By Andrea Arnold
McBride Community Forest Board of Directors member Sheilagh Foster submitted her letter of resignation from the board on Tues Jan 24. Foster had been on the board of directors since the summer of 2021, but has been a committed supporter of the spirit that the board represents since the beginning in 2007. She even designed the logo.
She was disheartened to hear that the Village of McBride had voted to remove two of the MCFC board of directors.
“(It is) a sad repeat of the history and community trauma endured under previous Village Councils,” said Foster. “I joined the MCFC Board of Directors, hoping that director appointment and management by Village Council was behind us. I hoped MCFC could work toward becoming an independent organization not subject to the political whims of McBride Village Council.”
Seeing that the Village has once again stepped in and appointed directors of their own choosing, Foster made the decision to step down.
“It is now, once again, McBride Forest Corporation with no meaningful input from community,” she said.
Although she was not present at the Council meeting on Jan. 10th when the motion was discussed at length, she has listened to the audio that was provided on the Village website.
Foster says there was no reason given for the “firing” of the two volunteer directors, and that many of the condemning comments made by Mayor Runtz were incorrect and vague.
If the two new appointed MCFC members, Mike Monroe and Terry Kuzma, had applied for the positions throughout the application process (their application first being approved by the MCFC Board then through council), Foster is confident they would have been welcomed into the organization as they are both competent logging managers.
“With three appointees from the Village (Councillor Joe Kolida in addition to Monroe and Kuzma) the McBride Forest Corporation (meaning the Village) has a free rein to do as they please with only a token nod to community,” she said. “I do not wish to be a token!”
“MCFC is not respected by the Shareholder,” said Foster. “The Village has revealed there is no need for an MCFC Board of Directors. The Village has chosen to run it by appointees.”
Response re: vacant seats
Since the meeting on Tuesday, the MCFC has put out a call for anyone interested in filling two of the empty seats they have available (bringing the number of Board of Directors to six. The call for applicants states that interested parties must have some forestry experience and need to live within the current footprint of the community forest, between Ptarmigan Creek and Holliday Creek. Deadline for submissions is March 8, 2023.
When asked why they are only advertising for two seats when the reports have been that there are three seats available, MCFC General Manager Patrick Penner said that according to their lawyers, there are six seats in total.
“Between 2018 and 2021 the number of directors purportedly increased from 6 to 7 based on a Council motion in February 2020, communicated to the MCFC in March 2020,” said CAO Tupy. “The Village has no record of this being followed up on at the MCFC.”
He recommended that questions and information about MCFC meeting minutes and resolutions be directed to the MCFC.
The Goat asked MCFC if the requirement to live within the MCFC footprint still stands for individuals interested in applying for the MCFC, given that the Village recently appointed someone who lives outside it.
Penner recommended that the question get posed to the Village, as the wording on the director applicant posting was wording chosen by the village several years ago.
“The Community Forest has not been made aware of any policy changes,” he said.
The Village’s response to the same question came from CAO Tupy.
“The Village is not aware of any requirement for MCFC directors to live within the MCFC footprint,” he said. “We would refer you to the MCFC.”