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  • Writer's pictureRon Laudadio

CVADA Board Meeting Minutes - February 6th, 2024

CVADA Board Meeting - February 6th, 2024 Meeting Minutes

Date: Feb 6th, 2024 - 6:30 pm-8 pm.

Location: Wetlands Interpretation Centre

Attendees: Dion Devoe, Craig Collier, Carolyn AuCoin, Lucy Porier, Amy Taylor, Francis Peddle, Shelly Gale, Brad Moore, Ron Laudadio

Absentees: Tracy Keeping, Elissa Hinks, April-Ray Gillam-Young, Dale Lomond, Nancy Power


Opening Remarks

  • Ron initiated the meeting with a casual note about the building being a bit cold but cozy.


Approval of Minutes

  • Action: The minutes previously posted by Nancy were put up for approval.

  • Motion: Francis motioned to accept the minutes.

  • Second: Craig seconded the motion.

  • Vote: The motion was carried with majority approval. 


Starlite Trail Update

  • Concern: The trails committee has reached out to the trail builder but has yet to receive a response; the team is ambitious to finish the design phase and looks forward to contacting the builder to have a design and plan prepared for breaking ground in early Summer 2024.

  • Advisor Consultation: Rob Hingston from Parks Canada, who is willing to serve as an advisor, was connected to the committee. He suggested it is early and waiting until March before getting concerned about the builder's lack of response.

  • Funding: An approximately $57K funding increase from ACOA was granted this week. Alongside plans for phase two, we have begun discussions for trail enhancements. 

  • Marketing: Tourism NL expressed interest in featuring the Starlight Trail as a landmark tourist attraction in 2025.

  • Financial Strategy: A potential advance of $310,000 from ACOA was discussed with ACOA, with a deadline for expenditure by December 2024.

  • Composition: The subcommittee comprises nine members, with specific individuals assigned to work on contracts and design documents.

  • Outreach: Property owners and IATNL stakeholders will be invited to a few subcommittee meetings to get updates on the trail's progress. 

  • Trail Suggestions: Francis suggested we post GPX trail routes on the website to help tourists plan, find and enjoy the local trails. Ron will lend Francis Peddle and Amy Taylor his GPS satellite tracker to record the GPX trails. 

  • Action Item: The Trail Committee will successfully receive the advance as soon as possible. 

  • Action Item: The Trail Committee to finalize a contract in preparation for signing with the builder.

  • Action Item: The Trail Committee will complete a version of the Design Objectives Document as the first draft to review with the builder in March.

  • Action Item: Ron will lend his Garmin GPS to Francis Peddle and prepare the website for GPX trail postings for locals, visitors, and tourists.


Newsletter Discussion

  • Distribution Issues: Concerns about the distribution and receipt of the CVADA newsletter were raised, with some members not receiving recent issues. It was discussed that although not blocking flyers, members didn't receive the newsletters. 

  • Feedback: Feedback from the community on the newsletter has been overwhelmingly positive, with specific mentions of appreciation from 11 people. The decision to wait for this meeting before publishing the February issue was mentioned

  • Financial Consideration: The cost of newsletter distribution via Canada Post, given the cost for each month, would be just under $150, was noted. Six more months is a $900 commitment.

  • Action Item: Address distribution challenges and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of continuing the newsletter.

  • Motion: Dion motioned to continue to fund the newsletter for six more months, appropriating $900 for the funding.

  • Second: Craig seconded the motion.

  • Vote: The motion was carried with majority approval.


Call for Newsletter Editor

  • Ron called for a volunteer editor, ideally a young individual interested in journalism, to take over the newsletter story and editing work. This opportunity was highlighted as beneficial for building a resume.


Wetlands Event Planning

  • February Events: Upcoming events include a switch from chess to a broader games night and another acoustic circle on Feb 16th, both initiatives led by Anne and Peter. These events have previously seen successful turnouts.

  • Winter Carnival: Participation in the winter carnival was discussed, including plans for a barbecue and music on Saturday, February 26th. The carnival is expected to cover half the cost of food. 

  • Motion: Lucy motioned to contribute to pay for half of the Winter Carnival food budget up to $200. 

  • Second: Dion seconded the motion.

  • Vote: The motion was carried with majority approval.


Rental Agreement and Commercial Event Considerations

  • Commercial Rental Agreements: A rental agreement for wetlands for private events is in place, but guidelines need to be established for commercial events, including workshops that charge admission.

  • Financial Concerns: The potential for earning from events was discussed, with an acknowledgment that expenses currently far exceed income. A review of the electricity bills for the last three months was proposed to assess ongoing costs.

  • Building Repairs: Concerns about the condition of the skylights in the wetland building, including water damage and the need for repairs, were discussed. A proposal was made to obtain quotes for necessary maintenance to ensure the building's safety and usability.

  • Wetlands Business Plan: The board discussed the need to identify a business plan with a net-positive revenue target before moving forward on any decisions for commercial rental agreements, which will be presented at the next board meeting. There is a strong desire to develop the area using the Wetlands building, but it must be done in a way that puts the CVADA in a manageable financial situation.

  • Summer Students in the Wetlands: Discussion that we will apply for funding to hire summer students to staff the Wetlands Centre. We will also apply for two additional students to help the eight sub-committees with their operations, the website, the Facebook posts, government grant applications, etc. Ron will get the job descriptions to Tracy. 

  • Action Item: Obtain quotes for the necessary repairs in the Wetlands building.

  • Action Item: Ron to learn of additional electricity costs from using the Wetlands over the previous cold months and get back to the board.

  • Action Item: Social & Communication Committee to develop a business plan.

  • Action Item: Ron to get job descriptions for summer students to Tracy by this weekend.


Financial and External Communications

  • Wildlife NL Funding: A discussion on potential funding from Wildlife NL for building upkeep was introduced, indicating earmarked funds that have yet to be received. John Sharp from Wildlife NL suggested $5,000 to $6,000 might be available for wetlands maintenance.

  • Stewardship Association Municipalities (SAM): The board discussed the proposal of the Stewardship Association of Municipalities to staff the Wetlands for six months and found the proposal undesirable given the benefit of one person would put more risk and responsibility on us without much benefit to the locals and tourists as the person to hire would be almost solely focussed on the obligations set out by SAM of being out of the Wetlands building and in the field. Ron will continue discussions with SAMs.


Closing Remarks

  • The meeting concluded with reminders of the agreed-upon actions, including continuing the newsletter, planning and funding events, addressing maintenance needs, and exploring commercial event possibilities.


Adjournment: Ron adjourned the meeting, reminding everyone to turn off the heaters and lock up the premises. The date and time for the next meeting were to be confirmed on the FB Messenger chat.


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