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Back to the Future – Fundraising for 118 Mill Street!

Back to the Future! – 118 Mill St. Update

‘Back to the Future’
The Hub returns to 118 Mill St.

Thanks to all who came out to the General Meeting on February 26th, 2018, especially for your support to return The Hub to 118 Mill St.

We know you have questions related to our move back to our former location and we want to share the following information:

Why does The Hub want to be downtown?

The building at 118 Mill St. is our most valuable asset because we own it. It affords a level of negotiating power that very few non-profit organizations have. We are cash positive because the Royal Bank of Canada ceded this building to us for $1 in 1998. Without the expense of a rented commercial space, we can better meet our goal to serve our community.

118 Mill St. has a history to which we can all relate. It has always been a meeting place: a store, a movie theatre, a bank, even a dentist office and, our beloved Hub. The past and the future are reflected in the people who pass through our doors every day: our shoppers, our volunteers, our workers, our friends. The building is our talisman to what community is and should be.

Further, and most important, the Hub contributes to the economy of the downtown core. For a recent grant application, we received a support letter signed by the businesses in the Almonte retail district:

“The HUB has anchored the top end of our retail district and has contributed to the vitality and well being of our community for decades. It has helped democratize the shopping experience and brought people into the downtown that might otherwise not come. It has given people jobs that they might otherwise not be able to get and has put hundreds of thousands of dollars into various causes and projects that have helped make Mississippi Mills a progressive, inclusive, sustainable and protective community.” – Feb 2018

When will The Hub return to 118 Mill St?

Target: December 2018.

Our lease to accommodate The Hub in the Industrial Park expires on January 1st, 2019. Carrying multiple rentals at that location impinges on our ability to donate to the community, so it is essential that the Hub return to 118 Mill Street. In addition, Rebound needs to reclaim the space it occupied before The Hub moved to the Industrial Park so it too can continue to thrive. Our long-term sustainability depends on this.

How much will it cost to repair and renovate 118 Mill St?

If we addressed just the repair, it would be less than $20K. However, if we did this, we would be moving back to just what we had before.

Given that the space is now vacant, the Futures Committee felt the time to act on a purpose-built renovation is at hand. In doing so, the concerns and the hopes shared by staff, volunteers and customers related to floor plan, accessibility, and structural and operational efficiencies could be addressed.

The Committee has embarked on an expanded plan that includes substantial renovations to open the space and prepare for future growth and reduce costs over time.

In consideration of the future, we set a Phase 1 fundraising target at $250,000.

How will The Hub pay for this?

We included the repair and renovation of 118 Mill St. in our financial planning over the years and have $100,000 allocated from our available funds. We applied for two grants to offset some of the projected costs and are in the process of building our fundraising program to augment the amount needed to support this effort. Over the past 43 years we have prided ourselves on being self-sufficient and have only twice requested financial support in the form of Trillium grants.

What will be done as part of the renovation at 118 Mill St.?

The Hub struggled to maximize retail space in an old bank that was itself converted from an old movie theatre. By using the opportunity to renovate as well as repair, The Hub can reclaim the vertical space (remove drop ceilings) which can be converted to a 2nd floor mezzanine for even more space and perhaps offices for social services, create an expanded purpose-built retail space on the main floor (approx. 30% larger), add communal and sorting areas, upgrade the accessible public bathroom (currently missing from the top of Mill Street) and ensure a more barrier-free environment. We have taken a phased approach for work to be completed in whole or in part depending on the success of our fundraising efforts.

When can we see the plans for 118 Mill St?

Architect, Peter Mansfield completed the initial architectural consultation pro bono which included draft drawings of the new space. We are so grateful for his professionalism and the generous gift of his time. These drawings have been used to submit grant applications and to share with contractors to estimate the cost of the work to be completed. We shared the initial draft drawings at our membership meeting in February, and we will look to post these at The Hub in the upcoming weeks as we continue to refine.

How can we help?

Continue to support your Board: volunteer, shop at the Hub and spread the word to your friends and neighbours that what we do is important for our community. We cannot do this without you and we still have big decisions to make which are, frankly, quite daunting and scary.

