Councillor Nelson Tilbury is disputing claims made by the mayor last week that he did not follow proper procedure to get an issue into an in-camera meeting.
Mayor Ted Adlem told The Record last week that the conflict of interest accusation against Coun. Dave Hensman shouldn’t have been discussed in the public arena.
Tilbury had suggested Hensman might be in a conflict of interest for leasing a building about a block away from a property purchased by the district as part of the downtown revitalization project. Hensman participated in a unanimous council vote to purchase the former Buy-Low building site.
At the Dec. 18, 2013 council meeting, Tilbury called for a “point of order” when Hensman was advocating to have churches included as a permitted use downtown.
Hensman is a pastor with a church group called The Gathering, which uses the downtown building leased by Big Sky Ventures, an investment corporation run by Hensman.
According to Mike Younie, Mission’s director of development services, cultural assemblies for religious and cultural purposes are allowed, but a church is not. The definition of a church relates to the building, such as having pews inside or a cross outside.
“In this case, nothing is being done with the building,” said Younie, adding Hensman applied for a business licence and went through the proper procedures.
Tilbury also acknowledged he met with senior staff earlier and was told Hensman’s business was “not an issue” for the district.
However, Tilbury was unprepared for Hensman’s statement on downtown uses.
“I’m not trying to destroy the man’s reputation,” said Tilbury. “I’m just saying I’m not comfortable with him lobbying (for churches downtown).”
Tilbury said he felt he had to speak up. In a video of the Dec. 18 meeting on the district’s website, Tilbury could be heard saying, “I don’t know how to bring it up. I almost would like to see us step into close for a moment.”
A couple of council members said, “no,” and Tilbury explained his objections in the open meeting.
“He mentioned we should go into close, but didn’t make a motion to go into closed,” said Adlem. “Had he made a proper motion, there would’ve been debate and (the motion) would or would not have been accepted.”
Adlem had “assumed he (Tilbury) had changed his mind,” and didn’t think it was anyone’s responsibility to guide a councillor in proper procedure.
Adlem hopes after the next council meeting on March 3, his council can get back to focusing on business for the community.
“We’ve wasted two months of the year already playing political games,” said Adlem. “After March 3, if you want to play political games, do it in the hallway, not council chambers.”