Robert Filmer announced he will take a medical leave from Qualicum Beach town council. An unwelcoming workplace has him fearing for his health, safety and wellbeing, he said in a public statement on Thursday.
“When you work in a toxic environment of strict bullying and harassment, that tends to take a toll on your wellbeing. Especially when you tried to have it resolved and it is either refused to be resolved or swept under the rug, that’s tends to do something to one’s health,” said Filmer.
The leave is set to be two months, but Filmer said he could come back sooner or extend it if issues within council are not resolved, “it’s just until further notice,” he said.
Filmer thanked voters for putting trust in him and said he looks forward to pausing, reflecting and hopes to return to work to finish his term on council. There are steps that can be taken to resolve the conflict within the council if they persist when he returns, according to Filmer.
“Whether we involve the province in issues that we are having, or along those line — I think those are steps that would need to be taken. Those are very extreme measures,” he said.
Filmer criticized Mayor Brian Wiese for not resolving the conflict and said the town lacks vision and meaningful leadership.
“The mayor is not the so called boss of council, but they are the leader and when there is an issue, it is that mayor’s job to try to resolve that issue and our mayor has constantly refused to resolve any issue that council has had,” he said.
Wiese sent an email statement to Oceanside News when asked for an interview. He said he appreciates Filmer’s participation in council and he respects his decision to put his health first.
The mayor expressed disappointment in his statement at the way Filmer characterized council and brought the allegations forward in a public statement.
“We look forward to welcoming Councillor Filmer back when he is healthy to return to his role on Council,” Wiese said.
Qualicum Beach is required to hold a by-election to replace Coun. Adam Walker, who was elected as MLA for the riding. Filmer said it is unlikely Walker will be replaced before April or May.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Jan. 13 — it will include only the mayor and two councillors.