Thursday, 18 September 2014

Co-op AGM: Questions to ask!



Recently I receive a message from an out-of-town reader of this blog: Not a Co-op member/owner (M/O) - only vaguely informed but curious about the planned new store and Nelson Commons - she e-mails the Board a few weeks ago, wanting to know if guests are welcome at the upcoming AGM. No reply, and - getting the not-interested/welcome vibe - will pass on this co-operative(?) group! Forthwith!


Now it seems the Co-op may actually build its mythical condos: this based on an announcement banks may lower the required condo-sales to 33 - which the Co-op thinks it may reach easily, currently being at 29 - and once this number is met financing kicking-in.
Deirdrie Lang, GM, tells me the announcement whether-or-not may be made at the end of September, and when I ask why not at the AGM - the logical time and place - she wriggles. Mays for days!

The definitive decision to build will raise several questions needing to be asked by so-called M/Os - the appropriate time and probably only opportunity to nail down witnessed answers: the AGM!

The idea to build condos comes from needing to make as much money as possible as quickly as possible to pay-off incurred debts and build whatever. This via Russell Precious, project-manager of whatever-to-be-built - the inexperienced Board getting in-line behind him. Building condos with a store downstairs is the superficially reasonable way to go: selling 54 units to the most adoring among the flock of Co-op-junkies seems like a walk in the park.

Enough indeed pre-pre-buy - feeding this presumption. But - when actual sales start: many don't take the next step. And when asked in astonishment why not - many say: we want to see it built before we commit. 
Which - of course - is horse-puckie! 
They pre-pre-buy because for a moment they feel special, closer to the Co-op-thing - the altar! - while not actually having to commit to anything. Heretics! And - this being Nelson - folks will go anywhere anyway, particularly if free food is involved.

But - if any of them genuinely are in condo-mode - they also may be considering the other 2 more recent local developments. In all-around wait-and-see dither.  
Yet you can only dither so long: buying-before-building is the way it goes, with banks needing to see buyers' cheque-book commitment before committing themselves. This applies to all 3.


So the Co-op sells one here one there - eventually realizing they'll not meet the original quota of 40+. Soon dropping this condo-gestalt is not an option any longer: 
We Must Build This Dammit!!! 
Arriving at some understanding with their bankers - the sales-quota is to be lowered to 33.

That's where it stands - teeters - now!



1. Question
Considering the already too-long gestation-period of this building in a dodgy market: only 33 out of 54 condos sold before breaking ground means enormous risk for banks. Which wouldn't take this risk without a sort-of collateralized debt obligation. 
In this situation translating into the current store - its location not belonging to the Co-op; the store-fixtures fund; the far-from-paid-off Extra property.
Giving the store away - literally?
So - what exactly is offered as collateral by the Co-op to satisfy courted lenders?


2. Question
The 1.7 mill store-fixtures fund - according to fine print - actually can be applied to just about anything the Board decides. And these funds will not be needed for quite some time.
So - how certain exactly can the lenders be that their unsecured-to-begin-with loans will actually be there for outfitting the store - when its time comes eventually?













3. Question
Just building these condos does not automatically guarantee more buyers. Particularly as some out there - seriously considering a condo-purchase - may be waiting for life to be breathed into the other 2 local projects in the planning: The Crossing at Granite Pointe and Nelson Landing. These 3 currently planned developments may cross-cancel each other - definitely weaken interest. 
Also - in the condo-market - unless buying purely for investment-purposes in strong large urban markets - a building too long in the making and then with too many vacancies is considered with suspicion. Condos here would be a very risky non-live-in investment for someone who's not swimming in the stuff!
So - who exactly is expected to buy 21 empties when?



It seems the real problems are only just beginning for the Co-op with this way-lowered quota - thus possibly imminent fixation-construction of vacancies! Once started: financial obligations have to be met consistently, fully. Otherwise banks - and potentially potential buyers - will get tetchy!
A house of cards.....!



Bonus Question
With may this and may that and total lack of transparency/accountability thus far - it is still possible the building will not happen after all. Which once again needs raising the question frequently asked before - never answered! - the ONLY one of importance in a no-condos-after-all scenario:
So - how much money in total - a single amount! - has been spent on preparing for the unapproved-by-M/Os Nelson Commons endeavor?






