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Sechelt Briefs: SCRD directors, alternates appointed and councillors voice frustrations

Highway, water and ferry solutions sidelined at Sechelt council meeting
N.Sechelt Briefs
District of Sechelt Municipal Hall

The following are briefs from the District of Sechelt’s Nov 22 regular council meeting.

New SCRD directors

Sechelt appointed two new alternate directors to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) board, concluding a multi-week limbo for a seat recently vacated by Sechelt Mayor John Henderson.  

“The SCRD takes a lot of time, particularly for directors, in some ways the alternates take even more time because you have to be prepared. It’s like sitting on the bench in a hockey game,” said Henderson as councillors discussed nominees. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, Henderson touched on his recent censure and the SCRD’s request to not appoint him to the SCRD board or committee for the remainder of his term as mayor. (Which necessitated the appointment of the new alternates.) He called the request excessive and potentially divisive. “There's no bylaws or policies which permit the SCRD to take the action they have. I've been elected by the community to be your mayor, and removing me from important committees hinders my ability to do what the people elected me to do.”

Councillors Adam Shepherd and Dianne McLauchlan were appointed alternate directors.

Councillors Alton Toth and Darren Inkster were also confirmed to continue in their board director roles.

Councillor frustration 

The meeting had an abrupt start as councillors voted to strike the majority of the business items from the agenda. Originally, the agenda called for discussion of several solution papers Henderson drafted regarding a new highway, water and ferries. 

Henderson presented the solution papers to ministers in Victoria in October, appealing for assistance. Council questioned why these solutions were being put forward after his initial meetings with provincial ministers. 

“At the end of the day, these items have already been presented to ministers and have been promoted to our community as being just the views of the mayor specifically. So I don't really see the need to see them anymore,” Toth said, noting that a committee of the whole discussion may have been more appropriate.

McLauchlan called the solutions a “long list of heavy things to ask for,” citing her previous work in B.C. and Alberta governments, saying that if Sechelt asks the government for too much, they risk having the province not support them in more short-term and medium-term applications.

Several councillors noted that they didn’t have an issue with what Henderson is trying to do, but wished to be involved earlier. 

Henderson’s latest Mayor’s Message states that he plans to return to Victoria in December to continue these discussions. 

Jordan Copp is the Coast Reporter’s civic and Indigenous affairs reporter. This reporting beat is made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.