October 2012 President’s Message

October 25, 2012

 

The recently-announced resignations of Owen Pawson B.Arch LL.B., Richard Peddie Ph.D., and Tim Spiegel B.Sc PQS MRICS as Lieutenant Governor Appointees to AIBC Council have prompted a number of members to seek detailed information as to what triggered their resignations.

It must be understood that LG representatives (there are four such positions on AIBC Council) are appointed by the provincial government. As such, these resignations were appropriately submitted to the Minister of Advanced Education, whose ministry is responsible for the Architects Act. They have chosen not to provide AIBC Council with their reasons for doing so.

I did invite the three past LG Appointees to share with the AIBC membership their reasons for resigning, but they have declined, as is their entitlement. It would be both presumptuous and inappropriate for me, or anyone else, to speak on behalf of the LG representatives in trying to explain their chosen course of action. However, I can tell you that the “associates issue” is undoubtedly at the forefront.

For nearly a decade now, various AIBC councils have been wrestling with the question of whether there is a place within the institute for non-architects from the architectural technology, building design and interior design worlds. That issue was part of an initiative – now dormant – to dramatically amend or replace the Architects Act with modern legislation.  These three representatives have been actively involved in the associates issue and legislative change efforts for much of this period. It has been a difficult and time-consuming process, one that has taken, and continues to take, a personal and professional toll on council members.

Keep in mind that serving on AIBC Council is a voluntary role, undertaken by those concerned about and committed to the future of the profession and the direction of the institute. It entails leadership and commitment in the face of crucial and complex questions, such as the associates issue. It is understandable then, that the choice of whether to continue in that role is a personal one.

It is certainly significant that three of four sitting LG Appointees would choose to resign at the same time. Their coordinated action undoubtedly sends a message of concern about both the current issues facing council and the climate at the council table.

Recently, the tone and temperature of council deliberations has been heated and polarizing. It has been a cause for concern, not only for me but also our government minister – hence my decision to involve a facilitator for an extended annual planning process and, at the minister’s recommendation, to invite an independent monitor to observe some council meetings in order to guide us in finding a more collegial and productive way of working together. I am committed to re-establishing a climate of civil discourse and mutual respect at the council table, and believe we are making progress.

During their years on council, Owen, Richard and Tim each made notable contributions to the institute and the profession. They brought valuable expertise and perspectives to the table, and gave countless hours of their personal time to the regulation of our profession. In doing so, they helped set a course for the evolution of the institute, and stir important conversations about the future of the profession in British Columbia.

LG Appointees play a valuable role as public representatives on AIBC Council; it is imperative that the current vacancies be filled. I am encouraged that the provincial government is well into a thorough process for identifying and allocating new representatives (if you happen to know someone well-suited, please direct them to http://www.fin.gov.bc.ca/BRDO/adverts.asp). I am eager to welcome new faces and voices to council – people dedicated to good governance and respectful, professional dialogue.

Meanwhile, this council remains committed to resolving, with clarity and certainty, the matter of associate categories and their status within the AIBC, a desire strongly echoed by membership in our recent survey. While a final decision has not yet been reached, we are now seeking an external legal opinion as to what options are available to us, so that future decisions are based on a strong foundation.

Is there a message in this current climate of conflict and frustration? Certainly there is. We are at a critical time of transition for the institute, and the associates issue is an important step in determining what the future will look like for the AIBC and the profession. It is a big decision, one that cannot be arrived at hastily or without due diligence. Your council has undertaken a process that is appropriately thorough and consultative, after which it will be better able to choose the best course of action for the institute. Rest assured that you will be informed.

I am genuinely appreciative that the most recent turn of events has actually served to raise the awareness level among members. Should you have additional questions, I invite you to contact me directly. Your interest and concern is welcome. I hope that it will continue as we work to move forward, together.

Sincerely,

David Yustin  Architect AIBC
AIBC Council President
davidyustin@gmail.com

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