Good evening, everyone and thank you very much for attending our postponed AGM.
Introduce the Board:
Dennis Duncan, Pam Koenig, Ron Sperber, Ken Buist, Jesse May, Jack Siebenga, Gerry Hoar, Brian Wiese and Bert Paulssen.
Covid has brought about many changes and challenges to the Co-op as well as our requirements to the Government have become enhanced in so far as adhering to license obligations. We are social creatures by nature, but we have followed all restrictions and the Management & Staff are to be commended on operating within this environment and by making every effort to keep our employees and our Members safe when we visited their homes. Covid drastically changed how the G.L.D.C. conducted its business. The Boardroom was modified with video conferencing to facilitate no only Board meetings but to also allow staff to be trained by the Federation with its on-line re-recertification training. The Board was equipped with laptops and everyone was set up with Board portal called Board Effects which gives access to the G.L.D.C. information library and document files. We adapted and the business kept running with minimal impact to Members.
The Board and Management is currently working on a new ten-year strategic plan and once completed it will provide Management the direction on where we want to be. This strategic plan has been on-going for many months now and there are many factors to consider. We engaged a third-party facilitator to help us navigate this process.
We have also stepped up the Board’s Governance of the Co-op for several reasons. It is becoming the standard around the province to have enhanced Governance procedures as well as the size of the business has dictated that more due diligence be completed. Last January the Board created the formation of two Board Committees. A Finance Committee and a Governance Committee were established, and each Board Member is on one of the two Committees. This, in essence, almost doubled or tripled the Board’s engagement with the Co-op but places us on the path of providing well thought out decisions and policies on how your Cooperative is both Managed and Governed. To help with reducing these extra costs, the Board downsized through attrition from eleven members to nine from the original fifteen when we first amalgamated. We are operating a multi-million dollar business and our Board takes the responsibility and oversight seriously. The documents and certifications that we must endorse to the Provincial Government have become the new comfort zone and future Board elections and nominations will be provided with a better understanding of Director expectations.
Many of you may not be aware that the decision was made to sell CCI Wireless. The CCI Board and Management were unable to secure new licenses with the Department of Innovation and Science and we would not have access to the frequency that we operated on; the decision was made to seek out unsolicited offers for the company. The Company was sold to Xplornet and proceeds were distributed to all shareholders. The G.L.D.C. received approximately 2.3 million dollars for their shares and this was very healthy return on our investment. The mission was accomplished, and many Members were able to access broadband where none existed when we started.
These funds will be utilized over the short and long term on enhanced system and pipeline replacements as well as a modification to our office facilities. The Board and Management are currently reviewing plans to increase the size of our office as all the rooms are overpopulated. We have five admin staff working in the front office that was designed for three and we have many more field staff due to our construction activities and overall needs of the business. The new plans will not have a designated Board Room any longer as it will now house a training facility for our on-line training and the Board will utilize that space for meetings. Enhanced video conferencing will be in this room as well as more space for social distancing which I fear will become a normal way of life. At this point, the construction project looks like it will start next spring as we waited for lumber prices to stabilize, and it took longer to get the engineering process completed.
Overall, the CCI funds went a long way to keep our system updated and operational. Each year we do an evaluation of how the system performed during the coldest part of winter and this year those results were not satisfactory. Many end pressures were well below the tolerance level, and we did experience a few flame outs. These have been corrected and we will continue to monitor the system as usual. As a designated “Must Run” facility we have no choice but to keep upgrading the system as higher demand and new members dictate.
The Board and Management continue to grow with the business, and we take a lot of pride in the success of the G.L.D.C. The goal is to ensure that we operate at the highest level of service and reliability while at the same time making every effort to keep our rates competitive with the Industry. At this time there is no indication that our rates will change for the balance of the fiscal period we are in.
On behalf of the Board, we want to thank all of you for your continued support of the G.LD.C. and look forward to meeting in a more social environment when allowed.
The G.L.D.C. is very healthy from a business perspective and we are optimistic that our current and future operations will continue to provide you all with a warm home in the winter!