Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)

Metchosin Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila is stepping down as deputy mayor following controversy over her decision to travel to Mexico in December. (Black Press Media file photo)

Councillor steps down as deputy mayor of Metchosin after controversial trip to Mexico

Mayor hopeful mediation will help council get back to the business of community

The District of Metchosin has hired a mediator to resolve concerns surrounding Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila’s decision to travel to Mexico in December.

Kahakauwila issued a statement at the beginning of Metchosin’s planning and zoning committee meeting on Monday (Jan. 18) apologizing for her decision to go to Cabo San Lucas, despite guidelines from public health officials to limit travel to essential trips only because of COVID-19.

“Reflecting on the decision to go on the trip, one that was personal in nature, I would like to humbly apologize for making the wrong decision,” Kahakauwila said in her statement. “While I had weighed the trip under a personal lens, a business lens and a safety lens, I failed to view it under an elected official lens. I should have stayed home. I made a bad decision and this was my mistake. I am sorry for the anger, frustration and sadness that my decision has brought to our community, council and municipal staff.”

“I love serving my community and I am devasted that I have done something to erode the trust you had in me,” Kahakauwila said. “It is my job now to rebuild your trust,” she said, adding she has learned from her mistake.

RELATED: Metchosin mayor defers discussion of councillor’s travel while residents weigh in

Kahakauwila stepped down as deputy mayor and recommended council change the position to acting mayor as per the Community Charter, which would allow all members of council to take on that role.

She confirmed that a mediator has been engaged to address concerns, and declined to comment further “giving respect to mayor and council and the mediation process.”

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns said he is hopeful mediation will enable council to “achieve common ground” so they can work together on community issues.

A joint statement is to be released following the conclusion of that process, Kahakauwila said.

Kahakauwila was first elected to Metchosin council in 1999 when she was 21. She served until 2008, returned in 2014 and is currently in her fifth term.

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com

District of Metchosin