NOKOMIS - The Last Mountain Co-op Board has sent a letter to the Town of Nokomis saying they anticipate re-opening to occur in early December after training new staff has occurred. The Town’s only gas and Agro centre suddenly closed on August 29th due to a lack of workers, and the Co-op board admits the hiring process took longer than expected.
“We recognize the hardship that the temporary closure has placed on the residents of Nokomis, Govan, Lockwood and the travelers and visitors within our communities. We wish to express that the Last Mountain Coop Board of Directors does not take for granted that members may have lost some level of trust with Last Mountain Coop in recent weeks. We ask for the community’s patience, understanding and support as the new staff of the Nokomis location learn their roles and responsibilities and work to earn your trust back as another valued member of the Nokomis and area business community.”
The letter was in response to a letter the Mayor of Nokomis on behalf of the Town council posted on social media. In the letter, the Town asked for a re-opening date, heavily critical of Co-op General Manager and the lengthy process to get the Agro centre re-opened. Board President Nettie Pearce said they asked Mayor David Mark to take the letter down and asked for an apology because of how hard they were coming after the General Manager. She said Mark removed the letter and apologized.
The Town of Nokomis was not informed there had been any hiring progress. Mark said they otherwise would not have issued the letter. They had run out of patience, he said.
However, with a tentative date on re-opening, Mark is happy they are turning the page on this and are now looking forward. “Now that the doors are open, it’s the beginning of hopefully a new relationship. The improvements that we want to see happen there will only help the bottom line of that facility and ultimately the Co-op as a whole.”
President of the Last Mountain Co-op Nettie Pearce previously had responded to questions from the Town of Nokomis. “The Board of Directors has instructed the General Manager to continue with the process of permanently staffing the location with the goal of reopening with full services. The hiring process has progressed in recent weeks and several candidates have been interviewed. We are hopeful that the staffing process will be completed very soon, and the location will reopen in the very near future.”
The Town of Nokomis had wrote a letter to Federated Coop Limited (FCL) asking them to intervene.
A spokesperson from Federated Co-operatives Ltd responded regarding the closure of Nokomis Ag and Gas. Jennifer Siemens said, “ As you may know, Co-ops are local businesses that make independent decisions based on the context of the communities they serve. Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) is owned by over 160 Co-ops across Western Canada and exists to serve and support those Co-ops. FCL does not make business decisions on behalf of Co-ops and can also not speak on behalf of the Co-op in this matter.”
Mark said it was a shot in the dark writing the FCL and that it was political naivety on his part as to their function. However, Mark said, “In the letter, they do show that the board has a role to intervene if required to provide strategic direction and that’s what we’ve seen.”
“We haven’t taken any more action this week because we are honouring the boards position and they say they are going to get the doors open, and we are going to work with the board.”
Mayor Mark sees big things and a prosperous future for Nokomis and the region. The Town is looking at organizing a mid-winter community forum sometime in 2023. “To continue this process through this event and continue dialogue through the winter so that one- it never happens again and two - never needs to happen. And that we ultimately see growth, that we see agri-services in Nokomis grow to meet a growing need and get on with business, make the coop stronger. We can all work together independently, we already do.”