Follow Up On Cowichan Valley Citizen Report Of C.V.R.D. Director Breaking Down Door At C.V.R.D. Building

On 20 July 2018 the Cowichan Valley Citizen published an article entitled “Cobble Hill Director Breaks Down Door At CVRD Office.

Here is the text of the Cowichan Valley Citizen story on this incident:

“Cobble Hill director breaks down door at CVRD office

Matteus Clement releases statement on incident

An incident in May involving the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Cobble Hill has led to a public statement from the director.

The incident occurred on May 25 when Matteus Clement broke a door while forcing his way into a restricted area of the CVRD offices in Duncan.

Clement said in his statement that he went to the CVRD office after hours to collect a projector and other materials to facilitate a community meeting, but he found the door locked to the area where staff had left it for him.

He said that with an hour left before his meeting, and in his urgency, he shoved the door which broke.

“I immediately called our CAO, Brian Carruthers, to inform him and let him know that I would pay for the repair,” Clement said.

“I am sorry to have broken the door, it was not my intent. CVRD directors used to have access to the building after hours but after a security review a year ago, our CAO restricted the access to directors. The CVRD board is currently re-examining this policy.”

Jon Lefebure, chairman of the CVRD, declined further comment on the issue.

“It was discussed at an in-camera discussion at the CVRD so I’m not able to discuss it any further,” he said.

“The director’s statement will stand on its own.”

Cowichan Valley Citizen, 20 July 2018

This story sounded very odd to us. We have seen the interior doors at the C.V.R.D. building on Ingram Street in downtown Duncan and they appear very solid. It seemed very unlikely to us that these doors would break when “shoved.”

Since the Cowichan Valley Citizen did not publish a follow up to its original 20 July article, we decided to follow up this story ourselves.

On 24 July 2018, we went to the CVRD building to ask whether we could see the door which had “broke” when “shoved” by C.V.R.D. Director Matteus Clement. The damage has been repaired but C.V.R.D. staff pointed out the repaired door, which is in a public area to the left of the Planning and Development desk in the main reception area on the first floor of the C.V.R.D. building.

Here are some photos we took at the C.V.R.D. building on 24 July 2018.

First, Director Matteus Clement would have to gain access to the C.V.R.D. building after hours. Here are the front and rear entrances to the C.V.R.D. building. Both are secured by substantial doors and both have electronic key card access. We are guessing that Director Matteus Clement has, or had, a key card which allowed him to enter through one of these doors on 25 May 2018. The Cowichan Valley Ciitizen story says Directors no longer have access to the building “after hours” so how did Director Clement get into the building “after-hours” through these locked doors?

Front Entrance Door to the C.V.R.D Building on Ingram Street (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
Front Entrance Door to the C.V.R.D Building on Ingram Street (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
Rear Entrance Door to the C.V.R.D Building on Ingram Street (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
Rear Entrance Door to the C.V.R.D Building on Ingram Street (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)

Here are some photos of the interior door which Director Matteus Clement says “broke” after he “shoved” it. This door was identified to us by C.V.R.D. staff as being the one Director Clement damaged and it is located to the left of the Planning & Development counter in the main public reception area on the first floor of the C.V.R.D. building. In the photo below, the door damaged by Director Matteus Clement is on the left. Note that this is a strong and substantial solid door. We doubt that it could be broken by being “shoved” by one person.

The door damaged by Director Matteus Clement in May 2018 is on the left of the photo. (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
The door damaged by Director Matteus Clement in May 2018 is on the left of the photo. (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)

The photos below show this door from another angle. Note that the door is controlled by a key card security system visible to the left of the door. Did Director Clement not have access to this door on his key card?

Note also the counter to the left of the door. Could C.V.R.D. staff not have left the projector for Director Clement on the counter. It is in a semi-secure area which cannot be accessed unless a person comes through the security controlled doors at the front or rear of the building.

The door damaged by Director Matteus Clement in May 2018 is in the center of this photo. (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
The door damaged by Director Matteus Clement in May 2018 is in the center of this photo. (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
Matteus Clement in May 2018 is on the right. Could the CVRD not have left the projector on the counter to the left of the door? (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)
The door damaged by Director Matteus Clement in May 2018 is on the right. Could the CVRD not have left the projector on the counter to the left of the door? (photo by DuncanTaxpayers.ca)

After seeing this door for ourselves, we have some doubts about Director Matteus Clement’s version of events.

Director Matteus Clement is quoted as saying that “in his urgency, he shoved the door which broke.”

But this is a solid substantial door which separates a public reception area from the C.V.R.D. offices. We doubt this door could be “broken” by being “shoved” by one person.

The door is controlled by a programmable card key security system. Are C.V.R.D. Directors’ key cards programmed to deny them access to this area? If so, why would the C.V.R.D. staff be leaving a projector for Director Clements in a secure area to which he did not have access?

We also note that there is a counter to the left of the door. Could C.V.R.D. staff not simply leave the projector for Director Clements on this counter? To access the counter one has to gain access to the building through substantial exterior doors controlled by programmable key card security systems. So it is not as though the C.V.R.D. staff would be leaving the projector in a public access area where it could be readily stolen.

In short, we have some serious concerns about Director Matteus Clement’s version of the events of 25 May 2018. We think the C.V.R.D. owes taxpayers a far more detailed explanation than it is currently giving.

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