Clear communication can help smooth hard times, and the BC Landscape and Nursery Association honoured Country Life in BC contributor Ronda Payne of Maple Ridge for her accomplishments in that regard.
Payne received the association’s Garden Communicator of the Year Award for her “outstanding communication to the public on garden and landscape topics.”
An avid gardener in addition to her writing, Payne joins the esteemed company of past recipients, including Vancouver Sun columnist Brian Minter of Minter Country Garden Ltd. in Chilliwack, who received the award in 2020.
Other honourees included KPU Institute for Sustainable Horticulture director Deborah Henderson, who was named Educator of the Year. Jamie Lamont, chair of the KPU School of Horticulture, was awarded Member of the Year while John and Maria Byland of Kelowna received the 2023 Lifetime of Outstanding Service Award.
Payne’s coverage of the sector includes the 2023 annual general meeting, which preceded the December 7 award ceremony.
The annual general meeting saw BCLNA members address the serious challenges facing the association in the post-pandemic world.
Traditional revenue sources have failed to recover to pre-pandemic levels and the association has had to dip into its legacy fund in order to cover a deficit estimated at $200,000 this year.
However, a budget has yet to be approved by the membership. The association’s new Chief operating officer Coreen Rodger Berrisford and board expect to finalize the document before Christmas for presentation to members.
Relocating to a smaller office and streamlining staff will help minimize the association’s deficit.
The association relocated its offices to Langley in 2019 after civic zoning changes forced it to move from its long-time offices in Surrey. The 10-year lease was twice as expensive, but association’s finances were in “excellent shape” at the time, and the move was within its means.
That changed with the pandemic, the cancellation of key events and a drop-off in memberships.
Rodger Berrisford says recouping the losses hinges on implementing the association’s three-year-old strategic plan.
“We will be building on the strategic plan that was done a couple of years ago, to operationalize it and to make sure that the activities we do fit the plan and move us towards our goals, efficiently and effectively,” she added in a note to members this week expressing gratitude for their support.
— With files from Ronda Payne