Lantzville council has decided that Mayor Mark Swain will no longer represent the municipality on the Regional District of Nanaimo board.
In a 3-2 vote last week, District of Lantzville council voted to replace Swain, choosing Coun. Will Geselbracht to be Lantzville’s new RDN director.
The notion of replacing Swain on the RDN board was first put forward by Coun. Karen Proctor this past January, but was set aside. Swain said he didn’t expect council to follow through with removing him from his post and said he was blind-sided and extremely disappointed.
“I think this is a real sour note for our council,” said Swain. “You have a mayor who is willing, able and capable of seeing this through … but you’re cutting me off at the knees.”
Swain, who has represented Lantzville at the RDN table since he was elected mayor in 2018, said he’s proven in that time that he’s the right person for the job. He was also a member of the RDN’s executive committee.
“I have most definitely elevated Lantzville’s status at the RDN boardroom table. I have been doing an excellent job [ensuring] Lantzville’s taxpayers … are considered at the boardroom table,” Swain said. “I am a well-respected board member and I have worked very hard on establishing good relationships with both board members and staff members.”
Coun. Ian Savage backed the mayor, saying that other councillors failed to give good reasons for making a change, resulting in “the lowest of low-standard debates.” Savage said waiting until the third year of a four-year term isn’t the right time to replace Lantzville’s RDN representative. He said Swain is highly respected, popular and is doing an “exemplary job” at the RDN board table.
“What are you possibly going to accomplish in 12 months?” Savage asked. “Nowhere near as much as Mayor Swain’s going to accomplish. This is pure selfishness and not for the benefit of the community.”
Geselbracht said Savage was making childish insults. Geselbracht said he follows regional issues very closely.
“I feel more than confident I’ll be able to adequately represent the residents of Lantzville,” he said. “That’s what I’m doing now; that’s what I’d do on the RDN board.”
Proctor said her motion created an opportunity for another councillor to have the chance at representing Lantzville on the RDN board and would result in a more “well-rounded council.” Coun. Jamie Wilson agreed, saying it would be a good thing for all members of council to experience serving on various committees and boards.
After being removed as RDN director, Swain asked for an amendment allowing him to stay on until mid-November in order to conclude his work chairing the transit redevelopment sub-committee, but his request was denied in another 3-2 vote.
Geselbracht will take over immediately as Lantzville’s RDN director and Proctor will replace Savage as Lantzville’s alternate RDN director.