This report of the AGM includes good news about the 2007/8 membership fees.
It has to be said that when doors to the Lewisham Methodist Church Hall opened at 7:00pm the rush could not be compared to those seen in the recent January sales. But, although the number of attendees (about 25) was disappointing it meant that everyone had ample time to greet old acquaintances, examine the displays, and partake of the excellent refreshments before settling down to the main business of the evening.
Ray Manchester, chairing his first AGM, welcomed all the attendees, introduced the other members of the management committee, and declared the meeting open. The first two items on the agenda, apologies for absence and approval of the 2006 AGM minutes, were swiftly dispatched.
The third agenda item was the Annual Report for 2006. Ray commented that it had been a challenging year for many reasons – including the major changes that had taken place in the management committee and the dramatic increase in membership. Rather than go through the whole report he picked out a number of highlights. The first was the completion of the Flood Alleviation Scheme. This marked the end of an era for QWAG – it was the shortcomings of the 1989 version of the scheme that led to the group’s inception. It was too early, Ray said, to give a truly objective assessment of the overall success of scheme from QWAG’s point of view. Recent revelations about Manor Park and other less welcome aspects of the scheme tended to overshadow the earlier magnificent transformation of Sutcliffe Park and other positive outcomes.
The focus of QWAG’s restoration efforts shifted downstream in 2006 with the publication in May of the outline planning application for the Lewisham Gateway development. QWAG’s campaign for a four metre strip of land along the east side of the High Street continues and, whatever the verdict of the strategic planning committee in March, it will be at the forefront of QWAG’s activities in 2007. Ray also mentioned other notable events, including three excellent river walks, progress on the educational displays and the production of the largest and most comprehensive newsletter ever.
The Treasurer’s Report for 2006, the fourth item on the agenda, was presented by James MacGregor. The increased income from membership fees and donations had led to a surplus of over £300. For this reason the committee had decided to keep the membership fees for 2007/8 unchanged.
As no nominations for election to the management committee (agenda item five) had been received, the current committee members were re-elected unopposed. Before closing the AGM the Chair used the final item on the agenda (Any Other Business) to thank all those who had helped QWAG over the course of the previous year.
The buffet was again the centre of attention during the break, and around the tables conversations ebbed and flowed. Ray took the opportunity to update our guest speaker on the challenges facing QWAG in 2007.
Our guest speaker was Assembly Member Murad Qureshi, Chair of the London Waterways Commission. Murad told us that the Commission had been created in 2006, to advise the Mayor of London on the implementation of the Blue Network policies. It also advised on the various uses of London’s waterways – including transport, industry, wildlife, culture and leisure.
Murad described a selection of the issues that the Commission had been involved with to date, followed by some of the challenges that it faces in the future. One is how the extensive network of waterways in the Stratford area can be used and improved before, during and after the 2012 Olympics. Another is how to get all the stakeholders in London’s waterways aware of, and working with the Commission.
Finally Murad answered a diverse range of questions from the floor. He was thanked by the Chair and warmly applauded by the audience.
Ray then closed the meeting by thanking those who had helped in its preparation and execution, and thanking the attendees for their participation. Hopefully he would see many of them at various QWAG events over the course of the coming year.
The minutes of the 2007 AGM will be distributed soon.
The Annual Report and Treasurer’s Report for 2006 can be browsed on our Annual Report Web Page.