Greetings Fellow Members:
I hope you are keeping safe and well as we continue to deal with the ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am reporting on the results of our Annual General Meeting (AGM), which was held virtually on September 26th, and to provide you with an update on a number of exciting developments as well as plans for this coming year. Hopefully, next year’s AGM can be a physical meeting at a heritage site.
At the AGM, six of the 13 directors were re-elected by the members present for a two-year term. In addition, the members elected two new directors, Robert (Bob) Hussey of Boston, MA and Ashton Wong of Edmonton, AB, also for a two-year term. The remaining five directors, elected at the June 2019 AGM, will continue to serve until the 2021 AGM.
Bob is a life-long and active supporter of the public transit industry. He has a keen interest in Canadian public transit history and heritage, having visited Canada many times, and is a long-time member of CTHF since 1995. He will be our United States liaison and establish linkages with U.S. transit history associations to promote and further the reach of CTHF in the United States.
Ashton has been a member of the Foundation for over 8 years. Most notably, Ashton contributed to the re-design and set up of CTHF’s current website and online store, and continues to provide web-hosting support to the Foundation. He has participated in many CTHF charters and events including staffing the CTHF display at the November 2019 CUTA conference in Calgary.
The Committee believes that Bob and Ashton will bring a wealth of experience and excitement to the Board. Please join me in welcoming them!
Trevor Parkins-Sciberras has advised that he wishes to concentrate on his other interests and has resigned from the Board. We thank Trevor for his assistance with the website and for initiating CTHF’s Facebook page.
Earlier this year, we also were disappointed to accept the resignation of Gordon Nevison, Vice President and a Founding Director of CTHF. A big thank you to Gordon for his 25+ years of valuable service to the Foundation!
Accomplishments Over Past Year
We started out the year with optimism, as we continued to implement our current Strategic Plan initiatives. However, much of that changed with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were hampered in our efforts to access our archives to work on them, to continue to broaden our transit industry contacts, and to hold charters and other events.
On a more positive note, and despite these challenges, at the AGM I was pleased to report that we have been able to achieve a number of accomplishments over the past year including:
- Excellent content in the Bulletin issues 105 to 108, which have been well-received. Special features included retrospective looks at the history leading up to the new light rail systems in Kitchener-Waterloo and Ottawa, as well as a farewell to Toronto’s Canadian Light Rail Vehicles. Thanks to Andrew Gold, Editor, and Adam Zhelka, Director, for their great work.
- Continued visibility and relevance of CTHF among its stakeholders through e-blast communications and our Facebook page. Thanks to retiring director Trevor Parkins-Sciberras for initiating the Facebook page and to Allen Dicion for his on-going role as webmaster.
- Successful sales of the 2019 Street Side Guide, published in September 2019. Thanks to Director Kevin Nicol for his superb efforts as Editor.
- Continued sales of the Tires and Wires book. Close to 700 copies have been sold.
- Completed the 2020 Member Survey. The 26% of members who responded overwhelmingly endorsed the Foundation’s progress over the four years since the last survey, with all feeling they are getting good or high value for their membership and a significant improvement in awareness of Foundation services and member impression of performance. Many impressive comments and suggestions will be incorporated into the new Strategic Plan planned for the coming year.
- Continued work on restoring Hamilton Street Railway 517, a GM TDH-4512, led by Director Peter Chatoff. Next up is to install the new tires and to finish repairs to the transmission along with other minor repairs.
- Completed an Operations Plan and Corporate Calendar under the guidance of our Strategic Advisor, Michael Roschlau. This will assist us with the on-going operations of the Foundation.
- Maintained a good financial position for CTHF, assisted by the successful results obtained from sales of the Tires and Wires book.
Focus for the Next Year
For the forthcoming year, we will focus on the following initiatives:
- Preparing a new Strategic Plan that will provide guidance to the Board over the next few years.
- Once we are able to have access, continuing our work on documenting and organizing our archives, leading to making those resources available in electronic form.
- Publication of the 2021 edition of the highly regarded Street Side Guide.
- We are planning to be involved in a significant book project, so watch out for a future announcement on this.
- We are working on a series of virtual events, which would include online presentations of historic subjects of interest to members. It is anticipated that the first of these will be announced before the end of this year.
- Continued emphasis on succession planning and identifying new Board members and volunteer resources through advertisements on our website and personal contact by your Executive.
- Meeting the challenge of maintaining our profile through the pandemic.
- Undertaking initiatives to increase both individual and industry membership.
- Working to ensure the future preservation of a number of historical vehicles (buses), now stored in various venues, by locating a permanent home where they can be displayed and viewed by the public.
Membership Fee Increase
It has been several years since we have increased our membership fees, despite continuing annual increases in costs. In particular, Canada Post rates, which are a significant cost to CTHF, have had several increases in recent years. Results of the member survey conducted in March indicate that over 90% of respondents would support this move.
We trust you will support a modest increase in the annual membership fee to $40.00 from the current $35.00, effective for renewals which are scheduled to occur after January 1st, 2021.
In closing, I believe we have had another successful year and look forward to the coming year. Thanks to all of our members and industry participants for your continued support of the mission and activities of CTHF. We’ll be in touch with you again in the future with further updates.
Take care, be well and stay safe!
Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation