President Gord Webb announced he will be stepping
down this year, but will continue to volunteer in the summer
The Marine Heritage Society (M.H.S.) of Southampton held its Annual
General Meeting Wednesday night at the historic Walker House.
The organization was started by a small group of retirees who set about
restoring the property surrounding the Chantry Island Lighthouse.
Despite skeptics who didn't think the restoration could be done using
only volunteers and without government or corporate funding, the small
group succeeded beyond everyone's expectations.
From only a handful of founding members, the group has grown to
approximately 100 members and more than 200 volunteers.
Today, the Propeller Club and Marine Heritage Society oversee a variety
of aspects related to Chantry Island, including hosting and marketing
daily summer tours to the Island lead by knowledgeable guides and
transported by volunteer certified boat captains, operating The Tour
Base, a souvenir shop and booking base for the tours, maintaining
Pioneer Park adjacent to the Southampton Harbour and maintaining The
Boat House, which the organization also restored and renovated.
Although the original group consisted of men from the community, today
there are also many women involved in activities such as crewing on the
tour boat, acting as guides, maintaining the Island gardens and Keeper's
Quarters, conducting the Chantry annual garage sale, Christmas sale and
spring plant sale, all of which raise funds for the Island's upkeep.
At the AGM, approximately 80 people attended to hear, among other
things, that current President, Gord Webb, will be stepping down as he
is moving away from the area, but will return each summer to captain and
volunteer. He said that according to business models used by other
groups in the community, the Island restoration and tours result in more
than $500,000 spin-off dollars being spent in the region annually.
Chris Hughes, Manager of Bruce County Tourism, also spoke on the
importance that tourism plays in the region, second only to agriculture
and the valuable aspect that the lighthouses play in the tourism
Cherie Duhaime, President of the Chantry Island Chambettes, a local
organization of professional women who fund-raise in the community, also
presented $1,300 to the MHS. The money was raised through the Chambettes
annual Island 'fall sleep-over.' Each Chambette gathers sponsors in
order to raise the monies that go to the Propeller Club and Marine
This year, the M.H.S. is anticipating retiring the present tour boat,
the Peerless, and acquiring a new one. The new vessel will be purchased
with the assistance of a loan from the Town of Saugeen Shores and the
possibility of a government grant.
The Marine Heritage Society has
raised via tours, events and sales of items from the Tour Base over
$700,000 according to treasurer Tom Mather. Currently reserve
funds of $50,000 have been invested in the Community Development fund
and there is approximately $30,000 of working capital.
According to Gordon Webb, there has been outstanding support from the
community and especially the Mayors, Town Councils and Saugeen Shores
Town staff, (L) CAO Larry Allison, Jean & Mike
Myatt of Community Services and Treasurer, Lori Sweiger
Museum Curator, Barbara Ribey (L) and Cham-bettes
President, Cherie Duhaime (R)
Chambettes President Cherie Duhaime presented
$1,300 to MHS Chair, Rick Schumacher
(R) Paul Kelly and one of the original volunteers