Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Norm Farrell Asks A Very Important Question...


Norm Farrell took a trip to Science World with his grand-kids recently and was less than impressed:

"...Our trip to Science World was an example. Admission, including an Omnimax presentation, for two adults herding four children, aged three to seven years, is $157.00. Allow for transportation, parking, juice and hot dogs and the cost for grandma and grandpa nears $250.
On a summer Sunday, we were joined in the Omnimax theatre ("one of the three largest in the world") by about 20 other people for a 44 minute presentation that was mediocre, at best. Science World is undergoing renovations but, in total, is a tired facility that charges way, way too much..."


Not everyone who has taken a gaggle of children to the Expo86/Telus Lunar Module on the edge of False Creek recently likely feels the same way that Norm does.

But, then again, not everyone (anyone?) who was similarly less than satisfied/happy with the experience likely did what Norm did next.

Which was to do a little public database digging to find out who, exactly, is responsible for overseeing what goes on there:

...(The Science World Board Of Directors)...are not exactly ordinary people. For example, the Science World Chair is Walter Segsworth. He is, according to Forbes, also Director of Great Basin Gold Ltd.; Chairman of Plutonic Power Corporation; formerly Chairman of Centenario Copper Corporation and of Cumberland Resources Ltd.; and formerly Director of Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., UEX Corporation and Yukon Zinc Corporation.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Segsworth is joined at board meetings by a collection of wealthy executives and academics. There is not a single director who represents citizen or community groups.

Science World would be greatly improved if it was managed by a group representative of BC citizens...

As a result, Norm asks a bigger question which I'm pretty sure he will soon return to in other contexts.

Which is:

 "Are Public Facilities Really For The Public"?


From my perspective, here's the thing...

I have sat/do sit on a few non-profit boards myself, mostly small, but a couple reasonably large.

On the small ones I've been the community person. On the larger ones I was brought in because of my academic/science-geek credentials.

And I have come to realize that you often need to have a few big business-types at the table, sometimes for their management expertise, but more often for their ability to go out and shake the corporate donation money-tree.

But when you don't have any significant community involvement whatsoever?


In my opinion that really does lead to a significant insulation from the folks you are actually/apparently trying to serve.


The fact that I help out with non-profits who rely on corporate donations is the real reason I don't use my real name here...Specifically, I wouldn't want a random Google search to slam such a donation door shut inadvertently due to a rabble-rouser sighting...Rest assured, however, that once an off-line dialogue is established where all the bonafides are on the table, I always use my real name...Not that it's that hard to figure out anyway...I remember it took Laila Yuile about 23 seconds, but only because she was fixing dinner for her kids at the same time, I think...(E-mail address is freely available at the 'complete profile' link at top left if you are so inclined)...



istvan said...

I have enjoyed your posts for a few years Ross K. If I saw you on the street I would say "that was Ross K" . What I want know is the real name of your friend the 'whackadoodle'?

RossK said...



Real name of Whackadoodle is 'Rosie'.

BC Mary was exactly the same as you.. In fact, even when I sat in her kitchen she refused to call me by my real name.


karen said...

Once upon a time I waited tables for a really nice couple of absolute snobs. They owned one of the hoity toity joints in town, and meals were a bit too expensive. They seemed to operate under the conviction that just in case we only had one table all night, that one table should cover all wages and costs (okay, I exaggerate, but only slightly). I sometimes wonder if this philosophy is not prevalent in our "public" facilities. I also wonder if they are not trying to keep out the "riffraff,' because that was another unstated objective of the snob bosses.

It makes me happy to know that your rabble-rousing self is on some boards, RossK. It pleases me to think your good sense and fairmindedness is out there influencing boards.

Even though I know your name, I think of you as RossK, too, and also as The Gazetteer. Sometimes I shorten that to The Gaz, as in "The Gaz has a new setlist up today!" to my partner. He knows who I am talking about.

RossK said...


You know, in some cases, I do think there is something to what you say. There is also a really big difference between big city and small town organization.

Thanks for all that other stuff...One thing I have to say is that on all the non-profit boards I've been on, the great, great majority of folks I've worked with want to do the right thing...

Beer N' Hockey calls me Gazz too....I never call him by his real name.