Ombudsperson Investigation of Docks Process

By Richard Wiefelspuett

 Island Municipality (BIM) and Council are under investigation

In March 2014 the municipality was informed by the office of the ombudsperson that an open investigation of the municipality and Council had been launched. This came as the result of my formal complaint filed in December 2013.

The Office of the Ombudsperson receives enquiries and complaints about the practices and services of public agencies within its jurisdiction. Their role is to impartially investigate these complaints to determine whether public agencies have acted fairly and reasonably, and whether their actions and decisions were consistent with relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

In its core my complaint focuses on the current Council (2011 – 2014) and their skewed handling of the private dock applications on Cape Roger Curtis. During the open investigation the complaint has been expanded to include cogent examples of Council’s conduct, with respect to alleged violations of the Community Charter closed meeting provisions and a range of examples that illustrate conflict of interest issues on the part of some council members.

To my knowledge BIM or members of the current Council (2011- 2014) have never informed the public about the ongoing investigation until Tim Rhodes’ brief mention of a citizen initiated request to the Office of the Ombudsperson to investigate the docks approval process. (see Bowen Island All Candidates Forum 2014 on Facebook; Tim Rhodes; November 10, 2014 at 10:48 pm). Therein Tim Rhodes states that “the provincial Ombudsman reviewed the process and found everything in order.”

In fact the investigation is still ongoing and the Ombudsman has only recently asked for additional information related to the legal advice BIM and Council received during the dock application process.

In fact an initial finding confirms that the Bull, Housser and Tupper advice regarding the powers of BIM and Council to reject the dock approvals is correct (‪…/06/May-23-2013-Legal-Opinion1.pdf).

In factCouncil lacked the political will to protect the public interest and preserve the coastline of CRC but followed a different agenda instead.

I have posted three documents (see links below) to provide additional information on content and status of the complaint.

Bulletin Text (

This is a copy of the article published in the Bulletin (12 November 2014). It provides an overview of the complaint and the status of the investigation.

Formal complaint (

The Office of the Ombudsperson provides an online format for the filing of a complaint. The attached document shows the various headers of the template and the specified content of my initial complaint.

March Update (

Following the launch of the open investigation in March 2014 additional information obtained through an access of information request was provided to the Ombudsperson. This document provides a detailed timeline of the communication between Bowen Island Municipality (BIM), Council, the dock proponents and the Province related to the dock applications. It reveals a fascinating story, a genuine  “whodunnit”. In summary the document shows that the Province requested a letter of support for the docks from BIM as a precondition to granting the foreshore leases to the dock proponents. This letter was never sent. Still the docks were approved.