President’s Message – March 2021

March 1, 2021

During the drafting of this month’s message the opening line, and our community, sadly and forever changed. Edgemont’s soul of volunteerism, Lois Uptigrove, died on the 29th of January and she is commemorated by her many colleagues and friends throughout this edition.    

Believing Lois would want us to carry on, it remains my duty and pleasure to mention some classy people who are making changes. In order of retirement; one long serving member of the Enhanced Landscaped Maintenance (ELM) Committee (since the LEAF Petition!), Helen Campbell has decided to “shovel off” leaving a significant gap in this group which has marshalled ELM for 5 years all the way up to the re-affirmation vote in 2020! Director Brett Plazier has not only left the ECA Board, he has (gasp) left Edgemont for that coastal BC village called Powell River. Brett is still steering the development of Edgemont’s newest outdoor exercise facility, the Disc Golf course on the Reservoir Park hillsides, from a distance. Thanks are insufficient, but our gratitude for your service is boundless. 

Perhaps the most important upcoming event is the 2021 Annual General Meeting, 12 May 2021 at 7 PM. Because ECA is unable to be certain of public gatherings, the AGM will, again, be virtual. ECA is determined to maximize member participation and an effective agenda depends on your early participation! Check your membership status and get any submissions you may have to the Secretary at least 45 days prior to the AGM. ECA Bylaws have mandatory deadlines. Please read more from Rick Wierzbicki in the ‘Nominating Committee’ article regarding the call for volunteers to the ECA Board as well as our many Committees and consider lending the ECA your expertise and enthusiasm!

2021’s AGM will have some ‘Special Resolutions’; some about approving Virtual Meetings as well as about 40 Bylaw changes (mostly housekeeping – don’t panic). Remember, Special Resolutions can ONLY be ratified by the Membership. Also, the 2021 Budget and Strategic Plans are main topics, as well as the Election of Directors. These items will be published on the website as soon as possible for member review in order to enable the handling of any questions prior to the AGM. Check the website and email secretary@edgemont.ab.ca with your items of interest. 

This is a pretty big year for elections at ECA. Two years ago, the ECA Membership clearly mandated a change in Board structure. Previously 8 (7 is minimum), the Membership enlarged the Board to the maximum of 15 Directors. Two years later, many of the new Directors are standing for second 2-year terms and the Nominating Committee is also gathering additional names for election. Yours truly is one of those finishing my first Board term, in addition to ending my year as President of the ECA. I know that it’s usually left to the President’s Swan song, but I hasten to note that I’ve been absolutely blessed by deeply committed Directors and the staff and volunteers they inspire.

This Board has shifted the administrative focus at the Edgemont Community Centre from a professional managerial staff to a model which consists of more casual staff working in conjunction with more of a ‘hands on’ Board of Directors. The full-time professional management model proved to be financially unsustainable, and offered less staffing resilience. After the full-time manager resigned near the beginning of the lockdown, staffing was redesigned. The Board reinstated the Building Administration Committee (BAC) under First VP Elaine Scobie and added the Human Resources Committee (HR) to more uniformly administer the advertising, interviewing and placement tasks concerning employment opportunities.  In fact, look for our ad in this issue for a part-time bookkeeper.

Because of less money coming in and fewer services to book, there was a unique opportunity to reorganize and systemize everything in the ECC. BAC assessed, reviewed and redesigned every system. Casual staff was hired, trained and have all proven capable of filling every function at the ECC. The “staff to load” model that has evolved more closely follows the needs of the ECC. There are many management models and philosophies with varying merits, however, when COVID-19 struck us in 2020 there was a considerable upside to the new staffing model as it provided the ECC with a larger body of trained staff as well as Board volunteers to accommodate the eventuality of some members being unavailable for work due to quarantine. The depth, dedication and mutual support demonstrated in this working group is inspiring. Luck takes many forms. 

The ECC building is our major asset and the usual day to day maintenance issues, not to dwell on the mayhem experienced during COVID-19, has prompted many adjustments. COVID-19 will pass. When that happens (my money is on October) your ECC is well prepared to simply shift to a higher gear!

Another massive redesign has been shouldered by our Treasurer, Terry Meiyeppen, and the Finance Committee. Systems have been developed and staff trained to ensure efficient, high quality recordkeeping. Through diligence and creativity, city, provincial and federal programs and grants have been accessed to help run the ECC and, even with COVID, ECA has balanced our income and expenses through the work of this committee.