EDITORIAL: Tough ask for volunteers

Being a member of a non-profit society's board of directors is getting more serious these days

There’s a theme emerging from recent reports and although the issues are centred in this region, they are by no means exclusive to Parksville Qualicum Beach.

Societies and boards need a few good men and women, but who wants the hassle?

The aKd Resource report on the Island Corridor Foundation was critical of the lack of transparency exhibited by the board of directors that is responsible for the rail right-of-way from Victoria to Courtenay. The report also suggested future board members have certain skill sets that would help the group make better, more informed decisions.

The reaction to a KPMG report on the management and operations of the Parksville Community and Conference Centre sounds similar: the society that contracts to the city to run the facility needs more members and board members with specific skills to better guide the operation.

This all makes sense, but where does one find such people?

They are here, of course. There are people in Parksville Qualicum Beach, both retired and still working, who have expertise in all the fields required for both of these boards: engineering, management, financial services, communications, etc. Thing is, these are volunteer positions. Who has the time?

There are volunteer boards operating in Parksville Qualicum Beach that provide huge service to the region. They are too many to list here. The board members come from all areas of life with many different, valuable skill sets.

Being on the board of a publicly-funded, heavily scrutinized boards like those that oversee the ICF or the PCCC is an entirely different experience, however. These involve public money and/or assets worth millions of dollars.

With that, comes attention. From these pages and elsewhere. We believe watchdogging the public purse is one of our most important responsibilities. And in the Internet age, comments — sometimes personal, irresponsible and hurtful — fly from every angle, 24 hours a day.

If you are running a business or working in a job with heavy responsibilities, why would you take a volunteer position that exposes you to the questioning and criticism of everyone who owns a keyboard or smartphone?

Thankfully, we have a lot of courageous, community-minded people in Parksville Qualicum Beach and the Island. We’re hopeful some of those people, with the valuable skill sets required, will step up to help guide both the ICF and the PCCC.

— Editorial by John Harding

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