The Qualicum Nature Preservation Society (QNPS) has launched a fundraising campaign to assist with legal fees after a civil claim for defamation was filed by Todsen Design and Construction.
Richard and Linda Todsen 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.
Ezra Morse, president of the QNPS, has been a strong advocate against the project. According to the civil claim, filed in May this year, he made several accusations against the developers in public forums since the application opened in June 2019, including accusations of bribery, destruction of a sensitive forest ecosystem and assault.
The QNPS said it has filed for a dismissal of the claim pursuant to the Protection of Public Participation Act.
“This claim was brought in bad faith and was brought with the improper purpose of intimidating the applicant and others and to discourage their public participation and limit free expression during a municipal election and during a public rezoning process,” the society said.
The society has raised over $26,000, according to its newly launched website treespeech.ca and has a goal of reaching $32,000.
The Todsens filed a second civil claim at the same time against the administrator of the online discussion group Concerned Citizen of Qualicum Beach, who denied the slander claims.