I hope you all had an excellent summer and were able to take some time to spend with friends/family or to just get outside and enjoy the excellent green space on the doorsteps of our community yourself. For myself and the CBLCA board, we’ve enjoyed a welcome break from the regular business of the executive. However, there’s been a lot happening in the background and I’d like to bring everyone up to speed on deliberations and decisions made over the past couple of months which affect our community.
Two key topics of discussion have been 1) The need to purchase a new snowblower for the continuance of Maki Rink maintenance operations (it will remain an asset of the CBLCA), and 2) Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance. The two issues are related to Maki Rink which is an asset to our community during the long winter months.
Maki Rink, much like the Lakeview Rink are not operated by the City. Rather they are operated by members of our community with some logistical and financial support from the city, but they require significant volunteer effort.
Historically, the contract with the city for the establishment and maintenance of these rinks have been held by individual members of the community, not the community association itself. However, after many years of serving the community the Maki Rink contract holder announced his retirement and the CBLCA took over the contract with city and subcontracts the maintenance operations to the Maki Rink volunteer crew.
Initially this crew established their operations with personal snow removal equipment. This equipment has been maintained at significant time and expense, due to them being underpowered for snow removal on a surface the size of Maki Rink. Last winter the Maki Rink volunteer crew approached the CBLCA for support in the acquisition of a new snowblower to replace their two aging pieces of equipment. The funding approved by the CBLCA board was based on recommend snowblower model specs from another experienced rink operator.
The issue of D&O insurance was raised by members of the executive who were not comfortable with potential liability of the board following changes the city made to the Rink insurance just prior to the 2022-23 skate season. We’re still assessing what our insurance needs are, as pushback from the FCA has resulted in the city again revising their coverage for community skate rinks. This approved expenditure has not yet been realized as we’ve yet to obtain D&O insurance. If you are a lawyer or know one would provide a free consultation on the issue of D&O insurance, please reach out!
Before approving the expenditure, the CBLCA board discussed the issue of the snowblower acquisition for Maki Rink at three separate board meetings and we received good written supporting information on the need for a new snowblower from the Maki Rink Volunteers, including data on the use of the rink by the community and operating budget/expenses from the past season.
The purchase will be the single largest expenditure approved by the CBLCA board in its history. It should be noted that the decision to support the purchase was not unanimous, with alternative purchase/support arrangements considered. A lot of the opposition/uncertainty around the expenditure approval focused on the precedent this sets, as it potentially opens the CBLCA up to financially supporting Lakeview Rink as well which we have not (as of yet) been asked to do. Purchasing the snowblower also does not guarantee continued operational support from the Maki Rink volunteer crew (though they have said they intend to continue to maintain the rink for the community as long as they have the tools and resources to do so).
At our June board meeting the CBLCA executive approved the expenditure of $5,000+ HST for the purchase of a new snowblower for use by the Maki Rink volunteer maintenance crew. Additionally, we approved up to $1,200 for the purchase of D&O insurance.
Ultimately, outright purchase of a new snowblower was deemed to be the surest way of ensuring continued operations of Maki Rink for the community. While the purchase will be the single largest outlay by the CBLCA historically, the CBLCA also continues to have a very healthy financial position, with a net cash over $30,000 after accounting for approved expenditures.
My position and that of a majority of the board, is that the funds held by the CBLCA are there to support and sustain our community and our community volunteers. To me the risk of losing Maki Rink, or members of our board, due to inadequate equipment or potential liability is greater than the cost of approving the expenditures if that’s what’s required to keep people engaged supporting our community. I hope everyone can appreciate this and can agree that that is precisely what the funds we hold are for. For or against it, you, the members of CBLCA will have your opportunity to have your say at the next Annual General Meeting of our community on November 23, 2023. More on this in a separate article!