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Wakefield coop members ‘don’t know what the deal is’

June 19th,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

Thank you for printing my letter last week (“Wakefield community centre questions unanswered” June 12 edition) and the other articles related to the Wakefield community centre [Centre Wakefield La Pêche, CWLP]. 

On June 6, the CWLP newsletter stated: “Members will be asked to vote on June 20, 2024, on whether to accept or refuse the Offer in Principle from the municipality to take over ownership, responsibility and the expenses for the CWLP building.”

On June 10, the CWLP newsletter stated: “coop members will be asked to vote on the following resolution; FOR or AGAINST entrusting the board of directors to negotiate and finalize the transfer of the CWLP building to the Municipality of La Pêche.”

In the Low Down, some coop members state in an ad that the vote is: “Vote YES on Thursday, June 20, on the Offer in Principle by the Municipality of La Pêche to purchase the building housing Centre Wakefield La Pêche!” and they mention a member advisory group.

People seem to think that the CWLP coop board is asking people to just vote on the fact that they can start negotiations to transfer the building. No, the board is requesting authority to negotiate and finalize the transfer of the building. No, the municipality of La Pêche is not offering to purchase the building. No, the board’s intention is not to consult with a member advisory group. No, the municipality would not be giving the coop a blank cheque.

Honestly, people do not know what the deal is. 

Maybe the vote should be: coop members will be asked to vote on the following resolution: FOR or AGAINST entrusting the board of directors to negotiate and finalize the transfer of the CWLP building to the municipality of La Pêche. The coop board would then present the transfer agreement to the membership, clearly highlighting the pros and cons for the coop and their recommendation on how to proceed. Or just vote no, there are no details to help us make an informed vote. 

Will the coop lose its autonomy? What’s the big rush? Let’s get some help to ensure due diligence. Let’s request a mediator such as CDROL (Coopérative de développement régional [CDR] Outaouais-Laurentides) to assist with negotiations. 

First, CDROL would work with the coop members and board to document coop requirements, then work with a lawyer to draft an agreement with details and then negotiate with the municipality to finalize the deal. Let’s ensure this is a win-win situation for the cooperative, municipality and community, and everyone has a clear understanding of the details.

Please email the CWLP coop president at direction@centrewakefieldlapeche.ca if you agree that we should have a mediator to begin this win-win process or request this option at the SGM on June 20.

Irene Richardson, former president of the Centre Wakefield La Pêche coop board
Wakefield, QC

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