LMCOA Annual General Meeting, 2012

Lake Matinenda Cottage Owners Association, Inc.
General Annual Meeting
July 28th, 2012

Meeting began at 10:04am.
Board Members in Attendance: Pres. Ed Pilon, Sec. Robin Z Schellekens, Treas. Linda Hamilton, Ron Servatius, Dick Brennan and Laure Olsen.  Dave Hall and Caroline Bledsoe were not on the lake at this time.
Visitors  in Attendance: Councilmen Ken Kennedy and Robert Ambeault, Conservation Officer Dave Hamlin and Assistant Park Superintendent Tamara Flannigan

I.  Welcome:
President Ed Pilon welcomed all the members and guests to this, our 50th Lake Matinenda Cottage Owners Association General Meeting.  He highlighted the lattice on the railings, reattached rubber dock transitions, dock repairs and new wooden top on the the seawall as positive changes brought about by the positive and on-going communication between the Association and the town of Blind River. Ed also noted the outstanding efforts of this year’s dock attendants David Hall and Gilbert Roy, as well as the lovely container gardens that were planted by Nancy Harz on the behalf of the Association.

Ed made special welcome to our guests and thanked Janet Servatius for informing us that this was our 50th anniversary year.

II.    Reading of the 2011 Annual Meeting Minutes:
Robin Z. Schellekens gave another of her famous condensed speed reading of last years General Meeting Minutes. Herb Herrimann moved that the Minutes be accepted. Bill Shaffer seconded.  The Minutes were approved unanimously.

III.     Treasurer’s Report:
Treasurer Linda Hamilton gave the Treasurer’s report for the June 2011 – July 20, 2012 year.  She noted  two typos (Oops, Sorry! by R. Schellekens!) The amended report is attached.

Linda noted the generous Rock Bass Derby Donations and that the Lake Directory Maps, made by Caroline Bledsoe were selling well.  She also stated that the Matinenda Cookbooks, created by the Special Projects committee were selling extremely well and that she expected to be able to deposit $1000 from their sales by the end of the day.

She concluded with a huge thank you to all the wonderful volunteers that helped to make the Fish Derby possible again this year.

Frank Lee motioned to accept the Treasurer’s Report.  This was seconded by Herb Herrimann.  The Treasurer’s Report was approved unanimously.

IV.      Secretary’s Report:
Secretary Robin Z. Schellekens stated that the year had been a busy one with a dozen or so letters being exchanged with the Town Council and Marina Committee.  She reminded the members that minutes from all  Association Board Meetings were available on line, as well as the minutes of any meetings held with Town Officials.

Robin went on to inform the membership that she was now it’s  non-voting Representative/Advisor to the town’s Marine Park Committee and that the minutes of those meetings, as well as those of the Town council, were available on line.

She gave an additional ‘shout out’ to Chris Brandt for all her work on this and past years newsletters, stating that she was only a copy editor and it was Chris who did all the real work.  As Chris was not present at the meeting, Robin sent her thank you bottle of wine to her through a willing neighbor.

She concluded by stating that, as always, members were welcome to contact her, or any board member, through the Association website at any time.

V.      Committee Reports

V.1. Rock Bass Fishing Derby:
Chairwoman Linda Hamilton began by again thanking all the wonderful volunteers that made the event possible.  She stated that was somewhat disappointed to have only 35 children participating, but felt the early morning rain probably inhibited some families.  In any case, the children all had a wonderful time and loved the many prizes that were given out this year.

V.2.   Special Projects Committee:
Chairwoman,Nancy Harz reported on the various activities her Committee had worked on and was planning for the upcoming months.

She thanked everyone who submitted recipes for the new cookbook and explained that the Committee had chosen to include a number of recipes from the old cookbook, as well as from members who were no longer with us.  The lovely photographs on the cover and subject pages throughout the book were generally gathered from those submitted to our Website.  The books are being made available at several locations around town, as well as at every Association event and are selling for $17 each  or 3 or more at $15 each.

She too mentioned the wonderful colored Lake Directory Maps created by Caroline Bledsoe, which were also available at Association events for $5 each.

