Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Councillor Thornton rejects impropriety allegations

Town of Pincher Creek Councillor Doug Thornton
Chris Davis - Town of Pincher Creek Councillor Doug Thornton responded a couple of weeks ago to "allegations of impropriety" that were made at the recent public hearing regarding his application to develop lands owned by his company Beverley Holdings Ltd.  It was alleged that Thornton did not properly recuse himself from council discussions related to that application.  Thornton met with the Voice and the Pincher Creek Echo, and said he wanted to clear the air, and he issued a related press release.  He also at that time announced he would be running again for a council seat.

In his press release Thornton said:

"It is easy to react emotionally to half-truth without understanding the whole issue. This information is to clarify and verify the full picture, so that misperception does not persist.

"The Municipal Government Act is the legislation that governs the operations of all municipalities in the Province of Alberta. Section 169 to 173 defines pecuniary interest, and clearly defines the actions that must be taken by any member of Council in the event of a pecuniary interest.

"Upon being elected to council in 2013, knowing my intention to apply to develop lands that have been in my family since 1963, I consulted legal counsel to ensure that, as a town councillor, I would not be in contravention of any of the provisions of the MGA.

"Following that advice, the subsequent actions were taken, and can be verified: 
  • Town Administration was advised that I am represented by counsel, and that any communications regarding any of the lands within the development proposal, or any other lands owned by myself or my wife were to be made through my legal representatives, and not through any direct communication, verbal or otherwise. 
  • When the ownership of the Hillcrest Meadows family-owned lands transferred to Beverley Holdings Ltd., I declared to the Mayor, Council and Administration that, as a shareholder in the Company I was in a position of pecuniary interest. As such, all communications regarding that land must continue to be made through legal counsel and not directly with me. 
  • At all times when my proposal was before Council, I stood in my place, declared a pecuniary interest, and left the room until the matter had been dealt with, including any votes by Council regarding the project. In addition to having no part in discussions about my land, I further absented myself from all deliberations concerning land adjacent to my own.  This was not necessary, but demonstrates my clear concern to ensure that there be no possible violation related to pecuniary interest legislation.
"I am confident that I have followed all the provisions of the Municipal Government Act, and I totally reject any allegations of impropriety or illegality in this matter."

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