We often remind ourselves that the women of 1974 must have felt the same way and more often than naught, we look around the table and say, ‘Yes, we can’.

Perhaps now we can add, ‘Let’s do it again!’.

Onwards,
The ACC board

Children’s Shopping Day 2017

Our volunteers are busy working behind the scenes, preparing for the 2017 edition of Children’s Shopping Day. This year, the team from the Hub and Rebound are excited to have partnered with the Mississippi Mills Youth Centre to bring this annual tradition to life!

On December 9th from 10AM to 1PM, we will be hosting the Children’s Shopping Day at the far end of the Rexall Mall (430 Ottawa Street). Children, age 13 and under, may choose a gift for parents, siblings and grandparents. The price for an individual gift will not exceed $2.00. Gift wrapping is included.

The Mississippi Mills Youth Centre will be on-site and offering up festive treats, refreshments, an info table and even more surprises.

Be sure to save to date and discover why this is indeed the most wonderful time of the year!

kidsshop2017

The Hub and Rebound under new leadership – Almonte Community Co-ordinators membership elect Board of Directors

MISSISSIPPI MILLS – November 22, 2017 –  The Hub and Rebound, two treasured volunteer-driven community retail shops offering donated recycled goods at fair prices, are now being led by a new Board of Directors. The leadership change was determined the evening of Monday, November 20th at a Special General Meeting of Members of the Almonte Community Co-ordinators (ACC). ACC members elected the new board, and also confirmed the fixed number of directors at 12.

A not-for-profit tradition since 1974, the Hub accepts donations of gently used family fashions, accessories, housewares, books, games and toys. These items are resold at the Hub, allowing the organization to support local charities.

Rebound was established by the Hub in to provide a convenient drop-off centre for large home furnishings, small appliances, computers and electronics. Rebound has diverted over 300 tonnes from local landfills by operating a practical used furniture and home décor store. Rebound also operates an Electronics Waste Depot remote site, under the Ontario Electronics Stewardship program, in partnership with Robin Hood Recycling.

In the past five years, sales of recycled items from the Hub and Rebound contributed over $600,000 in community-focused donations towards hospice care, scholarships, health needs, sport teams, special events, Christmas baskets, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Interval House, the Lanark County Food Bank and so much more.

As a result of the Nov. 20th meeting, which followed a difficult debate on how the Hub and Rebound should be run, the standing board of directors resigned to make way for the new leadership team.   The new ACC Board of Directors consists of: Nancy Hall, Barb McPhail, Debbie Pilote, Janet Duncan, Mary Ellen Petrunewich, Julia Thomas, Donna Smith, Renate Kordos, Gail Murphy, Barbara Carroll, Eloise Caverson and Paddy Vargas. The Past President is yet to be determined.

The newly elected board thanked the outgoing board for sparing ACC members the difficult choice of voting for or against friends and colleagues whom they have worked with over the last five months. As well, the outgoing board was recognized for their hard work to complete the move of the Hub to its new temporary location at 14 Industrial Drive, while required renovations take place at ACC’s downtown Almonte building at 118 Mill St.

Janet Duncan, Chair of the ACC Futures Committee closed the Special General Meeting by providing the membership with an inspired vision for the existing Hub building and Rebound and encouraged everyone to come together and share ideas so that the ACC can continue to find new ways of giving back to our community. “The future looks bright knowing that the legacy of the founding women from 1974 continues to live on and prosper. We have always had a ‘It CAN be done’ attitude. We know that with the spirit and goodwill of the membership, volunteers, employees and our community, we will continue to grow, build and give back for years to come,” stated Duncan.

For more information or to share your thoughts, please email: [email protected]

About the Almonte Community Co-ordinators

Located in the heart of Almonte, The Almonte Community Co-ordinators was founded in 1974 as a not-for-profit and charitable organization that is focused on supporting the community of Mississippi Mills through revenue generated from the Hub and Rebound retail stores.

Address:

The Hub and Rebound
14 Industrial Drive at the corner of Houston Drive
Units 1/4/5
Almonte, Ontario
Phone: (613) 256-5225 -or- (613) 256-1700

Heartfelt message to our Hub family

The Board of Directors of the Almonte Community Co-ordinators (ACC, commonly known as the HUB) is deeply committed to the members, the staff and the community we serve. Over the past five months, through our words and actions, we have worked hard to build upon social justice and the values that connect us with the people and organizations the HUB supports.