Nancy reminded the members of the upcoming Matinenda Fun Day on Aug. 11 and encouraged them to donate baked good and  Garage Sale type items for the sale.  Baked goods, drinks, hot dogs, craft and garage sale items and face painting will all be available that day.

V.3.  Bi-Law Revision:
President Ed Pilon spoke briefly on the on-going By-law Revisions.  He stated that  Ron Servatius was reporting without  his Co-chair Dave Hall, as Dave’s son had been in a motorcycle accident and thus Dave was not present at today’s meeting.

Ron explained that the revision of the By-Laws was a big job, but was necessary in order that the Association’s actions and procedures be brought back in line with those required by it’s Incorporation.  The New Board will be meeting again this summer to address some of these issues and hope to have a proposal ready for the General Membership by next summer.

Pres. Ed Pilon explained that as part of this process it was necessary to have a regular audit of the Association’s books and that Ben Denaro had kindly volunteered to do just that for us this year.  Many thanks to Ben!

V.4.  WiFi Project:
As Chairman, Sam Bledsoe, was not yet on the lake this summer,  Committee member Ron Servatius spoke briefly on the project.  He stated that there was not much to report as Sam had had to return to California earlier than planned last year because of family issues, and that there were some possible new local elements that might be coming into play for this project, such as several new communication towers going into the the Elliot Lake area which might improve reception on Lake Matinenda as well.

Robin Z. Schellekens add that she had received Mayor Jensen’s okay to contact the Elliot Lake Town Council about a grant they had received that helped them to erect a WiFi tower to provide their lakes with service.  (Robin has since spoken with the Mayor of Elliot Lake who has directed her to the proper person regarding the project.  He also stated that Elliot Lake paid $100,000  of the town’s money, in addition to the grant money they received in order to make the tower possible.)

During this report a discussion arose regarding the need for an Emergency Land Line at the Landing:

Councilman Kennedy stated that he believed that there was no phone line currently coming to the landing area and that when he had a Public Phone at his place of business it cost about $1000 a year to operate and that the Town Council was not going to approve that.  He went on to ask if residents couldn’t just use the CB or their cell phones.

Robin Z. Schellekens explained that the owners of the North Land had been generous enough to monitor the CB and relay emergency messages using their phone line in the past, but that this was no longer possible.  Nor was that ever the “best’ solution to the problem.  She shared that while a few people did have phone reception, the majority of people had intermittent or no reception and that even the dock attendants could not make an outgoing call unless they went to the top of the hill at the landing, and even that wasn’t a sure thing.  She stated strongly that there was an obvious need for an emergency land line available at the landing 24/7, such as the 911 only phones that were used in both the States and Canada on freeways and other locations.  As the Town was unable to supply the majority of city services to the lake, providing at least an centralized emergency phone seemed like a reasonable request.

Also, there was agreement among cottagers that there had been a public phone at the former Lodge with a land line.  There was some discussion on whether this had been a radio phone, but it was finally agreed upon that it had indeed been a land line.

Although doubtful, Councilman Kennedy said that he would have  Town Manager, Katie Scott, look into such an installation.

Dana Herrimann asked if a list could be made up of who had a consistently working phone and was willing to offer it’s use for emergencies.  Dr. Karen Rice offered the use of their cottage phone when they were on the lake and seconded the idea of a list being made up.  Robin Z. Schellekens was asked to collect these numbers from volunteers at the meeting and through the website so such a list could be published. (A link for this will be available on the website)

Tom Scott stated that he had recently  installed a Wilson Electric Antenna that was now providing him with phone service.  The Rice’s added that their son had put on some kind of antenna, costing about $200, on their cottage roof and that as a result they were now able to use their Verizon phone at their cabin.

It was also suggested that a group letter writing campaign could be started from our website to both Rodgers and Bell requesting a phone, and possibly a WiFi, tower be built for our lake. The Board will discuss this further.

V.5.  History Project:
Project Chairwoman, Janet Servatius spoke about the on-going Matinenda History Book project.  Janet said to ignore the posted deadline as the creation of this book was a long and on-going process.  Members should continue to work on their submission and send them to her as they were completed.  Janet also stated that she needed help contacting and encouraging people to participate.

