Courtenay councillor fights to keep seat despite colleagues’ calls for resignation

Courtenay councillor fights to keep seat despite colleagues' calls for resignation

Courtenay councillor David Frisch is determined to stay on council despite his colleagues’ calls for resignation, following a domestic dispute that led to a now-dropped assault charge.

In an interview with CHEK News Wednesday, Frisch and his wife Chantal asked for understanding from the public, emphasizing that they are working through their personal issues and that he remains committed to serving the community.

The couple, who have been together for 10 years and married for six, faced a domestic disturbance in their home on Jan. 6.

“Well Chantal and I, like many couples, had a dispute, a fight and I think it got a little out of hand,” Frisch said. “It was mainly verbal, it got a little bit physical but nothing crazy.”

Chantal called the police the next day, leading to assault charges against David. He had to vacate his seat on council temporarily and stay away from the family while the case was in court. The assault charges were later dropped, and Frisch agreed to a one-year peace bond.

Frisch, first elected to council in 2014, was initially charged with assault for the Jan. 7 incident , according to court documents. The charge was eventually downgraded to a court-ordered recognizance under section 810 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

“Which basically stated that Chantal had the ability to ask me to leave at any time and Chantal and I talked about that and it seemed reasonable to us,” said Frisch. “The real problem has come up that in order to do that, I had to admit that Chantal had a reason to fear for her safety even though she had admitted that she doesn’t have a fear.”

Frisch was on a mandatory leave of his duties per the Community Charter, starting on Jan. 27. He still held office and got paid while on leave, as noted in sections 109.1 through 109.3 of the charter. He returned from leave on April 11.

On April 28, council called for Frisch to resign and unanimously voted to impose several sanctions against him for the remainder of his term, like removing him from the acting mayor rotation and all applicable committees, commissions, boards, and any other council appointments. He can no longer attend conferences or external events.

“The decision to censure and demand his immediate resignation reflects a loss of confidence in his ability to represent the City based on his conduct, and in strong disagreement of his decision to remain on City Council at this time,” council stated in a news release.

In a statement, the council said they found his conduct unbecoming and expressed a loss of confidence in his ability to represent the city based on his conduct. Frisch, however, wants to stay on council, and his wife supports his decision.

“We’re working through our stuff, and I feel like our relationship is very strong,” Chantal said.

David says he remains committed to addressing the personal issues and being a positive member of council.

“I would hope people could be understanding that I’m going through normal life issues and that I’m doing my best and I know I can do a great job on council, so I really plea for their understanding,” he said.

READ JAN. 2023 STORY: Courtenay city councillor on mandatory leave following assault charge

Read Coun. David Frisch’s full Facebook statement below:

“Earlier this year I had the very challenging experience of being involved in legal action stemming from a dispute between my wife and I. While I am glad the court set aside charges that did not reflect the situation, I would like to extend my sincerest apologies to my family, friends, and community who have been with me through these difficult times. I’ve spent the last couple of months addressing the issues in my personal life. I am delighted that my wife and I are, now, working on strengthening our marriage and our relationship with community and friends.

“I regret that my personal issues have put my fellow Courtenay Council members in an uncomfortable position. They have taken unexpected and undeserving pressure from the public over my situation and I’m sorry for making their job more difficult.

“I made mistakes and learned some valuable lessons about what is really important-the love of family and service to our community. I could have done better and have learned a great deal from my mistakes. I will be back to my regular council duties shortly and I humbly ask for peoples’ compassion and support as I put my mind back to serving the community. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to rebuild your trust. I understand these are trying times and I look forward to engaging with you on some of the more pressing issues like homelessness, downtown community building, housing, and climate change. I thank all of you who’ve stepped up with support for me and my family during this ordeal and look forward to working with you in building a healthy, sustainable, vibrant Comox Valley.”


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