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General News · 5th May 2014
Noba Anderson
On Saturday, the letter pasted and attached below was sent to the Coastal Community Credit Union Board of Directors requesting a meeting. Also attached is the letter we sent a month ago and the two responses we have received.

Today, at 3 pm in Manson's Hall, we are hosting a Credit Union Community Strategy Session, where we will be seeking your input. Some members from Cortes, Sointula and Alert Bay have been working on Face Book Pages, YouTube Videos, webpages, media, land and branch negotiations... Where from here? What message do you want me to take to the meeting with the CCCU board (assuming we get one)? What other actions do you want to take? What can you envision for the Credit Union land and building?
Please join us.

Also, I brought the matter to the Strathcona Regional District Board and put forward a resolution that was unanimously supported for the chair to write a letter to the CCCU board expressing concerns over the removal of services from Cortes Island without member consultation.

Also, here are some links to YouTube videos from Sointula about the closure.

To: Coastal Community Credit Union Board of Directors
May 1, 2014

Re: Branch Closure in Alert Bay, Sointula and Cortes Island

We write to you again, as leaders of the three respective communities in which you intend to close credit union branches.

Our concern with the communication and decision-making approach coming from your institution, which so deeply deviates from our experience of cooperatives, continues to grow.

We respectfully request a timely meeting with you, as a full board, to discuss with you, as the decision-making body, the implications of and alternatives to the decisions you are making.

We are doing what we can to offer you our collaboration but this is not something we can sustain without your participation.

On April 7th, we wrote to you with a number of questions and an offer to work with you to maintain your members in our three respective island communities. We stated ‘We are willing to work with you, to find creative alternative ways to deliver modest service.’ We have had no concrete indication from you of any will on your part to work with us.

On April 12th, we met with your board chair and CEO in Parksville and requested that you reconsider your decision to close three of your branches in early July, the beginning of the summer tourist season and the very worst time of year for our communities and your members to make this transition. We indicated that with some extra time, we would all be in a much better position to work well together for the long-term benefit of the Credit Union, your members and our communities.

On April 14th, we received a letter in response to our request to reconsider your decision and extend the timeline of branch closure. We were informed that the board had reaffirmed its decision both in substance and timing. No attempt was made to address our questions or concerns.

On April 16th at your AGM, leaders from our three respective communities presented some of our key issues in this member forum and asked important questions. We did not receive any answers of any substance on any topic. Indeed, your CEO suggested that the best course of action would be to withdraw the member requisition for a special meeting, due to the cost associated with fulfilling your requirements in response. However, there was no offer of a different approach to accompany that suggestion.

On April 23rd, we received another letter from your CAO and board chair, in response to our letter dated April 7th. It states, “We believe we have addressed the areas of concern you raise…” even though in your two response letters, there has been no written attempt to answer any of our questions. We still await an effort on your part to share what you can.

The letter ends by stating that we will be kept informed of your progress when it comes to the future uses of the land and buildings that you own in the core of our three respective communities. We end our previous letter by clearly requesting a commitment to ‘meaningfully engage our communities’ in your process. There is quite a gap between our two approaches and we are quite concerned with this profoundly divergent approach. We appreciate that you have reached out to Malcolm Island to talk about the disposition of that Credit Union Building. We expect the same for Alert Bay and Cortes Island. We all expect to be your active partners in finding uses for these spaces that would best serve our communities.

This is our second offer to work in collaboration with you, and our second request that you make a more sincere effort to work with the communities you serve and indeed with your members. We all need to find ways to solve this impasse and work around our problems. However, this takes willingness by both parties and we still await an indication on your part to join us in this collaboration. There are many people in our communities who would be more than willing to take a different approach.

Please find attached the three letters that we referenced above.

We anticipate your timely response and hope to meet with you soon.

Signed by:
Noba Anderson
Regional Director, Cortes Island,
Strathcona Regional District

Michael Berry
Mayor, Village of Alert Bay

Heidi Soltau,
Regional Director, Area “A” (including Sointula), Regional District of Mount Waddington


George Speck
Senior Administrator
‘Namgis First Nation