Doug Hogg suggested that perhaps there could be a “blog section” on the website where people could see and be inspired by others histories and then submit their own.  Robin Z. Schellekens explained that our website prohibited blog per say as anything posted had to be approved by the President and/or Secretary, but perhaps something similar could be created.  Janet said she had included a history in each of the past newsletters with just that hope in  mind and wrapped up by reminding members that the Teacher’s Bay History Books were available for $20 each.

V.6.  Blind River Marina Park Committee:
Robin Z Schellekens made a brief report on the her appointment as a non-voting Advisor to the Marina Committee.  Her job being to act as a liaison and informational conduct between that committee and the Association’s Board.  She explained that as yet she had only attended  one meeting as they had been canceled or postponed three times and only met from May through September.

She noted that as none of the members had cottages on the Lake, and it was a bit of a hike to get out here, they had to depend upon concerns brought to their attention through Association letters and/or the reports made by Darrell MacLean.  However, progress has been made on a number of areas such as the fore mentioned wood top for the seawall, additional cement planters along the seawall to protect it from trucks and so forth.  Robin stated that her main and on-going topic is the need for the replacement of the seawall and replacement of and addition to the existing docks.

With that in mind, she ended the last Marina Meeting by sharing a ten year time line of the council minutes, letters and promises made regarding the docks and seawall at the Landing.  She also submitted photos of the dock and seawall so that the Council members could see the specific issues. As a result of data obtained from last summer’s Attendant’s Log, Robin was able to state that over 560 boats were launched at the Landing last summer, just during business hours. This represents a large number of tourist usage, especially when compared to the Marina, which has been operating at a loss for years and continues to lose business.

She suggested that she and the Association, would be happy to assist in the search and writing of a government grant to help the town finance the seawall and docks. In response, Marina Chairman Alex Solomon stated that on the behalf of the committee he was charging Robin to  draw up a three year plan, find a grant, collect quote estimates for the work, write up the grant and submit it to the Marina Committee. Once the Marina committee tweaked it and approved it, they would in turn present it to the Town Council.

VI. Town Council Report and Responses to Questions
At this point, a number of questions arose from the membership, most of them addressed to Councilman Kennedy  (KK). Councilman Kennedy requested, and was granted, permission to make his report to the the membership at this time.

Councilman Kennedy began by congratulating the Association on it’s 50th Anniversary and saying how glad he was to attend our General Meeting once again.  He has “always loved Lake Matinenda and is always pleased to have a chance to get out here”  He stated that the Council was pleased at the positive “on going communication between the Association and the Town and felt that a great deal of progress was being made”.  He also said that he was glad the council again had a representative serving on the Marina Committee.

Councilman Kennedy revisited on the on-going problem of boats being parked at the docks for lengthy periods, sometimes weeks.  He said he had yet to speak with Mr. Sousie about hiring them to monitor the parking, but was still planning to do so.

Cliff Spratt, Dock Manager for the RV Park, stated that “we’ve been approached and there was no way that this is going to fly” as it would be a liability issue and would cause bad feelings all around. He stated that this task was appropriate to a Harbor master and that one should be appointed.

A member asked again why this could not be addressed with a by-law? Such a by-law had been requested by the Association every year and denied because it would take so long to process through. If it had been written when asked for, it would be in effect by now. Tom Scott noted that without a law, trying to enforce anything was dangerous.

Councilman Kennedy was asked about the town’s plan to hire a By Law Officer in the future.  He replied that the Town was looking at hiring a By-Law officer two years from now, but that he really did not want to make it a law issue because of all that would involve.  Residents were not happy with that response. One resident asked if the landing’s rights could be returned to the Province and they could then cover enforcement and the much needed repairs.

Maureen Bell asked if a Provincial Contractor could be hired to police this, or perhaps we should go back to having stickers on resident’s boats.  There was a huge discussion regarding the number of stickers per cottage, how the stickers would work, what they would mean and so forth.

Maureen made a proposal that the Association provide boat stickers to residents.  Dana Herriman seconded the motion.  A vote was taken and the motion was denied.

Councilman Kennedy concluded his remarks by opening the floor to questions.

(I was using my tape machine for the meeting, I may have missed a few word here and there when multiple people were talking, but this should be accurate:)

Q: Why would Robin (RZS) be doing all the work regarding the grant? Doesn’t the Town have a Grant Writing Committee or person?
KK: No.

