Discussion on a rezoning application for the Royal York Golf Course got heated at Monday’s regular meeting of Armstrong council between one councillor and the city’s chief administrative officer on March 22, 2021. (Morning Star - file photo)

Discussion on a rezoning application for the Royal York Golf Course got heated at Monday’s regular meeting of Armstrong council between one councillor and the city’s chief administrative officer on March 22, 2021. (Morning Star - file photo)

Wright wrong in perceived corruption in golf course application: Armstrong CAO

Bertles says easy for councillor to take ‘Trump-like stance’, make allegations of staff

Allegations about the perception of impropriety over the handling of a rezoning application did not sit well with Armstrong’s chief administrative officer.

Kevin Bertles took exception to Coun. Jim Wright’s comments at the regular meeting of council Monday, March 22, about an official community plan/zoning bylaw amendment application presented by Longview Resources Ltd.

The proposal calls to redevelop the Royal York Golf Course property for 141 single-family housing lots of different sizes, a reduced par-3 executive golf course and some parkland. Longview has also proposed trail connections throughout the site for public use.

Staff’s recommendation on the application for Monday was to give it first reading, then send it out to 19 different agencies for their comments before bringing it back to council for the second reading.

“This is way too big an operation and proposal not to have more meetings and discussion,” said Wright. “Through no fault of the planner (Dan Passmore), he’s brought forward this stuff to rezone it eventually. There’s just too much information missing.”

Wright opposed bringing the application forward.

“I think there’s a really high probability of inappropriate influence here; for our planner to have to bring this information forward incomplete troubles me,” said Wright.

“That leads to the perception of poor transparency by council; that leads to the perception of cover-up. It leaves a perception of corruption. It leaves a perception, I’m not saying it’s there, but there needs to be more research on this. I can’t support this motion. I would suggest we throw this back to the planner. It’s not right the way it’s going here.”

Given a chance to speak, Bertles said he resented Wright’s allegations of “undue influence, corruption, lack of openness.”

“It’s easy for someone to take a Trump-like stance and make allegations,” said Bertles.

He said there’s no personal gain for staff when they bring information forward to council to decide on.

Bertles noted there’s an obligation on the city to consider applications and policy states when an application comes forward, it must have two readings.

“We have not done that in consideration of the multitude of issues that surround a development of this size in this kind of community,” he said. “We’re trying to lead with a gentle hand on this and to suggest otherwise, I think, is irresponsible.”

The City of Armstrong issued a release Tuesday denouncing Wright’s comments.

“The comments made by Councillor Wright are his alone and do not reflect on the city, its council, city staff, or the developer in any way. Councillor Wright made these accusations during a public meeting of council without substantiating them, and the city considers them baseless and inappropriate.”

Coun. Linda Fisher expressed some concerns about the application, including flooding, groundwater, street widths, lack of sidewalks and lack of a current traffic impact study.

Coun. Shirley Fowler said council was not jumping the gun, and has been wading into this application “for months and months and months.”

“Going ahead with first reading will have a positive impact as opposed to a negative impact,” said Fowler.

Council voted 6-1 in favour of first reading of the OCP and rezoning application bylaws, with Wright opposed, but was unanimous in sending the proposal to 19 agencies for comment before second reading.

READ MORE: Armstrong golf pro soars to home course position

READ MORE: Armstrong council to peruse revised golf course plan



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Municipal Government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

Your old lawnmower is an environmental disaster. (courtesy photo)
The perfect lawn is pretty hard on the planet

According the government of Canada, an older mower running for an hour can produce as much air pollution as a new car driving 550 kilometres.

File photo
Princeton fees and services set to increase by three per cent

Fees and charges provide the municipality with $1.515 million annually

(Stock photo)
Snow levels above normal in Okanagan

Spring temperatures, rainfall will affect risk of flooding

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read