Malahat Nation interim chief Tommy Harry and two other band councillors have resigned from their posts, triggering the call for a full general election.
“In light of Chief David Michael Harry’s recent resignation, we feel it is important to provide the community with the opportunity to vote for a chief and council this fall that is fully endorsed by the community,” Tommy Harry wrote in his Notice of Election.
Elections were originally slated for January but will now take place Nov. 2.
Nominations will be made on Sept. 28 at a meeting starting at 4 p.m. at the Kwunew Kwasun Cultural Centre.
Dissolving council is a way to distance the band from the allegations against the former chief.
“The allegations that have been made are serious and regrettably reflect on the Malahat Nation,” wrote Tommy Harry, noting the band has accomplished a lot in a relatively short time.
“It is important that we have a government that demonstrates first and foremost its commitment and responsibilities to its members, and at the same time assures everyone we do business with and have a relationship with that we are strong and united and focused on building a Big, Bold and Beautiful Malahat Nation.”
An information sheet attached to the election notice confirmed former chief David Michael Harry is in support of the election but will not run.
The former chief is alleged to have been receiving payments from the owners of the controversial contaminated soil treatment facility in Shawnigan Lake.
Shawnigan Residents’ Association president Calvin Cook believes Harry’s resignation came as a result of his group’s most recent court filing, another Notice of Application in B.C. Supreme Court.
The information, not proven in court, suggests Harry was paid “a consulting fee per tonne of soil.”
Malahat band administrator Lawrence Lewis said it’s business as usual for the band.
“We will continue our governance and the day-to-day delivery of services — all the stuff that we do continues uninterrupted,” he said. “The Nation is very active in terms of its Nation building and its business activities and we need to be able to focus on that and not be distracted by other folks’ agendas.”
Meanwhile, the band has broken its silence about rumors over a potential LNG deal, but hasn’t given a clear indication of what deals may be in the making.
“We are looking at a number of opportunities for the Bamberton lands to support the economic and sustainable grown for the Malahat Nation, however there is nothing for us to report at this time,” said the information sheet.