BREAKERS: Town contractor conflict – More mayor disinformation – Mythic ‘rental housing’ green lighted

JAN 21, 2022

  • Town contractor hired to perform three conflicting roles
  • Disinformation Watch – Public Works Yard proposed relocation
  • Scene around Town – the calm after the storm
  • Rezoning for the mythic “rental housing” on Nenzel Road approved
  • Book reveals corruption’s tentacles spread far and near… here

Town contractor hired to perform three conflicting roles

At its December 8, 2021 regular meeting, Qualicum Beach Council released eight decisions from their December 1, 2021 in-camera meeting, including the selection of Brentwood Advisory Group to complete the Service Review tendered last October. There appears to be no evidence that the tender(s) were opened in public, nor any information about why Brentwood was selected, nor what their services will cost.

Then, at its January 12, 2022 regular meeting, Council re-released the same set of eight motions (huh?), as well as one motion from a November 24, 2021 in-camera meeting that ought to have been released on December 8, 2021 too – the selection of the same Brentwood Advisory Group (BAG) for an executive search contract to find our Town’s next Chief Administrative Officer to replace the departed Daniel Sailland.

Again, there appears to be no evidence that this executive search contract was even tendered, how many firms were considered, or why Brentwood Advisory Group (BAG) was selected.

Apparently Paul Murray, identified as a principal with the firm, submitted BAG’s proposal to recruit a new CAO for Qualicum Beach on November 22, 2021 — a full week before the other RFP closed, the one to conduct a Service Review of Town management and operations, and only TWO DAYS before Council said “you’re hired to recruit our new CAO.”

Questionable Council process questions aside, has Paul Murray put himself in a conflict of interest?

In conducting the Service Review, Mr. Murray and his BAG colleagues will accumulate detailed knowledge of Town operations and performance, warts and all.

Seasoned executives searching for their next CAO career opportunity prefer dealing with trusted head-hunters who know all of the competing positions, open and soon-to-be-open, that the executive candidate is well-qualified for.

A trusted head-hunter normally will also quite openly and honestly respond to a star candidate’s question: “What are the top two reasons I would want that job, and the top two reasons I would not want that job?” However, Mr. Murray might find himself constrained from giving a fulsome response to the candidate. The last thing the Town needs right now is an executive mis-hire.

Speaking of Human Resources hiring foibles, what’s up with the Town’s recruitment of an HR Manager to replace the retiring (?) Colleen Rehor.

The Town conducted an open competition for her replacement in August 2021 and, with no public announcement or introduction by the secretive Town Hall, apparently recruited a replacement. Then, suddenly, last week the Town announced that they are again searching for an HR Manager — with no explanation about what has happened to the new recruit.

This time, HR Manager candidates — those who may still be interested (and they can’t be blamed for hesitancy) — should be aware that their credentials should not be submitted to the Town. Instead, apply to Paul Murray or Bonnie Cole at, you guessed it, Brentwood Advisory Group by February 14, 2021.

For our previous assessment of the awkward, if not questionable, timing of the Service Review, see With CAO position vacant, Town rushes to hire external consultant? — GS | Updated SEP 26, 2022

Scene around Town

The calm after the storm, Qualicum Beach Waterfront, January 2022.

Disinformation Watch – Public Works Yard proposed re-location

In a December 2, 2021 Breaker segment, Town deception about two million dollar grant for Public Works Yard relocation, we wrote that we would attempt to keep watch on the veracity of claims on both sides of this issue.

One of our readers questioned Mayor Brian Wiese’s comments related to the potential impacts in the Community Park. So, we fact-checked the mayor’s statements, and reporting by other media outlets.

In its December 1, 2021 edition, PQB News dutifully regurgitated talking points that weren’t attributed to a source, but appear to have been fed to the reporter by the Town’s PR team. The article leads off with “The Town of Qualicum Beach is planning to move its public works yard from Fern Road to a location that is in the Qualicum Beach Community Park.”