We realize this is a long message. We feel this is important information that needs to be shared in advance of the Special Members Meeting on Monday, November 20, 2017. If there are any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Board.

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH 118 MILL STREET?
When the Hub took ownership of 118 Mill Street twenty years ago, the organization knew the building had structural problems. In the winter of 2015, the Building Committee became aware that further deterioration had occurred. The Board sought engineering advice.

The previous Board was told the concrete slab at the entrance of the store needed to be replaced. As a temporary measure, jack posts were installed. This area is now in a safe state and will need to be replaced.

Given the costs associated with this replacement, the previous Board asked for a Building Condition Review. For a summary of the information, including the motion passed at the AGM, please visit http://www.thehubalmonte.com/2017/11/118-mill-street-state-of-building/

A “Future’s Committee” was formed to make recommendations about options for the Hub’s long-term location. We, like you, are anxiously awaiting their recommendations and cost estimates. Ultimately, the membership will make the decision.

As part of looking after your building (118 Mill Street) and your safety, the Board continues to work with Town officials. We are expecting an updated report from the Chief Building Official within the next two weeks.

WHO IS THE “CMC”?
The CMC is a self-appointed special interest group. They are not an official committee of the Almonte Community Co-ordinators.

While the CMC has said that they would like to resolve differences of opinion regarding Board decisions and direction, they have repeatedly refused to meet with the Board. CMC has chosen not to participate in collective problem-solving meetings that would have helped bring the organization together. For more information about the Board’s efforts to reach out, please click here.

WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE MEMBERSHIP LIST?
When you sign up as a member of the HUB, we ask for your contact information: name, address, phone number and email address.

In the past, we kept the list with all your information at the cash. This storage location was identified as too easy to access. The list has gone missing on many occasions.

We appreciate that on one hand, some members don’t have a problem with sharing their contact information. On the other hand, there are members who feel strongly their information should be protected.

In the spirit of cooperation and listening to all points of view, the Board has committed to bringing this topic forward to the membership for discussion and a decision. In the meantime, to respect the different views, we have not shared your personal information beyond name and mailing address when the membership list was requested by CMC. We did not want to speak for you – this is your decision to make.

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE FEEL HARRASSED?
When volunteers, staff, members and the community-at-large reach out to the Board of Directors informing us they have been on the receiving end of intimidation tactics, we take the complaints seriously. As a result, we have called out the behaviours in past communications. We have never named the identities of the individuals in question.

It is important for all of us to be aware of how our actions and words might be perceived as intimidating. Let us all remember the Hub’s core values of respect and neighbours caring for neighbours.

WHY SO MANY MEMBERSHIP UPDATES?
The HUB does not have a communication policy. The current Board made it a priority to keep members informed. Weekly updates were posted online, shared via the email list and hardcopies were made available for reading in the store.

The CMC contends that the Board has not been forthcoming with information, yet we have hosted multiple open forums, open houses, and tours, in addition to the weekly updates. We also continually encourage members to reach out at any time with questions, concerns or comments.

The move was proof our messages are being received by the membership and our community as a whole. For example, countless people showed up with trucks, food, and helping hands. CMC members did not participate in the relocation effort.

It should be noted the generosity and spontaneity of the membership and community is proof the Hub is effectively communicating and being heard. That said, we can always strengthen our outreach activities. We need your ideas and input to help the Board build a policy around communications.

IS THERE A LACK OF TRANSPARENCY?
CMC contends that the Board is not transparent. The Board has and continues to share as much information as possible, without violating privacy and confidentiality. Some examples of ways we have communicated on hot topics, without breaching the trust required of the Board, are below.

WHY DO I KEEP HEARING ABOUT VALUES?
The Board has repeatedly heard from CMC that the values of the HUB are not being honoured. We want to understand how the values are not being honoured. This is why the Board engaged in repeated attempts at facilitated meetings.

