Jacob de Raadt

Critic barred from council chamber

Other opponents of Athenry development told to talk to Township lawyers as well

Five months after he was cited for clapping during a Langley Township council meeting, Langley City resident Jacob de Raadt has been banned from a attending future meetings.

Council has released a record of a closed-door meeting that approved a lawyer’s letter forbidding de Raadt from attending future meeting without the “prior written permission of mayor and Council.”

De Raadt has been told all future communication with the Township must be directed through Vancouver law firm Bull Housser and Tupper.

De Raadt has also been warned in writing to “cease publishing or delivering any defamatory or racist communications in respect of the Township, current or past staff or elected officials.”

Council also released a letter from Bull Housser lawyer James H. Goulden, which says de Raadt made a number of “inappropriate” remarks in communications to the Township, including a reference to a unnamed person’s Irish surname.

“There are many other communications of a similar nature sent or circulated by Mr. de Raadt,” Goulden wrote.

“These communications are likely racist and defamatory and should not, in our view, be tolerated by the Township.”

The comments were made in relation to the  Athenry Development  project to build condos and a cultural centre in Willoughby, the lawyer said.

When The Times contacted de Raadt by phone Wednesday, he declined to comment on the allegation of racism.

“Not at this moment,” de Raadt said.

In a related matter, the law firm has also sent a letter to “certain individuals” who oppose the Athenry Development project, advising them to direct all future correspondence to the law firm.

In June, de Raadt was involved in a brouhaha between members of council and the audience during a discussion about the sale of Township-owned land in Glen Valley.

When Glen Valley resident Stuart Bucholtz went over his five-minute time limit during his presentation to council on the land sale, Councillor Steve Ferguson interrupted him, saying, “Excuse me sir, we have order in this particular chamber.”

At that moment de Raadt, who regularly attends council meetings in both the City and the Township, began to clap loudly, and was joined by a couple of other audience members.

Mayor Jack Froese called for order in the room, and all audience members stopped clapping, except de Raadt.

Froese asked de Raadt to leave the council chambers.

He eventually stopped clapping.

At the end of the evening meeting, Councillor Charlie Fox suggested that de Raadt be warned about his behaviour or possibly be banned from attending future council meetings.

Not naming the individual, Fox said he has “gone beyond on too many occasions.”

Fox asked that letter to be sent requesting that he either retains decorum or further action will be taken.

At that time, according to Township administrator Mark Bakken, two people were currently banned from attending council meetings.

One has a court-ordered ban and the other has a verbal agreement not to attend. Both have been abiding by those actions, he said.

– with files from Miranda Gathercole

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