Report of the Chair
Chebucto Community Net Society
Annual General Meeting 2004
Presented by Treasurer Bernard Hart
Last year, 2004, was a milestone one for Chebucto Community Net. It marked
our tenth year of service to our community, an undeniably impressive feat
over a period when so many similar organizations, begun so bravely and
with such high hopes, fell by the wayside. It was something to celebrate,
and celebrate we did.
"The Anniversary" preoccupied the Board for its first few months in office
and totally dominated the agenda of the External Committee. To mark the
actual month--June 1994--when Chebucto came into being, two full-page
advertising supplements were prepared for both Halifax dailies, the Daily
News and the Chronicle Herald. A commemorative 10th year anniversary
brochure prepared by Board member Mark Alberstat and introduced at last
year's AGM went into circulation and Mark's regular Mousepad column in the
Herald continued to offer helpful advice to readers and devoted one
segment especially to the 10th anniversary.
In the summer, we went into action planning a much expanded appearance at
September's Word on the Street festival. At the request of HRM CAP, we
shared with them the expenses for a 20 X 20 foot booth--four times the
size of the space we usually occupy--and filled it with brochures,
mousepads, Power Point presentations, a contest to win a donated flat
screen monitor and not one but TWO birthday cakes! All promoted in a
series of two ads which ran in the week leading up to the festival. In the
fall, another bonus: the Dalhousie Alumni magazine's international edition
published an article on Chebucto, sending news of our triumph around the
world. To close out the year, we prepared a series of three ads stressing
Chebucto's high value-for-money credentials and they ran in the Herald for
three consecutive weeks in January, a time when news of a real bargain
might be expected to find a ready audience.
But all was not cause for celebration last year. In 2003 we had
experienced a marginal growth in membership, ending the year at 1883
members. By the end of 2004, however, a year in which we'd increased our
public exposure considerably, the figure had dropped to 1749. Although the
loss was almost entirely in text accounts and account renewals rose
slightly from 1496 to 1509, it was new signups that told the tale: down
significantly from 387 to 240. Clearly, having celebrated the past, we
needed to give some serious thought to the future.
During the summer, a committee consisting of Bernie Hart, Tom Daly and
Tanya Moxley began to work on organizing a Retreat which would focus our
attention on a renewed Chebucto, a vision for the future and the elements
of a strategic plan for achieving our goals. Their work culminated in two
facilitated sessions which were held this past February and March.
Included in the process was a major membership survey, the first we'd
undertaken since the year 2000, which drew very good response and whose
results are now available on our website. The final report from the
sessions is now in our hands and is being carefully assessed. It will form
the basis for much thought and, more important, much action during what
promises to be a very busy and challenging year for the new Board.
The Board itself underwent change during the year with the resignations of
Reg Hody and Chris Watt. Reg had been elected last year to serve a
two-year term. To replace him we approached Alan Turner, a long time
Chebucto member, retired regional manager for Canada Trust, who has been
active with community groups such as the Nova Scotia Youth Orchestra, Ward
12 Community Council and the Rockingham Community Centre. Alan said "Yes"
and we had the pleasure of welcoming him to his first Board meeting in
Chris Watt's departure left a vacancy not only on the Board but also on
the Executive. Fortunately, we were able to persuade Tanya Moxley to get
involved and she joined the Executive as secretary and a signing officer
at the first of the year.
In conclusion, I owe thanks to a number of people: my colleagues on the
Board and especially on the Executive for their counsel and support; our
office manager, Andrew Wright, for his numerous contributions both as our
senior staff person and as a dedicated volunteer; our technical staff
who've consistently performed beyond the call of duty.
And I need to thank you, too. The fact that you're here bespeaks a level
of interest in and commitment to Chebucto that we need to see more of.
Somewhere out there, in short, there must be more people like you. Finding
them will be just one of the many challenges we'll face in 2005.
Chebucto Community Net