Just in…. FWBIA Board errors jeopardizes funding for association.
Not sure why the vice chair of the FWBIA is now being called the Chair and is leaking confidential information to the press before it is given to membership.
The bylaws/constitution could have been changed over a year ago. To blame membership for the mistakes made by this board is par for the course and the reason there is no confidence in the ability of the board members including the 3 city councillors who sit on it.
Membership attended the AGM but left the meeting early as the Chair and board would not listen to their complaints. They had asked for the resignations of this board a month prior because of their inability to understand governance of our association, 6 months of drawing attention to this matter has gone unheeded and now this board has jeopardized the funding for its business and property owners.
Ms. Ch’ng is using the bylaws/constitution to suit her needs, follows them sometimes and then dismisses them. I also believe she is misleading the media, the proposed budget presented at this years AGM is for the calendar year 2018 -2019.. there are funds to cover items up to June 30.
RESIGN NOW from our board Ms. Ch’ng and take your political maneuvering with you!
Stand Up for Change in Downtown Fort William is demanding the resignation of Shelby Ch’ng from the board of the FWBIA. Her political interference in association matters has to stop.
We have also become aware of the huge business license fee increase to business owners in the city that she supported in the city budget. Councillor Ch’ng is vice chair and former chair of the FWBIA and did not make the members of the association aware of this huge increase ( close to 100%).
Another example of her putting her role as a city councillor before that of a concerned board member of the FWBIA.
RESIGN or REMOVE SHELBY CH’NG NOW!
Time for a change in downtown Fort William. We are tired of our issues being ignored, our reputation as intelligent business owners tarnished by the actions of a Business Improvement Association (FWBIA also known as the Victoria Ave. BIA) that has been hijacked by three City Councillors. After attending an AGM last evening where membership was not allowed to read a prepared statement after the second year of not having quorum, we are here to rally the troops in a public forum for true change. After 6 months of being ignored we begin the task of bringing our cause to the citizens of the community and ask for support.
We were almost called “Billy’s Town”, we may not have fresh flowers on our streets this summer, the lights were all but extinguished in Paterson Park this past winter. The three city councillors that sit on our board have no understanding of governance and in the past year there have been 4 board meetings without quorum, 2 AGM’s held without quorum and a facade program that saw over $20,000 in improvements go to board members or their tenants.
We begin with our prepared statement that we were not allowed to share before we walked out of the AGM that had no quorum, and as such, could not conduct a business meeting on the memberships behalf.
Statement to the Chair and Board of the Victoria Ave. BIA (FWBIA)
Good Evening Madam Chair and Board of the Victoria Ave. BIA, also known as the Fort William BIA.
We, the members and property owners of the association, are here to put the board on notice that we are in the process of gathering signatures to have this board dissolved by the City of Thunder Bay and if we are unsuccessful with our efforts in this matter, may begin the process of dissolution of the Victoria Ave. BIA.
For six months, over eighty petitioners have asked for discussions concerning grievous errors in the governing of our association and a voice in the decisions and direction of our downtown business district. We are allowed this right under Bylaw 8(C) referring to “Powers”.
Former Chair Shelby Ch’ng and the board, along with the city clerk John Hannam, received a copy of this petition including signatures. We have been ignored and feel disrespected and frustrated in our efforts to negotiate for our cause. The operational and governing issues facing this BIA have been triggered by mistakes made by the FWBIA board, not association members.
The email sent to the Chair and Board on March 26, 2018 asking to discuss the actions and decisions of this board to date have gone unanswered. Not one of the eight items listed to discuss with membership was added to this agenda including the removal of Mr. Axel Rehfuhs from the Board of Directors on February 9, 2018. We request an immediate reinstatement of Mr. Rehfuhs to the board at this time, to avoid the potential lawsuit our association is now facing with a court action beginning as early as this week.
As of 12:30 this morning our membership had been working under the assumption that we did not have a traditional Annual General Business Meeting of our association with the stated agenda referred to under Bylaw 7(A) titled “Membership Meetings.
The membership had been emailed an agenda that was clearly a discussion sheet with City initiatives taking priority as opposed to a suitable agenda, a plan for initiatives by this board, and a strategy to promote and deliver services to the downtown merchants for the year ahead.
At 12:30 this morning, the membership received a revised agenda and at 1:13 a.m. they received an “Unaudited Management Statement” instead of the requested “Financial Statements” that our accountant from BDO would be discussing this evening.
I ask Madam Chair: Where is the transparency? Where is the respect for the members when pertinent information about our association is withheld until the last moment? How are we to prepare for any discussion on any matter concerning our association when information is sent in the middle of the night? When did we lose our professional stature?
We would also like to add that an election of a new board of directors of the Victoria Ave. BIA is mandated for the same time as the city’s Municipal Election on October 22, 2018 and is guaranteed under our own Bylaws and the Municipal Act. Our next AGM is not until next March. Why are we not talking today about bringing our Association’s election in line with the City’s election?
On February 26, 2018 we asked for an intervention of an ombudsman or the ethics commissioner of the City of Thunder Bay to help put our association in good stead. We never received a response to our request. Why not?
Madam Chair, the board is broken beyond repair and we will be leaving this meeting tonight as no pertinent business is being conducted on our behalf. You have wasted our time and the limited funds of this association to promote what some would say are personal and political agendas.
We leave you with these documents for reference and strongly advise you to give some thought to the correspondence sent by Ms. Paras and other members on our behalf over the past six months.
Lori Paras / Stand up for Change in Downtown Fort William