Thursday, March 13, 2008

save our blue mountains food co-op

received and email today from my blue mountains friends, and with it, a call to action. there are some concerns about recent events, including resignations from the Board of Directors. a petition has been launched to request that a General Meeting of the Directors be called. I see that Sybbi has resigned as bookkeeper. this must be serious. Sybbi has been bookkeeper for the food coop for as long as i have known her (6 years), and has been an active member since almost the beginning of the coop. i have always respected Sybbi's input. though we might not always have agreed on matters, Sybbi has consistently stood up for what she believes in.
residing in melbourne means i'm no longer actively involved
the blue mountains food coop, however i have a strong interest in seeing the coop continue to thrive as a sustainable community resource for the blue mountains. it embodies all those things i feel passionate about; food, community, organics, sustainability and local action.
i recall that even during my time on the Management Committee, there were tensions. aren't there always? the issues then were related to the two "p"s. people and premises.
back in 2002-03 a fair amount of discussion, and some division, arose around the issue of whether to remain small, or whether to grow. despite varying views, a search for new premises began in 2002. this proved to be a difficult proposition as few sites in central Katoomba (ie. the main street) provide the necessary floor space in which the coop could expand.
at the same time, some issues were arising amongst the coop workers. i saw some of this activity as a response to growth. with the need to increase staff numbers and extend opening hours, the coordination of staff became a larger and more complex job. yes, personalities were involved, but more importantly what was missing was the ability to sensitively and compassionately manage the impact of the changes that were resulting in problems. trust was becoming an issue, and i could see a rift opening up between "workers" and "management" which i know neither party wanted.
these issues remained unresolved when i resigned my directorship in 2003 (or was in early 2004?). seems like they are coming to the surface to be resolved now.
i have cast my vote on the website to call for a General Meeting, because i believe that the only healthy way to resolve a situation like this is through open and honest communication. because this is a cooperative, it absolutely must honour the views of it's members. open forum is essential.
i'll be watching this space . . .

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