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Castlegar mayor resigns following holiday trip backlash

Last Updated Jan 8, 2021 at 4:11 pm PST

(Courtesy City of Castlegar)

The mayor of Castlegar has stepped down following outcry for pandemic-related travel

Bruno Tassone is the first B.C. politician to resign after taking a non-essential trip

Over the holidays, Tassone travelled to his Okanagan cabin 200 kilometres away

CASTLEGAR (NEWS 1130) — The mayor of Castlegar stepped down Friday after public outcry over his pandemic related travel over the holidays.

A number of local leaders have come under fire for similar decisions, but Bruno Tassone is the first B.C. politician to hand in his resignation letter after taking a trip while non-essential travel has been discouraged by health officials.

Tassone didn’t go to Hawaii or Mexico, but travelling to his Okanagan cabin 200 kilometres from his home was enough to bother some people.

While he doesn’t make reference to the trip directly in his letter of resignation, he writes of the toll bullying and hypocrisy within the media has taken on his spirit.

“It goes without saying that I have been a target of harmful and bullying behaviour along with outright disrespect within the systems I have operated in upon my arrival as Councilman over six years ago,” Tassone writes.

Bree Seabrook, communications manager for the City of Castlegar, says people are still processing his leaving.

“It’s news for us,” she tells NEWS 1130. ” It came as a surprise so we’re really just wrapping our head around it at a staff and council level, and then working through what the requirements are. We follow the Local Government Act.”

She says council needs to appoint a chief election officer and then a by-election will be held within 80 days of that to vote in a replacement.

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Tassone became mayor in 2018, four years after he was first elected to office, but Seabrook says he has worked as a city employee for decades.

“His commitment to the community spans over decades and has really left a positive impact,” Seabrook says. “So I think people are doing some reflection on that at this point.”

Under B.C.’s provincial health orders in place until at least Feb. 5, there is an advisory against non-essential travel to curb the spread of the COVID-19.