The newly elected 2019-2020 Tofino Co-op Board of Directors—Carol Schulz, Barbara Audet, Christine Michaud, Rosemarie Tranfield, Stephanie Hughes, Margaret Eady and Matin Gholami—smile for a group photo after reading their Oath of Affirmations at the Co-op’s 63rd AGM on May 22. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

220 Tofino Co-op members cast votes at 63rd AGM

“I am honoured to be elected.”

Tofino Co-op members voted for change at the 63rd annual general meeting on May 22 at the Wickaninnish Community School.

Three new directors, Margaret Eady, Matin Gholami, and Stephanie Hughes, were elected onto the 2019-2020 Board. They will join returning directors Carol Schulz, Barb Audet, Christine Michaud, and Rosemarie Tranfield.

Director candidates Jim Striegel, Rene Gibson, and George Hubert were not re-elected. Striegel served two terms (six years) on the Co-op Board. He was president for five years.

Carol Schulz was elected at the May 22 AGM to serve as president. Schulz, who is married to Striegel, comes up for re-election next year. She has served on the Co-op board for 17 years, 10 of them as president.

“I am delighted to be working with this talented Board of Directors and am looking forward to a productive year of experimenting with new approaches to member relations. In the meantime we will still be focusing on keeping our Co-op financially strong and growing toward the future. My special thanks to all the folks who came out to our AGM. Please come again next year, and please behave a little better,” said Tofino Co-op president Schulz in a written statement to the Westerly News.

Newly appointed director Matin Gholami told the Westerly over the phone that it was a pleasure to see so many people at the AGM.

“I am honoured to be elected. My goals for the three years on the board, especially the first year, is to bring the voice and concerns of all the people that showed up to the board. Their concerns will not go neglected,” said Gholami, who has managed Tofino’s BC Liquor Store since June 2017.

The AGM had a record-breaking 220 voting members cast ballots. Originally, the meeting was supposed to take place in a multi-purpose room, but due to the large turnout, the meeting was moved to the main gymnasium. The AGM was called to order one hour behind schedule.

Former president of the board, Jim Striegel, read verbatim a 12-page president’s report. Members of the audience interrupted Striegel several times throughout the reading of his report. While reading page four, one member of the audience called out a “motion to accept the president’s report”. The motion was seconded by another member of the audience and several other members applauded. Tofino Co-op director Carol Schulz reprimanded the audience for being disruptive, and Striegel carried on with his report.

Striegel’s 12-page report included information on the house at 967 Campbell Street, the plan for a pharmacy counter and the petition, redevelopment of the Co-op Gas Bar, and a pending lawsuit.

Tofino Co-op general manager Mike Tomilin, above, spoke about GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) certification for produce in the general manager’s report.

“Producers have to get certified,” said Tomilin. “If we risk even one of our customers getting ill or worse from a non-GAP certified product sold by us, we are open to liability of great proportions.”

Tomilin stated that $57,000 or 2.9 per cent of produce sales in 2018 were non-certified product.

The Westerly reached out to the Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild (TUCG) for comment on the issue. The TUCG is a food sourcing organizing that brings Vancouver Island produce to businesses and individuals on the Coast. The TUCG was unable to provide a comment by press time, however, TUCG food co-ordinator Bobby Lax penned this statement in his May 24 weekly newsletter to TUCG members:

“It’s been a huge week and I am happy to say I believe this Board of Directors will take our concerns seriously, and while there is still a lot of work to do, at least now I feel like it’s beginning,” wrote Lax.

READ MORE: Tofino Co-op shelves plan for new pharmacy

READ MORE: Location an issue for food growing project in Tofino

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