You own this pop-stand! So ask! And don't be satisfied until "they" demonstrably satisfy you! Now! Here!
While you're at it: what's with recently/currently looking for a financial/grocery manager? Key positions!

Co-op AGM
New Grand Hotel, Vernon St.
Wednesday, Sep. 24
6:00 pm



Image:
Kevin Curtis 
  

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Destination: Nelson! (Part 2) - Festival of Lights



This post - in a series of 5 - follows that immediately below.






All images here are of the Berlin Cathedral - illuminated as part of the
Festival of Lights - Berlin, Germany 2012.





The (generally little-known) Spurway Trust Fund was established in Nelson - and locked-in with a bylaw - in 1985, with about $93.500. Then only the interest to be spent on flags and decorative lighting: for the purpose of purchase and upkeep of festival and holiday decorations and street decorations in the City of Nelson.



  


Over time it has been tapped-into in bits and pieces. In 2012 and 13 to in-part finance Xmas "Festivals of Lights" here. The results hardly remarkable: certainly nowhere near what one may expect from an effort using this name.
The fund has grown to currently about $120.000 - and its use may be modified by Council. Appropriate use would be towards the color-with-lights-and-paint transformation of downtown presented in the preceding post - and with example-images here. Granted: on a somewhat smaller scale - but you get the picture!



  
 

The name Festival of Lights is registered. Therefore, its use for any event/purpose in Nelson - including Spurway documentation - is against relevant international laws. By the way.







Next:
Destination: Nelson (Part 3) - The (Extra)Ordinary



Images:
Festival of Lights - Berlin
   


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Destination: Nelson! (Part 1)



The recent flap between 2 councillors in a Council Meeting (refreshing: Council partially alive!) over whether-or-not more generic Xmas-lighting on Baker - opens a very smudged, sticking window just a little to the possibility of imaginative movement on the 2nd Floor.
To afford (a) vision through this window in City Hall: it (the window, silly!) needs to be cleaned thoroughly first, then fixed to allow easy opening at will. Will being crucial.




The Star reports this meeting with gusto and great pictures of Councillors Kiss and Adams aroused.
3 sticking-points:
1.
The sluggish Council
2.
The unchallenged Cultural Development Committee (CDC)
3.
The ever-inflating Kevin Cormack, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)


Stuck on you
Council - while using growth, sustainability, Community Master Plan in mash-ups with ease - has no vision of/for Nelson's future, period. Periodically attempting to buy a partial one from outsiders for lots of money - so it must be good! - but promptly shelving it don't ask! Instead largely leaving it to the CDC to come-up with something anything "artistic" at random. Because we are ever so!
And oblige energetically - under de facto leader Councillor Macdonald, comfy in both worlds - spending loads of Council-provided funds on bits of arty manifestations by now seriously cluttering-up the place. And with more and more of this unconnected clutter - a cohesive whole less and less probable.

Still not clear on: a vision has to emerge from the local gestalt - can't be commissioned by a few artists manques for the whole as an arty attempt or urban-generic design-effort.

The CAO inserts himself with increasing frequency - and allowed to do so - in various "identity"-processes, without particular expertise and/or this as part of his job-description.



Sticky
As for this Council Meeting and an example of their interplay-or-not: the CAO announces desultorily a consultant to be engaged to look at lighting, benches and banners on Baker - so we'll hold-off on additional Xmas lights for now he decides; Councillor Macdonald nods (smiling in-the-know?) agreement; the other councillors just there - who knows what they know and think. They'll never tell! Nobody explains anything to anybody. The attending public might as well not be present.

All this certainly-not-cooperation! conceivably an example of what Councillor Kiss warns against: anyone putting pressure on department-heads directly instead of going through Council.

















Non-stick
A plan for Nelson - the now automatically conveniently/superficially referred to Community Plan - should (but doesn't!) have the Baker-corridor as its pin-point focus, from which everything else radiates outward. With tourism now and always the name of the game - putting Hall before Baker is putting the cart before the horse.
For a sizable portion of ever-growing City-expenses to be met by income from tourism: instead of being a pleasant stop-over for some - Nelson must become a tourist-magnet for many. Not just water-and-mountains - a given across BC - but Nelson proper NOW a many-faceted environment in a water-and-mountains setting. And that sure ain't Hall!

The Community Plan at best has a few creatively negligible bits among its endless local stock-taking: listing what is - instead of must be!




