LETTER: Biologist’s actions have ramifications for Saanich

This letter is in response to Anita Bull, president of Saanich Residents for a Responsible EDPA Society. Some relevant facts were incorrectly presented in her letter Oversight needed to protect public interest.

The letter references the Green Bylaws Toolkit, authored by UVic’s Deborah Curran. It is stated that the mapping used by Saanich did not meet the criteria laid out by Curran. This is untrue, as the District of Saanich EDPA was used as a case study in the Toolkit, including reference to the type of mapping used.

Regarding the discipline judgment of Ted Lea, the letter states that the College of Applied Biology determined that Lea’s reports were probably correct. The discipline judgment says nothing of the sort. The discipline panel found that Lea prepared reports in a manner that was in violation of his code of ethics. Which is why his membership in the College was removed, and he was issued a fine of $7,000.

READ ALSO: Saanich EDPA’s biggest critic found guilty of ethics violation

The College wouldn’t have spent $150,000, issued a fine and pulled their membership if they thought his work was at the expected standard. I was the only member of the public to attend his hearing and it was clear he submitted reports without field notes, pictures, etc. While all other scientists were submitting 15 to 20-page reports with evidence supporting their findings to Saanich, his one to two-page reports were a stark contrast. Instead of being a scientist who could show his work, he admitted to lobbying council instead.

The question of what implications this has for Saanich council is an important one. Lea’s reports were found to be in violation of the code of ethics. Council chose to accept Lea’s recommendations over their professional staff.

Should the decisions that council made based on these flawed reports be reviewed? Saanich now has no EDPA because of this, and has suffered a loss, which should be remedied.

Lea’s work was used to support removal of two properties on Rainbow Street from the EDPA. A subdivision and rezoning application is now with Saanich. These are the properties that Bull has represented since 2015.

READ ALSO: Subdivision planned for area once protected by EDPA

We need oversight of professional, self-governing bodies and government entities that rely on this work, to ensure preservation of the public interest. If a government body makes decisions on a professional’s work that is later found to be unethical, there must be more consequences than removal of title and monetary fines for the professional.

Merie Beauchamp

Saanich

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