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Yacht club sailing toward synergy

Members of the Lower Mainland Yacht Co-op load their dinghy into the water at White Rock pier last spring.  - File photo
Members of the Lower Mainland Yacht Co-op load their dinghy into the water at White Rock pier last spring.
— image credit: File photo

White Rock’s keen population of co-operative sailors – recently disturbed by a significant decrease in representation on the White Rock Harbour Board – may not have to be in up in arms after all.

According to president Warren Hill, the board – which manages the yacht dock on the pier on behalf of the City of White Rock – may be close to solving the situation which took votes away from the sailing co-ops.

Until recently, the Lower Mainland Yacht Co-op (LMYC), with seven boats and 115 members, and the Waterline Sailing Co-op, with two boats and 40 members, were assured representation under a long-standing board bylaw which granted one vote per boat.

But, as Hill explained Wednesday, a review of the Societies Act prompted by current renegotiation of the board’s contract with the city revealed that the co-ops are only entitled to one vote each in having their say about how the communal moorage space is managed.

“It rendered (our bylaw) invalid,” said Hill, who is, himself, a former member of the LMYC. “It means we have to go back to the drawing board for our guiding principles.”

But that’s something he wants to make sure happens, he said, following consultation with the board’s lawyers.

“I think we’re pretty close to having a solution. There are a few procedural things we need to do as a board at our next AGM, which will be scheduled some time in April. We’re just waiting for the lawyers to give us instructions. It’s mostly boring legal stuff to get to where we were.

“What we’re committed to do is ensure that co-ops are properly represented as valued members and full and fair participants.”

LMYC commodore Susan Manz, who appeared as a delegation to White Rock council March 6, said at that time that she was concerned that there was “no legal precedent to reinstate the vote.”

“It only takes 12 members to carry a motion – which does not represent fair and equitable representation,” she said.

Following Manz’ presentation, council approved a motion from Mayor Wayne Baldwin to send the matter to staff for a review.

Wednesday, Manz said that, in hindsight, she would have liked to have asked more from the city.

“We’d like to be grandfathered in (to the agreement), given how long we have been there.”

Manz, who said she has been involved in the co-op for 23 years, noted the LMYC has been in existence since 1976 and that founder Art Bates had been responsible for saving the pier shortly after that, when federal authorities had decided they no longer wanted to be responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Co-op members are trained in sailing and safety procedures, and have often rescued other boaters, she said.

Hill said the value of it was not lost on him.

“The co-op does so much to bring interest to the city and bring in revenue. It’s important to make sure the co-op’s voice is heard.”

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