HCA AGM feels full impact of COVID-19

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

CARP – Last Thursday (May 20) was the Huntley Community Association’s (HCA) second virtual annual general meeting due to COVID-19, but its first dealing with the full impact of the global pandemic.

Last October, the HCA held its 2019 AGM, where attendees heard the organization was financially stable. The HCA normally holds its AGMs in May, but last year’s was delayed due to the pandemic. The HCA held its 2020 AGM roughly six months later, getting back on track, while delivering an annual report in which the full brunt of the pandemic was felt.

“(The 2019 meeting) was a bit of a cheerier meeting, as we had events to review,” HCA vice president Peter Green said.

With the cancellation of the 2020 Carp Fair, the HCA’s biggest fundraiser, the Huntley Burger Hut, was not held – an event that brought in $18,000 in 2019. None of the usual programming such as softball was able to be held either. Facility rentals were down, bar revenue was non-existent and many of the HCA’s regular events were put on hold due to the pandemic.

“Hopefully, the next time we hold an AGM, it will be in person,” HCA President Judy Makin told the roughly 38 who tuned in to the online meeting.

Makin started off the meeting with some executive news.

“If I’m elected to be president, it will be my last year in the position,” Makin said. “I’ve enjoyed immensely my time. I would like to remain on the board, but not as president. I think any board needs fresh blood now and again.”

Coun. Eli El-Chantiry also attended the AGM and said a few words.

“Behind the scenes we work very well with the executive, especially Judy,” El-Chantiry said. “I want to take the time to thank all the volunteers. I tell you, this year has been a tough one. The volunteers stood by their community.”

Outgoing HCA financial director Dan Kovacs took the attendees through a financial year that showed the impact of COVID-19.

“You can see our programming revenue was reduced by approximately $45,000,” he said.

In 2019, programming brought in $61,390. In 2020, that dropped to $15,691.

Hall rentals usually brings in roughly $14,000 for the HCA. In 2020, with the many COVID-19 restrictions, that amount was $6,258.

Even though revenue and use was down, HCA property still requires maintenance.

“To maintain our facilities in good shape, there still needs to be work done regardless of COVID-19,” Kovacs said.

The HCA spent $16,000 on grass cutting and invested $19,000 in to ball diamond upgrades with the expectation Carp will be hosing the U23 National Men’s Fastball Championship in 2022 (among other high-level tournaments).

In 2019, the HCA had a total income of $122,329 while in 2020, the figure was $76,425. With expenditures of $88,869, the HCA ended with a 2020 loss of $12,444.

We are being cautious to how we will forecast our activities going forward,” Kovacs said. “We got good news today (May 20) with the announcement there is going to be some activities that will happen this year.”

As Makin reviewed the year that was, she said despite the many program cancellations, it was a busy year for the HCA.

“I was thinking it was going to be a short list,” Makin said. “It’s bigger than you think. We got a lot done.”

That list includes the Carp Winter Carnival (Feb. 29, 2020), greeting cards for seniors (spring 2020), summer flower baskets in the village, Canadian flags in the village along Carp Road, the Fitness Park and a $7,000 donation towards its completion, the metal recycling project (November 2020), the opening of the Carp Riverwalk (November 2020), the Drive Through Christmas Parade (December 2020), the Christmas Baskets (December 2020) and the outdoor rink (winter of 2020).

Another huge project the HCA completed in 2020 was the updating of the community association’s constitution.

“It was very old and no longer represented the way we were operating,” Makin said. “This was not an easy process.”

Work began early in 2020 and was approved last April. There are more than 50 changes to the old constitution and the HCA will now follow a new strategic direction.

“We came up with six strategic outcomes that will direct our day-to-day work,” Makin said. “I hope you’ve seen we’ve been applying these strategies in 2021.”

Those six strategic directions include the HCA: continue to host traditional sports, recreation and events; invest in HCA facilities; keep the community informed; gather input and feedback from the community; review/revise HCA constitution based on strategic planning; and consider undertaking a long-term project.

The HCA is considering two long-term projects. The creation of a dog park or a renewal project for the outdoor rink building known as the Huntley Community Centre.

“We’re looking forward to getting back to doing the things we love to do,” Green said.

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2 thoughts on “HCA AGM feels full impact of COVID-19

  • May 24, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you, Jake, for the excellent summary of our AGM. Just one point of clarification – Dan Kovacs is our Financial Director and – thankfully – will be continuing. However Jodi Bell, our Treasurer, will be leaving us soon as she is expecting a baby.
    Judy Makin