The Pender Harbour Health Centre wishes to acknowledge the recent concerns expressed in our community, and in the Coast Reporter (Pender Harbour residents voice concerns over health centre voting change, Aug. 31), regarding changes to our society’s membership and voting policies.
As a Community Health Centre, we exist to care for and serve the members of our community. Our mandate begins and ends with providing exemplary care for our neighbours in the safest, most healthy and professional setting we can provide.
Because of community concern, we have decided to revert to the previous membership and voting model, where every member has a vote.
It is worthwhile to share some background. The province changed the Societies Act to allow for both voting and non-voting memberships so that societies with complex operations can run more efficiently. The board felt that the PHHC Society fit that description of complexity, particularly as we were initiating a significant fundraising campaign to support critical safety and accessibility upgrades to our facility.
The Board was seeking to develop a larger membership base in two ways: By expanding our community membership with a lower time commitment, non-voting role. And, by fostering a smaller group of voting members who could offer more time, be called on to join committees, become familiar with the business of the organization, be recruited as new directors and be called on more easily when a significant decision needed to be made.
The rationale was not to take rights and influence away from any community member, but rather to expand our membership and community support, while improving our ability to act responsively.
These bylaw changes were proposed to the membership of the society in advance and were discussed and voted on at our Annual General Meeting in November of 2021. We realize however, that people who were not members of the society would not have known about the change. We wish to thank the community members who brought this to our attention, and to the attention of the Pender Harbour community. We apologize for our shortcoming in communicating this to the broader community. We are very encouraged to see the renewed interest in membership at this time.
Les Falk, President
P.H. & District Health Centre Society
COO, P.H. Health Centre