Bob Erickson is no longer a District of Hope councillor.
District of Hope received Erickson’s resignation letter at a council meeting held Jan. 10.
Erickson moved to Hope in 1981 and stayed 30 years. He ran for council for the first time in 2014 and succeeded in getting voted in. He was re-elected in 2018, garnering 831 votes.
But after retiring from dentistry, Erickson moved to Alberta in 2021, leaving an unofficial vacancy on council.
“Absolutely he will be missed,” said Mayor Peter Robb. “Doctor Bob, as we liked to call him, was always generous with his time and resources for the community, and a lot of it went unnoticed. It was appreciated by those he helped, but Bob was very low key about it. Whatever the need was, he wasn’t looking for recognition. He did it behind the scenes, and a lot of the general public wouldn’t know he was active in those areas.
“But those who know him well appreciate all he did for our community.”
Erickson took a leave-of-absence leading up to Dec. 31 and the resignation letter was dated Jan. 5, 2022.
There was some thought he could complete his term if District of Hope council meetings continued to be held via Zoom, but with meetings returning to in-person, it wasn’t going to work.
The idea of someone continuing on council while not living in the community was also controversial to some.
By holding off resigning until January, Erickson did give council one reason to not have a by-election.
Under section 54(3) of the Local Government Act, a by-election isn’t required if a vacancy happens in a year in which there is a municipal election.
Voters go to the polls this year on Oct. 15, 2022.
Two other conditions needed to be met to avoid a by-election. According to section 54(3) of the Local Government Act, “the vacancy is not in an office elected on the basis of a neighbourhood constituency.”
“Bob didn’t represent just the Kawkawa Lake area or something like that, he represented all of the community,” Robb explained. “For one term years ago we had a Silver Creek rep, one from Kawkawa Lake, two from downtown. That sort of thing. But that doesn’t apply here.”
Also according to the act, the number of remaining council members must be “at least one greater than the quorum for the Council.”
Robb said quorum is four.
“All the councillors know that we need notice, and we’re working on a holiday plan now to make sure we don’t have to cancel (council meetings) because we don’t have quorum, unless there’s an illness of course” Robb said. “They’re all planning their holidays for the balance of the year to make sure we have the coverage we need.”
While Robb said Erickson’s voice will be missed at the council table, he said he’s comfortable moving forward with the six people who remain.
“Bob’s opinion was appreciated, and that will be missed,” the mayor said. “He had a lot of business experience, as we all do, and his mantra was always, ‘What’s this going to cost the tax paper?’ We’ll remember that as we move forward on different initiatives, but we’ll be fine. I have no worries that council will function in a proper manner for the balance of the term.”