Our efforts were refused until the CMC agreed to meet the HUB Board with an impartial facilitator. At that meeting were two representatives from the HUB Board and two representatives from the CMC. A lot of work was done to develop a plan for a jointly created Information Sharing Session. Two days later, we were told the CMC were not willing to work to find a solution. More here: http://www.thehubalmonte.com/2017/10/important-message-to-hub-members-and-our-community-from-the-hubrebound-board-of-directors/

Instead, CMC called a membership meeting to dissolve the board. Details here: http://millstonenews.com/2017/10/special-hub-meeting-called-for-october-30.html

The Board continues to live the HUB values by ensuring we:
– give back to the community
– provide a safe workplace for all
– offers job creation programming
– support volunteer opportunities to people of different ages, abilities and backgrounds
– build partnerships through shared interests, values, and vision
– balance fiscal responsibility, growth and sustainability
– and so much more.

WHY UPDATE OUR BYLAWS?
The members, the Board and CMC agree – it’s time for a bylaw review and update.

At the Special Meeting on November 20th, CMC’s lawyer would like to change one of the bylaws from a range to a set number of Directors. A range is not currently permitted under the Ontario Corporations Act.

WHAT NOW?
The board continues to make the values of the HUB real and to support our community in meaningful ways. We have accomplished so much in a very short time.  Imagine what we can achieve together by working together and being together. So much is possible.

The CMC proposes that the current board be removed. Ask yourself … is it not better to build than to destroy? By working together, we can build a strong future, demonstrate stability to our community and continue the reputation of the HUB as a place that respects diversity and positive action.

Any motions at the meeting will be voted by secret ballot. You have a valuable and powerful tool: your vote is your voice. Please let your voice be heard.

Sincerely your ACC Board of Directors,
Heather Billings (613) 451-0483
Andrea Bird (613) 256-0525
Judi Barnard (613) 256-9330
Ingrid Harris (613) 256-5577
Judy Lawton (613) 618-7401
Maria Murphy (613) 461-0093
Mary Ann Murray (613) 406-5723

You can also email us at [email protected]

118 Mill Street – State of the Building

WHY REVIEW THE BUILDING CONDITION?

In general terms the intent was to determine all the “known” investments required to ensure the longevity of the building. The purpose was to provide information to the membership regarding capital and major investments that would be needed over the next 5 and 10 years.

The report was meant to give the members the necessary information so that they could decide if the building was worth repairing: How much would it cost to repair and maintain the building to meet the members needs?

Westview Projects was hired to write the Scope of Work that was used to guide the review.

WHO DID THE BUILDING CONDITION REVIEW?

Cleland Jardine were selected to conduct the review.

They completed the report in December 2016, which specifically excluded any review of compliance to: past or present regulations, building codes, electrical codes, fire codes or safety codes and any environment assessments.

The report did not state any conclusions as to the safety of the building or whether the building was unfit for people to work or shop in. A much more extensive review would need to be done by appropriate experts and authorities, such as the Ministry of Labour, the Municipality, the Fire Department, an Environmental Engineering Firm to include the aspects that were excluded from the Cleland Jardine review.

WHAT DID THEY FIND?

The building condition assessment report identified major expenditures:

  • Upgrade the front ramp, stairs and railings
  • Repair front porch slab (work to be coordinated with the front ramp)
  • Roofing repair and replacement
  • Repair of brick work
  • Cladding – stucco repair
  • Cladding – painting
  • Sealing of exterior joints
  • HVAC unit replacement
  • Hot water tank replacement

WHAT DID THE BOARD DO WITH THE INFORMATION?

  • A public survey was conducted to gain insights on how the Hub building and store was serving the community’s needs;
  • Discussion groups with volunteers to get ideas on how the space was working for them and what we could do to improve their working conditions;
  • Information from the public survey, the volunteer discussions and the building condition review was put together to create an information session for members before and at the Annual General Meeting

WHAT DID THE PRESENTATION COVER?

  • The Shopper Experience
  • The Building Condition
  • The Volunteer/Staff Experience
  • Safety Concerns (incl. Fire Exits, Ventilation, Stairs, Crowding, etc).

