CHA has quiet year, debuts fitness park

CARP – Maybe ironic, but despite a global pandemic occupying much of 2020, it was a quiet year for Carp Health Access (CHA).

The small healthcare-focused not-for-profit organization was founded in 2010 by Dr. Barry and Dr. Carrol Bruce. Originally known as the West Carleton Health Access Foundation, the CHA fundraises for worthy causes that improve both the health and quality of life of residents of Carp and adjacent communities with the goal to keep health care access local.

One of the biggest projects of the CHA over the last couple years was fundraising for the Carp Fitness Park, a four-season, fully accessible exercise park free to use by the community. The park is located near the soccer fields off Langstaff Drive. It was supposed to have its official opening this fall but had to cancel due to COVID-19 regulations.

Normally the CHA would have held their AGM much earlier in the year usually in spring or late winter, but again, COVID-19.

“The Carp Fitness Park was our biggest project in 2019,” CHA board chair Tara Azulay, a board member for the last seven years, said during last night’s (Dec. 15) Zoom-broadcasted annual general meeting.

The CHA fundraised $52,000 and the city provided $38,000 for the project. Construction started early in 2020 and finished last June. An added bonus, it was local contractor Jason Lalonde who was awarded the tender.

“We had nothing to do with it, but we were really happy to see a local firm get the contract,” Azulay said. “We got a lot of community support for this project.”

The CHA often hosts healthcare-related workshops during the year but was unable to do so in 2020 due to the pandemic. The CHA did do some new work partnering with the Deep Roots Food Hub facilitating a grant process for the hub (which opened its food cellar earlier this year). The partnership allowed the CHA to share its non-profit status with the food hub to accept the grant on the food hub’s behalf as well as provide receipts to donors.

“There was not a heck of a lot going on with the pandemic ongoing outside of regular board meetings,” Azulay said.

The CHA had chartered accountants KPMG do the organization’s 2019 year-end financials. In 2019, the CHA had a revenue of $18,902 all accrued through fundraising. The small board’s expenses totalled $11,634. The two biggest expenditures were $1,784 in fundraising expenses and $3,429 in professional fees (such as accounting).

The CHA balance at the beginning of the year was $30,028 and ended at $41,662.

Board members also paid tribute to former member Randy Meltzer. The Carp volunteer passed away last October.

“Randy was a dedicated volunteer and fierce advocate,” board member Lisa Dickson said. “We miss her greatly.”

The CHA board expects to plant a tree in memory of Meltzer at the Carp Fitness Park.

In total, seven attended the AGM. Joining board members Azulay and Dickson were three of the newest board members who also bring a lot of related experience to the role.

Robin Morash is a retired nurse who has been called back in to action during the pandemic. She joined the board last year.

“I wanted to improve acces to health care in our community,” Morash said of her reasons for joining the board.

Boardmember Tracey Zoobkoff is in her third year as a boardmember. Zoobkoff is a Carp Fair past president and a nurse in the mother-baby unit at the Queensway Carleton Hospital.

Kathy Fischer has been on the board for roughly the last year as well. Fischer led the project to bring the Carp Fitness Park to the community. She is also a long-time board member and volunteer with the Diefenbunker Race.