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Province registrar refuses to look into Hyack

Hyack Festival Association 2014 president Peter Goodwin -
Hyack Festival Association 2014 president Peter Goodwin
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The provincial registrar of companies has turned down a request by New Westminster city council to investigate the Hyack Festival Association.

The city had asked the province to investigate irregularities in the association’s operation after an emergency meeting called to discuss dismissal of board executive members, including president Gavin Palmer, and board of directors was called off by Palmer. A dissenting faction held the meeting anyway voting Palmer and others be dismissed.

The city’s request noted there where disputes on who the legitimate members of Hyack’s boards were and noted there was a conflict between two factions on the board that were applying different interpretations to the Hyack constitution and the B.C. Society Act.

But the registrar’s office has told the city the Hyack dispute falls outside its scope of powers to investigate. In a response letter, registrar Carol Prest wrote the act “provides a limited ability to investigate a society, but only in rare circumstances where it is apparent that the society exists for an illegal purpose or that it is acting in a manner contrary to the public interest. Generally, how a society uses its funds or where fractions exist within the society, is an internal matter for the society.”

Council suspended its annual funding to Hyack (about $180,000 including in-kind services) in November. A report to council Monday said the city has hired an independent auditor to do a financial review of Hyack, and work continues to resolve the city’s concerns.

Peter Goodwin, who was elected president at Hyack’s annual general meeting Jan. 13, appeared before council Monday to introduce himself. The New Westminster born-and-raised lawyer and resident said his appointment and that of others to the board were valid because they were sworn in by a B.C. Supreme Court judge.

“I believe Hyack is in great shape and is well organized,” he told council.

He also apologized for the society holding the AGM on the same night as a council meeting. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

No councillors responded to Goodwin’s comments or apology after he was finished.

Goodwin said planning is ongoing for the 2014 Hyack Festival to be held May 19-25.

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