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Island candidate left previous position amid conflict allegations

A candidate for a regional director position on Vancouver Island is trying to re-enter politics 16 years after resigning from a similar job amid conflict-of-interest allegations.

Fishing guide and lodge owner Mike Hicks is running for a position as the regional director for the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, which stretches from outside Sooke to Port Renfrew on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island.

In the early 1990s Hicks held a similar position as a regional director in Bamfield, but stepped down after lawyers working for the regional board said Hicks had been in conflict-of-interest when he voted against allowing a new fishing lodge to open in Barkley Sound. At the time Hicks owned the Tyee Resort and Fishing Lodge in Bamfield, which would have been in competition with the new lodge.

“It is perceived that I am in conflict of interest because of my profession,” he wrote in his April 8, 1992 resignation letter. “For that reason, I feel that I cannot be an effective regional director.”

Hicks did not return calls by press time. In 1992 he blamed the lawyers for his downfall. “If the regional board had any guts they would have taken it to court,” he told the Alberni Valley Times. “Obviously they don't . . . They put the opinions of lawyers over the democratic rights of Bamfield.”

Of course the lawyers would not have offered the opinion they did if they did not feel Hicks was going to either make money from his decision, or avoid losing it.

Hicks, by the way, also found himself on the wrong side of fisheries regulations in 2005. A November 3, 2005 notice from Fisheries and Oceans Canada said Hicks pled guilty to fishing in the off-limits Swiftsure Bank area off southwestern Vancouver Island. At the time the fishing guide had four guests on his boat Predator, which fisheries officers found about 0.67 nautical miles inside the protected area.

The federal department fined him $2,000 for the infraction.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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