Burns Lake legion faces apathy

Large membership base does not produce volunteers needed to run the branch.

The Burns Lake Royal Canadian Legion faces troubling days ahead if it cannot form an executive committee.

“It’s a shame and it hurts,” said Burns Lake Legion Branch 50  chairman and past president Bob Whipps. “After 85 years, this branch faces closure.”

At the Nov. 18 general membership meeting last week, voting for the new executive council came to a halt when no one was nominated or offered to volunteer for the position of branch president.

Joe Comeau, the current president is retiring this year after decades of dedication to the Royal Canadian Legion (Lakes District News, Oct. 23, 2013 ‘Local Legion faces closure’).

Under Legion voting procedures, voting for the executive council comes to a halt as soon as a position fails to be filled. With the president’s position the first to be voted on, no other nominations for the remaining executive positions were called.

Visibly saddened, Comeau spoke to those in attendance at the general meeting.

“Of 150 members, we have a hard time getting a handful of volunteers,” he said. “With no elections held tonight, we’ll call for elections again [next month]. If there are no volunteers, I will notify B.C./Yukon Command that we have no executive.”

At that point, the branch may close for a period of time before one more attempt to form an executive is made. If no executive committee can be formed by then, the Burns Lake Legion would be sold with the proceeds going to B.C/Yukon command.

“Commander Joe [Comeau] had sent a letter to all members,” Whipps explained. “An article was written in the paper about the situation we face. What more can we do?”

“We tell people what could happen, but we run into apathy,” he added. Despite the importance of that Monday evening meeting for the future of the local branch, quorum was barely met. A 14-member quorum is required for a general membership meeting to proceed, and it was only by the addition of three new voting members that evening that quorum was met.

Any Canadian citizen and member in good standing of the Royal Canadian Legion can stand as a member of the executive committee. Anyone interested in volunteering for a position can call the local branch at 250-692-3232 for more information.

In other Legion news, members were reminded of the important role the guest book by the entrance plays in keeping the branch on the right side of B.C. liquor laws.

“Under the liquor control act, we’re a private members club,” Whipps explained. “The guestbook must be in use when the branch is open.”

Recently, members and guests have not been accurately filling in the guest log. Periodically, liquor inspection officers will examine the book to make sure that the branch is in compliance with its special liquor license.

All members must sign in guests according to the format illustrated in the guestbook, and guests must respect the sign-in procedure or the branch could face penalties under the B.C. liquor license act.

The poppy fund drive reports that the branch did as well this year as last, if not better. Not all poppy boxes have been collected yet from outlying areas.

 

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