I had the good fortune to attend the June 5, 2017 meeting of the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association.
During the meeting, I made some notes. Right after the meeting, I wrote up a draft of a report based on my notes.
The report that follows is based on the draft report that I prepared right after the meeting.
In this report, I’ve added editorial comments to my function as a reporter. As a rule, I make at least some effort to separate my role as a reporter from my role as a commentator. In this case, I have made an exception. If you are not interested in my editorial comments, please do not read further.
I signed up as a member at the meeting. If you have not yet signed up, you can fill out the PDF of the membership form and determine how best to get the form (and membership fee) to Brian Liberty:
The membership fee is $10 [June 2017-September 2018].
Three membership categories are in place:
- Individual Membership – My principal residence is in Long Branch [full voting membership]
- Affiliate Membership – I own and operate a commercial enterprise in Long Branch and support the objectives of the Association [non-voting membership]
- Group Membership – I am the acting advocate representing a not-for-profit groups public institution, community organisations, or other public agencies active in Long Branch or adjacent neighbourhoods within the boundaries of the City of Toronto and which support the objectives of the Corporation [non-voting membership, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors]
The membership form also specifies the relevant boundaries:
The boundaries of Long Branch are:
- On the North – CNR Rail Lines
- On the West – Western side of Marie Curtis Park [South of Lakeshore] and the Etobicoke Creek [North of Lakeshore}
- On the East – 23rd Street [S of Lakeshore] and 22nd Street [N. of Lakeshore]
- On the South-Lake Ontario
LBNA email address is LongBranchTO@gmail.com
If you have questions about the form, send inquiries to LongBranchTO@gmail.com
At the outset of this post, I speak of my good fortune in attending the meeting. I felt very pleased to be at the meeting – I felt pleased to know that work is proceeding well, on the setting up of the association.
The more time that is spent during the initial planning process, with input from as many sources as possible, the stronger and more productive the resulting association will be.
Provisional leadership team
A provisional leadership team is in place, which will lead the groundwork leading to the Annual General Meeting of the LBNA in the Fall of 2017. At the AGM, the board of directors for the Association will be selected (or elected, as the case may be).
The June 5, 2017 meeting was held in a basement meeting room at the Long Branch Legion on Lake Shore Blvd. West near the Long Branch TTC Loop and the Long Branch GO station.
There was a sizeable turnout, and the members in attendance demonstrated enthusiasm and interest. The interim chair of the LBNA, Brian Liberty, led the meeting. He showed a good command of the details related to the current stage of LBNA’s work.
He also showed a good sense of humour, which meant that every once in a while, the attendees joined in, in good-natured, gentle (that is, not harsh or derisive) laughter.
I mention this because the tone at such a meeting matters hugely, at any stage of development of an association. I mention this in my role as an observer. I’m not on the provisional leadership team, nor will I be on the board of directors. My own days of heavy-duty involvement with key volunteer tasks are long in the past.
I am impressed with the social capital, that I have observed, in attending a good number of launch (and pre-launch) meetings associated with the LBNA. By social capital, I refer to the quality of networking, to the capacity for working together, that I have observed to date.
I’m also impressed with the human capital – the range of skills and capacities – that members of the LBNA bring to their efforts on behalf of the association. We see essential skills in relation, among other things, to marketing, public relations, handling of money, and social media.
As well, the culture of the group is strong, and well established. When the culture of such an organization is in good shape right from the start, it tends to be smooth sailing ahead.
Among other things, the culture is of such a nature – and this has been established from the start – that we do not have a situation in which one or two people do all the talking at meetings, and people get bored and want to leave.
As well, from the outset, much more time has been devoted to addressing what can be done, by way of finding solutions to problems, than has been spent in venting. Anybody can vent. Not everybody has the capacity – the social capital and the human capital – to truly make a difference, for the better.
Its bylaws have also established another strong foundation for the LBNA, namely a plan for leadership succession. In any group, over time the founding members and leaders move on, or in time run out of steam.
This has been the case with previous Long Branch groups, and groups elsewhere.
For that reason, a focus on leadership succession is an essential ingredient for long-term success and longevity of any organization.
Leadership succession is a key ingredient in the culture of any group, that seeks to be effective, as the years go by. The best time to set a succession plan in place is right at the outset, when a group is in the process of being founded.
Previous planning group meetings
In his opening remarks, Brian mentioned there had, over the past many months, been many meetings of a planning group. A set of bylaws has been developed. A committee structure has been set up. There have been discussions about many topics of mutual interest, including what goes on, and what goes down, at the Etobicoke-York Committee of Adjustment.
There’s also been discussion related to plans for a new playground at Long Branch Park, on the strip of land to the south of Lake Promenade where the Long Branch Gazebo is located, close to the shoreline of Lake Ontario.
Mission of the Long Branch Neighbourhood Association
Brian Liberty described, as well, the mission of the association. The notes that I made included the words “reflect” and “celebrate.” There was also a reference to the “public realm.”
The mission statement has been put together by the planning group. Brian didn’t mention this, but I can add that when the planning of the Association began, a survey was delivered door-to-door across Long Branch. The responses from the survey were the key ingredients, on which the mission statement was constructed.
As the membership form (please see link above) notes, the association’s mission is to:
- Protect the physical character of Long Branch
- Celebrate the neighbourhood and its heritage through events and community gatherings
- Enhance the public realm and the quality of life of the neighbourhood and broader community
Purpose of the June 5, 2017 meeting
Brian Liberty next turned to the real purpose of the meeting.
“This is a procedural meeting,” he noted. The bylaws require that such a meeting be held, prior to the Annual General Meeting (AGM).
The meeting, Brian added. had the purpose of identifying the provisional board for the association. He pointed out such members, of the provisional board, who were present at the meeting. He said that a member of the provisional board may, or may not, as the case may be, choose to stand for nomination to the board of directors, at the AGM.
The purpose of the provisional board is simply to assist in the rollout of the association.
It will be involved with the planning of the AGM, which will be held, Brian noted, in September or October.
The board of directors will have between seven and twelve members, as specified in the bylaws.
Elections will be held if there are more than twelve nominees.
Everyone who attended the June 5, 2017 meeting will get a copy of the bylaws, Brian Liberty added.
Q & A
For a subsequent post, I will refer to the Q & A which took place at the end of the meeting.