A petition calling for District of North Vancouver Coun. Lisa Muri to be thrown out of office should be tossed out of court, according to the legal response Muri filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Thursday.
The longtime councillor’s response came nearly one month after a group of residents petitioned the court to have Muri and Coun. Betty Forbes removed from office, alleging they violated conflict of interest laws leading up to the passage of the district’s pigeon-keeping ban.
“The pigeon bylaw is about pigeons – it has no pecuniary or monetary implications for anyone, and specifically not Coun. Muri,” Muri stated in the response.
The petition calling for the expulsion of the two councillors noted emails exchanged between Muri and Forbes prior to the ban’s adoption. After being told via email the pigeon prohibition would not be included in council’s May 6 2019 agenda, Forbes wrote to Muri with a frowny face composed in punctuation marks. Muri replied: “It will be fine, we can wave [sic] the hearing ... if we need one.”
In Thursday’s filing, Muri stated that while she was “aware of Coun. Forbes’ concerns,” she was motivated by “the best interests of all of the electors of the district.”
“Muri was not aware, and could not have been, of any pecuniary interest that Coun. Forbes had in respect of the pigeon bylaw,” she stated.
The ban is meant to “protect any and all residents from existing and potential future pigeon keepers that might otherwise adversely impact them or their property.”
Muri’s response calls for the petition to be dismissed with costs prior to the discovery phase, explaining that “such a process would seriously undermine democratic process and interfere with the proper functioning of council.”
Muri’s response also charged that the initial petition is null and void because it was not served within seven days of being filed.
The District of North Vancouver responded to the December petition on Tuesday, opposing it on the grounds that the motion is one resident short of the legal standard that mandates 10 district electors.
Two of the 11 petitioners are not district residents, according to the municipality’s response.
“The district takes no position regarding the merits of the petition or the remedies it seeks.”
Coun. Betty Forbes has not yet filed a response.
In a separate legal action, pigeon keeper Kulwant Dulay is petitioning the Supreme Court of B.C. to overturn the bird ban on the grounds of illegality.
The municipality’s independent review of the bird ban spearheaded by lawyer David Loukidelis is also underway with a report slated to be delivered to council and made public by Feb. 15.