With the CAO hardly the artistically daring type: his Baker-lighting-and-what-not consultant will probably be provided by the M&Ms, Kelowna - perpetrators of the Community Plan - and their basic bread-and-butter consciousness. For an example of this group's in-depth engagement with us - and our unfailing acceptance of it: go to pages 46 and 47 of the Plan.
This consultant du jour promises to be more of the same.


Coming unstuck
Ironically - truly imaginative lighting is no less than the medium of transformation for downtown. Light dramatically coloring the customary: it must be part of what will turn Nelson into a destination - where to wonder, marvel for a few days. Participatory public art! Paint for days - light for nights.
First step towards this: the CDC - concurrently in charge of a new version of the Community Heritage Commission (CHC) I mean really! - needs to wean itself of its don't-touch-me-there downtown-heritage fixation. After the CHC leads Baker (and Council) into catatonia - most obvious when not hidden in summer greenery: mid-autumn/winter/early spring - really most of the year. Ultimately a yesterday husk - instead of a today resurgence.

Bringing "heritage" into today with color - paint and light - has been done very successfully worldwide. There are a few tiny glimpses of this in Nelson with the Cartolina Building and most recent Hydro-box wrappings - more of the same to be encouraged enthusiastically!

The conscious aim must be: wrapping all of the core in a glow of color - to walk in, shop in, sit in, be entertained in, play in, dine in. Blocked to thru-traffic in evenings year-around: a gathering-place for tourists and locals alike.




Look at these pictures and imagine a nexus of: Hume, Court House, City Hall, Touchstones similarly lit! And all of Baker! Cross-streets, too! And trees!

Then look away to imagine a leaf/lifeless heritage downtown - soon and once again seemingly never-ending reality - with mall-generic Xmas predictability of the so-called Festival of Lights, and whatever a pricey consultant may add to that via the CAO and unchallenged.

Of course - after the initial shock - immediate reaction to the possibility of coloring the core here must be: We can't - too much and too soon and everything and even if we wanted to - there's not enough money!
Which is not how to get the job - any job - done. With the window to resurgence consciously opened: this idea whose time has come will enter, and the money will follow.
In the meantime: how about stopping smallish - ultimately beside the point - projects and saving money towards one big one instead! 



For additional info see posts:
Nelson: Waterfront and Downtown Plan, Pages 46-47
7 March, 2012
Kevin Cormack's Identity Crisis
20 November, 2013









This post has several parts - the following progressively shorter on words.

Next:
Destination: Nelson (Part 2) - Festival of Lights




Images:
Recanati, Italy
Rijeka, Croatia
Paris, France
Montreal, Canada
Brisbane, Australia 

 

  
 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Villa City Hall



On the home-page of the City's website, 29 Aug, 2014, under Public Notices:
Nelson Landing Neighbourhood Open House - Sept. 3 and 17, 2014, at 4 pm.

Clicking on that takes you to its very own page under the same heading and:
Nelson Landing Corporation is hosting a neighbourhood Open House for residents to review the proposed rezoning application for 1200 Sproat Drive - commonly referred to as "Nelson Landing".
Join the developer on Wed, Sept. 3rd or Wed, Sept. 17th from 4-6 pm on the site under tents. In the event of poor weather, an indoor location will be announced. Check here (www.nelson.ca) or on the development website ..... for updates.




Not only is this development poorly received by residents(?) and Nelson in general when initially before Council - asking for and promptly receiving a stack of variances based on "plans" then - now here comes rezoning! This time around expecting enthusiasm from same residents?

No matter what the proposed rezoning: this is urgently about (not!) selling! Thus surely requiring additional variances - and if so: probably receiving them. What with Council enjoying nothing more than an urbanesewhatever-density-mixeduse-taxrevenue variance!
This brings to mind the City earlier working out a substantial parking-variance for Nelson Commons - blatantly to save them money - long before even applied for. And what will happen to that variance - shorter, narrower parking-slots, etc. - if/when Nelson Commons goes away!
Not to forget Council's still unresolved Kutenai Landing fiasco. And the Civic.




Seeing that construction of Nelson Landing actually was to start over 2 months ago - depending on enough buyers' commitment - they're in a Nelson Commons fix: no customers, and they don't even need many for one building-unit - as contingency-planned! So now Nelson Landing comes-up with perfunctory we-care get-togethers obviously open to all and hint-hint just in case bring your check-book on a convenient for everybody Wednesday afternoon between 4 and 6.

