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, 22, 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

(Black Press Media file photo)
VicPD arrest man at gunpoint after firearm call

Man faces charges for breaching condition not to possess replica firearms

Port Renfrew Fire Chief Dan Kuzman, left, and Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks, separated by two fishing rods for safe pandemic physical distancing, display the village’s new snowplowing unit. (Contributed)
Port Renfrew gets new snowplow

With equipment, CRD crew can clear roads following snowfall

Sooke’s Amy McLaughlin holds Theodore, a bunny who will be going to a new owner in Nanaimo within the coming days if all goes will at an upcoming bunny play-date. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Sooke woman looking to hop into bigger space for bunny business

Amy McLaughlin has rescued over 400 bunnies across the Island, mainland

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Second doses delayed as B.C. vaccine delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: Milne’s Landing CNR station

Elide Peers | Contributed Back in the 1920s, freight was often carried… Continue reading

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read