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AGM 2007 Report of the Chair
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Chebucto Community Net Society
Annual General Meeting
April 23, 2008

Report of the Chair

To steal from Dickens - for Chebucto this is the worst of times and the best of times. The worst of times because for the second year in a row we are having to report a deficit; and the best of times because, thanks to our hard working staff and the Chair of the Technical Committee, we are now ready to roll out our wireless service which you have just seen being demonstrated. With the support of you, the members, we can begin selling this service and enrolling new people - and in so doing return Chebucto to a financially stable position.

At this point I must pay tribute to our two staff - Andrew Wright and Johnathan Thibodeau and our Technical Chair, Ed Dyer. It is only due to their efforts and sacrifices that we have been able to survive and while doing so also manage to build a highly innovative Wireless Service. The Technical report will provide more detail but, as you are all aware, we are now facing a continuous wave of spam which has presented serious challenges. But in spite of this, our three stalwarts were able to improve our dial-up service through the doubling of our mailbox capacity. The Mousepad Column which I am sure you have all seen is another contribution of Andrew Wright's which has provided assistance to literally hundreds of people. Andrew has done this and continues to do it on a volunteer basis.

I also want to thank those Chebucto members who have made financial donations to our organization during the past year. With our decreasing membership this source of funding continues to be extremely important and we would encourage others to consider such a contribution during the year ahead. Please remember Chebucto is a registered Charity and as such can give a charitable donation receipt for tax purposes.

In an attempt to address our financial needs the Board has been seeking additional sources of funding but without success. An application was made to the Bristol Communications Fund, a submission was also prepared for an HRSDC grant program and a third was seeking provincial funding. Unfortunately none of these was successful. At this point we have other sources of funding we will be pursuing but we are not overly optimistic. We are particularly interested in approaching key City Councillors, especially those representing areas where our wireless service will be offered. We would encourage all Chebucto members to pass on information to the Board concerning any other possible sources of funds and if you can assist us with the preparation of an application, this would be very helpful.

One of the assets we would like to take advantage of is our Web Cam service which is located on our site and which provides an excellent view of our Harbour. During the year we corresponded with the Waterfront Development Corporation but we did not receive a positive response. As well one of our members has been heavily involved in taking photographs during the Tall Ships festivals. The illustrations are posted on our site. We have not yet discovered a way of realizing some form of financial return for these efforts and we ask any members who have ideas as to how we might address this to let us know.

We continue to communicate with what used to be the umbrella group for community networks, Tele-Communities Canada. As a result of this we have had support from the organizations in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Montreal. I hasten to add this has been moral support and not financial. At this time there are only a few of the original Community Nets remaining and the National Network organization now has a stronger association with the Community Access Program.

Chebucto is also attempting to build a relationship with the Community Access groups in HRM. To this end I attended the HRM Community Access Program's Annual General Meeting and spoke to the group about the role Chebucto is playing. There was a strong interest in our approach to the new wireless service and they were pleased to learn that Spencer House, a CAP site, will be a distribution point or node for our signal. In the future we will be making a greater effort to advertise our service and our organization in CAP Sites. Here again we can use the support of all members.

A new niche for Chebucto which we will be exploring this year is to partner with those organizations which provide free, used computers to individuals and families on low income. Our hope is that we can acquire United Way or other funding to enable us to offer a Chebucto membership along with connectivity to each recipient. A similar program is presently being carried out by the Victoria Community Net.

I also attended the annual HRM Volunteer Training Workshop. This was a useful way of making contact with a large number of organizations. Copies of our brochure were distributed and contact was made with a number of groups.

Chebucto was invited to appoint a member to the Atlantic Canada Electronics Stewardship (ACES) program. Bill Matheson served on this Committee and while there was no particular advantage to Chebucto, Bill was able to make a contribution on our behalf.

We are pleased to be able distribute a new Chebucto poster and we encourage all of you to take copies with you which we hope you will post. I would like to thank Kent Murray, a Chebucto Board member, who introduced us to Joanne Eddy who did the design. Joanne did this as part of her Design Program work and did not charge for her efforts. The Board has been distributing posters and brochures for some time. What is needed is for you the members to join with us and post copies of these in locations in your neighbourhoods. Just think if each of us could recruit just one more member we would put Chebucto safely in the black.

Finally, I call on all of you to consider ways we can make Chebucto grow and to do all that you can to familiarize others with our service.

 

Bernard Hart

Chair, Board of Directors

Chebucto Community Net Society

 

 

 


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