Rotary Club of Vancouver Arbutus


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Welcome to our Club!

Vancouver Arbutus

Service Above Self

We meet Fridays at 12:14 PM
Arbutus Club
2001 Nanton Avenue
Vancouver, BC  V6J 4A1
District Site
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Home Page Stories

This week we had a Club Assembly by Past President Mary.  Projects to date are: Sleep With The Whales $4000 Nov. 14th, RYLA North $425, RYLA South $1700, Nootka Elementary $3000 CALS, $1700 Digital Library, St. John Ambulance $4124, Bus for Inner City schools to visit VanDusen $4800, and we will do 5 school bursaries $5000.  This will leave an approximate balance in our Gaming Account of $22,000.  For social events we did Pasta for Polio in Oct - raised $1000, visited the Honey Bee Center, Christmas Party at Hycroft, Thai Night Out, and Chartered our Prince of Wales Interact Club.  Future events will be a Fireside/Wine Tasting at Bills on May 26th and the Shoreline Clean up on Sept. 27th.  All of our hands on events come from our members ideas so if you see something we should consider please let us know!  Membership: we started at 20 and are still at 20.  Member retention is an area of concern for our club and this could be helped with having a "Sunshine Person" that keeps track of where members are when they don't attend our regular lunch meeting.  It was suggested that a phone call to a missing member would be more effective than an email.  For new members Mary suggested we target those in the 55+ age group - around retirement age.  Retired people don't mind 2 hour weekday lunches, aren't looking for a club to join for networking for future business and have the time, money and willingness to give back to their communities.  We need to consider advertising through Social Media to try to attract this age group.

This was Tom's last official visit to our our club.  After serving the district as Assistant District Governor for three years he will continue next year as District Membership Chair.  Our own Davinder Grewal will replace Tom in July as ADG.  Davinder thanked Tom for all his hard work and acknowledged she had big footprints to follow.  Tom discussed the District Conference where we will have a representative from Rotary International that is from Nepal.  Tom will be collecting cash to give to him at the Conference.  Tom also told us about his own club's Rotary Day which was an Easter Egg hunt for the children in Tsawwassen.  Tom was a last minute stand in for the Easter Bunny and when he got home he realized he couldn't get out of his costume without help.  His wife was not there and the neighbours weren't home.  So after sweating for a while he actually stopped a car on the road and asked the driver to unzip him.  The lady was a little apprehensive but complied with his request.  If she hadn't been from out of town I am sure Tom would have asked her to join his club!
Tom reviewed some of the changes mooted by Rotary for entering a challenging period in the organization's history, at least in North America. A new website is being created, for example, which is designed to encourage clubs to promote themselves, both for what they represent to their communities and where and when they meet. Additionally, the message is changing from "come to ... club" to "come to a rotary meeting ...", and there will be new promotional materials that the various clubs can freely use. Tom also reviewed the changing Lower Mainland situation : there are too many small (substitute 'struggling' if you like) clubs that might benefit by amalgamation with others. Certainly this is a solution to continuing losses in numbers of clubs, though the loss of autonomy will obviously create some issues just by itself.
Tom brought a beautiful light to give to President Shail to thank him for his leadership this past year.

In the interests of balanced debate and the representation of very different arguments, we welcomed Richard Truscott to our meeting to represent the "No" side of the Great Transit Referendum. Appearing as the Vice President of the Canadian Federation for Independent Businesses, and therefore appearing on behalf of some 109,000 members (of which 10,000 are from B.C.), he commenced his address by stating that 80% of the Federation's members were against the proposal to increase the sales tax and then proceeded to agree with Mayor Brodie's excoriation of Translink. But from that point, his argument embraced several propositions, firstly that an increase in the sales tax would be iniquitous, being contrary to local business interests, secondly that revenue is presently being simply misused, and thirdly that Translink is totally irresponsible and that it should cease to exist (perhaps to be replaced by a government agency (sic)) because of its past transgressions.
But, paradoxically, he agreed that his membership recognized the need for infrastructure improvements, the projected growth in population and business obviously mandating major transportation innovation. It would seem, however, that the No side is of the view that Translink is sitting on a pile of money and that it should simply be abolished or recast (what is legislated into existence can of course be equally easily legislated into history) and the transportation problem would be resolved by, presumably, appropriate use of the resulting flood of funds. As a solution to a set of problems that few deny, this doesn't sound much like a plan, a flaw that members' questioning immediately limned. All know that there is no Plan B, so one is forced to the conclusion - at least on the basis of this presentation - that a No vote is simply a recipe for inaction.

