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Delmas Coop's annual meeting well attended

Delmas Coop lost money in the fiscal year just ended and will not make a cash repayment to members this year, but the loss was expected, given the start-up of the new food store in Masset, according to Casey Jarvis, chair of the Coop's finance committee.The Coop's financial statement for 2008 was presented at the associations annual general meeting in Masset on Sunday. It shows that sales were up slightly over last year, but costs went up faster. Sales at both Delmas and Gwaii Coops totalled $11,490,917. compared with $11,354,296 the previous year. At the Masset store, sales were $8,326,496, up $382,000 from the year before, but sales at the Gwaii Coop in Skidegate dropped $245,000 to $3,164,421. The bottom line showed a combined loss of just over $138,000.More than fifty people turned out to the meeting at the community hall. They passed two special resolutions, one dealing with director remuneration on expenses and per diems, the other on joint membership policy relating to payouts. Coop President Glenn Fahlmann told members that the past year has been successful. "Although sales fell a bit short of expectations,.overall it was a positive year considering there is a worldwide recession in progress." Mr. Fahlmann noted that experts are saying the recession will lessen by the end of the year and sales should not be significantly impacted. "Your board and management remain committed to giving you the best value and constantly seek ways to keep operating costs to a minimum," Mr. Fahlmann saidMr. Fahlmann noted that membership is up, with 94 people joining and 21 leaving. Total membership is now 2,810."We, as your board, are very proud of the achievements of the association this past year, and would like to thank the management, their team of staff and you, the members, who made this another successful year.," Mr. Fahlmann said.Bret Johnston, chair of the building committee reported that the Coop has signed a new 3-year lease with Gwaalagaa Naay Corp. for the Gwaii Coop in Skidegate. Improvements there are upcoming, including a new roof and a new freight door to increase unloading speed. Mr. Johnston also said the Coop has decided not to pave the Masset parking lot completely, as costs were so high, and that it continues to hold back funds on the new grocery story, as the contractor has not finished the floor satisfactorily.Kathy Costain reported on member relations, saying that the Gwaii Coop celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, and noting other celebrations including a fireworks display, and tree lighting festivities in both Masset and Skidegate. She asked any member to come forward with any ideas or suggestions they might have.Coop General Manager Richard Clarmont called the 2008 year "challenging to us all with the increased freight costs arising from the high costs of fuel this past year."Mr. Clarmont said he was very proud of the Coop's commitment to lead the way on island with efforts to minimize use of plastic bags. He said the Coop has just introduced two new re-usable bags, a hot/cold bag that can be zippered closed and another high quality canvas bag. All plastic bags, when collected, are shipped to Edmonton to be recycled, Mr. Clarmont said.It was then time for the election, and three directors were elected. They are Kathy Costain, Lisa Edwards and Miche Kokorsky.Member then question the board, asking about having less packaging for produce, and buying more Canadian produce, the high cost of freight, and the apparent higher cost of some products at the Coop compared with Home Hardware and stores in Prince Rupert. Other members questioned why the Coop can't offer larger turkeys earlier at Christmas (we have a lot of big dinners in the village) and suggested improving the way the Gwaii Coop handles its flowers in the spring.The meeting ended with the prize draws. The grand prize, a trip to Vancouver and back, was won by Willie Youngson. Congratulations, Willie!