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Land use approved for Summerland Jehovah's Witnesses

The Summerland Jehovah’s Witnesses will be able to build a larger Kingdom Hall just east of Highway 97.

At the municipal council meeting on Nov. 26, council gave final reading to a bylaw to amend the Official Community Plan and zoning at 14806 Biagioni Ave. to allow the construction of the facility.

Earlier, several members of council had voted against the bylaw, since they believed the land could be better used for other purposes.

The earlier readings of the bylaw passed with a 4-3 vote.

On Nov. 26, Coun. Peter Waterman — one of the councillors who had initially supported the bylaw — was not present, resulting in a potential tie vote. A tie vote would have defeated the bylaw.

Coun. Lloyd Christopherson, who had voted against the bylaw at the earlier readings, said he was concerned with the possibility of defeating it because of Waterman’s absence.

The bylaw required support of a majority of full council, or at least four council members, in order to pass.

“If it is defeated, I feel it is a failure of the democratic process,” he said.

He asked that the bylaw be deferred until a full council was present once again.

Coun. Bruce Hallquist, who had also voted against the earlier readings of the bylaw, said he would not vote against the final reading.

“I won’t be opposing it,” he said. “I won’t be voting for it, but I won’t be opposing it. We all had our say and it’s time to move on.”

The third council member who had been opposed in the earlier readings of the bylaw was Coun. Orv Robson.

While Christopherson and Hallquist did not raise their hands in favour or against the bylaw, the reading was carried.

Municipal administrator Tom Day said under Section 123 of the Community Charter, council members at the table may not abstain from voting when a resolution or bylaw comes up.

If a council member is in a conflict of interest over an item on the agenda, he or she must leave the room for that item, but those at the table must vote.

Those who do not raise their hands in support or in opposition are considered to have voted in favour of the item on the table.

 

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