Woodens River Watershed Environmental Organization
2013 Annual General Meeting Minutes
March 13, 2013
Tantallon Public Library
Present: Richmond Campbell & David Patriquin (Co-Chairs), Barbara Klass (Secretary), Robert McMahon (Treasurer), Hildi Konok, Jim Muir, Nanci Lee, and some 46 others (list available on request).
Regrets: Paul Berry, Daniel Allaire, Mark Reed
1) General welcome and introductions (Richmond Campbell)
2) Approval Agenda
3) Approval of March 6, 2012 AGM minutes
4) Approval of Reports (previously circulated):
a. Co-Chairs’ Report – Richmond Campbell & David Patriquin
b. Trail Report – Richmond Campbell for Paul Berry
c. Water Quality & Aquatic Habitat report – Richmond Campbell for Tim McGee
d. Treasurer’s Report – Robert McMahon
5) Election of New Board
6) Discover & Dream: An Appreciative Inquiry led by Nanci Lee
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.
1) Welcome: Co-Chair Richmond Campbell welcomed Dep. Mayor Reg Rankin, Peter Bush (Protected Areas Branch, NSE), guests and members. Also, Rich mentioned that the AGM will be video-taped by Keya Gemeda on behalf of WRWEO and asked if there were any objections or concerns.
2) Approval of Agenda: Sue Sherwin moved the approval of the agenda, seconded by Jim Muir. CARRIED
3) Approval of 2012 AGM Minutes
Į Dave Patriquin moved that the 2012 AGM Minutes be approved as read, seconded by Rob McMahon. CARRIED.
4) Reports (See attachments):
1. Co-Chairs’ Report (Richmond Campbell). Rich highlighted two items in particular: a) WRWEO joined with FBWHT, SMBSA, BLTRTA and SMATVA in a taskforce to create a community structure through which to collaborate with NS Dept of Environment in the stewardship of the newly protected Chebucto lands; b) WRWEO would like to thank: MLA Bill Estabrooks for his work and support over the years; HRM Dep. Mayor Reg Rankin who has also supported WRWEO for many years; Dep. Of Environment’s Peter Labor, Oliver Mass, Helen Smith and Peter Bush; also the Ecology Action Centre; HRM, and all WRWEO members and the board.
Į Geoff LeBoutillier moved that the Co-Chairs’ Report be accepted as presented, seconded by Beth McGee. CARRIED.
2. Trails Report (Richmond Campbell for Paul Berry). Rich noted several achievements: maintenance work such as brush cutting and deadfall removal was carried out by Jeff Schnurr, Community Forests Canada; capital work replacing 123 metres of boardwalk was carried out by Garnet McLaughlin, Cobequid Trail Consulting; and, among trail events were “Poetry in the Bluff” led by Nanci Lee, a Young Field Naturalists Field trip prepared by Dave Patriquin and led by Nanci Lee, and two trail building workshops led by Garnet McLaughlin on which 21 volunteers built 40 metres of trail.
Į Hildi Konok moved that the report be accepted as read, seconded by Jim Muir. CARRIED.
3. Water Quality & Acquatic Habitat Report (Richmond Campbell for Tim McGee)
Richmond drew attention to the fact that there are 11 identified watersheds in the St. Margaret’s Bay area, and WRWEO has joined forces with SMBSA and other watershed groups to undertake collaborative planning, management and stewardship of these watersheds. The specific goals are listed in the report. This is a large undertaking and volunteers will be needed to help with water sampling and other tasks. Jim Carwardine spoke to the importance of protecting water sources not only in our community, but provincially and nationally.
Į Jim Carwardine moved the report be accepted as read, seconded by Rob McMahon. CARRIED.
4. Treasurer’s Report (Robert McMahon)
Rob reviewed the highlights in the report and stated the net asset balance at the end of the year is $9,635. Funding for the past year was received from Halifax Regional Trails Association (74.5%), NS Department of Health and Wellness (23.1%), and membership and donations totaled 2.4% of funding. WRWEO appreciates all the support and funding received in 2012.
