Saanich mayoral candidate says dispute between rival takes away from policy issues

Saanich mayoral candidate says dispute between rival takes away from policy issues

Rob Wickson says dispute between Mayor Richard Atwell and Coun. Fred Haynes distracts.

A Saanich mayoral candidate refuses to be drawn into the controversy swirling around his two competitors.

“My reaction is that my campaign and my work as mayor will focus on the work that we must do to build Saanich for the future,” said Rob Wickson. “If some folks want to spend valuable time playing politics with each other, then they are distracting from what should be the focus of all of us.”

Ultimately, it is up to voters to decide, for whom they vote, he said.

Related: Gorge Tillicum’s Rob Wickson running for mayor of Saanich.

He made these comments after the public learnt that a lawyer representing incumbent Mayor Richard Atwell had sent a cease-and-desist letter to the mayoral campaign of Coun. Fred Haynes. The letter asks among other points that Haynes withdraw campaign literature which states, that “[unlike] Richard Atwell, I have never been a director of Amalgamation Yes.”

Related: Documents contradict Saanich Mayor Atwell in legal dispute with Coun. Fred Haynes

According to the cease-and-desist letter, “Mayor Atwell is not now nor has he ever been a director of Amalgamation Yes or any related society or organization.”

Documents obtained by the Saanich News appear to contradict this claim.

Documents dated Sept. 11, 2018 from the B.C. Registry Services show Atwell as a director of the Capital Region Municipal Amalgamation Society as of June 15, 2013. The society incorporated on April 5, 2013 and held a general meeting on June 15, 2013. (According to B.C. Registry Services, this information is current as of Aug. 17, 2018).

James Anderson, a founding member of the society, acknowledged Atwell’s presence on the document.

“Yes, that was for filing purposes only,” he said. “But after we were registered, Richard had no further participation in the organization after the initial [board of directors] was formed. He withdrew from all activity and became a political candidate. He resigned soon after the organization became active.”

Earle Anthony, a founding member and secretary of Amalgamation Yes, said as far as he knew, Atwell never served as a director nor was he ever elected.

While Anthony acknowledged Atwell’s name on the registry document, he does not know how Atwell ended up on the document dated April 5. Sometime after June 15, when the members elected a board, a mistake must have been in transmitting the names to the registry, he said. The group’s lawyer would be able to answer that question, he said.

The Saanich News reached out to the lawyer said to have handled the filing, but did not receive a response by deadline.

Atwell said Wednesday that he did not know his name was on the registry until the Saanich News had pointed it out to him.

“It’s a mistake in the registry,” said Atwell Wednesday. “You can get confirmation from all the past chairs of the society,” he said.

To this end, Atwell shared the respective submissions from three former society chairs dated Sept. 6, in which they denied that Atwell had ever been elected or served as a director. It is not clear though whether they had prior knowledge of the document showing Atwell’s name as a director. The Saanich News contacted the three former chairs, and received responses from two by deadline.

Shellie Gudgeon said she did not see the document with Atwell’s name. “To my knowledge, Richard Atwell was never a director of [Amalgamation Yes].”

John Vickers said he can confirm that Atwell was never present nor did he ever participate in any Amalgamation Yes meeting, which goes back well before the last municipal election.

“While I can understand why people want to know ‘the truth’ about who is telling the truth, I would say Mr. Atwell is correct in that he had no involvement with Amalgamation Yes discussions (as he didn’t), and I would say Mr. [Haynes] is also correct that the initial board does show Mr. Atwell’s name, presuming that is an official document.”

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

Just Posted

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 exposure at Pacific Christian Elementary School on April 12. (Google Streetview/Screenshot)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Saanich elementary school

Pacific Christian Elementary School experienced exposure on April 12

Students from Cedar Hill Middle School play and hold a sign to protest proposed music cuts to school band programs in the Greater Victoria School District, during a Monday event. The district is facing a massive deficit and is considering a number of options for cutting costs. (Photo courtesy Laura Alcaraz-Sehn)
Massive student demonstration planned to protest Greater Victoria school band cuts

Band students from 14 SD61 schools will be at major intersections Thursday after school

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Reuben Forsland in his East Sooke studio with the guitar he crafted from hemp wood that he hopes will start a conversation about sustainability. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
East Sooke artisan strikes a chord with custom guitars

Guitars include wood from Hendrix childhood home in Seattle

Island Health declared a COVID-19 outbreak in two houses at the Mount St. Mary long-term care home on Wednesday. (Photo courtesy of Google Earth)
Island Health declares outbreak at Victoria long-term care home

Resident, staff member test positive for COVID-19 at Mount St. Mary facility

A peacock struts by a pair of lamb siblings at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, which remains closed to the public. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
VIDEO: Victoria petting zoo optimistic about future after 13 months closed

Public helps non-profit Beacon Hill Children’s Farm with nearly $100,000 influx

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Have rising prices caused you to give up hope of buying a home?

Do you have a spare 50 grand or so kicking around (have… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

There are lots of resources for seniors looking for information about COVID-19. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
COVID questions? Here are some phone-based resources available for seniors

Here is a list of numbers to keep on hand for Vancouver Islanders who aren’t fond of computers

Most Read