Honourary Life Members in the GBA are individuals who the Board of the GBA recognize as having made a meaningful contribution that has significantly advanced the work of the GBA. This contribution could be in the form of one significant deed or a series of actions that have collectively made a big difference. Recipients must have been a volunteer (“whether Board or otherwise”) for GBA and need not have been a former President.
Life Members can be nominated by the GBA Board of Directors or the Membership at large. All nominations will be considered by the Board. The GBA Board will have the final say on who will be awarded an Honourary Life Membership. New Life Members will be recognized at the ensuing Annual General Meeting of the organization.
Current Honourary Life Members
1991 John Birnbaum
John was a long-standing volunteer Director of the GBA before he was hired as GBA’s first paid Executive Director. John took on this role in 1992, at which time he was presented with the first Honourary Life Membership in the GBA in recognition of over 12 years of volunteer service. John was instrumental in evolving GBA from an alliance of local cottage associations to an organization that has successfully taken on large pan-Georgian Bay issues, winning the respect and trust of politicians and civil servants at all levels of government. John was also very involved with the establishment of two other Georgian Bay organizations, the GBA Foundation (now Georgian Bay Forever) and the Georgian Bay Land Trust. And under John’s watch the GBA was also involved in the establishment of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve and the Eastern Georgian Bay Stewardship Council.
Wally is a Sans Souci cottager and a force to be reckoned with. Wally became politically involved at the time the province was considering the future of municipal governance in central and northern Ontario. He spearheaded the effort that resulted in the founding of the Township of the Archipelago. He has been a President of GBA (retiring in 1990) and headed up the committee that organized the celebration of GBA’s 75th anniversary. Wally was instrumental in the founding of the Georgian Bay Trust Foundation (now the GBLT) in April of 1991. And he continues to be a strong supporter of all things Georgian Bay.
1994 Christopher Baines
A member of the Cognashene Cottagers Association, Chris Baines was an active member of the GBA Board of Directors since 1986, serving as President for three years and past President for two. During his Presidency, the Board completed many initiatives, including the launching of its newsletter, GBA UPDATE, a revised constitution, formalized long term planning, the Eastern Georgian Bay Conference, and a wonderful 75th anniversary celebration/art show.
…of Blackstone Lake, was a GBA Director for eight years, serving his last two as vice president. John’s achievements are many: helping organize the first Delawana Conference, chairing Land Use and Planning Committee, and representing GBA on the Massassauga Park planning committee. John’s work was instrumental in the Zoning By-law for the Township of Georgian Bay and the GBA response to the Township of the Archipelago’s Official Plan.
1995 Frank Spangenberg
For ten years Frank has served this Board, for several of them as vice president. Frank was the “father” of the Grey Water cleanup thrust at GBA and of Georgian Bay Township, where he was the Chair of their Clean Water committee. As the principle representative of the Honey Harbour community, Frank has shared their initiatives around septic tank owner educational programs and self-help efforts. His excellent communication skills and his strong persuasive techniques are probably what encouraged more Honey Harbour residents to participate in the 1994 water and sediment testing program. For almost his entire time with GBA, Frank chaired the Environment committee.
1998 Roy Schatz
Roy was named GBA’s sixth Honorary Life Member for over 10 years of outstanding service, including serving as GBA’s Secretary, chair of GBA’s The Township of the Archipelago liaison committee and 2 years as GBA President. Roy went on to found the GBA Foundation (now GBF) and was its first President.
2001 Kathy Sutton
GBA vice president Kathy Sutton, a long-time communications chair, stepped down from the board of directors in 2001 after volunteering for nine years. In recognition of her extraordinary efforts, particularly for transforming GBA UPDATE into its present format, Cathy was named GBA’s seventh Honorary Life Member.
2003 Hugh McLelland
Hugh McLelland, a past president of GBA, stepped down from the board in 2002 after serving as a director for 12 years. Hugh has a deep devotion to the Georgian Bay community and its precious environment. Hugh’s speech at the annual meeting in which he accepted his Honorary Life membership made a strong impression on those in the audience and helped persuade many to get involved in the organization and take up the cause. Hugh went on to be a Board member at GBA Foundation/GBF.
2005 Pat Northey
Pat Northey was President of GBA twice, the fist time in 1993-94 and the second in 1999-2001. When he wasn’t dealing with the myriad of challenges facing the GBA, Pat volunteered his time on a GBA Foundation project pulling together an application to secure Biosphere Reserve status with UNESCO for our East Georgian Bay Littoral zone. Pat became the first (and long standing) President of the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve.
2008 John Pepperell
After serving as president of SSCA, John joined the GBA Board in 2001 and took on a new role as VP Corporate Development which aimed to develop corporate support and secure long-term funding for the GBA. He also saw a need for the GBA to become better at communicating our achievements. By the time John stepped down as President of GBA in 2005 GBA had evolved its newsletter, GBA UPDATE, into a first-class publication with growing corporate advertising support. John later became a councillor for the Township of the Archipelago.
2012 Peter Kelk
Peter has a foot in both 12 Mile Bay and Manitou but came to the Board of the GBA in 1989 as a Director from the former. He served as the Treasurer for GBA and then as a Vice President retiring from the Board in 1997. Peter focussed much of his efforts on First Nation affairs and clean water initiatives. He also played an active role in many area groups including GBA, 12 Mile Bay Association (as President), GBA Foundation and the Georgian Bay Trust Foundation. And last but not least he graciously allowed GBA to hold its Board meetings and other special meetings in his board room at Kelk Industries.