WHITE ROCK â€” 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 Street, 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 cityâ€™s Chief Elections Officer, Tracey Arthur. In the challenges, Buchanan questions Lawrenceâ€™s eligibility to run and ability to nominate fellow candidates Grant Meyer and Megan Knight, all of which are part of the White Rock Coalition.
In his letter to Arthur, Buchanan wrote, â€œNeither 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.â€
Buchanan said Lawrenceâ€™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.
â€œAt 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,â€ 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 Lawrenceâ€™s listed address, Arthur said she had spoken with Lawrence about the concerns and was â€œsatisfied the candidate completed the documents adequately given the responses/actions of the candidates in question.
â€œThe address of residency is that of which the candidate discloses,â€ said Arthur in an email.
Should Buchanan wish to make an official challenge he will now have to make a court filing, which he has not yet done.
For his part, Lawrence said the same concerns were cited during his last run for office in the 2012 byelection.
â€œIt was a very interesting challenge. When it came down to residency, somebody had an issue with the address I listed which is the same issue someone had last time I was running and that was quashed,â€ he said. â€œFrom what I gather there has not been any further information or any further development with regards to this challenge so I do believe it is currently dead in the water.â€
Buchanan said he has yet to elevate his concern to the courts but that he issued his challenges out of being a concerned citizen.
â€œI believe in honesty, Iâ€™m old-fashioned and still believe in honest government,â€ he said.