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
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
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
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
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.
Chair, Board of Directors
Chebucto Community Net Society