Saturday, February 28, 2009

Will Steve Smith find some choppy waters on the way to the BC Ferries board?

"we have had business people in the past from various communities sitting on our board. So, clearly, we don't see it as a conflict of interest."-- BC Ferries public affairs VP Mark Stefanson , reacting to questions over potential areas of conflict of interest over the appointment of a familiar name on the North Coast to the BC Ferries Board of Directors.

The February 20th announcement that Steve Smith, the local hotelier and long time proponent of tourism on the North Coast has been appointed to the Board of Directors of BC Ferries, has popped up on the radar of at least one media service in the province.

While BC Ferries was busy trumpeting Mr. Smith's involvement in tourism and the hospitality industry on the North Coast of BC, those same selling points apparently caught the eye of the website for Vancouver's 24 hours, which has posted an item, exploring whether Mr. Smith's appointment may constitute a conflict of interest.

The February 26th article from Sean Holman, outlines Mr. Smith's business interests and how they are impacted by Ferry service to the north coast, the article quotes a senior BC Ferries official as stating that a thorough review was done on the Smith appointment and that the Ferry Service does not see his appointment as a conflict of interest.

He took on his new duties on February 11th and will also join the Ferry Service's
Authority Board effective April 1, 2009, his biography can be found on the BC Ferries website in the Board of Directors section, As Mr. Smith joins the board, another Rupertite is leaving the board, as Maureen Macarenko steps down from her position after a number of years of service to BC Ferries.

It will be interesting to see if anyone else picks up on the conflict theme over the next little while, and if it becomes yet another issue for the controversy generating Ferry service, which frequently finds itself to be in the media spotlight these days.

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