Did someone say we should have AGMs more often?
BEAM successfully held its 2017 Annual General Meeting in Seymour on Saturday night of 16th September. Our guest speaker Gavin Ashley from Moreland Energy Foundation spoke about the how a group like the Foundation might get going and about the many benefits of community ownership of renewable energy. His talk was followed by a worshop on new ideas for BEAM in 2017-18, the formalities of an AGM and election of the new committee.The event was held in Seymour, at the Anglican Parish Hall – a change in venue from Gavin Hall in Broadford (our usual haunt) – and it worked well. A good kitchen allowed Jonathon Murphy to produce a great soup, and a vegetarian and a fish main course- that ably fed the hungry throng of about 25. Followed by delicious desserts brought by members.
Phil Bourne was again our MC for the evening. Phil has performed this role with BEAM AGMs for many years. He is a very capable and popular figure in this role….its enough of a reason to attend our AGM just to see Phil Bourne in action!
Guest speaker Gavin Ashley from Moreland Energy Foundation Limited (MEFL) spoke of the history of the Foundation, with its close working relationship with Moreland City Council. MEFL has provided the skills to support the Council in an array of programs aimed at reducing carbon emissions and increasing the comfort of Moreland’s housing stock. Moreland is an inspirational Council, to be sure. The bulk buy of solar panels for fitting on the roofs of pensioners and rental housing (the Darebin Solar Saver program) is one program that inspires groups like ours, and Councils like ours. With our Mayor and 2 other Councillors present at the AGM, our own positive working relationship between community groups and Council was acknowledged. We at BEAM have echoed this experience in recent years, and the Pre-Feasibility Study into a rooftop PV system of 99kW on the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre, a Council facility, is a case in point. This Study has been driven by the Sustainable Seymour Network (actively supported by BEAM and The Seymour We Want).
Gavin made mention of the benefits of Community ownership of renewable energy facilities and about building a “social license to operate” such a facility- where a community gets behind a renewable energy facility, and can own a share in a large scale facility. He also made the point that for a community to launch into owning renewable energy facilities, or stimulating local action in this area, they are not alone. There are many supportive organisations to assist in setting up a local group. “The renewable energy fraternity is a growing and welcoming family”. The many workshops and webinars on aspects of Community Owned Renewable Energy that are currently being run bear testament to this.
Following Gavin Ashley’s talk, the meeting broke up into a number of tables to workshop some ideas for the new BEAM year 2017-18 – see below. The ideas will form the basis for the new committee to plan a range of events that would be attractive for BEAM members to participate in. Watch this space.
The meeting approved an updated Rules of Association based on the CAV model rules and including many of the old rules with some changes (such as a change of the time limit on being an office bearer from 2 to 5 years). The new Rules can be viewed through our website – see http://www.beam.org.au/about-us/
A motion to make changes to our Annual Subscriptions was also approved. Subscriptions have not increased for many years but costs have gone up (particularly insurance). The new annual subscriptions are: families $30 (families with concessions $20), and singles $20 (singles with concessions $10).
Then there was the election of the new committee, or actually a selection! A committee of 10 emerged, and that’s a healthy sign for the coming year. As retiring President Richard Telford made mention, BEAM is a group respected in our community for its advocacy and activism in a range of environmental issues, from contributing to the draft Seymour Structure Plan to maintaining a regular radio program on 103.9 FM. BEAM covers a lot of ground, and the new committee should serve us well. As the new President, I welcome contributions and suggestions from the broader membership to what the Committee could be doing. I also invite people to be active in helping the Committee action these ideas. For as our vision says, BEAM is “a thriving community locally active and globally aware”, the true measure of strength of BEAM is in its teamwork. We can have fun doing valuable work in our community. Having said that, there is often a lot of grunt work between fun events!
Thank you to the following for their generous donations towards the night’s gifts: Sam at WineXSam in Seymour, Vitor and Candi at Rocky Passes, Richard Telford, Jessica + Brian Bowring, Sandra Bowkett and one Spotted Quoll*.
Peter Lockyer, BEAM President 2017-18
*the musical group Spotted Quolls includes Peter Lockyer. Ed.