And City Hall facilitates this private, for-big-profit, CORPORATE job, with giving it miles of free advertising on the taxpayer-funded City website. No matter how City Hall may justify this one - if at all! - it's a sales-pitch! And - be still, my heart! - standing by and ready to continue giving free, legitimizing updates: should the weather be too weathery and stuff.




Clearly - this proposed Open House (free appies?) should be prominently and paid-for advertised in/on/thru local news-media. It does not appear in today's (Friday's) Nelson Star - so it's on the City website's home-page only, and how many read that, particularly what with some items there routinely several months old.  But - even if nobody (ideally for the developer!) shows up next Wednesday afternoon - the main thing: Can't say we didn't try!

I send an e-mail to Mayor Dooley, Council, Legal Eagle Long and CAO Cormack, expecting this ad to be pulled. By someone there there!

So do keep checking City Hall on www.nelson.ca for the weather. And if they did pull it.
And this blog for City Hall in brazen cahoots and could it get any worse - with an election imminent yet.



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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Exciting Redevelopment of YOUR Co-op!


With Board-election starting at the store, Sep. 1, a Meet the Candidates Event at the Expressions Cafe, Sep. 9, and the AGM with election finishing at the New Grand Hotel, Sep. 24, - the Co-op has produced info on all this in 8-page-plus-insert hard-copy, available at the store's service-counter and on www.kootenay.coop.

Optics continue to be poor - the old shooting-in-the-foot thing!

YOU-WHO!!!
On its front-page - prominently against a green ribbon - it says:
As a member of the Kootenay Co-op
YOU are an owner!
Following somewhat smaller - the YOU still prominent:
YOU have an important voice and an important vote that helps determine the future direction of your community natural food store.

While ever so telling of the General Manager's (GM) and Board's actual attitude towards the Co-op's member-owners: nowhere in these 8 pages - not in general info, neither the 2 incumbents' Candidate Profiles nor the exiting Board President's lengthy farewell - is the Nelson Commons condo-project mentioned!
Not once - zilch, nada, nothing!
Clearly - once again - a decision is made by THEM to deliberately exclude YOU.  

2 Incumbents
One AGM-agenda item will be a Development Report by Leon Pigott, Board Director. Who - in his Profile - states: I am excited about being involved with the redevelopment of the Co-op. Meaning what: seeing that neither the GM nor the Board seem to - unfortunately for YOU - have any inclination to redevelop it. Development/redevelopment? Obviously - this incumbent is neither here nor there.

The other incumbent - Jon Steinman - believes at this stage in the Co-op's evolution, it's extremely important for the Board to be sustained by experienced Directors who can carry our redevelopment project through to completion. What's he worried about: there probably will only be 1 new Director - easy enough to sit on! Of course - unless Steinman himself is voted out! Gasp! Game over! Experienced? Actually it's inexperience and egos only buying this unsuitable property - in terms of size/price - to then come-up with a simplistic possible cash-cow to pay for it: Nelson Commons condos. Seeing that Steinman has not been forthcoming - over the last 2 years - with basic info of concern to many member-owners: does he deserve ...YOUR support once again to represent YOU for the coming two years?

2 Possibles
Considering that the GM declares WE have the support of the majority of OUR membership to move this project forward: 2 Director-possibles only - from the supporting majority - is rather paltry. As is the number of condos thus far bought by same.

Anyway - Olindo Chiocca, Board-junkie, has the distinction of being the only one in this hand-out mentioning Nelson Commons (once; must have slipped through!) - sounding just like any member of any Board in Nelson: I am excited about the Co-op's development project and would like to contribute what I have learned... and I would like to contribute whatever I can to its success as it creates Nelson Commons and moves to a larger space. Also sounding precipitous. And out-of-step.

The other possible - Laran Kriese - so far seemingly untouched by a Board-virus - keeps it short, simple, straight: no mention of developments, redevelopments, Nelson Commons - he probably doesn't stand a chance of getting himself elected. Within this political democracy: no room for integrity.




