October 11th, 2016
ICF Opens Annual General Meeting to Public
Island Corridor Foundation Directors reviewed the recommendations found in the aKd report at a special meeting of the board and will implement a number of them to improve communication amongst the stakeholders including opening the Annual General Meeting to the public. The review of the Island Corridor Foundation (ICF) was called for by the Association of Vancouver Island & Coastal Communities at the annual spring conference.
“Several of the recommendations are already in effect and all will receive serious consideration.” stated Judith Sayers, ICF Chair. “It was decided at the July board meeting to open the Annual General Meeting to the public, and the recommendations concerning financial reporting aspects of the Foundation will be reviewed with our auditors and those that have corporate legal implications have been discussed with our solicitor. We will work with our member regional districts to ensure ICF directors are not restricted in reporting due the Schlenker court decision. The ICF will also be updating the business plan and coordinating the Southern Rail strategic plan for presentation at the annual general meeting”.
“We hope the AVICC will agree to the recommendation to include a workshop time at their annual spring conference and accept our invitation for a meeting and tour of ICF operations. We want as many of our members to understand all aspects of the ICF including the very important relationship with our rail operator, Southern Rail”.
Sayers said the ICF Board works closely with our CEO and we have complete confidence in his ability to manage the daily affairs of the ICF.
Retired View Royal Mayor and former ICF Director, Graham Hill said during his years on the board the CEO did a good job of managing the affairs of the ICF in a very politically complex environment. “He worked closely with the board while dealing with five regional districts, 14 First Nations, 14 local governments, the provincial and federal governments, Southern Rail and the general public, all in an environment that is highly regulated and has complex interests: it’s a tough job”.
Hill said he was surprised that the report done by aKd consultants does not indicate consultation with Southern Railway: SVI is the ICF rail operator of record and is a respected established short-line rail operator on the lower mainland and runs the industrial rail / barge connection to the Island.
“Without Southern as a partner it is likely a rail service connecting the eastern island seaboard of communities would cease to exist. The ICF board were very aware of special interests for rail use and of course those who are uncomfortable with rail as an alternative mode of transportation. It would have been helpful to my understanding of context if the report had recognized the 40 people contacted and attributed their interests. This is a significant information resource that may have been useful to the sponsors and the ICF Board” said Hill.
While reporting to all the players is a challenge, staff and board members have attended regional board meetings, local government, and First Nation council meetings and have organized special meetings for councils and boards.
ICF co-chair, Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said, “As the report states in point 3, there is also a responsibility for people to keep themselves informed and take advantage of the meetings organized or offered and to view the ICF website”.
“I think the report should have been more transparent in whom and what was pushing the review agenda”, he added.
ICF board member, Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula said the Foundation, “is well run and competently managed and as ICF directors we take our responsibility in overseeing the affairs of the ICF very seriously”.
The ICF has initiated a number of steps to provide better communication amongst members including the establishment of the liaison committees and the public release of ‘Board Meeting Notes following each meeting. The ICF does not restrict board members from reporting to their respective organizations, however the Schlenker decision has caused individual ICF directors considerable consternation in reporting to their boards due to perceived ‘conflict of interest’. A common reporting process accepted by all members and councils is a good recommendation to implement. The ICF website provides comprehensive information.