The administrator of the online discussion group Concerned Citizen of Qualicum Beach has denied claims of slander filed by Todsen Design and Construction.
The claim was filed against Deborah McKinley in May and alleged she had made various statements, which have caused damages to Richard and Linda Todsen.
The Todsens have an application open with the Town of Qualicum Beach to rezone 6.4 acres of land for a 16-lot subdivision at 850 Eaglecrest Drive. McKinley has made multiple accusations against the developers in public forums since the application opened in June 2019, including accusations of illegal tree cutting, bribery and destroying a sensitive forest ecosystem, according to the original claim.
McKinley claimed the developers cleared land and burned on their land illegally, according to the civil claim. It quotes her writing, “land was cleared ILLEGALLY — no permit — and the owners had a huge fire — also without a permit,” in an online comment section.
She filed a response to the claim on June 3 and asked the courts to dismiss all relief sought against her.
“If the plaintiff (Todsens) feel their reputation has been tarnished it is not fair or right to solely blame the defendant (McKinley) for what she may or may not have written or said,” McKinley wrote in her response. She claimed the Todsens do not have any legal basis to seek damages or injunctive relief.
“If the plaintiffs have, in fact, suffered any mental distress, which is not admitted but denied it has been as a result of pursuing a project that the public has shown widespread opposition.”