Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Response from Credit Union CEO

March 31, 2009

Mr. Gerry Hicks
Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee
36 North Road
Welshpool, N.B.

Via e mail: campobelloislandhwac@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Hicks:

I am in receipt of your letter to Ms. Kathy Woodside, forwarded to me by her, concerning your opinion on the closure of the Campobello Island branch of Charlotte County Credit Union. We respect the mandate of your Committee, and further acknowledge your disappointment with our decision. That said, the decision to close this branch, or for that matter any branch, is not one which is taken lightly. We have analyzed the financial results from this operation and the impact which it has had on the Credit Union as a whole. That analysis made it crystal clear that the decision to close this branch, as well as the one in Blacks Harbour, was both necessary from a business perspective and in the best interests of all the Credit Union’s owners when taken as a group.

We understand your emotion and characterization of our decision. However, a Credit Union, despite its co-operative basis, must operate on sound business principles and therefore must be able to justify its branch network on a financial basis. We regret the loss of jobs and the other impacts on the community; however, we are confident that in the last eight years we have given the community every opportunity to support the Credit Union more fully and have made every effort to create success in this location. Unfortunately, these efforts have failed and we are left no choice but to make this difficult but necessary business decision.

I thank you for your expression of concern on this matter.

Yours Truly,

Gerard M. Adams, C.A.
President & Chief Executive Officer

Monday, March 30, 2009

Health & Wellness Advisory Committee meets with Credit Union

This morning, Gerry Hicks and Marianne Alexander from the Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee met with Management of the Charlotte County Credit Union to discuss the proposed closure of the Campobello Branch. The Advisory Committee articulated the frustration over such a decision and was demanding answers and an explanation as to how they were able to rationalize their decision. The following letter was delivered and a follow meeting with senior Credit Union officials is in the works.

Gerry Hicks

Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee

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March 30, 2009

Kathy Woodside, Senior Manager

Charlotte County Credit Union

73 Milltown Blvd, Suite 107

St Stephen, N.B. E3L 1G5

Re: Proposed Closure – Campobello Island Branch

Dear Ms Woodside

As Chairman of the Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee and I am writing to express our unparalleled disappointment with your proposal to close the Campobello Island Branch of Charlotte County Credit Union. The committee and community at large have worked very hard over the past year to initiate positive, long-term changes targeted at enhancing overall quality of life, community programs and economic development. Your decision to close this particular branch runs contrary to everything we have been working towards.

Certainly, we understand that decisions are made in a business forum that are not always popular, however, the impacts to this community that reach well beyond being unpopular, they are unnecessary and unjust. The loss of jobs, absence of another financial institution, inconvenience of our transportation and mobility challenges and the everyday frustration of continually being marginalized as a community impacts us more severely.

A great extent of the frustration can be attributed to the lack of consultation with the members, residents and businesses of the community you serve with regards to your plans. This Credit Union was founded by residents who rallied the support of a community that was to be left without a financial institution. It has been owned by its resident members and provided a tremendous service to a community at a crucial time. We deserve better and would ask that you and your management team address the community to provide the rationale for your decision and the courtesy of answering our questions. We are entitled.

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration, we look forward to speaking with you.


Gerry Hicks / Marianne Alexander

Chair / Co-Chair – Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tony Huntjens - Charlotte/Campobello MLA Supports Year Round Ferry

Charlotte-Campobello MLA, Tony Huntjens supports the campaign to provide year-round ferry service to Campobello Island, allowing residents an alternative route to the outside world besides the international bridge to Lubec, Maine. "I think that's an absolute must," he said.

He does not begrudge Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet the new ferries coming to Grand Manan, White Head Island and Deer Island, the three inhabited islands in his riding of Charlotte-The Isles.

"I don't hold it against them for getting the ferries. That would be ludicrous, but I do feel that it is essential for Campobello to be treated equally," Huntjens said.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Year Round Ferry Requirement

Letter to the Minister of Transportation for New Brunswick

As Chairman of the Campobello Island Health and Wellness Advisory Committee, I am writing to let you know in no uncertain terms that when it comes to mobility and access to services, good enough is no longer good enough for the residents of Campobello Island. Specifically, our Committee has completed 4 of 5 Phases of a Needs Assessment Study in conjunction with the Atlantic Health Sciences Corporation in Saint John. As you may be aware from various media reports, we are actively seeking Year Round Ferry and Governance Options for our island community. In light of the recent Federal and Provincial Infrastructure spending announcements, the publication of The Finn Report and subsequent desire for the province to amalgamate service districts, it appears as though Campobello Island remains a jurisdictional anomaly at a pivotal juncture.

Restricted mobility of people, goods and services has had a pervasive negative impact on the economy, education, employment, mental and physical well being of our residents resulting in an unnecessary threat to the viability of our community. The work of the committee over the past year has been eventful, full of promise and an excellent indication that the timing is right for the island to take greater responsibility and accountability for its citizens and its future.

A great first step on behalf or your ministry would be the Inclusion in the Fundy Isles Ferry Project . Certainly a demonstrative example of what is possible appeared a recent article in the Telegraph Journal that there certainly is money to be allocated to a ferry for those already able to drive to and from the Kingston Peninsula to Saint John without having to leave there country and clear customs twice!

A recent article regarding the Finn Report in the Telegraph Journal has provided further confirmation and encouragement of our need to be proactive in creating solutions to our service delivery and mobility challenges by indicating that Campobello, "... be separate from any other municipality because of its limited accessibility to the rest of the province." As you are likely aware, Campobello Island is perpetually petitioning for year round ferry service. Certainly, we see governance as a means of establishing a legitimate voice by which to better manage our tax dollars, administer services and enter into contracts according to the priorities of the residents. However, there are numerous initiatives currently in the works to continue to lobby our various leaders to provide the guaranteed access and mobility we are entitled too.

Our committee has been fortunate enough to have the participation and support of MP Greg Thompson, MLA Tony Huntjens, Johnny St.Onge / Darren McCabe, Dr Verle Harrop (AHSC), Dawn Marie Buck (AHSC), Enterprise Charlotte, CBDC and Mt. Allison's Gwen Zwicker in assisting with the education and communication process to date in terms of Governance Options. In addition to a comprehensive island-wide survey and 7 days of community workshops, we recently held a Governance Open House providing a comprehensive overview of the various governance options and processes. As you can see from the attached Survey results link, 64% of Respondents indicated that a Government alternative to LSD was "needed or very needed" (survey results slide 29). Additionally, an unbelievable 81% of respondents indicated that a Year Round Ferry Service was "needed or very needed" (results slide 39).

I have included a list of additional reasons the year round ferry is criticle, a link to our Survey Results and additional link to an article in the Telegraph Journal for your review. We are anxious to move forward with dialogue and a feasibility study to determine what solutions would be most appropriate for Campobello at this juncture.