Community Futures of the Sunshine Coast (CFSC) continues to be a strong economic force in our area.
At the annual general meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at the Sunshine Coast Golf and Country Club, executive director Al Mulholland reported on the highlights of the past year.
It's a reflection of the importance of the organization that local, provincial and federal politicians were well represented at the AGM. Both MLA Nicholas Simons and MP John Weston had their assistants on hand. Mayor Darren Inkster attended from Sechelt. Gibsons had both Mayor Barry Janyk and Coun. Bob Curry in the audience along with Sunshine Coast Regional District board chair Donna Shugar and Area F director Lee Turnbull. Interestingly, both mayors have work history with CFSC. Inkster was a student intern and Janyk co-ordinated a project for the organization before getting involved in politics.
CFSC chair Barrie Wilbee gave a fascinating geographical tour of projects in every area of the Sunshine Coast that have had cash from Community Futures. Beginning with Earl's Cove and the Backeddy Pub and ending with West Coast Log Homes in Port Mellon, there is literally no area of the Sunshine Coast where Community Futures support hasn't been garnered. Most importantly, Wilbee said, CFSC is "owned and controlled by the community, and that's not something that should ever be lost."
Many people spoke during the evening, including Chatelech Secondary School teacher Drew Murphy who teaches Planning 10 and 11. He's worked with Community Futures for four years and is most pleased with the relationship. The annual Career Fair, a CFSC program, is one the kids enjoy the most, Murphy said.
Another positive occurrence this year was the inclusion of two Sunshine Coast business people in the Community Futures B.C. Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Pro-gram magazine EDP: Excellence, Determin-ation and Passion. Victoria Maxwell and Ellen Frank (both of whom have been featured in past Coast Reporter articles) are profiled in the magazine. If you would like a copy, contact Community Futures at 604-885-1959.
Three legacy community initiatives were also presented. The Sunshine Coast Botanical Society, Dakota Ridge and the Gibsons Landing Harbour Authority are all CFSC projects that have benefited the entire Coast. One name that came up in connection to all these important programs was that of the late Paulean McHale. According to Mulholland, without her spurring on local groups and Community Futures, the results may never have come about.
A trio of diverse business owners who obtained financing from Community Futures also shared their stories with the audience. Sunshine Coast Forest Products, Sunshine Coast Limousine, Shuttle and Taxi, and Saffron Restaurant all said without the foresight and assistance of Community Futures their businesses would never have succeeded.
In wrapping up the past year, Mulholland, in addition to giving his annual report card, remarked on the successful procurement of funding for business succession planning. With the bulk of businesses owned or operated by Baby Boomers, there needs to be more done to plan for business transition, Mulholland said.