Snowmobiling association discusses challenging winter at AGM
Treasurer Jim Richert, who delivered the HCSA’s latest numbers via phone at the Saturday morning meeting, said that the club’s total income was $121,482.39, compared to the $152,731.58 it doled out on expenses, which rounded out the season with a deficit of $31,249.19.
The club pointed to the less-than-favourable winter for this shortfall. Of the 1,800 hours initially budgeted for grooming, the club raked in just 40 per cent of that time by the end of the 2017-2018 season.
The HCSA’s permit revenue is not generated by the number of permits sold, but rather is directly tied to the number of hours when the trails are groomed. According to Richert, this means that expenditures relating to grooming were reduced because of the weather, so the overall revenue of the club was consequently impacted.
One of the risks of increasing grooming hours is that it could pose a risk of damaging equipment in less-than-favourable snow conditions, meaning that larger financial investments from the club would be needed down the road, president Dave Lloyd noted.
“Sustainability is so important. Instead of putting up some beat-up bridge, I’d rather see us go for gold and get that perfect, steel bridge that would last us a long time.”
In the 2017/2018 season, the HCSA invested $6,500 towards dock floats to a repair floating bridge at Big Hawk and Three Brothers lakes, another $5,500 in gates, bridge railings, lake stakes, and stones. Lloyd said that long-term projects free up time that can be better spent on crucial programming, like driver training and safety training around chainsaws.
Richert said, the club’s bank account was in good shape from last season, meaning that the club has roughly a $15,000 budget with which to operate until Dec. 1, once the new budget is approved.
Despite this, board members were optimistic for the upcoming snowmobiling season, thanks to the interest of the community in the HCSA, demonstrated in its online presence.
“It was as romantic as going from black and white TV to living colour,” joked director John Enright, of the changes to the HCSA’s website, which also serves as an landing page for trail conditions.
The HCSA’s redesigned official trail guide circulated roughly 5,000 copies this year. Enright also said that the HCSA’s Facebook page grew by one third, closing in on 3,000 followers.
The annual general meeting was also a forum to highlight that there were landowner disputes with the club last year. Lloyd said this typically occurs when a homeowner purchases a lot without realizing that a snowmobile trail snakes through their property. The HCSA is also monitoring how best to patrol for snowmobilers who are suspected of driving while high, in light of marijuana being legalized later this year.
Although temperatures continue to rise in Haliburton this week, the HCSA is encouraging the community to attend its monthly meetings, which are held the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at 171 Mallard Rd. in Haliburton. For more information about the club, please visit http://hcsa.ca.