Meanwhile, later that same day, Town Council met in Committee of the Whole (COW) to review multiple options for potentially consolidating Town Operations at a single site. So the reporter’s opening statement itself seems premature — unless the whole COW discussion was just window dressing for a decision already made.

In that article, the reporter went on to state that: “Mayor Wiese clarified the misnomer [sic] that the town is planning to take down the Community Park.” Huh? The reporter did not name the person who is alleged to have uttered this so-called “misnomer,” nor did the reporter try to interpret what the Mayor meant by “take down.”

The reporter continued with the following self-contradicting quote attributed to Mayor Wiese: “The community park, the trail system is untouched with that piece… Yes, we’re looking at taking down some trees; the Community Park as people understand it with the trail system will not be touched.” The reporter seems not to have noticed that his own story’s lead paragraph correctly states that the Town’s proposed relocation of the Public Works Yard actually is right in the Community Park!

Fact: Town Planner Luke Sales states in his report included with the COW meeting agenda, and he repeated at the COW meeting, “there is one trail running through the site that will need to be rerouted.” In other words, this trail will indeed be “touched.” It will disappear along with the surrounding trees and vegetation.

Also in his report, Sales states that four potential locations “were discussed by Council in 2019, and the decision was made to advance with the expansion of the Jones Street Parks yard.”

Done deal? Stay tuned. — GS

Rezoning for the mythic “rental housing” on Nenzel Road approved

At its November 17, 2021 regular meeting, a slim majority of Town Council (Wiese, Harrison, Westbroek) gave final approval of Dean and Mary Anne Dreger’s rezoning application on Nenzel Road. Skipsey opposed; Filmer absent.

Planner Luke Sales, to the end, continued to mis-characterize the planned development as a “little cluster” of “little rural rental cottages.”  See our previous story, Towns myths & misinformation about Nenzel Road.

Councillor Westbroek requested that Sales explain why exactly this mini-community can be built outside the Urban Containment Boundary. Sales attempted to rationalize it as, “not quite urban,” suggesting that, while urban density is typically 25 units sprawled on 5 acres, the Dregers would end up with a total of only 10 dwellings on their five acres. Where exactly does he draw the line? Are 12, 15, 20 units on five acres outside the Urban Containment Boundary OK, since they are “not quite urban?”

The Town has now established a precedent enabling their acquiescence to the next land profiteer who wants to similarly emasculate the Urban Containment Boundary.

Any readers in desperate need of a small modern suite to rent in Qualicum Beach, keep looking. You are not the kind of tenant the Dregers are looking for. As Mayor Wiese reminded us: “He [Dean Dreger] had the place full of interest already of people who wanted to move in. For most part, they were widows that don’t want to live in this big shack, but don’t want to live alone either.”

To become a resident of Beach Creek Cottage Court you will need a couple hundred thousand to buy the roof over your head, on top of the monthly rent for your footprint on Dregers’ property. Unless of course someone, even the Dregers, decide to buy and/or build one or more cottages and then rent or lease them too. Until that happens, as we stated in our previous article, “This is not rental housing. Period.” — GS

Corruption’s tentacles spread far and near… even here

“Corruption is like a bad virus — easy to get, and hard to kill,” writes author Sarah Chayes, an internationally recognized expert on corruption in government networks throughout the world, and a prizewinning journalist.

Corruption is eating our societies alive, not just in far flung foreign countries, but right across the globe, and one can see and feel the reverberations right here in Qualicum Beach. Corruption, as Chayes sees it, is an operating system of sophisticated networks in which government officials, key private-sector interests, and out–and–out criminals interweave. Their main objective: not to serve the public, but to maximize returns for network members.

While the book’s title is about corruption in our closest neighbour, America, it reveals global connections that envelop Canada and Canadians. “You can’t read [this] book without realizing that we are living in an awful time of lax ethical and legal standards,” wrote Robert G. Kaiser, a former managing editor of The Washington Post. “Appreciating the extent of our ethical collapse will be a necessary first step toward confronting it.”

Highly recommended reading. Available in QB at The Mulberry Bush Book Store or at the Qualicum Beach Library. — LS