Members and guests joined East Kootenay Community Credit Union (EKC) for the financial institution’s 67th Annual General Meeting, April 21st. Jean-Anne Debreceni, Chair of the Board of Directors welcomed the crowd of 120 members and guests. The acclaimed Directors, Don Holt, Diane Byford, George Freitag, and Lynnette Wray and Board members Mark Spittael, Jose Galdamez, Barb Nunes, and Russell Pask were thanked for their time and commitment.
CEO Jody Burk spoke of the advantages of working with a credit union. EKC’s continued growth is contributed to referrals from members to their friends and families. He went further to say recent surveys conclude 97% of members would refer EKC to family and friends. EKC continually finds innovative ways to compete, with partnerships, sharing specific expertise and prioritizing members’ needs. The continued efforts by staff and Directors allows EKC to deliver the excellent services to its members and community.
The Community Cash Awards, which aimed to develop healthy and diverse communities, offered local community groups an opportunity to apply for funding. Unlike other funding initiatives, the Community Cash Awards provided EKC members, and the community, the opportunity to ‘invest in’ and select the award winners.
According to Barb Nunes, Chair of the Nominating Committee, “We received 20 very strong applications and made the difficult decisions narrowing that list down to the seven finalists. Everyone who participated in our AGM had the chance to invest EKC’s Community Cash. We are thrilled to announce EKC has given out $7,718 in total. All groups are winners, and we truly want to congratulate all of our finalists who did an incredible job raising awareness about the important work they do within the Elk Valley.”
Elkford Search and Rescue had the most Community Cash. They received $814 Community Cash dollars from members and guests, $500 for attending and a bonus of $500 for having the most Community Cash! Elkford Search and Rescue received $1,814 from EKC!
Elkford Search and Rescue will use their funds for their ‘Avalanche Rescue Plan’. A vital resource in Elkford, the Wilderness Capital of Canada, and the group needs an emergency survival bag, three avalanche response bags and team support supplies. The supplies will greatly improve rescue response time.
In addition to Elkford Search and Rescue, the other six finalists’ donations were:
$672 to the Fernie Nordic Society Wax and First Aid Hut
With over 700 members the group needs a hut to store first aid equipment, waxing supplies, benches, and rental skis for the Skill Development Program (SDP) for approximately 80 youth.
$944 to Fernie’s Wildsight Elk Valley Apple Capture and Tool Share Program
The Apple Capture program is to support more harvesting of fruit and less fruit becoming an attractant to wildlife. The Tool Share includes all the equipment needed preserve your fruit. Still needed are a new apple press, grinder and apple picker.
$1,017 to Sparwood Skateboard Park
The Skateboard Park will be a safe place for self-directed free fun. It will attract people of all ages and abilities. Youth indicated this is a top youth priority. Those interested can use skateboards, BMX bikes, inline skates and scooters.
$1,033 to #279 Elk Valley Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron Band Program
Cadets, aged 12 to 19 from Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford will start a youth pipe and drum band program that will play throughout the Elk Valley.
$1,116 to Elkford Youth Soccer Expansion Project
As soccer continues to grow the 180 youth, ages 4 to 18 need upgraded equipment. This will include goal posts, corner flags and benches for players and spectators. At the end of phase 2, Elkford will be able to host tournaments.
$1,122 to Sparwood Lions Gazebo
Additional covered space is planned next to the Water Spray Park and close to the playground, multi-purpose field, tennis courts and Skateboard Park. The additional covered space would provide shade and shelter making the area more desirable for events like picnics, weddings, and family gatherings.
Barb Nunes, Chair of the Nominating Committee, added, “The Community Cash Awards have been an inclusive and fun way to involve EKC members, local citizens and youth in selecting the Community Cash Award recipients. Based on the excellent feedback of the members and public who attended our AGM, as well as the community groups who participated, we can’t wait to bring this awards program back to Cranbrook next year.”