Į Rob moved that the Financial Statements be accepted as read, seconded by Susan Parker. CARRIED.
5) Election of New Board (chaired by Jim Carwardine).
Rich noted that two of our board members are moving away (Mark Reed and Daniel Allaire), and new board members would be very welcome. There are 15 board positions available in total. David Patriquin is stepping down as Co-Chair, and will continue to serve on the board. Nanci Lee has offered to replace Dave as Co-Chair. Rich asked Jim Carwardine to chair the election of the new board.
Slate of nominations:
Richmond Campbell and Nanci Lee – Co-Chairs
Robert Mahon – Treasurer
Barbara Klass – Secretary
David Patriquin (member)
Hildi Konok (member)
Tim McGee (member)
Jim Muir (member)
Paul Berry (member)
Lynne Kovan (nominated)
Diana Jeliazkova (nominated)
Jessi Fillmore (nominated)
Linda Moxsom-Skinner (nominated)
Nominations were closed with no more nominations made after three calls for further nominations.
The above incumbents and nominees were declared elected by acclamation. Rich thanked and welcomed the 2013 board members.
6) Discover and Dream: An Appreciative Inquiry led by Nanci Lee
Nanci spoke of being inspired by WRWEO’s role in the protection of lands, and the overseeing of trails which help people understand, share and enjoy those lands. She went on to explain that Appreciative Inquiry (AI) focuses on what is working for an organization, the achievements, and then look at the future. There are four stages to AI: 1) Discover; 2) Dream; 3) Design; and, 4) Do. Nanci covered the first two stages at this meeting, with the last two stages being completed at a future meeting. Members spoke of many achievements, and then contributed lots of ideas and dreams of what WRWEO might want to focus on and achieve in the future. Nanci led a very informative and inspiring process that will be continued to the Design and Do stages at a future meeting.
7) Any Other Business none
Rich Campbell moved the meeting be adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
[Some key acronyms:
NSE = Nova Scotia Department of Environment;
DNR = Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources;
FBLWA = Five Bridge Lakes Wilderness Area;
FBWHT = Five Bridges Wilderness Heritage Trust;
SMBSA = St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association;
BLTRTA = Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea Rails-to-Trails Association;
SMATVA = Safety Minded All Terrain Vehicle Association; HRTA = Halifax Regional Trails Association;
SMB = St. Margaret’s Bay.]
WOODENS RIVER WATERSHED ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION
Annual General Meeting March 13, 2013
As we begin our nineteenth year we look back on many accomplishments. To make it easy to do this, Co-chair Dave Patriquin has prepared a chronological summary of the highlights, beginning from the present. Our theme this AGM is “Discover and Dream”. Looking back is the discovery part; after the short business part of our meeting, we will have our chance to dream in an open discussion led by Nanci Lee. Where do we want to go from here? What should be WRWEO’s next destination? Let us dream together.
To move us quickly to this important part of our meeting, we will keep the co-chairs’ report brief. We have been very active in our efforts to maintain The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, as detailed in Paul Berry’s report to follow. We have also been active in participating in the committee on water quality and aquatic habitat in the St. Margaret’s Bay watersheds, led by SMBSA, as detailed in Tim McGee’s report. We joined with FBWHT, SMBSA, BLTRTA, and SMATVA, in a taskforce to create a community structure through which we could collaborate with NS Environment in the stewardship of the newly protected FBLWA. That effort resulted in the FBLWA Stewardship Coalition, just formed, of which WRWEO and her sister organizations just cited are founding members. The first workshop will be held this Saturday March 16 at the St. Margaret Sailing Club, and any community group that wishes to participate is welcome and should contact Tom Musial. WRWEO continues its work with Our HRM Alliance, e.g. to form an HRM greenbelt. We helped in the Buy Back the Mersey drive led by Geoff LeBoutillier of SMBSA, resulting, thanks to the work of so many, in the Province buying back the Bowater Mersey Lands. Thanks to the work of Barbara Klass and Hildi Konok WRWEO membership stands at 74. Finally, we continue to meet monthly with HRTA, the HRM trails association, through which the capital and maintenance work on The Bluff Trail is made possible, and to be a member of NS Trails Association, NS Environmental Network, and Leave No Trace.