Q: If Robin is considered credible enough to do all she has been charged with, why isn’t she allowed to vote? Especially for the very projects she is proposing?
KK: Each Committee is only allowed a specific number of voting members.  I believe the Marina Committee has it’s maximum number at this time. If that’s not the case, I see no reason she can not apply to be a voting member in the future.
(I think there are 7 voting members.  I will check into that further.)

Q: Why is there no specific funding for Lake Matinenda listed in the current or past Town Budget?
KK: There is.  I know that there is $12,000 a year line item for Matinenda. It covers the Attendant’s salary and lighting I think. For some reason it’s not listed under Marina, but it’s in there.
(I’ll try and find that and post it onto our website.)

Q: However, there is no capital outlay funds set aside, correct?
KK: Well no, but the Association could propose that to the Town Council.

Q: Wasn’t the Town planning a seawall and dock replacement a few years back? I seem to remember being shown a plan for that?
KK: Well, there was one a few years back but that was because U-Rentals was going to start up a barge service.  That didn’t fly, so the project was canceled.

Q: The proposal described in our records did not state that it was dependent upon the advent of an additional business on the lake.  Isn’t maintaining safe access to the 230 plus residents on this lake, who pay well over a quarter of a million dollars in taxes per year, is enough reason to follow through with the project?

KK: I can tell you right now that the Town Council is not going to approve the kind of money it would take to replace that seawall and expand the docks.  If anything breaks, we fix it.

Q:  Last summer, a dock broke totally free and it took over three weeks for someone to come out and deal with it, and it still wasn’t fixed, just tied to one of the other docks. Why?
KK: Well, someone has to notify the town. Call Darryl.
E Pilon:  Both the attendants and I made a number of calls for those three weeks, and I even went to the Town Hall to report it.  Nothing happened.
KK: Well, I don’t know why that occurred.  Darryl comes out here when he knows there’s a problem.

Q: Why doesn’t he come out once a week to check on things?
KK: I thought he did.  I know he comes out regularly.
RZS: In the meeting with Councilman Solomon in the spring of 2010 it was agreed that he would come out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and that he would sign in on the Attendants log and make note of what was done.  I don’t think that’s always happening. Perhaps he is forgetting to sign in.
KK: Well he has a great deal of work to do, the Marina is a full time job in it’s self and he is also responsible for assisting at the Arena and putting in the ice there. I will remind him to sign in though.

T. Scott: These same problems have existed since we were annexed.  We were blown off with Lila was coming out to these meetings and we’re still being blown off.  When is the Town going to take some action?  If I have to I’ll start writing the Town every day and cc them to ????? (Provincial rep?)

N. Harz : Who makes the decision to make repairs or replacements out here? Darryl?
KK: Well Darryl reports the issue to the Marina Committee and then they report it to Council, then Council decides.

Q: Why did we never get a copy of the Attendant’s Job Description? We’ve been promised that for several years now.
KK:  I thought you had one.  Robin don’t you have one?
RZS:  I have an unofficial copy that I removed from the Attendant’s hut at the end of a season, but we’ve never gotten an official copy or been asked for in-put.
KK: I’ll look into that then.

Q: Why is there no longer WiFi service at the Marina or the Library?
KK: There is service there.
RZS: At the Marina Committee Meeting, they said you needed to get a password.
Doug Hogg reported that he too had problems, even after getting the new required password. He said that there was some issue with the router and that he was” told they were looking into it.”

Dennis Davey:  If the Town is so gung ho about Recycling, why do we only have a small box here for bottles and cans? The Recycling Center isn’t even open on the weekend  (M-F 6-4) so I can’t drop anything off.  Why is it locked?
KK: The Insurance company says that if they want coverage they must lock it up when it’s unattended.

Councilman Kennedy stated that residents could get additional Blue Bins, but there may be cost now.  He also reminded them that every resident can get dump tickets at City Hall which will allow them to take 3 bags of garbage and recyclables there. Members stated that again the hours were prohibited.

He added that he’d look into providing 3 large lidded Blue cans (trash can size) for the landing.