Key highlights:

  • Comments from the surveys included:
    Regardless of the costs of repair does the current building suit the needs of the organization? Can we achieve wheelchair\walker\stroller access around the racks?
    Do we have the space to achieve a better shopping experience?
  • Concerns raised by the volunteers and staff included:
    Heavy lifting up and down stairs
    Egress from the basement area
    Poor ventilation at the rear and no ventilation in sorting areas
    Fire stairs were too narrow and steep

The presentation did not indicate the building was unsafe or was to be condemned, nor did it provide any additional estimates for items such as replacement of the stairs, fixing any ventilation issues, repairs to the apartment, etc.

WHAT WOULD IT COST?

HUB RESTORATION COSTS

WHAT OTHER CONCERNS WERE RAISED?

 

  • How accurate is the assessment?
  • Would the scope of the repairs increase once walls were uncovered and construction had started?
  • How do we project cost overruns and how do we budget for them?
  • Are there too many unknowns with what would be a large scale financial investment of membership and community funds.
  • What would our obligations be under the Heritage Conservation District?

 

WHAT DID THE MEMBERS DECIDE AT THE AGM?

The members voted on the motion:

That the Almonte Community Co-ordinators not proceed with the repairs of the Hub, but instead rent retail space until a long-term plan is in place.

Requested Post from the CMC

To the current Hub board and membership:

We are writing to advise you that the Letter of Requisition for Special Meeting for Members (signed by many of you at the October 30th get together), has resulted in the outcome we hoped for: an opportunity for the membership to have a voice on the future direction of the Hub/Rebound and to elect persons we trust to lead the way. An election will take place as part of this Special Meeting.

It is our duty as membership to ensure the directors and officers are acting in the corporation’s best interest. As members we can take a number of actions under Ontario Not for Profit (ONCA) to make sure directors and officers are properly supervising the management of the corporation and complying with their duties.

We felt it necessary to re-state the following concerns:

  1. The existence of an incomplete board. More specifically, that 7 of 11 elected board members resigned in the first 3 months –  it is an indication something is wrong and the membership needs to fully understand the issues that led to this erosion of leadership;
  2. The lack of transparency and substantial communication between the current board and its membership. This includes: Refusing to explain their motivation for terminating 15 employees and the resignation of 5 board members at the September 25th meeting, and choosing not to attend the membership get together on October 30th and celebrate the “terminated” staff contribution to the Hub.
  3. The difference in values between the current board and the majority of the membership.  The board values a business model emphasizing efficiency, and maximizing profits whereas the Hub values emphasize both the need to donate money to our community and, the need to bring together people of different backgrounds and abilities.  Without an opportunity to meet and find common ground, these differences cannot be resolved;
  4. The lack of opportunity for members to express their opposition to the current board decisions. The September 25thmeeting was illegally adjourned when members asked questions about the resignation of 5 board members, members who ask for information are met a wall of secrecy, and those who express an opposing perspective are accused of harassment.  Malicious, unsubstantiated rumours about CMC members are posted on the website controlled by the board;
  5. The future of the existing Hub building.  Unsubstantiated rumours are spreading that the building at 118 Mill St. is unsafe and condemned, and there are conflicting interpretations of expert assessments about the state of the building;
  6. The current board refusal to allow the Future’s Committee, appointed by the board to complete its tasks.  In that, the board conducted a walk-though with the Town Inspector and insurance agent and did not invite anyone from the Future’s Committee to attend;
  7. The CMC is not opposed to change at the Hub/Rebound.  This is not the first time change has happened within the organization, nor is it the first time there has been a change in location.  Many of our members negotiated the Hub collaboratively through these earlier changes and in so doing gained valuable insight into what works and what doesn’t.

For those of you who cannot attend in person, the current board failed to provide a proxy process for the meeting in their announcement of the Special Meeting on Nov. 20th. We have followed up with their lawyer directly and the current board was notified today to deal with it. It is your right to have a voice whether you are there in person or not.

Lastly, there are members who are not on the current membership list that we received from the board (dated November 6th, 2017). We would like you to email the [email protected] for confirmation of your membership if you have not received any email related to the upcoming Notice of Special Meeting for Membership, Monday @ 7pm at the Almonte Town Hall.