Finally we thank two elected representatives who have been steadfast, constructive, and effective in their generous support: The Honorable Bill Estabrooks, MLA, Timberlea – Prospect, and Councillor Reg Rankin, District 22. We owe a debt of gratitude also to Peter Labor, Oliver Maass, Peter Bush, and Helen Smith of the Protection Branch of Nova Scotia Environment and to the Ecology Action Centre. Finally, we thank our board and the members of WRWEO who have been generous in their time and effort as volunteers.
Respectfully submitted by Richmond Campbell & David Patriquin, Co-chairs
The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail Report
Forests Canada (Jeff Schnurr) did brush-cutting trail maintenance on the third
and fourth loops and removed deadfall from all loops. Cobequid Trail Consulting (Garnet McLaughlin) rebuilt
123 meters of boardwalk.
Nanci Lee organized our second “Poetry on The Bluff” event (Andy Wainwright was guest poet), led a trail runners workshop on International Trails Day, and with Paul Berry and Daniel Allaire led hikes after the Michael Haynes book launch at the parking lot involving some 150 participants. With the help of Dave Patriquin she led the Young Field Naturalists in a lichen study workshop on the trail, represented us at the HRTA trail camp, and monitors the “Guest Book” at the beginning of the first loop helping us track numbers and any problems found.
With the help of Shawn Parker of the Mulgrave Park Care and Learning Centre in Dartmouth we have taken the first steps to bring inner city youth to the trail.
There were two volunteer workshops on Oct.14 and Dec. 9 (supported in part by the Department of Health and Wellness) led by Garnett McLaughlin and team. Volunteers learned to use found stone to harden wet spots and laid more than 40 meters of stone tread. The last workshop attracted 21 volunteers.
The first two loops were inspected by DNR and “no issues” were noted, though we were advised to use more trail markers on the first loop, which is most used and by less experienced hikers. We have installed two coyote warning signs at the start of that loop. We plan to place more yellow trail markers on this loop.
Paul Berry, Nanci Lee, and Rich Campbell met with Peter Bush, NSE, to discuss a new Letter of Authority (LOA) to replace the LOA from DNR (first signed in 2001) that allowed us to build and maintain the trail. A new LOA is necessary now that the land is protected and managed by NSE (in collaboration with DNR).
The paving of the driveway into the parking lot has been completed by GW Asphalt Paving Ltd. Snow plowing of the lot this winter was done again by Paul Kundzins of Dzeks Ltd. Overflow of cars onto the Bay Road occurs at times of peak usage and despite the no parking signs, cars continue to park near the entrance blocking the sight lines for cars leaving the lot and endangering lives. A plan to increase and make more visible the no parking signs has been worked out with Councillor Rankin and Patrick Doyle, senior traffic consultant with HRM. Councillor Rankin and NS Health and Wellness have provided financial support.
We express our thanks to the Halifax Regional Trails Association (HRTA) and HRM for their considerable support, financial, technical, and moral.
Respectfully submitted by Paul Berry, Chair, The Bluff Trail Committee
Water Quality and Aquatic Habitat Report
There are 11 identified Watersheds in the St. Margaret’s Bay area. One of these is the Woodens River Watershed. SMBSA has asked WRWEO to send a representative to a series of meetings towards some specific goals. These goals include:
1) To integrate formally with other coastal watersheds, such as through planning, watershed management, and collaboration between watershed stewards.
2) To insure that respect for the water is widely accepted.
3) To create an inventory of the SMB watersheds. The WRWEO documentation is used as a model where elements of watersheds are defined and listed.
4) To re-introduce migratory fish in the Bay and streams in sustainable numbers.
5) To create conditions where salmon breed prolifically in each SMB watershed.
6) To use the Fish Friends program from the Atlantic Salmon Organization so that every school has a salmon aquarium for growing out salmon and then steelhead (sea) trout. Application for $30,000 funding has been made to NS Environment.
