WHITE ROCK – With the election now well underway in White Rock, one candidate’s eligibility is being questioned ahead of the Nov. 15 vote date.
The concerns stem from the home address cited by Coun. Bill Lawrence on his nomination papers. According to his submission, Lawrence lists his address as 801 Finlay St., and his mailing address as the post office in the Johnston Road Peoples Pharmacy.
The questions are being raised by Ross Buchanan, who issued challenges to four candidates last week through the city’s Chief Elections Officer, Tracey Arthur. In the challenges, Buchanan questions Lawrence’s eligibility to run and ability to nominate fellow candidates Grant Meyer and Megan Knight.
In his letter to Arthur, Buchanan wrote, "Neither the BC Assessment Authority nor the City of White Rock Mapping System recognizes this address as a legitimate residential address. Mail is not delivered to this address."
Buchanan said Lawrence’s listed address is actually just the back alley of the SandPiper Pub, which is co-owned by the incumbent councillor, and does not qualify as an eligible address to run or nominate others in the election.
"At the back door of the bar that is owned by Mr. Lawrence the number 801 has been affixed to the wall, however from a close inspection it is unlikely that this represents what qualifies as a legitimate residential address under the Local Government Act and the BC Election Act," he wrote.
While Lawrence does not need to be a resident of White Rock to run for city council, he does need to be an eligible voter in the city to nominate others.
Asked about the concerns raised around Lawrence’s listed address, Arthur said she had spoken with Lawrence is satisfied the address is valid.
For his part, Lawrence said the same concerns were cited during his last run for office in the 2012 byelection and were dismissed.
Buchanan said he has yet to elevate his concern to the courts but that he issued his challenges out of being a concerned citizen. "I believe in honesty, I’m old-fashioned and still believe in honest government," he said.