Details from the Annual General Meeting Held on October 24, 2007 at Lester B. Pearson Public School
Attendance was lower than other years, so to each of you who attended, thanks for giving of your time. Following is an excerpt of Chairperson Cindy Watkin’s update of what’s been going on in the past year including current challenges and successes:
1) The ad system for the newsletter – We’ve completed an overhaul of the ad system as it was to eliminate a wait list of potential advertisers by including the ad feature pages, changing our annual ad contract to include more advertisers, increase ad rates to maximize ad revenue without compromising content to ad ratio. In the past two years the newsletter has gone from just breaking even to making money for the ENA and the feedback from Eastbridge residents, advertisers and City officials has been very positive. 2) New events – The Scavenger Hunt in September was an absolute success, particularly those families with kids age 8 and up. We are also hosting a celebration to commemorate Waterloo’s 150th Birthday during the Holiday season with such things as a horse drawn trolley, bake-off and Santa’s arrival in Eastbridge. 3) Volunteer Appreciation – A new thank you program was introduced to show appreciation for everyone who gives of their time at our events; popular chocolate bars were given out with a creative message on the label from the ENA. 4) Recurring events – We hosted a number of events over the course of the year (some free) such as the Teddy Bear Picnic, snowy Easter Egg Hunt, Family Skates, Halloween party, and our annual Family Fun Day; the silent auction at this event raised substantial funds while approximately 1500 folks attended, including Mayor Halloran. We are appreciative that the City of Waterloo provides us with an operating grant that varies each year to help with expenses of our events and also for the ongong support of Lori Ludwig. 5) Bouncy Castle Program – While this program gave lots of kids a great birthday party over the summer season (and the past three before that) it was one laden with issues. The castles kept breaking down, needing replaced, changing in size due to availability at suppliers... while we did raise funds with the program recently the board decided after much deliberation not to continue with it for the 2008 season because of the various issues. 6) Our book club has gone by the wayside, mainly due to scheduling difficulties. 7) The playgroups and childcare registry are still popular, valued by both current residents and those moving into Eastbridge. The Website has been updated and offers much more including photos and current info. 8) Genstar is still taking care of the hanging pots, annual flowers (purchasing, planting, watering etc.), maintenance and repairs of the gazebos, electrical expenses for the medians... but negotiations with the City of Waterloo are currently underway for their obligation to be completed in the near future. With that will bring new expenses for the ENA (which is part of why we are vehemently fundraising). After numerous discussions over the past few years with Genstar, recently they gave the ENA funds to be set aside as a contribution towards a portion of the future expenses (in the portion of Eastbridge that they developed). We have indeed set the funds aside for this in a separate account along with a portion of ENA fundraised dollars for the future. 9) In a continuing effort to foster a sense of Community with both schools in Eastbridge recently we donated $100 each for books for the school library and we are looking at commemorating Waterloo’s 150th with a them as well. At many of our events we collect donations for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region to help those in need. 10) Graffiti and vandalism were once more this year, an issue. The ENA has welcomed Neighbourhood Watch but the commitment from the community has been sparse. We have had the brush cut back at the gazebos on a regular basis in an effort to keep them visible (and keep bad activities to a minimum), now that they are in plain view it seems to be helping somewhat. 11) Zehrs leaving Conestoga Mall – Loblaw Properties Inc is planning on putting in a super store at a vacant location near King & Weber Streets and possibly closing the Zehrs at the Mall, with no other grocery store in it’s place. After much discussion we decided there was cause for concern and I drafted a letter for Council and Mayor Halloran on behalf of the ENA. It was entered into Council documents, since then Council has voted unanimously to fight the superstore being constructed and the issue is now with the Ontario Municipal Board. 12) Other additions – City of Waterloo Fire Station #4 is coming to our area very soon, plans are under way. We are also hoping for a branch of the Waterloo Public Library, it has been in the budget plans for the City and will be discussed in the weeks to come as the Official Plan for the City is finalized and we are doing what we can to let Council know that Eastbridge residents would very much appreciate a branch nearby. 13) As a team, the ENA continues to work very well together, both at our regular board meetings and behind the scenes working on all of the previous mentioned things. We are though, in need of valued volunteers to assist with events, deliver newsletters and so on. Consider giving a bit of your time as you can. A bit of time can make a lot of difference. I am proud of our ENA accomplishments, proud to work with each board member and would like to thank each one for that, and for the commitment to make our Community a better place. Cindy then handed out personal cards to each board member with a Waterloo 150th pin in appreciation of their efforts. Lori Ludwig, Community Development Program Manager, Community Services with the City of Waterloo spoke for a few minutes, praising the ENA for it’s accomplishments and commended the group on their enthusiasm, hard work and spirit in making our neighbourhood the great community it is. Elections for board positions were held, we are happy to report that all positions are filled, we welcomed new board member Farah to the role of Secretary. A question and answer period rounded out the evening.