Qualicum Beach Coun. Robert Filmer. (PQB News file photo)

Qualicum Beach Coun. Robert Filmer. (PQB News file photo)

Qualicum Beach councillor takes medical leave, citing ‘toxic’ town hall environment

Filmer to step away for two months to reflect and get ‘re-energized’

A Qualicum Beach town councillor is taking a two-month medical leave, stepping away temporarily from what he calls a “very, very toxic environment.”

In a public release issued Thursday, Robert Filmer claimed bullying and harassment is “very common in council” and he is disappointed the issues are not being addressed.

“Everyone deserves the chance to work in a safe, respectful and supportive environment,” Filmer said. “It pains me to say that the Town of Qualicum Beach council currently exists in direct opposition to those values. At a moment in time when we should be finding ways to treat each other with kindness, care, and support – I am devastated to find myself in an ongoing situation where an extreme lack of vision and any meaningful leadership, has left me in an untenable position, where I fear for my health and well-being.”

Following the advice of his physician, Filmer said he will take the two-month medical leave, effective Dec. 10.

READ MORE: Qualicum Beach politician calls for more inclusiveness

“It’s not so much about the political environment,” said Filmer. “I love debating. I love disagreements. Unfortunately, this council, and it happened since day one, council has had some issues. Some members of council have gone on personal attacks. And things no longer become political but personal. Our Town Hall is currently a very, very toxic environment.”

Filmer criticized Mayor Brian Wiese for failing to establish a harmonius and safe environment.

“When council brings issues to the mayor, he uses the line ‘I am not your keeper,’” said Filmer. “In a sense that is true. The mayor is not the keeper or the boss of councillors. However, the mayor is the leader. If there is an issue, especially if that issue is bullying or harassment it is the mayor’s job to resolve that.”

Filmer said that behaviours change when council goes in-camera.

“As soon as the door is closed and we go into an in-camera meeting, the tables changed drastically,” said Filmer, who added that all residents “expect their elected representatives to behave with dignity decorum, and due diligence to the diversity of opinions and voices that exist within our community.”

Wiese, in a press release, said he respects Filmer’s participation as a member of council and his difficult decision to take care of his health first.

“It is unfortunate that Coun. Filmer has characterized the conduct of council in a negative way in his publicly issued statement released earlier today,” said Wiese. “I disagree with the allegations he has made and I’m disappointed that he has chosen to raise them in the manner he did. I want to assure the public that councillors (Scott) Harrison, (Teunis) Westbroek, and myself will continue to work towards the objectives set out in council’s strategic plan, and continue to progress towards the longterm goals in the Official Community Plan for the remainder of the council term. We look forward to welcoming Coun. Filmer back.”

Filmer said he will use the time away from council to reflect and get re-energized.

Council’s next scheduled meeting is Jan. 13, 2021. A byelection must also be held in short order to replace Coun. Adam Walker, who resigned his position after being elected as the NDP MLA for Parksville-Qualicum.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

municipal politicsqualicum beach

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

Just Posted

Emma Nunn from Alberni Valley Rescue Squad waits at the summit of Mount Arrowsmith for the rest of the AVRS rope rescue team on Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY DAVE POULSEN, AVRS)
UPDATE: Injured hikers among three rescued in the dark from Mount Arrowsmith

‘It was a very bad, very precarious spot to be able to locate them’

Parksville Fire Department crews attended the scene of a house fire on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 at the end of Foster Place in Parksville. No injuries were reported. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Fire crews called to battle house fire in Parksville

No injuries reported, kitty rescued

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville and District and Qualicum Beach Chambers of Commerce. (PQB News photo)
PQBeat: Chamber of Commerce executive director Kim Burden looks ahead

Podcast: Talk includes 2021 business plans in Parksville, Qualicum Beach, events and more

The Village Way and Highway 19A roundabout is the Town of Qualicum Beach priority for a grant application. (Google Map)
Qualicum Beach council favours roundabout over turf field project

Mayor believes road project has better chance of landing grant

Curling season is over at the Parksville Curling Club and Qualicum Beach Curling Club. (PQB News file photo)
COVID-19: Parksville and Qualicum Beach curling clubs forced to end season

Restrictions impact financial sustainability of both operations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Chantel Moore, 26, was fatally shot by a police officer during a wellness check in the early morning of June 4, 2020, in Edmundston, N.B. (Facebook)
Frustrated family denied access to B.C. Indigenous woman’s police shooting report

Independent investigation into B.C. woman’s fatal shooting in New Brunswick filed to Crown

Delta Police Constable Jason Martens and Dezi, a nine-year-old German Shepherd that recently retired after 10 years with Delta Police. (Photo submitted)
Dezi, a Delta police dog, retires on a high note after decade of service

Nine-year-old German Shepherd now fights over toys instead of chasing down bad guys

Nurses collect samples from a patient in a COVID suspect room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
5 British Columbians under 20 years old battled COVID-19 in ICU in recent weeks

Overall hospitalizations have fallen but young people battling the virus in hospital has increased

Canada released proposed regulations Jan. 2 for the fisheries minister to maintain Canada’s major fish stocks at sustainable levels and recover those at risk. (File photo)
New laws would cement DFO accountability to depleted fish stocks

Three B.C. salmon stocks first in line for priority attention under proposed regulations

Trees destroyed a Shoreacres home during a wind storm Jan. 13, 2021. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay woman flees just before tree crushes house

Pamala DeRosa is thankful to be alive

Most Read