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Welcome  to our 2020 Annual General Meeting.  It has been quite some time since we were able to meet in person, so this is an occasion unto itself.   We are a bit late in holding this meeting, however, this is one of many steps towards normalcy.  We did not have an in-person Annual General Meeting for 2019 as the Societies Branch allowed for the publication of a Presidents Report and Financial Statement as  sufficient means of reporting due to the restrictions of the pandemic. 

After two years of hard work and dedication to Links, Nichol Ward had to leave her employment with our organization and tend to an urgent family matter.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank Nichol for all her efforts on our behalf.  In February, 2021 we selected Valerie Cowan to be our new Administrator and since that time the Board has benefited greatly from Valerie’s organizational skills and keen eye for detail.  Thank you Valerie and welcome to Links and the Lardeau Valley.

We have another new face at the table and would like to welcome Ingrid Cooper to the Board.  Ingrid lives in Howser.   She retired several years ago from her position as Postmaster in Kaslo.  We look forward to working with Ingrid in the coming years.

Several years ago, Links conducted a survey of Lardeau Valley residents asking about their economic priorities for the future of this valley.  The results made it very clear that agriculture was an area of opportunity.  Thanks to the generous support from the RDCK Rural Dividend Fund, Aimee Watson and Columbia Basin Trust, Links has completed 3 years of financial assistance  to local farmers under the umbrella  of the Farmer Innovation Project. We have provided supports for infrastructure such as fencing, livestock shelters of various kinds and greenhouses.  We have also provided wage subsidies enabling farmers to hire and train more workers.  The amount of money injected into this Valley from this project alone is approximately $200K and has substantially aided the creation of a stable and growing agricultural sector in our Valley.

Due to COVID 19 restrictions, LINKS was unable to sponsor some of our usual gathering events but we were able to continue to present courses of interest to Valley residents.  Shaun Phoenix held his Chainsaw Safety Certification course for 12 registrants, Patrick Steiner had a Seed Saver Workshop for 21 participants and Rik Valentine held the S100/S185 fire suppression and safety workshop in June, 2020.  Thank you to Shaun, Patrick and Rik and all the participants.

Unfortunately, we were unable to hold the Arts for a Long Winter Night event funded by CKCA in 2020. We are hoping to offer more arts programing this winter. Links continued whenever possible to support local projects, acting as an umbrella agent, lending equipment, providing support letters, printing posters and distributing them, seeking and sharing local news in our community with our community web page. You will have noticed that our newsletter has a new look and format.  This has been an evolving venture for us and we always appreciate receiving your thoughts and ideas.

As we look to the future, we are pleased to report that the Farmers Project will continue in 2021 for a 4th year. We are proud to offer infrastructure grants to farmers in Area D, and thank Area D Director, Aimee Watson and the RDCK for their generous support.  We have also applied for a grant to support local farmers who are interested in applying for the Class D certification for on farm slaughter licences.  The grant will enable LINKS to investigate and inform farmers of the requirements for these licences and would add a new dimension to the local agriculture industry.  Other opportunities for LINKS depend on funding available to us.

In closing, we would like to thank those funders for their continued support of LINKS.  Director Aimee Watson, RDCK, Kelvin Saltern, Columbia Basin Trust, Province of B.C., and CKCA.  Thank you also to our loyal and hardworking volunteer Board members and our amazing Administrator.

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