The front page of today's edition of the Nelson Star.

The front page of today's edition of the Nelson Star.

EDITORIAL: A conundrum over the co-op

It gives us no pleasure to report today on the internal problems of the Kootenay Co-op board.

It gives us no pleasure to report today on the internal problems of the Kootenay Co-op board. As a community newspaper, we’re not interested in needlessly stirring up controversy and we’re acutely sensitive to the parties involved. But we’d be doing our readers a disservice if we ignored it.

A bit of background: upon stepping down from the board, Leon Pigott approached us with a letter to the editor explaining to the membership — and by extension the  public — his reasons for resigning. Soon after, we learned Olindo Chiocca had also resigned, citing similar concerns.

Before going any further, we asked the co-op board for its side of the story. They were understandably uncomfortable with their internal politics being aired publicly and urged us not to print the letter, as they were still trying to deal with the fallout.

After meeting with longtime general manager Deirdrie Lang and a board member, we agreed to hold off for a week. However, when we checked in again, we were surprised to learn Lang was no longer the co-op’s manager.

That, we felt, forced our hand.

Furthermore, the co-op shared the news with its membership this week — albeit in language that omitted the acrimony that precipitated the resignations and perhaps made it seem like Lang’s new role was of her choosing.

That the co-op is a major advertiser doesn’t make our job any easier, but our editorial decisions must be made without regard for how the consequences might affect our bottom line.

The co-op was still reluctant to discuss the issue this week, suggesting that our coverage would somehow pose a health and safety risk.

Why is the co-op’s governance and staffing a story at all? After all, no organization is immune to occasional infighting. The answer is simply prominence.

The co-op is one of Nelson’s biggest, oldest, and most important institutions. It has thousands of members. And now that it’s embarking on Nelson Commons, a massive project that will change the face of downtown, its profile has never been higher.

Not being privy to the board’s in-camera discussions, we’re not sure if the issue can be reduced to who’s right and who’s wrong. Everyone involved is credible: the directors who resigned and directors who remain are reputable, respected citizens.

That the co-op moved swiftly to find a new interim store manager along with two new directors (again, all highly credible people) might help the whole thing blow over quickly.

For all of the agonizing over this issue — by the board and by the Star — whether it will upset the co-op membership or be swiftly forgotten remains to be seen.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Youth Climate Corps members April Gariepy, Summer Monkman and Linn Murray at work in West Arm Provincial Park, fall 2020. Photo: Submitted
Youth Climate Corps members April Gariepy, Summer Monkman and Linn Murray at work in West Arm Provincial Park. fall 2020. Photo submitted
Kootenay youth climate group works to protect Nelson’s water supply

Youth Climate Corps members spent five weeks thinning forest in West Arm Park

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

There are few details but neighbours a Second Avenue house in Chilliwack say a huge police presence descended on the home after shots were heard. (File photo)
Robson search warrant yields fentanyl and weapons

Search warrant was part of an ongoing drug trafficking investigation

A laboratory technician holds a dose of a COVID-19 novel coronavirus vaccine candidate that’s ready for trial on monkeys at the National Primate Research Center of Thailand. (Mladen Antonov - AFP)
Update: Interior Health reports 66 new COVID-19 infections, 4 in ICU

570 cases are active; 18 in hospital, 4 in intensive care

Photographer Brian Lye is the new artist-in-resident at Oxygen Art Centre. Photo: Submitted
Oxygen Art Centre welcomes Brian Lye as new artist-in-residence

Lye is an internationally renowned filmmaker, artist and educator

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Stock photo courtesy Cliff MacArthur/provincialcourt.bc.ca.
Double-murder trial in case of Cranbrook couple killed adjourned until January

The trial was adjourned following an application from the defence related to COVID-19

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

(stock photo)
Josh Dueck named Team Canada chef de mission for 2022 Beijing Paralympics

Dueck, who was born in Kimberley, has a long career in international competition as a sit-skier.

Most Read