Councillor's comments disqualify him from vote on development proposal - InfoNews

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Councillor's comments disqualify him from vote on development proposal

January 24, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Councillor Donovan Cavers and his mouth are in trouble again and this time, he is barred him from an upcoming vote.

Cavers will be unable to participate in a public hearing vote on a development near Thompson Rivers University after he called the project ‘urban sprawl’ in last week’s council meeting. In a statement read during today’s meeting, Jan. 24, Cavers said despite his comment, he maintains an open mind then reiterated his distaste for urban sprawl.

“I do maintain an open mind for each application,” he read. “I will judge each application on its own merits.”

David Trawin, the city’s CAO, says Cavers has to be barred from the decision making process due to his comment, as the courts have well established.

“The courts have said in past court cases that a councillor has to keep an open mind, has to have the ability to be persuaded at a public hearing,” he says. “If the councillor has made up his mind already that makes him biased.”

This isn't the first time comments from Cavers have caused trouble. 

While councillors may have biases anyway, Trawin says in Cavers’s case the councillor’s comments were directed at a specific application and therefore could put the city in legal trouble.

“The courts say he is biased based upon his conversation which could open up him and the city to liability if he did vote,” Trawin says.

Cavers’s comment came when he asked staff about how to proceed with the public hearing if he already knew his decision. Staff informed him he wouldn’t be able to attend because of this.

Trawin says he thinks Cavers was asking because he had already voted against a similar development next door to the proposed one and the application for a 22- to 24-home subdivision near Kenna Cartwright Park was virtually the same.

Cavers would not comment on the issue further today. He said he would make his statement today available to the media, but didn't do so before deadline.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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