President’s Report 2023
Bay of Islands Community Association
President’s Report 2023
By Patrick Thoburn
Delivered at the 88th annual member meeting of the Bay of Islands Community Association on August 5, 2023.
Our community has been meeting for the past 88 years on these shores with the same unwavering purpose: To preserve and protect the Bay for future generations.
One year ago today, with that purpose in mind, our members brainstormed on the question, “What initiatives should BICA continue or start?” The following were voted as the top priorities. I’d like to talk about what we’ve accomplished together on these priorities over the last year and look ahead to next year.
- Fire safety: Led by David Gallup we secured $5,000 from NEMI for 10 new fire pumps and installed a WhatsApp fire alert system critical to the speedy response to the Vance island fire.
- Emergency preparedness: Led by past-president Sheila Williams, we held an event with North Shore Rescue and the OPP where we learned about what to do in the event of an emergency on our islands. Here’s a resource you can fill out and keep on your fridge: https://bayofislands.ca/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Emergency-Preparedness-Document-FINAL.pdf
- Environmental initiatives: We published educational content for members, particularly during Love Your Bay Week, led by Board Secretary and Environment lead Chris Redston. Check it out here: https://bayofislands.ca/category/water-quality/
- Social Events — Events like the Fish Fry, Social & Auction, Family Hot Dog Day and Bas Bleu Book Club continue to attract strong turnout, and the leadership of Jeff Baker, Celesta Bjornson, Sheila Richards, Trevor Marshall and Bobette Jones make all our events possible.
- Whitefish River First Nation – We’ve initiated a reset of the relationship with our allies and partners WRFN. When I met with newly elected Chief Rodney Nahwegahbow last month, he expressed enthusiasm for building on the strong ties between our communities. Several board members will meet with Chief and Council later this Summer and we will aim to introduce Chief Rodney to our community next year.
It’s important to know that your association supports other work to fulfill our mission, including:
- GBA – Liz Phillips is our representative to this important environmental advocacy organization and is now GBA President. Congratulations, Liz! Tighter regulation of floating accommodations is one of GBA’s current priorities, and BICA has submitted a petition in support.
- Membership – Our membership is stronger than ever thanks to the organization of past-president Celesta Bjornson, now our membership lead. Please spread the word and invite your neighbours and family members to join.
- Communications – Board member Lisa Allison has kept us informed by email and website, and we have more than 275 people on our e-mailing list; community members who don’t receive the email can sign up here: https://bayofislands.ca/connect/.
The many volunteer hours committed by the association board are so appreciated by all of us. Thank you!
Finally, our board has approved an increase in dues to $105, to take place next year in 2024. 60% of our dues go to GBA, which recently increased their dues. This increase is in line with the cost-of-living increase since 2018, the last time dues were increased. We undertook a survey of GBA associations over the winter, led by Lindsay Richards, and we are the lowest cost of all the associations.
Please spread the word about BICA. We rely on the volunteer spirit of the community to keep going. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to join.
Thank you for your support, enthusiasm, and membership in our association.
Minutes from the annual member meeting can be found here: LINK
Link to Environment Report by Chris Redston can be found here: LINK