Cultus Park Board voting ends in deadlock

Cultus Lake Park Board reps tried to elect a chair last Wednesday, but ended up in a 3-3 tie each time they voted.

  • Jan. 16, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Cultus Lake Park Board is still looking for someone to act as board chair.

After three rounds of voting at the first board meeting of the year last Wednesday, park board commissioners were deadlocked in a 3-3 tie.

It took more than 30 minutes to go back and forth on the topic before they even started park board business on the agenda.

The Progress asked the two candidates for board chair, Sacha Peter and Bob McCrea, for their take on what was going on.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have all seven commissioners at the meeting because one is away,” said commissioner Bob McCrea.

Commissioner Carlton Toews is out of the country, and unable to be in attendance at the Jan. 11 meeting last week.

That allowed for the tie votes, as McCrea along with commissioners Larry Payeur and Malcolm Shanks voted together as a block.

The voting was conducted by secret ballot.

McCrea said he represents a desire for “change” in how things are run at Cultus Lake Park, which is why the multiple votes ended up in a deadlock situation.

“The only way we can see change is for one of us to be chair,” he said.

His major goal is improved relationships: between Cultus Lake Park residents and the park board, between the park board and staff, and between residents and staff.

Commissioner Sacha Peter wrote about the deadlocked voting situation on his blog at, describing it as a form of “dysfunction.”

“It’s embarassing,” he said, adding he hopes they can soon get on with park board business.

Each time he tried to move a motion to have names drawn out of a hat to decide who would chair the Jan. 11 meeting, it was shot down every time. Peter had the support of commissioners Owen Skonberg and Charlotte Hall.

“After the regular part of the meeting and the in-camera session, the board once again considered the matter of the vote for chair and vice-chair. This was around 10:40 in the evening.

“The vote was deadlocked again, 3-3.”

Peter, Skonberg and Hall went home during a break at about 10:45 p.m.

“I am guessing that Commissioners McCrea, Payeur and Shanks wanted to keep voting until we ran out of paper, but at a certain point the plug needed to be pulled,” Peter wrote.

“I hope this is not a sign of the future; we were elected to make the park a better place instead of playing petty games.”

McCrea said he wants the board to look good and is not interested in endless disputes. According to his read of the Cultus Lake Park Board Act, they should have stayed at the meeting until a chair was duly elected, even if it took all night.

“But I don’t think what happened is a sign of dysfunction at all,” he said. “It’s democracy playing out and it’s a natural process. Afterall, commissioner Peter could have just voted for me and ended it all.”