Christine Whelan FEO, May 25, VOL. 4 ISSUE 20
Advancing Crystal Beach (ACB) held its Annual General Meeting Tuesday, May 16 at the Crystal Ridge Community Church, 241 Elmwood Avenue, Crystal Beach.
Local residents, volunteers, partners, and board members filled the community room for an evening of awareness, entertainment, update, connection, and taco bar.
The light dinner, made of tacos, both savory and sweet, was catered by Lindonda. While mingling and nibbling, two young, local musicians, 16-year-old Anais Baxter, and 12-year-old Phoenix, amazed the room with their talents on the piano, guitar, and vocals. A silent auction lined the side wall, displaying a variety of pieces from local artists.
Master of Ceremonies, Scott Boumeester, spoke briefly and introduced the President of ACB, Orma Bleeks.
Orma updated the Board and guests, summarizing the past year and beyond, in the life of Advancing Crystal Beach.
She announced that, as of September 19, 2022, ACB is now ‘Advancing Crystal Beach Charitable Foundation’, after volunteers worked through the long process of obtaining charitable status in order to be able to raise more significant donations.
ACB continued to provide virtual and in-person free income tax clinics throughout the year, thanks to three volunteers.
Alternative plans are being developed after not getting the fire hall for a community centre. ACB met with a new co-owner of the hall and was pleased that he wants to be involved in the provision of services for the community.
The new Crystal Beach business brochure has been created. Copies were provided to everyone at the meeting. Watch for the colourful brochure displayed at local businesses.
Welcome bags are being made with donated material, filled, and delivered to newcomers by ACB volunteers.
ACB continues to operate the tourism booth on Erie Road with financial support from the Town of Fort Erie Economic Development and Tourism Services.
Orma described the multi-level, cooperative effort it took to obtain the iconic Crystal Beach sign located at the Bay Beach entrance.
Supported by The United Way, ACB has held its first two Community Pop-up Markets, located outside the Crystal Ridge Community Church, the first held on May 4 and the second on May 18. The plan is to hold the pop-up markets every first and third Thursday of each month between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm.. The purpose of this market is to provide access to fresh produce at an affordable price for people who are food insecure to the rising costs. Orma reported the first market was a “smashing success”.
ACB organized KeepFit classes including Tai Chi, Line Dancing, and Zumba, held at the Crystal Ridge Community Church bringing in over 200 people to participate in the classes with over 1,000 visits in less than a year. Funds were obtained to hire a part-time program coordinator to continue the KeepFit classes and develop new activities as requested by community residents.
The meeting came to a close and the guest speaker, Wendy Sturgeon, Executive Director, Niagara Chapter Native Women, Inc. provided the room with an inspiring and informal presentation
Established in 2015, Advancing Crystal Beach became a community development organization made up of village residents that link the past to the present and onward. Together, through coordinated efforts, residents, businesses, and visitors organize year-round activities, services, and events, addressing community needs.
The current Board Members are: Orma Bleeks, President, Jane Seaborne-Davies, Secretary, Louise Pickett, Website/IT Director, Karen Dobson, Pastor Frank Kiss, and Hope Elliot
The members of Advancing Crystal Beach are proud to call themselves a community group. This description is proven on their website. Their ‘Partners’ webpage lists a history of 28 collaborations — partnerships that have come in many forms.
Keep up with the events, activities, and collaborations of Advancing Crystal Beach by following their Facebook Page and their website: advancingcrystalbeach.com.
Photo of the Crystal Beach business brochure by C. Whelan