Shawano Ratepayers Incorporated continues to be a very healthy organization with a high level of participation in community events. The Annual General Meeting on July 30, 2016, was very well attended and several members who could not attend provided proxies to ensure we had a quorum. The meeting elected a full slate of 13 Directors including Patti Norton, Heather Wayte, Mike Noble, Diane Warden, June Wells, and Heather Maxwell re-elected for another two-year term, and 3 new directors including Dawn Purchase, Rob Sztuka and Jean Key.
Our membership increased last year to 169 members. This is up from 147 last year and higher than we have seen in recent years. This increase may in part be due to the fact that approximately 25 memberships were paid for electronically through our web site, which some find more convenient than sending cheques. The increase in membership may also be attributed to the many features available on the website, the quality of the Loon’s Call, and increased participation in SRI events.
We have also seen increasing interest in the history the SRI. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the organization and to celebrate it our historian, Wally Pitt, has been gathering and organizing information and photographs from past decades. Wally’s commitment and handiwork are evident in contributions to the Loon’s Call.
At the AGM were able to report that the cost of publishing and delivering the Loon’s Call has been reduced significantly and with income from advertisers in both the Loon’s Call and on the web site we are able to provide paper copies to all members. This has been due to tremendous volunteer work by many of our members. The Loon’s Call will now be delivered by volunteers to all residences in the community, and will be sent electronically to those who do not wish to receive a paper copy. It is also available online at our website.
Another major item for discussion was the revision to our By Laws to change the rules regarding membership. Some members have asked if the organization would consider allowing members of their families to become full SRI members instead of associate members, even though they are not property owners. This would allow them to participate more in the activities of the organization. A committee of SRI members was established under the leadership of Dawn Purchase, our vice-president, and has produced suggestions for revisions to the By Laws to address the issue of membership, consistency of our By Laws with pending revisions to provincial legislation regarding not-for-profit organizations, and the use of electronic information technology for communication with members. The suggested revisions will be sent to all members in the spring of 2017, and will be presented to the next AGM for discussion and approval. I hope members will consider the proposed amendments and take the opportunity to provide input to the process.
The SRI continues to be energized by its members. As a result of members’ initiative we will host a 1K run for children and a 5 K run for adults on July 22, 2017 along Skene Road beginning at the Dickey Lake boat launch. Details can be found under the events tab on the web site, including a link to a website where members can sign up to run and to volunteer to make the event a success. This is a welcome addition to our other summer events including Dickey Day, golf tournament and regatta, all of which are fun for our members and increase our sense of community.
Another significant initiative is a Pitch-In event to be held on June 24, 2017. This is an opportunity for members to get together and clean up our local environment. It is not a new event, but we would like to increase participation this year so the SRI will provide refreshments and prizes for several categories of participants. We will gather at the Dickey Lake boat launch at 10:00 AM to receive garbage bags and be given a section of roadway to clean up. We will return to the boat launch at 12:00 noon to deposit our trash and have some fun.
Thanks to all the volunteers whose efforts continue to make the SRI such a healthy organization and who make our events possible and so enjoyable.