The Councilman continued by stating that the signs for “Hwy 557”  have been ordered. MTO will supply them and our crew will put them up.  I was told yesterday  that they should arrive by the end of August. As we discussed, one will go up in town by the Farquar Dairy  and another will go up at the intersection by the Cemetery. I believe the other signs for the docks and parking lot have been ordered as well.

There was some discussion from the floor regarding the signs as the membership had requested and thought they were getting signs saying “Lake Matinenda” not “Hwy. 557”

The Councilman said that he had heard that MPAC may be doing assessments of lake properties in the up coming year and he was told that if so, they may well be reduced because of the current economy.

At this point the Councilman shared that there was going to be an “Official Plan Review” regarding the right to “sever” large pieces of property.  Currently it is not possible to do this, but the town is reviewing that policy and he thought residents might want some input.

When asked to respond to this, Assistant Park Superintendent T. Flannigan said that she would have to check into if this was possible on Lake Matinenda, as it’s designation as a “sensitive Lake Trout Lake” and park meant that no further lots could ever be created on the lake.

He wrapped things up by again thanking the Association for inviting him and suggested that it might also be a nice idea to invite a Tribal Representative to future Association meetings. (Good idea!)

Pres. Pilon asked Councilman Ambeault if he would like to add anything.

Councilman Ambeault began by stating that it was “great to see democracy in action” and that he was impressed by the history of participation by our lake residents.  He shared that the Town was going through a transition in staff and that he hoped we would be patient with the learning curve as this occurred.

The new Clerk/Treasurer is Katie Scott, and all issues and letters to the Council should be addressed to her.  He explained that the Mayor and Council rely heavily on Katie and are committed to gathering and maintaining resident’s in-put.

He said that he was “extremely happy to have Robin Schellekens on the Marine Park Committee” as he knows her to be “an intelligent, take action kind of gal who is willing to get in there to get things done.” and he suggested that if resident’s had a concern they should address it to Robin (or any Board Member) so that the Board could discuss it and it could bring it to the Marina Committee.

Pres. Pilon wrapped up the Councilman’s report by stating that “Over the last 3-4 years its been much easier to approach and discuss issues with the Town.  I use to feel unwelcome and as though folks wanted to hide when I walked into the Town Hall, now things are much more upbeat and positive.  Hopefully these good relations will continue.” He also complimented the Town’s front office staff.

VII.  MNR Report:

Officer Hamlin and Assistant Park Superintendent Flannigan stated that they had no prepared announcements.  That they were pleased to be invited and wished the Association a happy 50th Anniversary.  They then opened the floor to questions:

Q: How often is the water quality tested on Lake Matinenda?

There was some confusion regarding this question.  Officer Hamlin thought it was tested yearly.  Dick Brennnan thought it wasn’t being tested as we weren’t doing the Lake Partnership program any longer (prohibitive gas cost and time issue). The Councilman were unsure, but Councilman Ambeault said that the Algoma Health Department would be doing the testing and that he knew they posted their results on line on their web-site.  Robin Z Schellekens was charged to post a link to the results on line and to make a copy of those results to be published on the Bulletin Board in the Welcome Hut. (Note: The lake is never tested!  Individual properties may be tested if a complaint is made. More on that later!!!)

Q: How is the water level for the lake determined?
Ray Lipiniski, of the Fisheries Department, comes out to the lake on a regular basis and determines if the levels are appropriate.

Q: Jan Denaro asked “Will US Citizens ever again be able to catch our own minnows for fishing? I was unable to buy minnows because of the heat this month.

Provincial law prohibits the catching minnows in hopes of avoiding cross lake contamination.  Minnows sold by retailers must meet certain standards and be disease free. So, no, it is highly unlikely you will ever be able to catch your own minnows.

Q: Are Natives allowed to do net fishing? Could they do so on Lake Matinenda?
Yes, but only for  non-commercial personal consumption and ceremonial purposes.

There was some additional question regarding tribal laws and game.  Officer Hamlin explained that this was really outside of his department or area of expertise and question in that area were better addresses to the appropriate government agency.

