by Dave Preston
A group opposed to aspects of a proposed downtown development is asking Peachland council to reopen the matter based on a perceived conflict of interest between a council member and the man behind the project.
The named councillor said there is no conflict of interest and Peachland’s mayor said council will not be taking any action based on the group’s request.
“In a communication to district council, the Peachland Residents Association contends that Coun. Peter Schierbeck’s associations with Stephen Allison obligate him to make a disclosure of conflict,” states a letter sent to PeachlandNews.com from Dora Stewart.
Allison is behind a proposed development that would see the Edgewater Hotel and Aegean Grill buildings replaced with a new three-storey building. He is also president of TNI The Network Inc., which would become the largest tenant in the proposed building.
Peachland council recently voted in favor of a parking covenant associated with the development proposal. The covenant will allow occupants of the new building to use 57 parking spaces in a district-owned lot on Second Street in exchange for the developer upgrading the currently gravel property and paying for about three quarters of future repairs and maintenance.
Mayor Keith Fielding confirmed Tuesday that the municipality had received a letter from the residents association.
“The… letter (to council) urgently requests that the district council revisit the approvals of the TNI parking covenant and parking licence agreement granted at the special council meeting of July 4, because of Peter Schierbeck’s participation in the vote of this approval,” states the PRA letter to PeachlandNews.com.
At the July 4 meeting, approval of the parking deal was passed by a vote of four to three. Schierbeck voted in favor of approving the covenant.
Schierbeck said Tueday the PRA’s request is “gobbledygook” and they have “not a hope” of getting anywhere with it.
“Do I know Steve Alllison? Yes,” said Schierbeck. “Have he and I had a beer together? Yes. Did we play ball together? Yes. Did I work with him for a short time? Yes.”
Schierbeck added, “Do I have something to gain? No. Is he a close friend? No.”
Fielding said, after reviewing the letter he received from the residents association, staff sent a reply that included copies of the relevant legislation that governs conflicts of interest.
“We have said that Coun. Schierbeck did not declare a conflict because he has no direct or indirect pecuniary interest,” said Fielding.
Fielding said he considers the claim of conflict of interest irrelevant and council will not be taking any action based on the claim.
Editor’s Note: Dora Stewart’s letter was sent as a letter to the editor, however given the nature of its contents, PeachlandNews.com chose not to publish it as is. Instead, the decision was made to include relevant parts of the letter and responses from Coun. Schierbeck and Mayor Fielding together.