Councils in Comox, Cumberland oppose pay for non-profit board members

Cumberland and Comox councils do not favour the idea of compensating non-profit board members.

Cumberland and Comox councils do not favour the idea of compensating non-profit board members.

The issue has been raised by the Comox Valley Airport Commission, which is seeking advice from Valley municipal councils about a possible amendment to a bylaw that prevents directors from profiting from their position.

The CVAC board commissioned a study to identify reasons for and against moving towards a compensated model.

Coun. Roger Kishi is not aware of other volunteer boards receiving pay. He feels council needs to send a clear message that it does not support CVAC board remuneration, mindful of possible repercussions on other local non-profits.

“It does open a wider issue,” Coun. Gwyn Sproule said at Monday’s meeting. “There is no precedent for this. I’m not aware there is difficulty attracting people (to the CVAC board).”

CVAC looks after commercial operations at the Comox Valley Airport. Board members receive money only to cover out-of-pocket expenses.

Mayor Leslie Baird feels the report is incomplete because it does not include the number of hours invested by CVAC board members.

In Comox last Wednesday, Coun. Tom Grant said credit should be given to community members who helped get the airport built and running to where it is today.

“… now the airport today is nothing but a big cash cow. And now these guys who have taken it over … are now asking to get paid. And the guys who really did all the hard work did that for nothing and did it for the love of the community,” he said.

“I am totally against the airport commission paying their directors a nickel.”

Grant added Comox Valley residents are still paying back a $4-million loan for the airport.

“Maybe when that loan is paid off they can start asking for money and they haven’t proven to us that there is a shortage of volunteers to sit on that board. You’ve got the same people who have been there for years and years and years, including the chair (Linda Oprica) right now.”

Coun. Barbara Price echoed Grant’s comment and noted she has never gotten the sense there is a difficulty recruiting community members to be part of the board.

Both councils unanimously voted against supporting remuneration for CVAC board members.

In the study, Sierra Systems analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of similar non-profit transportation entities across Canada moving to a compensated board model. It says several of them have adopted a board compensation policy.

The study concludes by asking: Is our board compensated fairly in comparison with their peers who have chosen the compensation model?

To view the study, visit and click on About Us/Publications.

— With a file from Erin Haluschak

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