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Maple Ridge city council settles legal dispute with councillor

Gordy Robson brought a petition to BC Supreme Court
Coun. Gordy Robson and Mayor Mike Morden. (Special to The News)

The City of Maple Ridge and Coun. Gordy Robson have settled their legal dispute.

At a closed council meeting on Aug. 9 the matter was resolved.

The information released to the public notes Robson made a petition to court, and shortly after, council re-appointed him to city committees and the acting mayor rotation. He has been the acting mayor through August. However, the issue was not resolved with his appointments.

“At that time, council indicated publicly that it would carry out a further investigation into Coun. Robson’s conduct, while he pursued legal action against the city,” said the information released from the meeting.

“Today, Maple Ridge City council and Coun. Robson have jointly agreed that it is in the best interest of the community to conclude this matter immediately, allowing council to conduct the balance of its outstanding business before the Oct. 15 municipal election without the distraction and cost to taxpayers of continued action.

“As a result, council will not pursue a further investigation of Coun. Robson, and Coun. Robson will discontinue his legal proceedings against the city. Both council and Coun. Robson agree that it is time to conclude the issue and allow council to focus on the remainder of its agenda before wrapping up this term.”

In late 2021, council disciplined Robson and Coun. Kiersten Duncan. Both were removed from their committees and the deputy mayor rotation. The city offered no comment about the reasons for these actions.

READ ALSO: Two Maple Ridge councillors lose committee appointments

In December last year, Robson filed a petition in the BC Supreme Court, asking the court to quash council’s disciplinary action against him. Neither side has commented about the dispute, but the court filings offered information.

According to the documents, Robson was accused of having disclosed confidential information about the city CAO’s resignation, as well as a controversial development along the Alouette River at 240th Street.

Robson’s petition to the court argued there was a lack of due process, and accused Mayor Mike Morden of both gathering information to use against him, and then sitting in judgement of the resulting report.

READ ALSO: Councillor takes City of Maple Ridge to court

Robson has been active in seeking provincial oversight of municipal council conduct, and his call for an Independent Office of Integrity for Local Government was adopted by the Union of BC Municipalities.

READ ALSO: UBCM adopts Maple Ridge resolution about new office of integrity

At the time, Robson said his goal was to prevent council members from meeting privately to hand out discipline to their council colleagues. He said then that many cities across the Lower Mainland have adopted code of conduct bylaws in recent years, to govern their councillor’s behaviour, but enforcement can be divisive and political.

Robson declined to comment on the matter that was resolved on Aug. 9, as it was dealt with in a closed council meeting.

He also declined to say whether or not he will stand for re-election. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 9.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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