VIII.  Newsletter:
Pres. Pilon shared that our former Newsletter Editor had resigned this year.  Unless we are able to persuade her to come back or someone else volunteers to put the newsletter together, the board will work together on it.  He said that he’d like more input on the content on the newsletter and that members should feel free to submit idea and articles to he or Robin.
Janet Servatius reminded the Board to set a deadline. Robin said she would be sure to have that posted on the website.
Doug Hogg suggested that the newsletter could be “blogged” and put on the website, but was reminded that there is no blogging on our site.

IX.  The Association’s 50th Anniversary; A brief history:

Sec. Robin Z Schellekens read the press release (attached) that she had written regarding the Association’s beginnings.  This article was sent to the Blind River Town Council, Moose FM Radio and The Elliot Lake Standard Newspaper.  It can also be found on the Association’s website.

X.    Moment of Silence:
A moment of silence was had for those lake residents who have left the lake, but not our hearts, this year;
Mike Luxom
Christine Burling Grundoon
Dixie Grant
Ray “Huffy” Huffmaster
Peter Wright
Paul Darling

XI.  Election of Officers

Pres. Ed Pilon explained that 7 Board members were up for re-election or replacement this year, they were Caroline Bledsoe, Dick Brennan, Linda Hamilton, Laure Olsen, himself, Ron Servatius.  Jim Hamilton’s position was also open. He noted that Sec. Robin Z Schellekens and Dave Hall have another year to serve.

Ed went on to explain that even Board members willing to serve again, had to be nominated first.  Nominations went as follows:

Tom Scott: Nominated by Maureen Bell, seconded by Robin Z Schellekens. “I’ll stand”

Rick Bryant: Nominated by Robin Z Schellekens, seconded by Tom Fitch. “I’ll stand.”

Ron Servatius: Nominated by Robin Z Schellekens, seconded by Doug Hogg. ”I’ll stand.”

Ed Pilon: Nominated by Maureen Bell, seconded by Linda Hamilton. ”I’ll stand.”

Laure Olsen:Nominated by Ed Pilon, seconded by Jim Hogg. ”I’ll stand.”

Linda Hamilton: Nominated by Maureen Bell, seconded by Jim Hogg. ”I’ll stand.”

Dick Brennen: Nominated by Robin Z Schellekens. ”I decline.”

Caroline Bledsoe: Nominated by Nancy Harz,seconded by Bill Shaffer. ”I’ll stand.” (proxy acceptance by Robin Z Schellekens)

There were no other nominations. Seven individuals were willing to serve.

Pres. Pilon explained that the Board was concerned that we had some how ended up with 7 position opened at the same time.  Therefore the Board would like to suggest that two of the seven positions filled today be for a 1 year term, rather than the regular 2 year term.

There was a very brief discussion.  Ed made the motion that “two of the seven positions filled today be for a 1 year term, rather than the regular 2 year term.” This was seconded by Dick Brennan and passed unanimously.

Rick Bryant and Laure Olsen volunteered for 1 year terms.

Ed asked for Board confirmation as follows:

Rick Bryant and Laure Olsen for 1 year terms (ending 07/2013)

Ed Pilon, Linda Hamilton, Tom Scott, Caroline Bledsoe and Ron Servatius for 2 year terms (ending 07/2014)

The Board was confirmed unanimously.

XII.  New Business

XII.1.  Dragon Boat Race Proposal (attached)
Robin Z Schellekens proposed that the Association sponsor and man a Dragon Boat in the Town’s next Dragon Boat Race.  She volunteered to organize the boat and create a donation link on the Association website.  People were very enthusiastic.  Dick Brennan seconded the motion and it was passed unanimously.

XII.2.    PayPal Option Proposal (attached)
Robin Z Schellekens proposed that the Association create a PayPal payment link option on their website for the paying of dues and donations.  There was some discussion.  Karen Rice seconded the proposal and it was passed unanimously.

XII.3.  The North Land has been put up for sale for $269,000.

XII.4.  Maureen Bell thanked the Special Projects Committee for their hard work and the gorgeous plantings at the landing.

XIV:        Meeting Adjourned:
Dana Herriman made a motion to end the General Meeting. Bill Shaffer seconded.  It was passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 1:14pm (thank goodness!!)

Members and guests then proceeded to fill their tummies with hot dogs, drinks and anniversary cake from the Seventeen Restaurant.