In an effort to try and help clubs that are experiencing increased difficulties and can no longer keep up with the increased accountability, paperwork, loss of volunteers, and insufficient funds to keep their grooming equipment functioning, just prior to the 2015 convention last September the OFSC Board of Governors (BOG) introduced a proposal to member clubs called “More on The Snow” (MOTS). The details of MOTS had yet to be worked out by convention time but basically the proposal would involve consolidation of revenues, equipment, assets, and the eventual dissolution of clubs as individual “not for profit” entities. Feedback from member clubs very early on in the process revealed to the Board of Governors (BOG) that clubs weren’t going to vote in favour of a proposal that contained no detail. To that end, the BOG was given the go ahead by member clubs to “proceed in principal only” while they worked out details prior to the 2016 convention this September where the plan would be put to a vote.
On May 17, 2017, members of club boards across the province were given the opportunity to watch a webinar which described the OFSC Board of Governors progress thus far. I have to say, KLSC board members in attendance were not impressed. We were not given much detail but the following briefly describes the highlights of what was presented:
splitting up some districts to reduce numbers which will involve ours getting one more club
Club bank accounts will be closed and all monies turned over to the District
Future permit revenues will remain with the District. (most of this past seasons payments to clubs were already withheld)
Bulk purchasing for the district (comment……inevitably, KLSC local purchasing will be gone. Do we then expect our local merchants to continue to support our club?)
Six new paid positions at the OFSC level will be created. (inevitably, additional paid staff will be required at the district level to deal with the increased workload….part time support was already needed this past season)
It was strongly suggested at the 2015 convention that all clubs fold as “not for profit” organizations. The OFSC has since lightened up on this however at the May 17, 2016 information session we were told point blank that if KLSC didn’t fold and turn over ownership to all of our assets, including our Equipment Building, then money from future permit sales would be withheld and we would have to fundraise to keep it. There obviously seems to be a backstory to what’s going on as we’re getting conflicting information. AND it’s never and never will be known as a CLUB HOUSE!
While this may seem like a good idea to some, directors of the KLSC don’t see it that way. Rather than dealing directly with clubs that are having difficulties of various natures and determining how to solve those local issues, the OFSC Board of Governors are taking an approach that, simply described, is painting all clubs with the same brush. (does amalgamation ring a bell). One part of the MOTS initiative that I believe all eight clubs in our district find distressing and unworkable is the planned reduction of groomers in our district. I say “planned” reduction with tongue in cheek because we already seem to be in full swing on an initiative that was supposed to be “in principal only”. The proposed five year plan for the reduction of groomers in our district would see 22 groomers reduced to 14. In year one, our district has to get rid of five older groomers to get one new one. Interestingly enough, year one of the “plan in principle” is now behind us and our district fleet is down to 18.
The reduction thus far didn’t affect KLSC but as it now stands, the proposed plan for year two (2016/17) will. As of this writing, the proposal for next winter will see a neighbouring club loose one of their two groomers permanently and KLSC would groom some of their trails for them. The neighbouring club isn’t happy about this nor are we. Our groomers can’t be in two places at the same time and inevitably, we believe trails will suffer as a result. ie: When our trails are pounded beyond recognition on a good Saturday, we want both of our groomers out on our trails Saturday night, not on someone else’s.
And this is just the start as our fleet still need to get down to 14 in total. Not one club in our district can see reductions to those levels, while at the same time maintaining the numbers of trails in the district to the level that snowmobilers expect and deserve. One more thing that’s taking place that our members should be aware of independently from MOTS is the proposed sale of permits totally on-line onl. The OFSC has proposed to the MTO (OFSC needs their approval) that snowmobile permits be available only on-line. While this might sound ok because most of us do this already, think about those who aren’t able to for one reason or another. Believe it or not, some people don’t have computers or internet while others simply don’t want to give credit card information on-line. These folks won’t have any other option. Consider too, that some of our vendors like to have permits available for customers as a convenience to their customers or to act as a draw to get them in the door, etc. Also think about the many people across the province who, for whatever reason, don’t buy a permit until they get out on the trail. The trail patrol person stopping them won’t have permits available for sale and won’t even be able to point to the local vendor where one could be bough. That sledder will be on his/her way and may never buy one.
As my tone likely demonstrates, KLSC directors are less than happy about what is presently taking place. While we may be scolded for disseminating too much info to our members and will undoubtedly be accused of not getting on board and singing kumbaya, we feel it’s important to let you, our members, the people who are the backbone of the OFSC, the ones who pay the bills, know just how your Directors feel. KLSC is a success story and we feel that going the suggested route will undoubtedly undermine our ability to keep it that way.