Vision Vancouver park-board commissioner Constance Barnes didn’t show up for her first scheduled appearance in provincial court on June 29 to face three alcohol-related charges.
Crown counsel Jeremy Crowhurst told the Straight that the articling law student who appeared on Barnes’s behalf was given the particulars of the charges: impaired driving, driving with an alcohol count of over 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
The hearing was adjourned until July 22, and Crowhurst said that Barnes has until then to decide whether to plead guilty to the charges.
Barnes wasn’t available for comment, but Vision park board chair Raj Hundal told the Straight that the commissioner was “out of town” and “getting treatment for her condition”.
Barnes announced on June 10 that she was taking a leave from her park-board duties. She said she had consumed “a couple of ciders” before she crashed her car into a South Vancouver house on May 23.
It’s not known how long Barnes will remain on leave, but she continues to receive pay from the city.
According to Hundal, it’s up to Barnes to decide when she will stop receiving pay. “It’s a delicate matter,” he said. “It’s a matter between the City of Vancouver and herself.”
Hundal added that the park board wants her to return only after she has fully recovered.
A park commissioner is entitled to a yearly stipend of $8,000, as well as a $4,000 allowance in lieu of reimbursement for expenses.
“It is Commissioner Barnes’s personal decision to continue to receive the stipend,” park board spokesperson Joyce Courtney told the Straight.