4 Continuing
Just look at those sunshine-gals! That interchangeable fixed glow! The one thing standing-out for me with this group: in the last AGM one of them - speaking for all - says that an advantage in living at Nelson Commons is not having to use one's car so much. Right-on!
They - for once wisely - are not called upon to express themselves in this hand-out.


Exiting Board President
In the heading of her smarmy swan-song she is excited to watch (the) redevelopment project move forward. But while mentioning the Extra site, the new store and a vibrant, dynamic downtown: No Nelson Commons! 
                                                                                                     
Our Mission Statement
Promote community involvement... promoting community interchange of ideas... In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.
True - when nudged members possibly believe in all that. Also true - definitely neither the GM nor the Board are performing their duties upholding this tradition.                                                                                                    
AGM Teaser 
At the bottom of the last page: Find out about the Store & the Redevelopment Project. Distinction? Irregardless! 
Could it be THEY have already decided to discontinue the Nelson-Commons foolishness but to not let this be known before the AGM - to avoid attendance of too many disgruntled-thus-prepared member-owners? THEY just wanting to be able to quickly-smoothly run it by the usual agreeable-to-anything-Co-oppy nucleus? 

Whatever - literally! - YOU will know if/when THEY are ready to tell YOU!









When I cancel my member-ownership I receive a check for $50. My membership-fee paid years ago. No interest. No rebate for months as member-owner thus far this year.
Just sayin'!





The Co-op is currently looking for a new Finance Manager
 www.kcds.ca/index.php/job-board/jaview/303-finance-manager 






Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Life: According to the Board (and GM)



Kootenay Co-op AGM
Wed. 24 Sep./6:00pm
New Grand Hotel, Vernon St.

Do Go!



Because this should be when member/owners (M/Os) find out whether or not the unauthorized-by-them Nelson Commons condo-block will be built. 
This should also be when those concerned will finally become informed of the never before divulged unauthorized-by-M/Os financing of this project's preparation: exactly how much/from what sources and based on what reasoning. 
And what about a yearly member-rebate withheld previous to all this to - supposedly - be applied toward eventual construction of a new store: there being no construction-fund per se - according to management - where did this go, and how much was it?
And - most important, if these condos will not be built - how M/Os can expect the team of Board of Directors (Board)/Deirdrie Lang, General Manager (GM)/Russell Precious, Project Manager (PM) to make good on the by now surely sizable hole in these M/O-generated funds.

M/Os may also learn what's happening with the ever so urgently needed store - after over 2 years of not as urgent as.

So do go! And be ready to demand answers - it's YOUR money! YOUR Co-op - not so much!

With this moment of truth - figure of speech - drawing near, I contact the BC Co-operative Association (BCCA) to become clearly informed about responsibilities of co-ops toward their members. Which I figure have to be set in stone - seeing that a co-op is not a co-op without members to co-op with.
Following is my letter to the BCCA:

  
4 Aug. 2014

To: Carol Murray, Executive Director
murray@bcca.coop 
CC: Kevin Harding, Director - Co-op Development
harding@bcca.coop

Directors -

Aim
As a registered member/owner (M/O) of the Kootenay Co-op (The Co-op), Nelson BC, I have concerns which have not been addressed by it in available print-literature, electronically provided info to the general membership and my numerous e-mails asking the Board, GM and PM for clarification. Either receiving replies of vague generalities - uniformly circumventing issues in question - or no replies at all. I will gladly provide you with e-mails sent and replies-if to them.

The lack of willingness/candor alone is troubling - while at the same time - this co-op's rules give all M/Os a democratic voice of equal value, this value first-and-foremost held high at all times. There clearly are issues around the meaning of co-op within this co-op.

My aim in connecting with you is to learn from the BCCA about parameters of this kind of co-op's management/board-responsibility towards its M/Os: extraordinary large-scale development-thus-financing decision-making and the M/Os' participation in it.




Background
Following is a brief history of what leads me to contacting you today:

In a meeting, March 2012, The Co-op asked the M/Os present for approval of removing the clause that no more than 75% of reserves may be invested. In an e-mail to me Deirdrie Lang, General Manager, 4 Jun. 2014, wrote these funds were for acquiring and developing the new property.
The property in question is a very large, centrally located - thus very expensive - piece bought by The Co-op for a new store. A building - previously a supermarket - is part of it.
Yet in this March meeting the focus was on rehabilitating the building only - no other plans were on the table. Thus when the majority - 119 of the M/Os present - voted in favor of removing the 75%-clause, this narrowly focused on reserve-funds-as-were-then for a store only! Neither the Board nor the GM or PM did present ideas for any other possible use of existing/future reserves ad infinitum after removal of the clause. Lang's rather broad for acquiring and developing the new property was simply not the issue of this meeting.

