By Kathy Bevan

The battle may have been lost,
but the war has been largely won, as far as Lynn Leslie is concerned. Leslie is
the Realtor behind special resolutions that resulted in an Extraordinary General
Meeting (EGM) of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board (GVREB).

Leslie, a
sales rep with Realty World Showcase in Port Moody, B.C. says she is happy with
the changes she has seen in the GVREB since she first began circulating a
petition in support of nine special resolutions calling for more accountability
in financial matters and MLS decision-making.
 
None of the resolutions
garnered enough votes to pass at the EGM appended to GVREB’s Annual General
Meeting on March 1. But the support Leslie’s petition gathered for those
resolutions in advance of the EGM resulted in the board communicating more
actively with its members, and opening up its financial accounting processes –
two key concerns for the resolutions.
 
“I don’t think we ever would have seen
as much communication as we’re now getting, if we hadn’t pushed the board the
way we did,” says Leslie. “The real difference is that this time a year ago,
everything was very confrontational when you asked certain questions at the
board. Now it’s conciliatory. That is a very big difference.”
 
Leslie began
collecting signatures last summer on the petition supporting her resolutions
when she wasn’t able to get easy access to financial information at the board.
Before she was through, she had collected almost 700 signatures, and the board
decided to hold the EGM in conjunction with its AGM to address the petition’s
resolutions.
 
While not conceding the resolutions had merit, members of
GVREB’s executive did acknowledge that dealing with the issues raised by the
resolutions helped change the board’s member communications for the better.
 
Teams of directors traveled to real estate offices throughout the greater
Vancouver area, talking to their members and listening to their concerns.

“We learned that a lot of members who were usually supporters of the board
were starting to question things, because they felt information was being
withheld,” says Bob Wallace, GVREB’s executive officer. “We did the budget and
put out more financial information and I think that helped.”

“The
resolutions all came back to the issue of trust, and we put in a large

communications effort this year which went a long way toward dealing with
that concern,” says Don Pearce, GVREB’s new president. “The challenge for us
this year will be to keep up our increased communications efforts, which we
intend to do.”

Pearce is aware that at least one of the board’s members will
be keeping a close eye on how well the new executive follows through on that
commitment.

“I met Don after the EGM and told him to keep my number on
‘redial’ on his phone, and he smiled,” says Leslie. “I made certain he knows
that as long as I’m kicking around, I’ll be watching how the board is doing.”

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