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Chester Trust membership down


 CHESTER - Membership numbers for Chester Trust are down, but there's no cause for concern, says the former board chairwoman.

 Suzi Fraser, the outgoing chairwoman, said the downturn in membership is due to a clerical error and not disinterest in the group.

 "It's an oversight," she said. "I think people are more open to joining Chester Trust than before."

 The drop in membership, she added, can be attributed to a delay in sending out the trust newsletter which solicited new and renewal memberships.

 Instead of being delivered in early spring, the newsletter wasn't sent out until July.

 "At that time people generally are too busy to take out their chequebooks," Ms Fraser said. "And then they tend to forget about it and now most of those people are gone back home for the winter."

 Chester Trust, in a fairly recent development, shares its membership with the Village of Chester Tourism and Development Association (VOCTADA).

 The trust's 2008 fiscal membership numbers were 52.

 VOCTADA chairman Phil Ellwood said despite the trust's fall-off in membership, he believes his association's membership should remain the same, between 170 and 200.

 This year's focus of the trust will continue to be the restoration of the Lightfoot Tower which is located behind the Zo&È; Vall&È; Library.

 Ms Fraser said another social fundraiser will be held next spring to kick off another fundraising season.

 Already more than $12,000 has been raised.

 This fall and winter will see a pair of architects look at the tower. A graphic designer from Montreal will also be part of the process.

 Eventually their reports will be turned over to local engineer Andre Veinotte.

 "We're trying to pull as much information as possible together before we go to Andre," Ms Fraser said. "And we anticipate by next spring we'll know what all this is going to cost."

 The engineer's quote for the restoration and re-engineering plan is $4,500 plus.

 Chester Trust hasn't committed to a time frame for the restoration as of yet.

 "It will go as long as it takes," Ms Fraser said. "We'd like to see it done within two years but we have to be realistic about it. This money isn't going to come out of thin air."



posted on 10/07/08
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