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Hope Chamber Of Commerce AGM – A Testy Affair

Hope – A couple of businesses in Hope expressed an interest to FVN Fraser Valley News, that one of our reporters show up for the Wednesday Annual General Meeting of the Hope and District Chamber of Commerce.

Their concern was the uncomfortable relationship that the Chamber has with many business owners, who were concerned about Chamber bylaws and how they were administered. Also, the concern about the frosty relationship between the board and those same business owners.

The FVN reporter witnessed that first hand.

(FYI, the Hope and District Chamber has it’s own YouTube Channel and Wednesday night’s meeting was recorded. That link is here).

At issue were the by laws on how Board members were elected, the length of term (2 years elected although there can be interim appointments), how Board responsibilities were handed out, and the election procedure in general. Brian McKinney, the former manager of Hell’s Gate Airtram, expressed concern to FVN that this long standing tension could damage the Board.

While some were trying to put a positive spin on the year’s events including the Salmon BBQ and Canada Day, as well as the hundreds of tickets that were sold for the Chamber’s Speaker Series, confusion remained on AGM procedure.

The Board is governed under the Board of Trade Act (Federal) and not the Society Act (Provincial). In a nutshell The Board’s President, Stephen Au-Yeung claimed they were doing nothing wrong while business owners remained adamant that voting procedures as well as membership bylaws and rules changes were not done above board (pardon the pun) and adequate notice was not given to members.

The testy way the Au-Yeung ran the meeting didn’t set well with many, as it appeared that any constructive criticism appeared to be taken as a personal slam. Clearly there is some type of communication breakdown or a simple lack of trust.

Board member Hank de Meudler tried his best to smooth over the tension praising the current work that has been done.

Ditto FVRD rep Dennis Adamson, while Sharlene Hinds asked for cooler heads to prevail, so that everyone could understand how the Board works. Lloyd Foreman was blunt, stating that small town petty arguments over points of order were stalling any Board work moving forward.

Four Director vacancies were filled. Those people include Ryan Mohle of RM Trailer Ltd, Lloyd Foreman of Foreman Transportation, Laree Russell of Global International Cuisine and Paul Stock of Nestle Water. One would think that with the recent controversies surrounding Nestle, that Stock would have received a little grilling from the membership, but that was not the case.

Let’s be fair, no Chamber of Commerce will ever satisfy all its members, yet there is a feeling of distrust that filled the meeting with tension. Hopefully for business sake and for the look of Public and Media Relations, that things smooth out over the coming months. It really didn’t put the Board in a positive light.

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