Which exclusively revolved around a larger store and finally having found it! M/Os were encouraged to sign-up for focus-groups: how best to utilize the store-space - immediately after the meeting. This was the last - and only - time the general membership was asked to engage on a participatory level.

Because after a while of silence on the store-topic word on the street suddenly had it that The Co-op was going to replace the existing supermarket-structure with a condo-block.
Even though The Co-op has its M/Os' postal addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of most: the general membership was not formally introduced to/asked to vote on the idea; it was not informed of the scheme's funding; it was not informed of this new seemingly-separate-but-maybe-not entity - Nelson Commons - and who was to run it how.

From Lang's initial cultural center of the region to a condo-block in one fell swoop was a shock to many, particularly when became public that this was not to be co-op- or social-housing and clear that having bought too large, too expensive too hastily wanted "real" money to pay-off thus-incurred debts. With questionable motivation, poor advise and the market a blind-spot within a very small decision-making group: a condo-block - ironically - at $27 million! Their view was: most condos will be snapped-up by M/Os - what with The Co-op having taken-on a sheen of can-do-no-wrong over the years.

This view has been somewhat dispelled in the meantime: not enough of these condos are selling to enable financing from the banks, and dates for/of everything have fallen way behind. Still - full-page newspaper ads continue to advertise the same non-news, and M/Os are lured into the Nelson Commons sales-office with oyster-appies.

While all along there has been little mention of the store - except: it will rent space in the condo-building and The Co-op going into a loan-drive to pull together $1.5 million for store-fixtures. Seemingly no room for financing the store proper has been allowed in the condo-scheme - fixtures will be bought with no-advantage/unsecured loans made to The Co-op by M/Os.

These loans - according to fine print - can be reallocated as the Board sees fit.


What If?
For some time now it has been apparent to many here that Nelson Commons more than likely won't get off the ground. The whole process of this lengthy - obviously very costly - double-project's preparation has lacked transparency, there has been no accountability. My questions - how much preparations thus far have cost the M/Os and how they were financed - have not been answered; the PM did not reply.

All I have learned from Lang: information on the project's expenditures will be made available in the AGM, Sep. 2014; Nelson Commons thus far has been funded partly with reserves and partly with store-income; the project is within its budget; and we have the support of the majority of our membership to be moving this project forward.

(Not part of the letter - just incredulity wanting to be expressed here now: 
What is this odd partly reserves and partly store-income? Store-income left over after application to overhead - is profit to then sit in the bank as savings. It's just that co-ops don't talk about profit/savings - with them it's reserves. It would be stupid to use part of store-income as such for the condo-folly before all given obligations are met. Reserves? Store-income? What! 
Considering that the majority isn't buying into it, and The Co-op has not reached out to its M/Os in a timely, truly informative - co-operative - manner: I don't see a basis for this assertion of having the majority's support. All along the project has been run by a few tight-lipped insiders only - the majority only knows from carefully tailored repetitious superficiality. And Lang has stated to me elsewhere that reaching all M/Os is just not doable.)

My questions to you:
1.
Can a co-op legally invest - on this scale - funds generated/owned by M/Os without permission from them?
2.
Can said funds - generated by a not-for-profit co-op - be simply and legally applied to a to-be-for-profit project without at least consultation with the M/Os?
3.
Does a co-op have legal permission to start a new, separate, non-co-op business-entity, using the M/Os' funds for this without their approval?
4.
To what extent can M/Os reasonably expect to be involved in approval/decision-making processes of this scale?
5.
Seeing that in this case M/Os never agreed to a $27 million condo-block and use of their funds to propel it forward: if this project does not come off - who will be legally responsible and in what practical manner - for the clearly substantial loss of M/O-funds through the Board, GM and PM?


End of letter (without pictures)


While Executive Director Murray
unco-operatively does not reply at all - Director Harding informs me that answers to my questions may only be found in my co-op's bylaws. And - in so many words - that they aren't about to go near what may be other people's legal stuff. I see his point. Yet I wonder at this association's purpose of facilitating co-ops getting started without basic tenets regarding management/member-relations. 

