FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Two North Peace Fall Fair Society (NPFFS) members took the opportunity to further voice their concerns surrounding a background description in a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the Peace River Regional District (PRRD) tendered for a feasibility study.
The purpose of the feasibility study is for upgrades on the Adeline Kelly Hall, located on the North Peace Fall Fairgrounds, in order to safely accommodate public occupancy.
Energeticcity.ca spoke with Tyra Henderson, corporate officer for the PRRD, who said the board and staff “felt terrible” and never meant to imply they owned the fall fair. She noted as soon as the society contacted the PRRD to express their dismay, the mistake was corrected, and the RFP was reissued.
“An addendum was issued for that RFP right away, which the public can’t see unless you sign up for Bonfire and you’re a bidder, then you can download it,” said Henderson.
“We’re really glad they pointed out the misunderstanding because it was really an aversion. An error on our part for sure.”
Long-time NPFFS member Karen Goodings and NPFFS director Lita Powell voiced their concerns about the RFP during the correspondence portion of Thursday’s regional board meeting, which was held at the Pomeroy Hotel and Conference Centre in Fort St. John.
Each member was allotted two minutes to speak to the directors.
Last month, Powell penned a letter to the PRRD expressing “significant concerns” about the RFP. The letter says the PRRD claimed ownership of the volunteer-ran event in the RFP and demands an amendment to the RFP along with a published retraction disclaiming ownership of the event.
Goodings backed Powell’s letter, asking what the PRRD was looking to accomplish in the feasibility study and questioning if the directors actually read the RFP before it was issued.
“I ask you to receive this item for discussion and spend the necessary time to understand how important our fair is in our attempt to build bridges between urban and rural, and spend time educating residents as to the importance of agricultural history,” said Goodings.
“Please request and read the RFP before you come to any conclusions.”
After Goodings concluded, Powell approached the board, immediately stating her identity as the author of the letter.
“That’s not the original letter. The original letter couldn’t be sent,” said Powell.
“It was full of emotion that reflected the comments of the volunteers and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours spent over 76 years.”
Powell then read directly from the RFP, where the apparent project description states the PRRD is the owner of the North Peace Fall Fair and indicated her belief surrounding a “complete and total lack of transparency” that exists within the PRRD.
“Not long ago, there were 1,000 people that were willing to take you on because of your lack of transparency,” said Powell, alluding to the uproar over the Treaty Land Network concept at a meeting in June.
“The letter was not meant to be demeaning. It was not meant to do anything else other than ask the board to do your jobs. You’re sending out documents to the public realm that are not only incorrect, but they’re insulting and demeaning to thousands of hours of volunteer work.”
Powell continued questioning the board’s responsibility for the RFP and alleged lack of transparency until her allotted time ran out.
The full regional board meeting can be viewed here, and the full letter can be read below.