Minutes, August 2, 2005

Bear River Community Meeting
Tuesday August 2, 7:30 pm at the Oakdene Centre

Present: Rob Buckland-Nicks, John and Susan Malmstrom, Andrew Riddles, Cindy Harris, Don Rice, Hal Theriault.

1. Call to Order
Meeting called to order at 7:30pm.

2. New Business:

a) Formation of a non-profit society:
• The registration process for BRIDGS is almost complete. Cindy will bring the paperwork to the next meeting. We can have up to 15 directors on the board.
• Don was able to obtain a letter from a former non-profit (using an acronym similar to ours) which confirms that the old group has officially disbanded; this clears the way for us to register as BRIDGS (Bear River Innovation, Development and Growth Society).

b) Outreach to Community Groups
• Susan met with Mary Golding, President of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Legion. Mary’s reaction was positive, and she said that the Legion is also eager to see changes made in the village. They have formed a Steering Committee to look in to some of the same issues that we are addressing. She will talk to the Legion about having BRIDGS members meet with them.
• It was suggested that as soon as Hal’s draft proposal of the vision statement is formalized, BRIDGS members will meet with community group officials as soon as possible.

c) Vision Statement/Proposal
• Chair called for discussion on Hal’s draft of the vision statement.
• Two other possible funding sources were suggested: Canadian Arts Council and Artscapes.
• Chair suggested re-inserting Tim’s previous suggestion of a Bear River radio station in to the proposal. Hal said that the radio station was left out at this stage since it is not something economic development funding sources would consider. Andrew said that there is a separate arts granting source would be approached, and that we already have an interested party that will research this pro bono. It was suggested that the radio station be included in an overall vision plan, even if it is not included in a formal proposed budget.
• Cindy suggested that the cityscape should be of high priority, and Rob asked if we know what buildings can be targeted for renovation and re-use. Discussion ensued as to whether the BRIDGS Board should acquire and manage properties.
• Don raised the question, “What is unique within our vision?” Hal said that there is nothing like the proposed arts/retreat center within the southwest area. Don suggested that we look at the one in Shelburne. Andrew questioned whether this was a problem for funders; Hal feels that it isn’t.
• Another proposed idea is an interpretive historical center. Cindy said that the rich mix of histories here (German, Acadian, Loyalist, Black Loyalist, First Nations, etc.) could make for an attractive draw. Hal thinks that historical animators will make a good addition to the proposal.
• Rob suggested a juried, competitive process for the creation of the proposed tidal clock. Don suggested an alternative energy sources (wind, solar, tidal) educational component to complement the clock. A “green” educational facility would also tie in nicely with the Tobeatic Wilderness and Nova Scotia power. Since the tidal river is a unique feature to this area, information on the tidal system and mud flats would be very appropriate. This would also add a technological spin to the vision, to balance out the arts emphasis.
• There was some discussion as to how much of the mill property is useable and at what cost. Some suggestions for the area included an eco-garden, a tidal habitat walk, a boat launch and park.
• It was suggested that an important and stated role that BRIDGS can fill is to act as a liaison or umbrella organization for all of the other groups in town so that we can avoid duplication of effort among the existing and viable groups.
• The question was raised as to whether we can secure funding to purchase properties. Would we have a project if we did not have buildings? Hal said that economic development is the thrust of grants proposals and that the streetscape would be improved as a result, rather than the primary goal; funders will not consider proposals that address only infrastructure issues.
• There was some discussion regarding e-commerce. If the economy becomes vibrant, e-commerce follows. Now that high-speed internet access is available in this area, this will be part of our proposal to funders.
• Hal’s next step is to go back and draft a concise, bullet-pointed version of the vision statement to create our external document.

Preparation for the Next Meeting:
• Hal agreed to give the BRIDGS board a 10 minute presentation at the next meeting on how the funding process works, and how things should proceed. The group felt that this would be very helpful for all of us.
• Don agreed to contact the Chair of the Board of Trade, Bobby Benson, prior to their next meeting to discuss BRIDGS with him. Hal offered to talk to him prior to our next meeting as well.

Next Meeting:
Tuesday, August 9 at 7:30 pm at the Oakdene Centre.

Meeting Adjourned:
Meeting of BRIDGS adjourned at 8:45 pm.