Delta Marsh History Initiative, Steering Committee Meeting

9:00 am, 27 November 2001
Home of Shirley Christianson, Portage la Prairie

Present:     Barry Bills, Maurice Blanchard, Shirley Christianson, Heidi den Haan, Denzil Gamble, Gordon Goldsborough (sec), Bob Jones, Winnie Pauch, Glen Suggett

1.  Minutes of the last meeting (30 October) were approved by consensus.

2.  Delta discoveries: Shirley Christianson displayed a large number of items. They were catalogued after the meeting, with printed materials going to the Archive held by Bills and photographs taken by Goldsborough for duplication. Included among them were photographs on loan from Keith Campbell, Vera Keys and Jack Green; a book by Jimmy Robinson on loan from Bill and Mae Andrich; a writeup on the Delta market hunt by Mae Andrich; a loan of newspaper clipping pertaining to Delta from Flora Bailey; a loan of newspaper clippings from Sandra Lamont (she is also looking for photographs); a loan of the Mobbeley Lodge history from Glen Suggett; a photograph of the Steamship Petrel used in the 1901 excursion at Delta from the Western Canada Pictorial Index (found by Goldsborough); and an article from 1913 on hunting at Delta Marsh in a Winnipeg society newspaper (found by Goldsborough).

3.  Publicity: The fish fry held at Delta on 3 November was, by all accounts, a resounding success in no small part to enthusiastic work by Maurice Blanchard (and family members), Shirley Christianson, Barry Bills, Winnie Pauch, Gary Garrioch, Glen Suggett, Heidi den Haan, and other volunteers. A special thank-you was offered to Maurice. Letters of thanks will be sent by Shirley Christianson to McCain Foods for their donation of sufficient pies for a piece for everyone in attendance, and to the Portage Safeway for use of their ovens for pie cooking. The total turnout was estimated from the money intake at 320 adult equivalents (two children tickets counted as one adult ticket). In addition to the financial benefit (a statement appears below), numerous leads on historical information were obtained. The weather was unseasonably warm and the crowed in attendance was enthusiastic. Two people even arrived from Winnipeg by helicopter! All in all, it was an unqualified success. There was consensus that it was worth doing again.

Another fish fry will be held in Portage la Prairie on Saturday, 2 March 2002 at the Herman Prior Centre, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Shirley Christianson will confirm the date with the Centre, and advertising will begin early in the new year.

Goldsborough had no progress to report on a DMHI newsletter. Bills suggested that a series of news snippets about Delta from a 1950s weekly newspaper could be used in it. He will send copies of them to Goldsborough. When ready, copies of the newsletter should be sent to Gamble for insertion into the Westbourne paper, and to Christianson for insertion into the Langruth paper.

Suggett reported that he had more copies of the DMHI information pamphlet printed. Copies were distributed to those in attendance wanting more, and Christianson will keep the remainder for anyone who wishes them.

4.  Research: Bills and Christianson need more copies of the loan forms. Suggett will send the digital files to Goldsborough, who will print them.

Suggett reported that Manitoba Conservation purchased a Canon digital video camera for the sole use of the DMHI for the duration of the project (ownership remains with the government). He brought it to the meeting and Goldsborough will set it up for use in upcoming interviews.

Goldsborough reported that he obtained a copy of database software (Filemaker Pro 4) from the Delta Marsh Field Station, and he has developed a prototype of the resource database for keeping track of donated and loaned historical materials. When fully developed, it will be accessible for addition and correction of records via the Internet on the DMHI web site. Access is password-protected (at present, the same for everyone but it can easily be made specific to each person) so there should be no problem with security of the information.

Bills has started cataloging acquisitions on paper cards for eventual transfer into the database. Goldsborough will obtain archival boxes for storage of the materials.

5.  Finances: The final accounting for the fish fry held at Delta on 3 November is as follows:

Ticket sales (320 adult equivalents)            $3,200.00

Food cost ($6/person)                              ($1,920.00)

Advertising                                                    ($21.62)

Building cleanup                                            ($60.00)

Total                                                         $1,198.38

Goldsborough opened a chequing account (Royal Bank, Winnipeg) on behalf of the Initiative, and deposited cash received at the fish fry to it. Cheques were deposited into the Delta Marsh Field Station.

A financial statement for the Initiative (as of 27 November) is as follows:

Manitoba Conservation grant                     $3,000.00

DMFS account                                             $410.00

Chequing account                                         $693.38

Receivables (fish fry tickets)                          $165.00

Total                                                         $4,268.38

There was some discussion of whether it would be desirable to hold a Silent Auction as part of the next fish fry in Portage la Prairie. Pauch reported that her husband has donated a piece of stained glass for sale in such an auction. It was generally agreed that the fish fry would not be a suitable venue for a Silent Auction. Instead, it would be better held at another information meeting held at Delta in mid-summer 2002, perhaps to coincide with the Delta Cottage Association festivities on 1 July. Goldsborough will check with Doug Depape about this possibility. den Haan will start to solicit donations for the auction.

Goldsborough will check with Garrioch to see if he has any news to report with respect to the calendar fundraising project, and a logo for the DMHI.

6.  Other business: Suggett proposed that participants in the DMHI should have a dinner to celebrate the success of the project in its first year of operation. Goldsborough offered the use of the Delta Marsh Field Station. The idea was received enthusiastically. After comparison of respective schedules, it was decided to hold it on Monday, 10 December with the following Monday as a backup in the event that the station is not available on the 10th. Goldsborough will advise people of the date and make menu arrangements with the station cook. Suggett will try to solicit support for the dinner from his government sources.

7.  Next meeting: The next “meeting” of the Initiative will be a holiday dinner at 6:30 pm on Monday, 10 December 2001 at the Delta Marsh Field Station (University of Manitoba). Spouses, significant others, and children are most welcome. The next formal meeting will be held at the home of Shirley Christianson (118 Wilkinson Crescent, Portage la Prairie) at 9:00 am on Tuesday, 22 January 2002.

8.  Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 11:05 am.