Southgrow AGM informative

Jim Willett, Mayor of Coutts, attends to the business portion of the 2019 SouthGrow Annual General Meeting.


SouthGrow Regional Initiative held their 2019 Annual General Meeting on June 13 at the Rotary Club in Claresholm.

“Each of you recognize the potential of our region and member communities,” said Jim Willett, Mayor of Coutts and the chairperson for SouthGrow Regional Initiative. “Because you have all volunteered your time and energies, we have had a busy and exciting year.”

The evening kicked off at 5 p.m. with cocktails and networking and a welcome by Executive Director Peter Casurella before those in attendance were treated to a roast beef dinner courtesy of Putters Restaurant. After dinner, Brady Schnell and Spencer VanDellen of the Town of Claresholm gave a presentation about different amenities and events that the Town of Claresholm has to offer.

“Claresholm is not only a thriving farming and ranching community, but it also has a very successful manufacturing and industrial sector,” Schnell said. “Our close proximity to large city centers, and low cost of operation is appealing to businesses looking to expand their market.”

Michelle Evans then gave a presentation on behalf of the Government of Alberta and says that the current government is very determined to help Alberta. The government’s focus right now, Evans said, is on jobs, helping the economy recover, and the pipeline and also on reducing the cost of doing business in Alberta. Evans said that the government has also put together a Blue Ribbon Panel to take a look at the province’s fiscal environment and is also focusing on regulatory reforms.

“The current government is very determined to help Alberta,” Evans said. “They are all about opening Alberta up for business.I encourage everyone to read up on the UCP platforms because from early on, the government has proven that they are very serious about executing their platforms.” 

Following Evans’s presentation, Jen Grebeldinger of the Community Association provided an update on the Peaks to Prairies Electric Vehicle project. ATCO, Grebeldinger said, was chosen as the contractor for the project and the sites are currently being prepared for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

Grebeldinger said that throughout the summer, charging stations will be deployed and signs will be installed at each station to highlight not only the project, but also what the communities hosting the stations have to offer. This move, Grebeldinger said, will give electric vehicle users previews of many different communities as they charge their vehicles.

“It’s going to provide opportunities for people to learn things about these communities that's going to make them want to come back,” Grebeldinger said. “The signage is  going to make you want to actually stay the night in various communities and participate in events that different communities hold.”

The event’s keynote speaker was Jeff Nielson of Custom Cannabis and both he and his sister, Robyn Wyntick, shared about the financial and legal processes that they have been involved in since 2014 to bring a quality business to the area. Custom Cannabis is currently waiting for final approval from Health Canada and once the business is given final approval and deemed a secure facility, they will begin bringing plants in. 

“Cannabis is a plant that can be used as medicine in a very, very intense way for people with intense problems,” Nielson said. “It’s amazing to be part of something that can make such an impact in people's lives. It's becoming very quickly apparent in this industry that you need to have the proper motivation moving forward. A lot of non cannabis people are going to be completely blown away at how diverse the plant selection that we're going able to grow.”

To conclude the evening, Jim Willett conducted the business portion of the meeting. To start off, Gerry Selk moved to approve the minutes from the June 12 meeting and the vote was approved. Laurie Lyckman then moved to approve the motion to accept the presentation of the Annual Report, with the vote being unanimous.

Following that, Doug Wilde from Mercer-Wilde Group presented the Financial Report for the fiscal year ending on March 31, 2019. A motion to approve the report was made by Rob Steward and approved. Clydine Grenier then made a motion that Mercer-Wilde Group be appointed the Auditors for SouthGrow’s finances for the 2019-2020 fiscal year and that motion was unanimously approved.

Following some brief discussions about amendments to articles of incorporation, Margaret Plumbtree moved to approve the amendments and it was approved through a vote. In relation to the amendments, it was also proposed that the date that officers are elected within the SouthGrow organization be in alignment with municipal elections to avoid confusion. The motion was made by Phil Wright and the vote was unanimous.

During discussion about the Growing Institutional Memory of SouthGrow, an amendment was made and the motion to approve the amendment was made by Margaret Plumbtree after some discussion. The vote on the amendment was unanimous and the motion to approve the amended topic was made by John Turcato, with the vote being unanimous.

A discussion was then had to amend the definition of what an Associate Member in SouthGrow is and can be involved in. Gerry Selk made the motion to approve the amendments to the definition and the motion was approved via vote.

In touching upon the topic of the Operational Plan and Budget, a discussion about the Bridge to Food Conference in Belgium and France initiated due to the fact that organizers of the event requested either a representative or delegation from SouthGrow to come present at the event in October. After much debate, a motion for SouthGrow to explore attending the Bridge to Food Conference was made my Ron Lagemaat and approved via voting.

Peter Casurella then took over the meeting and served as Scrutineer so that SouthGrow Regional Initiative could elect a new Executive to replace Eric Burns. Mayor of Vauxhall Margaret Plumbtree and Claresholm Town Councillor Brad Schlossberger were nominees prior to the meeting and Councillor Phil Wright was nominated during the nomination portion of the election. After all members present voted, the ballots were counted and Councillor Phil Wright was declared the winner by a slim margin.

Jim Willet then resumed charge of the meeting and addressed the unofficial selection of a name change. The motion to approve investigating a name change was approved by Justine Rice and approved via a vote.

Phil Wright then made a motion to adjourn the meeting and the voting was unanimous.

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