Respectfully,

Paddy Vargas
Eloise Caverson
Julia Thomas
Janet Duncan
Mary Ellen Petrunewich
Mary Lou Souter
Donna Smith
Barbara Cottrill
Fern Martin
Gail Murphy
Renate Kordos
Barbara Carroll
Elizabeth Dunning
Jean McPherson

A show of love: get your Hub pin

The Hub’s Board of Directors was floored when they received the news of the Hub Love Pins.

To the Mississippi Mills Youth CentreCheerfully Made Goods + MarketsEmily ArbourDawn Walker Design and the Almonte Print Shop & Picture Framing – THANK YOU

Our community is truly filled with generous hearts and souls. The outpouring of support for the Hub and Rebound is overwhelming and your act of kindness proves that no matter what struggles we all face, we have a community that will stand up and help each other through times of trouble.

You….. bring the spirit of the HUB to life. We feel your love, share that love and send it forward to the amazing community of Mississippi Mills. Thank you! #ilovethehub

If you have not already read the story, the following is what appeared in the Millstone on November 11, 2017.

We at Mississippi Mills Youth Centre love the Hub.

Actually we feel indebted to the Hub for the great love they have shown local youth over the years through their generous financial support. We recognize when great institutions like the Hub struggle; we, the recipients of their kindness, must reciprocate in-kind with our own gesture of love.

We love the Hub and one thing our youth love to do is make buttons!

We are the button-masters! So with the generous help of graphic designer Dawn Walker, the loan of a button making machine and donation of supplies from Emily Arbour of Cheerfully Made, and with free printing by the Almonte Print Shop we are creating a limited edition of 1,000 buttons of love for the Hub. Each will sell for $5 with the proceeds going back to the Hub.

Buttons are available at the Youth Centre, Mills Community Support, Cheerfully Made, Almonte Print Shop, and Baker Bob’s. Don’t miss out! Get your button and show your love!

Mississippi Mills Youth Centre

 

THURSDAYS: Extended Hours at the Hub & Rebound

Copy of Hub Thursday Night Bag SAle (1)While we tried to respond to everyone, it was almost impossible to keep up with your feedback. To everyone who emailed, called members of the Board, spoke with our staff and volunteers or shared input on social media – thank you!
 
When we receive comments like these, “This is a HUGE improvement. Thank you for listening and being sensitive to the needs of the community”, it’s time to acknowledge the hours need a rethink.
 
Therefore, we are going to continue the Thursday extended hours trial run for a few more weeks and we look forward to your continued feedback!
 
#servingthecommunity #communitythriftstore #extendedhours #donateshopvolunteer #thriftydeals

Letter from Nancy Dupuis to the ACC Board & Membership

To the current ACC Board and membership:

It’s time for me to come forward publicly showing full support for what you, the Board have accomplished to date as well as what you are trying to make work for the future of the Hub/Rebound. I have laid low so to speak after my resignation for awhile, but am always observing the goings on. I loved helping with the move, the little I did in the grand scheme of things, but again enjoyed the camaraderie of just working with my friends, being one with the good of the organization and community always at heart. I continue to donate and shop at the new temporary location as well.

The news of the request for a special general meeting of the membership and the objective saddens me immensely. A conversation with a neighbour this weekend continues to fill me with a passion for the organization and for what it used to stand for. I implore you as a member to become fully informed prior to the meeting on November 20 and have your voice heard. Reach out to the Chair of the Futures Committee, Janet Duncan as to their plans for the future physical location of the organization and also to those so determined that the current Board needs replacing. Speak to any of the current Directors of the ACC Board. Speak to Steve Lawton, who chaired the Building Relocation Committee. Come prepared.

Indeed, “The nature and tone of the current dispute among members / past members is damaging to the reputation of the Hub/ Rebound.” I only hope that in two years time the organization will still continue to exist, hoping it won’t have fallen due to an organization wrought with its own hidden agenda. Hats off to Mary Ann Murray, Andrea Bird, Maria Murphy, Heather Billings, Ingrid Harris, Judy Lawton and Judi Barnard, and not to forget Linda Cybulski as well. Your endless hours of volunteering, as well as the generous support of your families to make the Hub/Rebound a better place have not gone unnoticed. Your support while I was President and to this day mean the world to me. Friends forever.

Nancy Dupuis
Past President