The FMCBC held its Annual General Meeting May 22-24 in Courtenay/Comox with record attendance from across the province. The Comox District Mountaineering Club (CDMC) hosted the weekend, coordinating billets for our out-of-town members and providing plenty of opportunities to socialize, get outdoors, and discuss the direction of the FMCBC for the coming year.
The CDMC kicked things off with a Meet-and-Greet at Courtenay’s Creekside Commons on Friday evening. Members — some who had been driving all day — arrived to a full spread of food and drink (including homemade wine and cookies!) for their enjoyment. Members new and old met and reconnected, sharing stories of their adventures and tips on the best hikes and coffee spots around. Thanks to the CDMC for hosting such a great evening!
The next morning, two groups of hikers set out to explore the Comox Valley, while directors met at the Florence Filberg Centre for the AGM. Topics of discussion included associate membership, trail markers, and waivers. Pam Munroe from the Member Club Grant Committee presented the awards for this year’s grants. Congratulations to the following clubs — we look forward to telling you more about these projects later in the year:
The BC Mountaineering Club was awarded $2,000 towards their Sigurd Trail Extension project.
The UBC Varsity Outdoor Club was awarded $635 towards a new door for their Phelix Hut.
The Vancouver Rock Climbing Group was awarded $1,200 towards their Climb and Conquer Summer Leadership Camp.
The Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association was awarded $1,475 towards signage for their trail.
The Island Mountain Ramblers were awarded $650 towards safety and trail clearing.
The South Okanagan Trail Alliance was awarded $250 towards tool acquisition.
The Caledonia Ramblers were awarded $2,000 towards the second phase of their Ancient Forest Trail Tread Protection Project.
Jodi Appleton also presented some awards for distinguished service to three long-serving directors in recognition of their hard work and dedication to the FMCBC and to outdoor recreation in the province. Brian Wood was recognized for having a large involvement in our research project and strategic planning process; Monika Bittel for lending her legal expertise on many FMCBC issues, including our insurance documents and waivers; and Patrick Harrison for representing the FMCBC’s interests on a number of boards and groups, and for providing a historic perspective on past decisions and issues (and much, much more that there is not space here for).
Directors also voted to accept the following people into their roles on the FMCBC Executive for 2015-2016:
- President: Bob St. John from the Comox District Mountaineering Club
- Vice President: Dave Wharton from the Valley Outdoor Association
- Treasurer: Silvie-Marie Fortin from the Island Mountain Ramblers and ACC-Vancouver Island Section
- Secretary: Mack Skinner from the North Shore Hikers
- Former President: Scott Webster from the Varsity Outdoor Club
In the afternoon, Andrew Drouin and Dave Wharton gave a presentation on the Trails Strategy for British Columbia and the FMCBC’s role. Drouin has been elected as one of five stakeholder representatives on the Provincial Trails Advisory Body, which will deal with issues of access, funding, insurance, signage, maintenance and user conflict on BC’s trails. Drouin specifically called for the need to develop a reliable and diverse funding model to support BC’s trail system and asked for the FMCBC’s help in identifying funding sources.
Next, Jodi Appleton shared some highlights from the Strategic Plan that has been guiding the FMCBC since it was released in 2011. She spoke to the three main goals that were set out in that plan: to protect self-propelled backcountry recreation activities and interests, to provide responsive service to members of the FMCBC, and to maintain the FMCBC as a stable and reliable organization. Directors agreed that the Strategic Plan has been great for the FMCBC and we will continue to let it guide our work for the next year, and may devote some resources to fine-tuning it in the future.
Finally, Bob St. John presented a demo of the online waiver system he’s developed for clubs to potentially use based on the research the FMCBC Insurance Committee has done over the past several months. Once St. John has put the finishing touches on the system and it has the board’s endorsement, member clubs can contact St. John about setting up their own waivers and customizing them to suit their needs and activities.
The AGM adjourned with time for a walk in the sunshine before convening at the Blackfin Pub in Comox for dinner, and then back to the Filberg Centre for the evening’s entertainment. Bill Perry provided the Vancouver Island-inspired folk music, Carol Hunter the stunning cinematography of the herring spawn, and Philip Stone gave a presentation on the future of BC’s parks, complete with jaw-dropping photographs of Strathcona Park and Central Vancouver Island.
Sunday brought more opportunities for hiking, kayaking and discussion: the CDMC ran two guided kayak trips to and hikes, and the FMCBC Advocacy Committee headed to Denman Island to discuss plans and purpose.
Thank you to the CDMC for organizing a great weekend and to everyone who hosted our delegates as billets. We couldn’t have done it without you! We had a great time and are already looking forward to next year’s AGM, to be hosted by the BC Mountaineering Club in Vancouver! Mark your calendars and see you May 28, 2016!