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Otter co-op members asked to eliminate gender-specific language in rules

Will be voted on at March special meeting
Otter Co-op CEO Jack Nicholson noted very few businesses last 100 years. Otter celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Langley Retail Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 19, close to the original 1922 site. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Members of the Aldergrove-based Otter Co-op are being asked to approve changes that would make its written rules non-gender specific.

It is one of a number of changes to be considered at a special meeting of co-op members set for Wednesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m. in Room B, George Preston Recreation Centre, at 20699 42nd Ave.

The proposed “gendered language” amendments to the Otter Farm and Home Cooperative Rules would include “changing all instances of gender-specific language” in the rules, such as “he,” “she,” “him,” and “her,” to be gender-neutral language, such as “they,” “their,” and “them.”

As an example of language that needed adjusting, Co-op CEO Jack Nicholson cited rules that “talk about our president being a ‘he,’ and the secretary being a ‘she’, and that’s not always the case.”

Other proposals would amend the rules governing electronic meetings, which currently say members viewing an Otter electronic general meeting “are not entitled to be included in a quorum and are not entitled to vote on any resolutions at the general meeting, except for the election of directors.”

Under the revised rule, members attending an electronic meeting would be entitled “to vote on any resolutions at the general meeting, including the election of directors, as otherwise authorized under these rules.”

Nicholson said with Otter operating as far away as Whistler and Penticton, “our trading area is just so large,” and the change will make it easier for members to participate without have to make a long trip.

A clause would be added saying if “electronic ballots are used for the election of directors at a general meeting, such electronic ballots must be tallied at the same time as the in-person secret ballots, if any.”

Voting would be allowed at electronic meetings if each member has access, and votes can be counted without identifying how each member voted.

Changes are also proposed for board remuneration, and director purchase requirements.

The complete list of resolutions can be viewed online at the Co-op website.

Members can pre-register at the Otter Co-op administration office, or by emailing name, phone and membership number to by March 3, at 5 p.m.

The notice said that due to limited capacity, only voting members may attend the meeting, without guests.

READ MORE: Despite pandemic challenges, 100-year-old Otter Co-op returns millions to members

READ MORE: VIDEO: Otter co-op turns 100

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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Best recognized for my resemblance to St. Nick, I’m the guy you’ll often see out at community events and happenings around town.
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