Community Forest gets democratic reform

Stock photo of McBride Mayor, and current member of MCFC, Loranne Martin
Stock photo of McBride Mayor, and current member of MCFC, Loranne Martin

by EVAN MATTHEWS

The McBride Community Forest Corporation (MCFC) is looking to fill the two vacant positions on its board of directors by mid-January, and it plans to do so by way of an election.

Historically, the Village of McBride Council has appointed all MCFC board members. Bryan Monroe and Loranne Martin are the other two current board members.

In an advertisement, MCFC says it’s experiencing a time of transition and restructuring, as the staff and board are looking to “put into place a framework for responsible fiscal and forest management and a positive relationship with the community,” as the organization looks for “people with forestry, financial and community volunteer experience.”

Two former board members, brothers Gary and Randy McFarland, resigned in October. Gary had been on the board for three weeks, Rich says, while Randy had been on the board since February.

Due to public pressure over the past number of years, Rich says MCFC’s sole shareholder — the Village of McBride — is now showing interest in trying to do “what’s right” in regards to the public’s perception of how the organization is run.

“We’re working on whether or not (appointing board members) can be changed… We are definitely investigating,” says Rich.

Because the agreement between MCFC and the Village currently states the majority shareholder has to appoint MCFC board members, Rich says after the electorate casts its ballots and winners are declared, the winners will be appointed by the majority shareholder.

“That’s the process we’re going to use this go around, because we have to,” says Rich. “Nothing has been changed in regards to legislation for the time being.”

The upcoming MCFC election will include all residents within the MCFC footprint, Rich says, which extends from Dome Creek to Baker (Holiday Creek).

MCFC will release details regarding how the election will be “policed” and other specific election details in the coming days and weeks, as Rich says the process is being worked out by the board.

“It’s going to allow for a more diverse and well-represented opinion from the public in regards to the Community Forest,” says Rich.

“Hopefully the people elected come with a certain level of expertise… but in terms of running smoothly, it’ll be up to the board members to educate themselves and becoming familiar with the processes,” he says.

All the current board members, according to Rich, have the intent of staying onboard with MCFC as long as it takes to turn things around.

MCFC is encouraging anybody who feels qualified to put their name on the ballot, and Rich says even more importantly, is encouraging everyone to get out and vote when the time comes.

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