CARP – More than 40 community members turned out, virtually, to hear how the Huntley Community Association (HCA) is doing and what lies ahead for a volunteer community group finding its way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HCA held its annual general meeting last night (Oct. 29) and board members say the community organization is financially stable at the eight-month mark of the global pandemic.

The HCA generally holds its AGM in May, but due to the pandemic, delayed it as long as it could, eventually deciding on a virtual meeting in fall. Despite the online nature of the meeting, turnout was strong, and members were able to vote electronically on motions with results being available almost in real time.

2019 was a strong year for the HCA ending the year in the black with a net income of $5,645. That was after paying off 2018’s deficit of $8,324, meaning the organization actually turned a $12,679 profit in 2019.

The HCA was able to host a number of events in 2019 including a widely attended public meeting on local transit options; the HCA Colossal Garage Sale; a metal recycling event; the Canada Day Seniors’ Breakfast, the 10th annual Santa Claus Parade; a federal election voting centre; and in 2020, its first winter carnival in years.

Revenue is forecast to be down in 2020 due to many of the organization’s fundraisers and programming cancelled by COVID-19.

HCA treasurer Dan Kovacs is forecasting a loss of $4,228 in 2020, surprisingly low considering the challenges of an organization whose key role is to bring the Carp community together.

“We’re expecting a small loss, but we have to take in to account we lost a lot of our programming this year,” Kovacs told a public Zoom meeting audience that peaked at 41 participants during the roughly hour-and-a-half long meeting. “We are in a strong financial situation and that will allow us to support our future programming. 2021 we don’t have a clear picture of what we will be able to offer yet.”

Politically, the HCA is looking at renewing the HCA constitution, and during some strategic planning took, feedback from the community its serves to get some priority advice.

That feedback included the HCA continuing to organize its traditions sports, recreation and event programming; invest in HCA facilities; continue to keep the community informed; gather input and feedback: review and revise the HCA constitution; and consider undertaking a long-term project.

“What you will see moving forward, is business as usual,” HCA President Judy Makin said.

A question from the public that brought wide debate in 2019 resurfaced last night as well. One community member wanted to know if the HCA would get involved in its community politically and act as an advocacy group. Douglas Haines, who asked the question, was in favour of the idea.

“That might be a role moving forward,” director Peter Green answered. “As the constitution moves forward. That’s not part of our constitution right now. I agree with you, that’s a hole in our community.”

In fundraising news, the HCA hosted another successful HCA Huntley Burger Booth at the Carp Fair – it was the biggest fundraiser of the year for the organization, Green said, raising $6,015 in just four days.

But what appeared to be the most exciting news for the HCA, was the new blood volunteering to join the board.

Four directors were retiring including Will Rado, Sam Bakewell, Kathy Fischer and Shawn Clothier. New member Doug Rothwell showed interest in joining the board prior to the meeting, and four more volunteers applied during the meeting including Nolan Craig, Dan Wallace, Wanda Clark and Jim Collins.

“Fantastic,” Green said. “We’re going to hold our AGMs on Zoom all the time.”

“I have to say how pleased I am,” Makin added. “Many hands make light work, and we have a lot of work to do.”

Voting on board positions with the HCA usually happens at a later meeting chaired by Green.

Volunteers can join the HCA at any time of the year. For more information, email info@hca-carp.ca.