So I figure I get the Kootenay Co-op's bylaws and ask the Board and Lang for them in an e-mail. To find that Lang - on-again-off-again once again - has blocked me from reaching her via e-mail (as did Jocelyn Carver, Marketing & Outreach(!) Manager, quite some time ago). Selectively co-operative with M/Os.

I inform the Board of being blocked by the GM - this in a second message. After all, one must wonder how many messages from others may not get through because of an M/O's aura of inconvenience - and I-never-blocked-you Lang contacts me.
The Co-op's Rules of Association (bylaws) are not on-line: kept at the office and available for viewing there. Copies no - notes yes. I make an appointment.

And ask myself why I didn't take this route 2 years ago.



  
The Artless Dodgers
Not on-line because we don't want everybody to know - this bylaw is about the Board's doings only: broad, flat, shallow, totally devoid of co-operative spirit. In fact: dead(ly).
M/Os mentioned just once when their approval is needed to remove the pesky - while crucial here - 75% rule. Otherwise they are not among the Board's responsibilities - not even morally. Of a political - certainly not social - democracy. Sound familiar?
Thus the above questions to the BCCA - in fact most of my Nelson Commons concerns over the last 2 years, based on reasonableness and waiting for co-operation to kick-in - are now barking up a dead horse within this co-op's context.
Board members - according to the bylaw and Lang - are elected by the M/Os to do anything they alone may choose in their collective wisdom. And if there's no wisdom: can't win 'em all! This should scare many - what with these members just average hapless, glutenfree treehuggers themselves. Yet with the Harper coming through loud and clear! That at The Co-op!

They don't need the M/Os' approval for the condos; they don't even have to inform them. So - while no repeat removal-approval sought - financing of condo-preparations probably has been run at least in part on said initial 75%-removal - simply shifted over who's to notice - even though that removal - one more time! - is M/O-approved solely for the store. No matter how those in charge worded their records after the meeting: the 75%-removal-approval of March 2012 does not apply to use of reserves towards the condo-project today! I know I repeat myself with this - but!




It is safe to say - no matter how the Board and GM have tweaked it: at least part of the condo-preparations are financially murky. Which brings into question the whole Nelson Commons thing. But as the Board needn't be accountable to member/owners - unless a legal angle can be clearly defined: nobody will be (held) responsible for the stream of funds lost, wasted and/or paid-out in salaries - if Nelson Commons proves to be dead in the water.

When I ask Lang when the yes/no on condos will be announced she says at the end of September and I say why not at the AGM on the 24th and she says we're not sure yet. Dodging and weaving, ever dodging and weaving!

If Nelson Commons goes down: the same already flatlining Board will be in charge of Plan B - the store. Maybe reallocate the $1.7 mill in loans for starters? And if somehow that phase gets muddled through: there's the supermarket! - not just a larger store! - to be run! Fundamentally different dynamics!

Interestingly - the only person in this decision-making group - not on the Board! - with experience in larger-scale development-projects is also the only person with real supermarket-experience. Russell Precious, PM. They('ll) need (and compensate!) him (well) as the only stabilizing presence between more myopic decisions coming from just being tired of it all and a possibly irreversible meltdown the result. 
As in the faster they go - the behinder they get.

Could happen!


Co-op Board
board@kootenay.coop 
 
Deirdrie Lang
dlang@kootenay.coop

Russell Precious
russellprecious@shaw.ca








Having no confidence in the Kootenay Co-op's GM/Board and their interpretation of the term "co-operative" - I have decided to cancel my member/ownership in this grocery-store as of today, 14 Aug. 2014.



Cruise by Orion, swing north at Sagittarius, lay over a bit at Rigel. Starflight has always seemed impossibly romantic. The reality is somewhat different. One sits sealed in a narrow box for weeks at a time amid strangers who prattle on and at the end of the voyage arrives at a place where the air is not so good, and the crocodiles are fierce.

                                                                  Life Among The Savages
                                                                                  Melinda Tam, 2221


  




Friday, 1 August 2014

So Shoot Me!












Sometimes I think it should be a rule of war that you have to see somebody up-close and get to know him before you can shoot him.

                                                                               Colonel Potter
                                                                                             M.A.S.H.