In a rare move in municipal politics, a community in northern Vancouver Island is hoping the courts will help remove a local councillor from office.
The Village of Tahsis has petitioned the B.C. Supreme Court to remove Coun. Douglas Elliott.
Elliott, who was elected to council in 2022, had sometimes butted heads with the rest of the council table, including grabbing the gavel from the deputy mayor during a March 20 council meeting that became heated between council members and residents.
In its petition to the B.C. Supreme Court, the village says Elliott had verbally told the rest of council that he intended to resign in September on two occasions, once on May 2 and again on July 4.
Without a written resignation, however, the municipality says it’s unable to remove Elliott from his position under the B.C. Community Charter.
The village says Elliott was absent from six consecutive council meetings, spanning from Aug. 1 to Nov. 7, and adds that the absences were not approved by council and were not due to illness or injury.
The municipality also says it sent a letter to Elliott on Oct. 10 requesting that he submit a written resignation to council, followed up by an email from the mayor repeating that request on Oct. 24.
When the petition to the court was filed on Dec. 1, the village said it had still not received a written resignation from the councillor, and that the municipality was hoping to have him removed from his council seat due to missing consecutive council meetings.
The village’s petition hinges on section 125(5) of the community charter, which disqualifies council members from holding office until the next general election if they are absent from council meetings for more than four consecutive meetings, or if they are absent for 60 consecutive days.
The Village of Tahsis is located in northwestern Vancouver Island, about 153 kilometres west of Campbell River by highway.
The municipality has a population of about 400 people, according to the 2021 Canadian Census.
CHEK News has reached out to Elliott for comment.