Nanaimo economic board hit by more resignations

Nanaimo’s Economic Development Corp.’s board has been gutted by more resignations.

As of Tuesday, 10 of the 16 volunteer board members have quit the city-funded organization, said Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay.

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“We are just going to have to start rebuilding.”

Numbers are not clear, however, with the corporation’s website listing eight remaining board members.

The board has lost not only a significant number of members, but all its senior officers, including its chairman, vice-chairman, treasurer and secretary. Remaining board members have been appointed to those positions.

All but one of the resignations occurred after John Hankins, the corporation’s former CEO, was fired in late October for speaking out without getting approval from his board.

Hankins slammed Nanaimo city hall for its decision to split off the corporation’s work from Tourism Nanaimo. He continued this week to call on the city to make its rationale for that decision public.

Hankins, hired in January, has turned down more than $30,000 in severance pay.

The corporation had just come off a successful tourism season and had received accolades for its marketing efforts, he said. It did not make sense to take tourism away from the corporation.

Nanaimo had provided $1.3 million to the corporation annually. Board members are appointed by city council.

One board member who quit recently is unhappy that Hankins was fired and does not understand why tourism was taken away from the corporation after its strong performance.

McKay wants to see tourism agencies working in one location, not at different addresses, as is the case now. He did not specify which location would be best, but suggested it could be at a site owned by local government so that rent would not be charged.

Vacant board positions will be filled prior to the corporation’s next annual general meeting in April, McKay said. He did not have a timetable.

By Oct. 28, three board members had quit within the previous week. Another had left the board earlier, prior to the firing.

Municipal staff have been asked to draw up parameters for board members, McKay said.

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