2020 Annual General Meeting
of the Barrie Bridge Association
I have put this in bold because it deserves to be in bold. Your executive wants you to know that we are paying very close attention to the recent surges in COVID across the province and in our area. We are also cheered by news of successes in vaccine development. At our mask to mask bridge games, we consistently employ more stringent safety protocols than you would find at your local LCBO, grocery store or Costco. This is just let you know that we are not dare-devils but conscientious folks who really enjoy this special form of the game that we all love. Online is OK but with real people – even masked – it is so much better. Be safe as you see it.
Before I begin my comments on this incredible year, there are so many thanks and commendations that I must make.
First, I have been blessed with the most talented and committed executive ever. They have contributed to and worked for the successes that we have achieved despite this year. Even more, to their credit, they have all agreed to participate in your 2021 executive board. The Barrie Bridge Club is so fortunate to have such dedicated people.
Second, I must credit the work and cheer that Maggie Sparrow has given our club. You have read her cheery, daily announcements of our online games. She has also compiled the numbers of participants and online games that help your executive gain an understanding of our resources.
Third, I must honour the work of our directors both online and mask to mask. They have brought much joy and relief in this very nasty time. John LaMarre’s work on maintaining our website communication must also get kudos.
Fourth, I must credit our members who answered our call for donations. Their generosity, respect for and love of our duplicate bridge club was and is heart-warming especially during this difficult year.
Last but by no means least, I must thank Joffre McCleary on behalf our entire club for his work on our behalf. As you may see – if you continue to read on – how his efforts kept us alive. If you think that this is overstating things, just read on.
Now for your President’s report on 2020. It tells an amazing story of the survival of a not-for-profit organization. It is a true story of a small diverse but united group of amateurs who worked and worked to keep their charge – that not-for-profit organization – alive.
Yes, I know that the minutes from the last 2 years have been sadly late in transmission via our website. Can we now move on?
If you were to read the minutes of an early 2020 executive meeting, you would now wonder at what a simple world we were inhabiting. Discussions of coffee and kitchen cleanliness – OMG. How these last 7 or 8 months have changed our ideas of reality and importance.
Through the incredible initiative of Dale MacKenzie and the willingness to join in the task by Frank Mustoe and Marc Brenner, we were able very early on to offer BBO/ACBL games online that made your club money. Yes, all those games that you played and paid for in BBO $ have helped to keep our club alive. Donations to the club were also a major help and boost to our spirits kept our club alive. Alive means paying utilities, insurance, Bell, ACBL fees and rent on a facility that was not being used. None of those could be stopped without major penalties.
In late August and early September, your executive decided to take a gamble on mask to mask bridge at our club. We received Health Unit acceptance [no one at this stage of COVID would approve anything] of our procedures and protocols. And now the worst was to become evident.
One day, our games director Jane Foster commented to me that the thermostat in the larger room was not working and she wanted to put on the fan because of the heat. I consulted Doug Fisher [an active club member and electrician] if he could help. He said that this issue was not in his expertise and recommended an HVAC service. I contacted that service and a technician came to the club to survey the problem. Ultimately, he reported that the roof-top HVAC units had been red tagged and the gas shut off. Remember that by now this is mid September.
Why we were not notified of this earlier is murky but by now mostly moot. I contacted two other HVAC specialists for estimates of repair costs. They were not encouraging. In our lease, the club is responsible for the repair and replacement of HVAC equipment. Our landlords demanded replacement not repair. Before you explode, that is just the way it is now for commercial leases according to our commercial properties lawyer. I have his letter in a PDF if you wish to see it.
Our landlords offered us a very good deal [why good in a minute]. We would pay $10,000.00 and they would pay the rest of the cost for 2 brand new HVAC units for our facility. Your executive debated long and hard on whether to pay or just pack up and leave. Our lawyer’s letter made it clear that we would be in deep trouble if we left – as in liable for full payment of the replacement. Yes, for the constitutionally directed, we did exceed the specified limit by $2,500.00. Given that winter was near by and freezing pipes would be the least of the club’s problems, your executive went with the deal.
Now for the good news that most of you know already. The good news is Joffre McCleary and his indomitable will. He worked and worked and ultimately triumphed over the CRA and got us a refund from an HST levy of about $14,000.00 net. We could pay for our part of the replacement.
More good news. On November 6th, the new units [there are 2 which are both heat and air conditioning] have been installed, are working and have been approved by our own HVAC specialist.
What your 2020 executive went through this year – like all of us – was a whole lot more than discussions of coffee and kitchen cleanliness.
Now for a summary of our financial situation from our treasurers:
Your 2020 co-treasurers – something that came about as COVID struck – are Evelyn Caroline and Betty MacMillan.
A summary of their report is included in the eblast to our members. If you did not receive that eblast and would like the report, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it to you.
The formal announcement of your acclaimed 2021 executive:
President: Mary Ellen Dale
Vice president: John Montgomery
Secretary: Becky Dziurda
Treasurer: Betty MacMillan
Association Manager: Dale MacKenzie
Chief Games Director: Jane Foster
Social Co-ordinator: Evelyn Caroline
Member at large: Gary Hesson
Novice Co-ordinator: Reet Skelton
Immediate Past President [ex officio]: John Montgomery
Finally, if you wish to participate in a Zoom meeting to ask questions or to make comments on all or any of the above. In order to try to keep this meeting from becoming an impromptu rant session, the following procedures must be followed.
By email to email@example.com, you must send in:
- your request to participate,
- the topic or topics you wish to have discussed,
- a brief outline of the specific opinions you may have on the events outlined in the president’s message,
- 3 possible dates for which you would be available to participate in the Zoom meeting.
We will attempt to co-ordinate all requests and set up a Zoom meeting that is convenient for as many as possible.
Thank you all for being members of this fantastic organization.
Cheers, John Montgomery, president 2020