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Report of the Chair - AGM 2004
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Report of the Chair
Chebucto Community Net Society
Annual General Meeting 2004

Presented by Treasurer Bernard Hart

[Photo: Treasurer Bernard Hart filling in for Chair Marilyn MacDonald]

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 March.

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.


Marilyn MacDonald

Chebucto Community Net




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