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General News · 21st October 2019
Mary Lavelle

AGM Report to the Community and Members 2018-2019
October 24, 2019

SCCA Presidentís Report
By Julian Ayers

Thanks to the foresight of previous generations of islanders, the SCCA has been a Federally Registered Charity for over 60 years.

Over the decades, the SCCA financial model of fundraising (for example Cortes Day), short and long term rentals, and tax-deductible donations has served the community well. In the last decade, the Board has actively pursued grants from various organizations. The value of Mansonís Hall assets has doubled, from approximately $500,000 to over a million dollars.

It is notable that the improvements to Mansonís Hall have been at minimal cost to taxpayers in the form of grants and gifts. These improvements include a new Post Office, new roof, heating system, emergency power system and commercial kitchen. The SCCA bought the former Quadra Credit Union trailer, which then became North Island Collegeís learning centre, and is now Cortes Radioís studio. Grants and donations funded renovations to the Pioneer Room, washrooms, Playschool, the upstairs yoga, exercise classes and meditation room and renovated the former library that became the Lakehouse Learning Centre and is now the Cortes Womenís Centre.

In addition to fundraising for leasehold improvements, the Board also raised $500,000 to support community programs operating out of the Hall, including the Summer Youth, Playschool, Parents & Tots and programs for the benefit of children and parents. Since 1980 the Cortes Pottery Guild has used and maintained its studio beneath the main hall. The main hall continues to host the Friday Market, dances, public meetings and music events. Mansonís Hall is where we gather to connect, celebrate, and build the web of a stronger community.

A decade ago, the Board realized that the ever-increasing traffic, demand for events, wear and tear on the building and increasing costs for basic operating expenses exceeded the financial resources available. Successive Boards have struggled to make ends meet each year, compounded by the loss of the Gaming Grant portion subsidizing operating costs that was eliminated several years ago.

The Board had no choice but to live within our means. For decades the Hall was open Mon/Wed/Fri and this was the pulse of island social life. The most noticeable change was to close down the public access and reduce opening to only Fridays. Less noticeable was the maintenance of the building, as numerous repairs were put off to save money. We struggled to meet basic costs. Two years ago we reached out to the community for donations to cover the insurance for the year.

Nearly a decade later, and after a long and challenging process, our community is finally having the opportunity to vote and determine the long term stability of Mansons Hall for future generations. We must ask ourselves how important the community centreís facilities and services are to our way of life on Cortes. Do we want to see the Hall continue its slow decline, or do we want to contribute our tax dollars to fund the basic costs to keep the building open, financially stable and in good condition? Do we care about the Hall as a legacy to future generations?

If the community agrees to the Referendum Question and consents to providing Core Funding, the next Board will be in a unique position, finally free from the grinding struggle of finding enough money to keep the Hall afloat.

The Boardís goal is to re-open the Hall Mondays and Wednesdays and expand programs. We will continue to fundraise for improvements, for example a new floor in the main hall, and thermal glazed windows to reduce energy costs. We will be able to maintain the facility in good condition and make many repairs. The vision of increasing Playschool to 5 days a week, and offering expanded programs for children can be realized.

On behalf of the Society, and all the folks who use Mansons Hall, Iíd like to extend a sincere and heart-felt THANK YOU to the many islanders who have stepped up over the years to help make our Hall what it is today. Your sense of social responsibility and contributions of time, energy and many generous donations are the foundation of building a strong, resilient community that works together.

On behalf of the community we all serve, the Board warmly thanks our employees who keep the place going and teach island children.. Mary Lavelle Hall Manager, Mark Christian Market Manager, Josee Gagnon Custodial Services, Claudia Raaen Program coordinator, and Playschool Teachers Hayley Newell, Catriona Vega and Jen Stevens.

Thank you to this yearís Board Executive VP Myrna Kerr and Treasurer Cali Waddell, Playschool Liason Christina MacWilliam, Members Andy Vine and Zoe Wimbush, and Accounting by Marilyn Fitzmaurice for our Financial Statements. A special thank-you to past President John Sprungman for his wise counsel.

In closing, Iíd like to address the dire need for the next generation to step forward and join the Board. The average age of this Board is at least 70! Fresh energy and enthusiasm will help steer the Society into the future, to develop new programs and improve facilities that will meet the changing needs of our community.

After over 2 decades of service on the Board, my watch is over. For those of you who would like to contribute but feel hesitant, I can tell you that volunteering to sit on the Board and guiding the growth of Mansonís Hall is personally fulfilling and creates an incredible connection to the kind folks of Cortes Island. Iíve been grateful to serve our community, and urge you to volunteer so the efforts and good will of many generations can be carried forward into the years ahead.
May we all fare well.
Comment by Peter Jackel on 24th October 2019
Thanks, Julian, for the article which was well thought out, and clearly expressed.

Thanks, also, for all you have contributed to Cortes Island over the years. You are a good person.

Thank you Julian !
Comment by Cec Robinson on 24th October 2019
This is a wonderful message from a generous man!

I hope that the kind words and wisdom that you are expressing here are read and shared widely by our community before we VOTE in TWO DAYS ( on this SATURDAY ) in the REFERENDUMS on Community Hall and First Responder Services.

Thank you Julian !