Pitt Meadows beefing up lawsuit protection

Pitt Meadows will be updating a bylaw that protects municipal staff and councillors from lawsuits ... more news from council

The City of Pitt Meadows will be updating a bylaw that protects municipal staff and councillors from lawsuits.

Although the Local Government Act contains protection against personal liability, the city’s solicitors have recommended replacing an existing bylaw with one that adds another layer of protection against legal action from angry residents or political rivals.

“The original bylaw is from 1999 and has some old language in it,” said Pitt Meadows director of finance Dean Rear.

“This is updating it.”

The new bylaw will require anyone suing the city to prove “gross negligence,” which means showing the defendant not only misrepresented something, but did so dishonestly or maliciously.

The proposed bylaw would, in turn, protect the city from having to defend staff or councillors, both former and current, who have been found guilty of dishonest, gross negligence, malicious or wilful misconduct.

Mayor Deb Walters said it’s important to have a bylaw that protects city staff and council members.

People won’t volunteer or work for the city if there is a chance that they are going to get sued, she added.

“As well, if someone goes out deliberately and is dishonest or is malicious, I don’t think we should be protecting them.”

In a letter, city solicitors Murdy and McAllister noted the bylaw may also reduce unwarranted or frivolous claims by citizens who are hostile to inspections, bylaw enforcement or people who represent the municipality.

“Staff and officials may carry out their functions with more confidence,” the law firm noted.

The proposed indemnification bylaw was discussed Tuesday at a committee meeting, but won’t go to a final vote until council returns from summer break.

Several Metro Vancouver cities, including Richmond and North Vancouver, have similar bylaws in place, but most haven’t been updated for years.

Jordan Bateman, with the Canadian Taxpayers Association, said indemnification bylaws are good for taxpayers.

“You want to make sure you are protecting staff or the people who are doing the work on your behalf, but you also want to have a clause that allows you to recoup the money if someone has gone rogue or done something illegal,” he said.

“It is actually a pretty wise precaution.”

Pitt Meadows mountain bike park – redux

All the kids wanted the city to do was dump a few piles of dirt near the BMX track so they could perfect their mountain bike skills.

Council set aside $20,000 for the project and applied in 2007 to the Agricultural Land Commission to build the humps and jumps.

The provincial body denied the city request.

Five years later, the city has decided it will make one last attempt to get approval for the bike park, to be located on city-owned land, near the BMX track, at 129 Avenue and Barnes Road.

“Sadly, the kids who wanted the project have probably grown up,” said David Boag, director of parks and facilities.

But Boag believes there were lots of others who would appreciate a place to ride their mountain bikes.

The city will be reapplying to the ALC for non-farm use permit.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students in Garibaldi secondary’s music program rehearse for Swing into Spring. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge high school adding a spring to their step

Swing into Spring concert to raise money for the Garibaldi secondary’s music program

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of Maple Ridge man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge still driving more, taking transit less

A sign to students outside Pitt Meadows secondary. The school is not currently listed by Fraser Health as having COVID-19 exposures. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Four more Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows schools exposed to COVID-19

Cases at three public schools and Maple Ridge Christian

Born and raised in Maple Ridge, Ernie Daykin is still astonished at this community’s beauty. He recently captured this image of the snow covered peaks of the Golden Ears in the background, and cherry blossoms in the foreground. (Special to The News)
SHARE: View of Golden Ears from many different perspectives

Send us your photo showing how you view Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows, and it could be featured soon.

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
‘Prolific offender’ charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Kao Macaulay, 23, is accused of breaking into home on March 30

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Most Read