frustrated,” said Calder, who moved to Union Bay with her husband in 2015. “We’re in our late 50s and it’s not good to have to boil everything.”
She wants to address district officials directly to voice her concerns.
Landowners from Union Bay, BC, have been banned from attending their upcoming public meeting. (JET Productions)
But district chairperson Ted Haraldson is adamant the weather is to blame for the poor water quality. He added stricter drinking water regulations introduced by the province in August 2018, have also led to the advisory.
Haraldson admits, however, that he doesn’t know when the boil water advisory will be lifted and people will be able to drink water straight from their taps again.
Calder wanted to raise her concerns at the next public meeting, from which the public is now banned.
“Isn’t this Canada? Are we not entitled to see and hear what’s going on in our community,” said Calder.
‘It is a privilege to be attending a board meeting’
Some residents say the heckling allegations from the district are unfair, arguing residents aren’t always to blame.
Resident Janet Thomas said board members are often seen heckling each other at meetings.
Indeed, videos from meetings held in October and November show how proceedings often descend into chaos, as trustees continually speak over each other.
At the November meeting for example, what began as a correction to the minutes quickly devolved into chaos as board members bickered, resulting in Haraldson threatening to call the police on one of the trustees. Eventually, the residents too became riled.
Haraldson said he’s run out of patience. “It is a privilege to be attending a board meeting,” he said.
“I would love to see people attend this meeting, to listen to what’s said in a governance manner. But that’s not what’s happening.”
He says a handful of culprit tend to cause the most problems. Yet, instead of banning only them, the entire community has been punished.
Holding the elections BEFORE the AGM looks like a deliberate attempt to have two trustees (Loxam and Jacques) get re- elected by keeping voters in the dark. This is election tampering which , in my opinion, is illegal.
UNION BAY, B.C- Ted Haraldson will be keeping the doors closed.
That’s what’s been indicated by Haraldson, who is currently serving as the chair of the Union Bay Improvement District trustee board. The board functions as the local government for Union Bay, with a focus on water service.
As of January 11th, 2019, the public meetings of Union Bay’s government have been closed to the public. The reason for the decision was said to be heckling at board meetings.
Trustee Susanna Kaljur, who often opposed the rest of the trustee board, was suspended a few days later.
The latest board meeting was scheduled to be held at the Union Bay community hall on Thursday evening, and it was later moved without notice to Courtenay. According to Haraldson, who spoke with the MyComoxValleyNow.com newsroom on Friday, it was held at a “secure location”.
He stated that the board suspected there may have been problems, had the meeting been held as scheduled in Union Bay.
“Hopefully, this won’t be happening again, and again these meetings are closed to the public,” said Haraldson.
“The only public meeting is going to be the AGM (annual general meeting) in April, and that is one that everyone will attend, and people will be able to speak, and all the rest. That is going to happen for sure.”
Haraldson stated that a video recording of the Courtenay meeting will be going up on the Union Bay website within “the next couple of days”, and indicated the meeting’s agenda would also be released at the same time.
He added that Union Bay’s upcoming trustee election would be moved to take place a week before the AGM, with the new trustees to be introduced at that gathering.
As for whether or not the rest of the board’s public meetings (which are barred to the public) will be held in Union Bay, Haraldson indicated that would be the case.
He figured people needed time to “calm down”, and stated he wasn’t comfortable with the move in the first place. However, he maintained it was “done for a reason”.
Asked what would happen if people didn’t “calm down”, he did not have an exact answer.
“I’m hoping that there is no violence in the workplace, and harassment, and cyber bullying calms down, to where people become civilised, and to go to a meeting, without having to have this thing occur,” said Haraldson.
He still maintains the AGM will be open to all, and said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“During the AGM, people will be able to speak,” said Haraldson.
“Entering the AGM, there will be a sergeant at arms present. If there are any problems, whatsoever, those individuals will be removed. Otherwise, an AGM is a public meeting, and that is open to the public.”
Haraldson also believes he has the support of Union Bay landowners.
The Union Bay Improvement District board has voted to suspend trustee Susanna Kaljur for an indefinite period of time.
Board chair Ted Haraldson — whose motion for her suspension was supported by trustees Glenn Loxam, Rick Bitten and Peter Jacques — says Kaljur has been disrespectful, and has not followed agendas or subjects at hand at meetings. He notes she has criticized the board for not following Robert’s Rules of Order — of which Haraldson claims Kaljur is guilty.
“Your actions are deliberate and planned, and several landowners in the audience get involved and support this behaviour,” Haraldson states in a letter to Kaljur. He could not be reached for comment. “These actions can be seen very clearly on our video tapes of our last two public meetings.”
Kaljur, however, says she’s the one being bullied and harassed. Last fall, she claims she was twice removed from board meetings for trying to ask a question or making a correction.
“At both of those meetings, I am given permission to speak by the chair, yet as soon as I begin to state my question or concern I am pounced upon by multiple trustees,” she said, noting multiple interruptions should be ruled ‘out of order’. “This is a blatant violation of Robert’s Rules of Order. The chair’s role is to ensure that every trustee has a chance to speak without interruption by other trustees.”
Haraldson also criticizes Kaljur and a small group of landowners for creating a hostile environment that could lead to violence.
He also accuses her of cyber bullying, saying Kaljur created a blog to openly discuss UBID actions without authorization from the chair. Haraldson says a Dec. 18 blog attacks public works superintendent Dan McGill, questioning his competency about past turbidity readings and unreported boil water notices.
“These unfounded accusations can create a liability and public safety concern to UBID, and is unacceptable treatment of our employees,” Haraldson writes.
Kaljur said she initiated her blog to bring forward matters of public interest — notably water quality and treatment plant financing — to ensure landowners have information to make informed decisions.
“I have made it very clear on my blog that I am not speaking on behalf of the board, nor have I disparaged any staff person or board member at any time,” Kaljur said. “My focus has always been about policy, decisions and actions which appear contrary to the best interest of the public and landowners.”
She notes board meetings are not open to the public until the April 11 AGM.
“This is unacceptable in my opinion and contrary to local government procedure,” Kaljur said.
The UBID website notes an increasing number of hecklers had been disrupting meetings.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, which oversees local governing bodies in B.C., says legislation covering improvement districts does not include specific provisions regarding suspensions of trustees.
A ministry statement reads: “Any situation involving the rights and responsibilities of individuals needs to be handled with careful attention to fairness to all sides; for example, a local body seeking to publicly rebuke and sanction an elected official for inappropriate behaviour would be encouraged to seek legal advice regarding its process.”
The ministry said it continues to support UBID staff with “information regarding best practices for the conduct of board meetings and other procedural matters.”