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

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in Saanich parkland

The birds don’t often touch down in the south of the Island

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read