Coldstream Council and Anonymity

In our editorial about the Westkal Road reconstruction, we noticed that none of the petitioners had been identified. Typically (and as with all other petitions that we looked at) a petition would be filed with the Coldstream staff, and you would be added to a council meeting agenda, usually as a delegation. The Petition is then added to the following Council meeting’s agenda for Council’s discussion and decision.

Two of the Westkal petitioners met privately with CAO Seibel on July 6, 2018, and then, later on September 28 informed the CAO that

“although some items had been addressed and the others were on the “to do” list, they still wanted to bring the petition/letter forward to Council.”

As they had not provided signatures as of that date, the petitioners were advised that the signatures attached to the petition would need to be provided. During the week of November 12, 2018, the Mayor received a package of information from the petitioners which included the signatures. This was provided to staff on or about November 16 according to CAO Seibel’s report that he made to the Committee of the Whole (CoW) on November 26, 2018

In that presentation to the CoW, the unsigned cover letter and blank petition form were included in the CAO’s report along with Urban System’s “WESTKAL RD SURVEY AND BASE MAPPING” which is dated November 8, 2018. Considering that the petition that the Mayor received and was passed on to staff on November 16 th , it seems incredibly fortuitous that the District had commissioned plans from Urban Systems which were delivered 8 days earlier.

Not only did the petitioners not have to present their signed petition at a formal Council meeting, but the CAO had also already spent money at Urban Systems in support of the petition for plans and was already recommending that $40,000 be approved at the next budget meeting for further design.


5C’s has been unable to find any record of the signed petition (or who wrote the 2-page cover letter) in the District’s website where the records of public business are to be filed. Nor do we know the names of the proponents.

In our search for these records, we did discover a note in the minutes of the November 19, 2018, Council meeting, of an interesting item that did not appear on the agenda for that meeting and was dealt with in Camera:


13.a. District Owned Lake Access Properties

The Chief Administrative Officer indicated that there has been interest from some people to purchase District owned lake access properties and requested direction from Council.

Moved by Dirk, seconded by Hoffman, THAT the District of Coldstream will not consider requests for purchase of District owned lake access properties. No. REG2018-345 CARRIED”

The timing of this request and unpublic presentation and discussion of this item makes one wonder if the same anonymous group for the petition were also the “some people” CAO Seibel referred to?

It seems somewhat hypocritical for the CAO to comment to Castanet about the 5C’s website and dismissing the issues that are raised:

“As a general rule of thumb, we do not respond to anonymous inquiries or complaints. We would need the names of the individuals asking questions before we would formally respond,” Seibel said in an email.

…when the Westkal Road residents received a $1.2 million dollar improvement to their dead-end road by remaining anonymous

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