By Deron Johnson
The Grenville Community Futures Development Corporation (GCFDC) held their Annual General Meeting this year at Heritage Hall on the Kemptville Campus on the morning of Friday, June 21. Breakfast was served by Catered Affairs, who operate the Heritage Hall facility which was formerly known as the campus cafeteria.
The first speaker of the morning was North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford, who thanked everyone for coming, remarked on the important work of the GCFDC and the Kemptville Campus itself. MP Michael Barrett followed the mayor and reminded everyone of his predecessor, Gord Brown, and how important GCFDC was to him and how much he was grateful for the work of the organization. Pat Sayeau, Warden of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG), was the final person to give welcoming remarks on behalf of the UCLG and also mentioned the work of GCFDC in his home municipality of Edwardsburgh Cardinal. MPP and Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Steve Clark was unable to attend due to an important last-minute schedule change that took him hurriedly back to Queen’s Park.
The guest speaker for the event was Catered Affairs co-owner Natalie Castellas, who shared the journey that she took to becoming the owner of a catering business that employs seven full-time and 20 part-time employees and serves an average of 200 meals per day. She told everyone that she started out studying Political Science but fell in love with cooking.
Outgoing Chair of the GCFDC, Ryan Hreljac of Ryan’s Well, gave the Chair’s Report followed by Executive Director Heather Lawless who gave the Program Report. Heather gave the packed house a summary of the work that GCFDC does, including securing $28 million in loans for local businesses and organizations since 1990. She highlighted the recent announcement that a two-year agreement has been signed by GCFDC to manage the Rural Innovation Initiative (RII) for the next two years, with funding provided through Fed Dev Ontario. The RII program assumes the role of the now defunct Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) which had been responsible for providing $7.6 million in funding since 2004.
Two members of the GCFDC Board of Directors were recognized, Ryan Hreljac as retiring Chair (he will continue as a director) and Chris McCorkell, who has served the maximum number of years allowed on the board. Elections to the board took place, with the new board consisting of Allan Joudoin, Ryan Hreljac, Cholly Boland, Lisa Temple, Clement Asbreuk, Mike Baril, Bonnie Pidgeon-Cougler, Cathy Sheppard, Mitch Bloom, Lynda Joanisse and Tanya Peloquin. The board will continue to be supported by the staff, which includes Heather Lawless as Executive Director, Darren Gallacher as Business Loans Officer and Charlotte McArthur as Financial Administrator, who was also recognized for her thirty years of service.
To learn more about the important work done by this organization, visit their website www.grenvillecfdc.com.