7) To use Social Media and a Face Book page for Fish Friends, as well as a YouTube channel, and a Twitter feed. All of these are in place.
8) To encourage planning activities to be carried on in all communities that are consistent with the bylaws relating to water resources.
9) To promote an enforced audit / maintenance for on-site sewage systems.
10) To support overt engagement strategies currently running in the Bay. We now have a Face Book page devoted to water resources and a PR campaign directed in part at school children to encourage their engagement.
11) To create a charter, signed by all stakeholders, supported by binding covenants and by-laws.
This is an extensive list of goals. We will continue to make progress on each of them through our regular meetings and reporting to the general public over the internet.
Respectfully submitted, Tim McGee, Chair, Water Quality & Aquatic Habitat Cmte.
Formal financial statements will be available at the AGM in hard copy.
The 2012 fiscal year saw considerable reinvestment in the boardwalk system, trail repairs, and trail upgrades ($35,393), as well as investments in parking lot improvements ($6,107). The total spend related to the trail and associated parking area represents 92% of total expenditures of the organization. These investments included replacement of the boardwalk to a design more capable of withstanding higher elevations of water, such as has occurred in previous spring periods. In addition, paving of the entrance to the parking lot was completed which will reduce future parking lot maintenance costs.
Two educational workshops on the art of stone tread construction were once again offered in 2012 at a cost $1,495 or 3.3% of expenditures. These sessions not only represent community outreach in which participants gain knowledge and experience in stone landscape techniques, but in the process volunteer labour is contributed to trail improvements which we believe considerably exceeds the cost of running the program. Upgrading wet portions of the trail to stone tread is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also significantly reduces future trail maintenance, so this volunteer effort is a contribution that will provide savings for many years to come.
Funding for the 2012 year was received, and very much appreciated, from the Halifax Regional Trails Association (74.5% of 2012 funding), and the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (23.1% of funding) with the balance of funding received from membership fees and donations (2.4% of funding).
WRWEO closed the 2012 year with expenditures having exceeded funding sources by $3,644. As a result a portion of the 2012 costs were funded from the surplus of previous years. This is consistent with the intended use of these funds in support of trail operations and maintenance. As a result the net asset balance was reduced from $13,279 to $9,635. The closing cash balance for 2012 was $7,313. In addition, WRWEO has amounts due to the organization reflected on the financial statements as receivables in the amount of $9,164, and payables owed to suppliers in the amount of $6,842.
Thank you to the Halifax Regional Municipality and the Province of Nova Scotia for their financial support, and a special thank you to all WRWEO members. Your continued membership represents a vote of confidence in the effort being made to protect our wilderness for the benefit of current and future generations.
Robert McMahon, CA, Treasurer, WRWEO
WOODENS RIVER WATERSHED ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATION
(Revisiting our) Mission: To establish and implement a community-based Woodens River Watershed Environmental Plan which will ensure long-term protection of the natural qualities of the local watershed.
1. Wilderness protection and stewardship
2. Coalition building and networking
3. Trail development, recreation and maintenance
4. Watershed and water quality management
5. Conservation and environmental education
1. Key organizational member in a citizen-based coalition that led to 9,800 hectares of designated wilderness-protected area.
2. Helped to form and active participation in several community-based alliances to influence trail policy and wilderness protection.
3. Development and volunteer-led maintenance of 32 kilometers of wilderness trails for recreational use, one of the largest wilderness trails close to an urban centre in Canada.
4. Watershed Management Plan and studies on fish, aquatic habitat, water quality and waste decomposition in partnership with local scientists and universities. Active part of alliances that continue to steward these watersheds.
5. Targeted awareness-raising with key stakeholders as well as numerous guided hikes and the production of educational brochures for diverse groups with impact. E.g. Conservation of pocket wilderness area in Cranberry Bog.
Number of active members= 74
Average number of trail users per month last year= 120
70% 1st loop; 15% 2nd; 1.5% 3rd; 2.5% 4th; 8% partial first
83% hiking; 4% trail running; 3% camping; 1% trail maintenance; 4% other: botany, fishing, skating, bird-watching, swimming, healing, meditation, poetry