Editor, The Times:
Unfortunately, the good people of Upper Clearwater and surrounding areas have been victims of continued misinformation and emotive untruths. It is time to set the record straight.
For more than 12 months, directors of the Upper Clearwater Farmers Institute have asked and offered to meet with disgruntled neighbours who have, for their own reasons, decided to leave the UCFI, the Upper Clearwater Community Hall and to make their demands to terminate the ‘lawfully’ enacted grant-in-aid that supports the hall.
All requests, offers and attempts to resolve our differences, many made via Area A director Schaffer, (the emails prove it) have been rebuffed.
By the way, we have never been given a list of their grievances or told what they are. Instead, I have been told by a neighbour that if I and the rest of the UCFI board resign, then he and his friends would rejoin the Farmers’ Institute.
I should mention that the UCFI has democratic elections every year to elect the board of directors. These are held in a manner I believe subject to Canadian law, documented within the Farmers’ and Women’s Institute Act Regulations.
From that board, Institute members elect the president and vice-president.
As demonstrated at the TNRD board meeting, voting is by a show of hands.
In the spring of 2014, Tim Pennell (then the Area A director) and Tom Dickinson (Thompson Rivers University) kindly adjudicated the voting process at the annual general meeting. At that time, one of those now opposing the grant-in-aid was secretary, another was elected vice-president and a third was elected a director.
Don’t be further misled by claims that this dispute goes back to 2004. Nonsense. The ‘dispute’ was engineered by a few people who wanted to take over the Farmers’ Institute and the Upper Clearwater Hall for their own reasons. When they were unable get their own way, (by way of a democratic vote) they left.
Those that walked away from the UCFI and the Community Hall want their own facility in Upper Clearwater and have started to use a TRU building (the former schoolhouse) in Upper Clearwater.
Canada Day celebrations were held at the TRU schoolhouse and there have been various other parties and gatherings.
This new meeting hall is by no means a community hall. None of the broader Upper Clearwater community knew of its existence or has been invited to any events.
Since director Schaffer’s surprise opening salvo on the UCFI and the grant-in-aid in February 2015 in the form of a survey, the UCFI has given her full access to the books, shared fact and reasoning as well as answered all her questions with truth and candour.
The UCFI had hoped that by doing this she could, as the Area A director, represent all of us in Upper Clearwater.
You know, any “rift” will mend much faster when director Schaffer stops pouring fuel on the flames and gives both sides fair representation.
At the TNRD board meeting in January 2016, the delegation from Shane McGrath did not represent all the residents of Upper Clearwater. He represented just some residents – not all.
At that same meeting, the UCFI presence was not there to argue in favour of the grant-in-aid. The ‘declared’ purpose of the presentation to the TNRD, made on behalf of the UCFI and Upper Clearwater residents, was to thank them for their tremendous support for the hall over the past years with the Gas Tax funding programs.
Further, the UCFI presence was there to ask the TNRD board of directors to continue that support for the generations to come by providing a letter to acknowledge the wonderful facility that had been built, available to all. I hope director Schaffer’s new survey will show again that the residents of Upper Clearwater want to keep their Community Hall available for everyone.
Andrew Nelson, president
Upper Clearwater Farmers Institute