Bert Flinn future sparks council row

The future of the road right-of-way through Port Moody’s Bert Flinn Park was to be determined by Port Moody council at its meeting Tuesday until one councillor successfully launched a rare procedural challenge against the mayor.

An agenda item to consider the removal of the right-of-way through the park, as well as plans to add more parking and a wheelchair-accessible trail, caused a dust-up at the Feb. 12 council meeting over how Mayor Rob Vagramov was running the session. 

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Those items — along with resolutions to limit development of the Ioco lands to their current zoning and to explore the implications of filing a request with Metro Vancouver to take Ioco Road out of the region’s major road network — had been deferred at the last meeting of council, on Jan. 22, until it had a chance to formulate its strategic plan for the coming year.

A strategic planning session involving councillors and senior city staff was then held the following weekend at Harrison Hot Springs.

But Coun. Diana Dilworth, who had moved the original deferral, said that was only one session and council has not yet finished setting its priorities for the coming year. She asked why the Bert Flinn resolutions were on Tuesday’s agenda.

Vagramov said he had a different understanding of the deferral.

“My interpretation was post-strategic planning,” he told council. “As far as I’m concerned, I don’t have a problem with having this item stand.”

Coun. Meghan Lahti then moved to postpone the debate until council’s strategic planning process was complete, but she was rebuffed by Vagramov as well as councillors Steven Milani and Hunter Madsen, who called the motion “foot dragging.”

That’s when Lahti announced she was challenging the chair.

According to Roberts Rules of Order, which is a guide of parliamentary procedure commonly used to govern how meetings are run, a challenge, or appeal, to the chair is only invoked when a member of the meeting believes the person running it isn’t do so properly, or has made an incorrect ruling. Such a challenge must then be voted on, without debate, to determine how the meeting can proceed.

Councillors Lahti, Diana Dilworth, Zoe Royer and Amy Lubik voted to remove the Bert Flinn Park-related items from the agenda, deferring a decision until after council’s strategic planning process is complete (Vagramov, Madsen and Milani voted to move forward).

2/14: Story updated to correct who made original deferral motion

2/15: Story updated to clarify nature of resolutions regarding Bert Flinn Park

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