Blue Mountain Ratepayers' Association

I’m not moving on, I’m moving up!

BMRA President Michael Seguin’s presentation to the BMRA-AGM on MAY 3rd, 2014 

It’s hard to believe that my sixth and final term as President comes to a close today. But instead of ‘moving on’, and assuming I get everyone’s support, I hope to be ‘moving up’ to one of the big chairs on Council.

Back in 2008 when I was elected your new President, I promised the membership and I quote “I hope to revitalize the organization by providing more open channels of communication and involvement by our members”. Back in 2008, we had no web site, our membership base was suspect and the issues of the day revolved around mostly assessment and taxation.

(However, I must admit STA problems were escalating and there was a need to get involve) 

Our only means of communication was 4 editions of our 4-6 page newsletter. I also needed to somehow expand the membership beyond the Craigleith area.

Today, I’m happy to say that we have made significant changes and a number of my promises have been fulfilled, thanks to all the efforts of a number people on the Board and the formation and participation of members on two important Committees – the Budget Review Committee and the STA Committee:

1) We now have an informative web site which provides valuable information on up-to-date Town-wide issues. We are able to communicate with our membership on a regular basis (from regular email blasts and now our new blog) and the web site provides our members an opportunity to communicate with us.

2) We have improved and expanded our membership base beyond the Craigleith area – the people of Thornbury, Clarksburg and Clarksburg now represent close to 50% of our membership today. I’m proud to say that we are truly a Blue Mountain Ratepayers Association today. We also improved our membership to include Condo owners and other Association groups. This has help triple our reach to almost 2,000 ratepayers/voters.

3) We now deal with many issues affecting our community. We no longer are just about assessment and taxation, we are about bringing awareness to many important issues that impact, not only the pocketbook, but the health and quality of life for our ratepayers. I think the expansion of our newsletter to 5 issues and an average of 10 pages would support this statement.

Over the years, through emails, phone calls and meetings, many members have expressed their gratitude for the Association’s work. The two most common comments that I never get tired of hearing:

1) “The Association does a great job in representing the interest of its community”; and,

2) “The Association does make a difference”

I want to share some interesting and meaningful quotes from many articles that I have written, co-written or were submitted by our members:

Re: Development (by John Greenhough)

“Might this development and many more turn from a field of dreams into a field of schemes”

(If we don’t have good planning and foresight, then what kind of community will we have) 

Re: Public Participation & Nimbyism (by Jeff Shearer publisher On the Bay)

“Without NIMBY’s, imagine how many wrongs would be perpetrated on our communities because no one asked questions, no one took action and no one cared. Nimby does not means “NOT in MY Back yard – NEXT it may be you.”

Quote by me:

“The BMRA is not an activist group. We like to consider ourselves an advocate group, one that provides a stronger voice for residents who have legitimate concerns but don’t understand the complexities of politices, find public participation intimidating and generally feel that they have no chance in making positive changes to viewed ‘threats to their community’ – they feel like they will be ignored and treated as NIMBY’s’.

Re: Thoughts on Council’s decision making process (by Ron Hartlen)

“Would you prefer council to lean strongly toward the objective, transparent route or would you be satisfied with significant political fiddling”

Re: Last Thoughts on the old Town hall that many of us tried to save (Ellen Anderson)

“The old Town hall is just a money pit and a hangover from the election”.

Re: Direction to the new Council (by George Czerny)

“…The word ‘charge’ provides ample direction: clarity, honesty, attitude, research and responsibility, go for it and enthusiasm.

Re: Is the BMRA Anti-Business and is there a need to tone Down (by me)

“ People who consider the BMRA as ‘anti-business’ have no idea who we are and should spend more time learning about us rather than make unqualified statements about us. Chances are they have never experienced any threats against their property, home and family life”

Finally, I would to end my message as I always do:

“You are the heart and soul of the Association and we value your opinion.

Thank you.