AWARE could fold this month 

Environmental organization needs more people to run for its board


The Association of Whistler Area Residents for the Environment may be at the end of its days.

There are just too few people doing too much work, say current Association (AWARE) officials.

"We were clear that we needed more board members," said AWARE president Claire Ruddy.

"As you go through a board, especially in this town, you'll lose a couple of people leaving town, but within the space of a year, people commit time and then things change and so on.

"I think for us, we know that we can't do that again. We need people who are committed to programs and projects."

The decision to fold the organization if it doesn't get enough members is that of the executive. They're not sure whether B.C.'s Societies Act requires them to have at least five on the board, as they feel the language is unclear, but both Ruddy and Vice-President Sara Jennings feel the organization is unsustainable with so few people.

"People are busy, they've got a lot on their plate and we're not a voting board, we're a working board," said Jennings, formerly an AWARE president herself.

"It's a lot different from some other boards in town, you have to get your hands dirty, you have to take on a lot of tasks, attend a lot of meetings, not for the sake of meetings but to get stuff done, and I think that can be a bit daunting for people."

The folding of the Association is one both Ruddy and Jennings wanted clear ahead of the organization's Annual General Meeting on June 22.

Whistler Mayor Ken Melamed, who served as president of AWARE from 1990 to 1996, said he was "saddened" to hear that the organization might fold but added he knows how difficult it is to keep a volunteer organization going.

"It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy on behalf of the executive," he said. "It really does become a burden without the support. At a certain point in time, the directors can only do so much. I do hope that their appeal for renewed interest is successful because in my view I think AWARE plays a very important role in Whistler."

In an e-mail sent to members on June 1, Ruddy and Jennings warned that the Association would shut down after its AGM if it didn't get enough people to serve on its board of directors.

"The last few years have been a struggle for AWARE as our board of directors has continued to shrink in size even as our membership has climbed and our projects have continued," they wrote.


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