Lantzville District Hall. NEWS BULLETIN file photo

Lantzville councillors scrap code of conduct policy, seek new model

Council prefer Union of British Columbia Municipalities model over their own

It turns out Lantzville councillors don’t want a district-created code of conduct policy anymore.

Lantzville councillors voted unanimously against adopting a proposed code of conduct bylaw created by district staff during an April 15 council meeting. Councillors also agreed to have staff create a code of conduct bylaw based similar to what is used by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and the City of Nanaimo.

The move comes a few months after Lantzville council discussed the now-rejected code of conduct bylaw, which would have created a framework for how councillors should act and behave during meetings, with staff and on social media.

Since first discussing the policy back in December, adoption of the bylaw has remained elusive due to various delays by council.

Councillors agreed to defer voting on the matter in December, January and February, with the most recent delay coming as a result of concerns raised by Coun. Ian Savage, who told council at the time that he couldn’t support the proposed bylaw because it was “distasteful through the lens of freedom” and urged council to adopt the UBCM’s code of conduct model.

“UBCM vetted its proposed code of conduct model and is very careful to state that it must conform to B.C. Canadian law,” Savage said during the Feb. 25 meeting.

At about that same time, Nanaimo city councillors unanimously adopted their own code of conduct, which is based off the UBCM model but includes elements from the City of Prince George’s code of conduct.

During the April 15 meeting, Savage reiterated his stance that Lantzville should seriously consider adopting the UBCM model and couldn’t support staff’s proposed code of conduct. He said Lantzville councillors were’t involved in creating the proposed code of conduct bylaw, despite UBCM’s recommendation that councillors be involved.

“I would be very pleased and proud to adopt the Nanaimo and UBCM code of conduct so that there were would unanimity,” Savage said.

Coun. Will Geselbracht said he’d be supportive of Savage’s idea to adopt the UBCM code of conduct. He said after all the previous Nanaimo city council went through, the current council adopted UBCM’s code of conduct policy and Lantzville should do the same.

“I don’t think we can do better than [UBCM’s code of conduct] and therefore I will be voting against the current code of conduct, with great respect to our CAO, who prepared this. I think it just goes a little bit too far. I think it would have been great in the last council, but we have a different stable of horses on this council.”

District staff will now bring forward a new code of conduct policy based off the UBCM and Nanaimo models.

RELATED: Lantzville council considering code of conduct bylaw

RELATED: Lantzville council won’t adopt a code of conduct yet 
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