Cortes Island director Noba Anderson has filed a lawsuit against the Strathcona Regional District related to a 2019 issue. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Cortes Island area director sues Strathcona Regional District

Director suing to quash censure motion, and recoup legal costs from 2019 suit

  • Jul. 17, 2020 12:00 a.m.

Cortes Island regional director Noba Anderson has filed a lawsuit against the Strathcona Regional District in connection with a 2019 censure motion passed by the regional district board.

In January 2019, a group of Cortes Island residents petitioned the Supreme Court of B.C. to remove Anderson from office, after it was alleged that she profited from her constituents and that a number of those constituents received political favours in return. Anderson received money from a Go Fund Me campaign in 2018 to help build an addition on to her home to house her father. The Strathcona Regional District hired a private investigator to look into whether or not Anderson had received a gift in return for grant funding from people in the community. The result of that investigation was that the claims were baseless and the suit was dropped.

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After the issue was resolved in court, Anderson requested that her legal fees be covered by the regional district under their director indemnification bylaw. The regional district board decided that Anderson would not be indemnified under the bylaw. Denying indemnification is allowed under the bylaw, provided that the official either fails to notify the Regional District in accordance with the requirements of the bylaw, fails to cooperate with the district in its defence of the claim, prosecution, appeal or other proceeding, interferes with the regional district’s investigation into the claim or with the settlement, negotiation or other proceeding related to that claim or voluntarily assumes liability or settles a claim without notifying the district beforehand. The regional district has not provided a reason for denying Anderson’s indemnification claim.

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Anderson is now suing the regional district, looking for the Supreme Court to quash the censure motion and to indemnify the director and repay the legal fees from the initial suit. If it is determined that the district is within its right of refusing Anderson’s indemnification, she is asking that the board provide a written resolution as to why it refused. Anderson is also seeking in-camera files provided to directors before meetings and that the SRD pay the legal cost of this proceeding.

Anderson was unable to comment on the proceedings, since they are now before the court. She directed the Mirror to a Q and A post on cortesisland.com that says: “After a very difficult time in the last year and a half with the Strathcona Regional District, and after much careful consideration and excellent support from my legal counsel, I have filed a petition with the B.C. Supreme Court against the Strathcona Regional District. I have done this because I believe that my legal rights have been infringed upon and by extension, my ability to perform my elected duties and give my constituents the service they deserve.”

The text of the lawsuit and an affidavit by Anderson are available online. The regional district has 21 days to respond to the petition, which was presented to the court on July 13.

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marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.comLike us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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