Smithers Public Library

Telkwa to withdraw from Smithers library board

Councillors’ time commitment and non-voting status cited in library board withdrawal

Telkwa has decided to withdraw its village council representative from the Smithers Public Library board.

Coun. Matthew Monkman reported to council he had attended a meeting of the board and given his time commitment and that since Telkwa is not a voting member, he didn’t see that council was getting adequate value from being involved.

He suggested he would like to respectfully resign. The mayor and council agreed and decided to send a letter withdrawing the council representative.

Wally Bergen, chair of the Smithers board, said it was disappointing.

“Just a general observation I would make is we’ve had representation on the library board for several years from Telkwa and we’ve always given them ample opportunities to speak and respond to situations and as much as possible we’ve given them due consideration to comment on Telkwa’s needs,” he said.

“We try to think of the library as serving the whole of the Bulkley Valley, the regional district portion, the Telkwa portion, as well as the Smithers portion, and from a library board point of view we’ve never been too concerned about voting per se as far as how much, quote, power a vote would have, but rather having a thorough discussion and then the board listens and considers all of the discussion, including everything from Telkwa and then votes accordingly.”

Consideration has been given in the past to giving Telkwa a vote, but Bergen said that is not possible.

“Under the Libraries Act, it structures which municipalities and which jurisdictions can have voting members, so we can’t change that as such,” he said.

Telkwa council discussed putting it out to the general public to see if there are any Smithers library users in the village who would be interested in sitting as a representative.

Bergen said the Smithers board would be open to that.

“We’d consider anything that has representation from everybody that uses the library,” he said.

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