OPSRRA is having their annual AGM on April 23, so we thought it timely to include a bit of information about OPSRRA including what that acronym means, who they represent, a bit of their history, and what their directors do. The following information comes from OPSRRA.
OPSRRA is the acronym for Otter Point and Shirley Residents and Ratepayers Association. As OPSRRA now also represents Jordan River, the name used is: OPSRRA, Representing the Residents and Ratepayers of Otter Point, Shirley and Jordan River. It’s a bit of a mouthful and a tongue-twister!
So OPSRRA is a ratepayers association formed in 1992 by a group of residents who felt that Otter Point and Shirley needed to have a voice and the means for people to get together and express their views about issues and events in their communities. This was before internet, email and cell phones were commonplace. The first meetings were held in one of the founder’s cabins at Tugwell Creek in Otter Point in the depths of the dark forest. There may or may not have been electricity! Truly a grassroots organization.
In subsequent years meetings were held in public places to accommodate the growing membership, who turned out in great numbers. At times there was standing room only. The intent of OPSRRA was to: maintain the rural character of the area, foster protection of the environment, support the values important to the residents, provide a means to lobby government officials and advocate for responsible land use decision.
In the past 25 years the membership has grown to a total of 444 members and associate members in 2017. Much has been accomplished with the participation of volunteers, fund-raising efforts, donations and grant monies received. To name a few:
- Bulletin boards were built and erected at the mailbox sites in Otter Point
- Four Welcome to Otter Point and Shirley signs were built and erected on WC Rd and Otter Pt Rd.
- A Visioning Project was completed in 2008
- Governance studies were conducted in conjunction with the province
- OPSRRA made a presentation regarding the controversial Marine Trails Development proposal
- Roadside clean-up events have been held and new Anti-Dumping Signage established
- A Water Resources Assessment Project with Royal Roads BSc Environmental Studies Program
- No-Shooting boundary changes effected in Otter Point and Jordan River
OPSRRA has come a long way since those early days of meeting in a cabin in the woods. Everybody has internet, although cell coverage is still spotty to non-existent. OPSRRA has a website, an electronic newsletter, a Facebook page and much of the organization’s communication is done by email. OPSRRA’s activities have also changed; reports and minutes for CRD committees and commissions are now available online, so it is not necessary for Directors to attend as many public meetings in order to relay information to the membership. There is less need for monthly board meetings, as much preliminary discussion can take place by group email. The newsletter informs members of current events and periodic electronic surveys gauge public opinion.
OPSRRA’s board is planning further restructuring to make the organization more relevant, current and attractive to new members and directors. Politicians should and do pay attention to ratepayers associations, as they represent a broad base of their constituents. Our current Regional Director Mike Hicks and MLA John Horgan are both very responsive and supportive of OPSRRA. An organization is only as good as its membership; if you live in Otter Point, Shirley or Jordan River, OPSRRA is your Ratepayers Association. To find out more about OPSRRA or become a member, go to our website: www.opsrra.ca
What do OPSRRA Directors do?
OPSRRA always welcomes new members. We are also looking for candidates to fill upcoming vacancies on our board of directors and continue the important work we are doing to support our communities. What’s involved in being a board member, you might ask? If you talk to any of our current directors, they’ll probably tell you that typical responsibilities include things like:
- regular attendance and participation at quarterly board meetings (or as required),
- serving a one-year term,
- participation in the annual general meeting held in early spring and annual board retreat held in late spring,
- supporting community engagement in different projects and activities by OPSRRA,
- providing advice and support to the board president (and executive), as part of a collaborative working team
- assisting with OPSRRA communication activities including correspondence, Facebook updates, website, electronic newsletter (quarterly) and monthly event calendar sent out to membership,
- representing OPSRRA interests at outside meetings in our communities, as required,
- bringing community concerns and issues to the board for discussion
- supporting grant applications for board-approved projects.
Like we’ve said, it’s an exciting time to be involved with OPSRRA and its board of directors as we continue to grow with our communities. Who can be a board member, you might also ask? Residents and property owners in Shirley, Jordan River and Otter Point who are members in good standing of the Association may stand for nomination for election to the OPSRRA Board up to, and including, the date of the AGM. If you are interested, or would like to submit nominations, please join us at our AGM on Sunday, April 23 2:00 PM at the Juan De Fuca Local Area Services Building (3 – 7450 Butler Road in Otter Point) or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit them online.