President’s Report to the Community Hall Association AGM December 7th, 2019

“Get out of here and leave me alone.
Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough already.”
(Allegedly the last words of Karl Marx)

Welcome to my one and only President’s Report to the Community Hall membership. I’ll try to keep it short since I have tried to keep everyone up-to-date with our monthly newsletters.

I am delighted that we have been able to make a modest difference to the Hall during the past year.

On the upkeep front: windows, gutters, the flat roof, a new dishwasher, new renters. A very detailed proposal for the Hall to become the Emergency Reception Centre for the South Island—thus providing yet another essential service to our community.

Organizationally: a new business plan, which helps enormously in obtaining grants from various agencies and outlines what we see as our priorities, a multi-talented Board, and a hard-working Executive—an Executive that made a unique contribution to the past year and made the impossible seem possible. Whatever credit is due should go to them. Elizabeth Iachelli for her superb and effective grant-writing skills. Laurie MacDonald for her impeccable record keeping, her long-term corporate memory, and her willingness to pitch in wherever it was needed. And Hank Reid for keeping our finances stable and, equally important, looking at new and steadier ways of financing our operations in the years ahead.

I do hope that the idea of using a small executive as the group which meets regularly to implement Board decisions will be continued. It makes the sometimes-complex task of managing this venerable facility a real team effort.

I took on this challenge for one year; Margaret told me that any longer would be grounds for divorce. So, I step down with a keen awareness of unfinished tasks which it will be up to future boards to fulfil.

Things still outstanding: The Business Plan needs to be regularly updated to reflect our ongoing and ever-changing needs; the Emergency Reception Centre will bring with it new responsibilities all of which will need to be carefully planned; perhaps a follow up on Julie Sperber’s (Gabriola’s Community Development Officer) suggestion that we undertake a feasibility study to assess the long term requirements of the Hall and its community; rationalizing the funding formula for the Hall so that we don’t have to rely on donations and special events to cover day-to-day operations; and finally, perhaps finding new ways to involve a broader spectrum of Gabriolans in plotting the Hall’s future.

I want to repeat yet again my heart-felt thanks to so many people who have taken the Community Hall to heart and rallied round when we needed them. Board members, of course. Julie Stewart, Pam McCartney, many Gabriola musicians, and so many other volunteers who made the 2019 Salmon Barbecue a great success. Peter Joyes for beautifying the various notices around the Hall—inside and out. Alex Dewar for undertaking a diploma program from Three Rivers University to qualify for dealing with our present and future water issues. Anna Paletta for keeping our membership lists current and also for raising the question of whether and how we may be able to utilize solar energy in the Hall. Erik Johnson for being our resident locksmith and musicians’ advocate. Etcetera.

I also owe a personal thanks to Vanessa Craig, our RDN Director and Catherine Morrison, the RDN’s Emergencies Manager for being so open to discussion about and supportive of our bid to become the ERC for the south end.

And a thanks to our many donors, including, of course, the Gabriola Lions’ Club, the Nanaimo Regional District, the Village Liquor Store and also many individuals—both those who gave us a one-time gift for a particular project and those of you who continue to make small but valuable monthly donations to our upkeep.

Last but not least, our three “workers”: Mike Pelzer for being on hand whenever there’s a problem; Yvonne Churchill, our cleaner (who unfortunately for us is returning to Ontario); and, of course, Tsiporah Grignon for not only taking care of our renters, but making several innovative suggestions for improving our services to the community.

May I end by thanking Margaret, my wife and companion for the past half-century. I am not altogether sure that she is looking forward to seeing more of me, but she has been a stalwart helper in everything we have done. Thank you, love.

If members are willing, I hope to continue on the Board, especially to help complete the effort to establish us as the Emergency Reception Centre. I wish the (sort of) “new” President and all the newly elected Board members a very productive and innovative year ahead.

If this report seems to be a long list of names, it is because each and every one of them should feel that whatever we have accomplished in 2019 is really THEIR accomplishment. This place is so much more than a building; it is a functioning COMMUNITY. Long may it last.

Thanks to you all for being here.

Peter Jones
Community Hall Association