Prince of Wales Interact Club and PDG Hans Doge selling donuts to raise money.  25 Dozen Krispy Kreme sold and about $200 raised!

Our speaker was Mayor Malcolm Brodie of Richmond. His topic was, naturally, the Transit Referendum, a subject upon which he and many other mayors have recently spent much political capital. While there seems to be a considerable time for the forces on either side to mobilize, the 'due date' being May 29, the fact is that there is much misinformation and mistrust being exhibited over questions that the polity barely comprehends, and putting the record straight is an unenviable task that has been presented to local mayors by other levels of government that decided to pass the ball to others.
The Metro Vancouver area is expected to greet about 1 million new residents over the next 30 years, and even superficial observation of the rush-hour crawl, the pressure on house prices, the decrepit state of some bridges and the common complaints about full busses amply demonstrates the need for constructive solutions to the problems of an expanding society. Patently, no level of government likes to announce an increase in taxes, and nor do any levels appreciate the obvious mis-steps of Translink nor take responsibility for what appear to be extremely costly management errors.
The solutions to the problems are not easy, but the Mayor had no trouble admitting to the meeting the fact that perceptions had mostly gone against the manifest need for new light rapid transit, a Broadway subway, a new NightBus service and as many as 400 new transit vehicles. The fact also has to faced that the rejection of the referendum proposals will mean stagnation, inefficiency, and the throttling of much progressive development of the whole of Greater Vancouver. Plan B does not exist : but there is still time, one hopes, for good sense to prevail over the myopic views of nay-sayers. It was encouraging that the audience so actively participated in this important discussion.


Our contribution of $4,800 will bring 720 children from inner-city schools to explore and study in the most beautiful outdoor classroom in Vancouver during the 2015/2016 school year. (45 children per bus). Since 2002, with the support of various donors, a bursary was established to subsidize educational programming for inner-city children throughout the lower mainland. Support of this program would help provide educational programming for inner-city kids throughout the lower mainland by providing bus transportation to and from VanDusen Gardens for field trips.


We welcomed Dr. Pieter Cullis from the Life Sciences Institute at UBC. His topic was the future of medicine, less succinctly “The New Science of Medicine”, essentially the discipline of precision treatment  of the individual. The science is predicated upon the plain fact that the costs of treatment are simply too high given the current failure to practice preventive medicine. The future lies with molecular characterization, thereby presenting the prospect of current wastage (less than 50% of drugs actually work on the patients for whom they are prescribed) perhaps being eliminated. The drive is to give people the information that they need in their lives to make choices. The concentration in the talk – which, admittedly, was of considerable complexity – was on cancer, which is not only widespread in its effects, but a topic of increasing interest to the general population. Genetics largely account for cancer itself, thus leading to the key for this range of health matters being one’s genetic profile, and over the next few years, one person’s type of protein profile may well dictate the course of one’s life.
This personalized medicine will allow (of course, only in those societies that can afford it) far more effective preventive care than at present and greatly refine the healthcare system. Of course, to a degree it provides for very early determination of one’s life, particularly the pattern of healthcare, and as such has profound economic and philosophical implications for society in general. The uniqueness of each individual’s profile being the key to patient treatment, the accuracy of the individual’s unique molecular makeup should transform the personalized health care system.
Frankly, a challenging talk : chromosome therapy should denote the end of many of mankind’s greatest scourges.
It is always gratifying to receive positive feedback from those whom we endeavor to assist, and today we welcomed Monika and Tyson from Nootka Elementary School. For some years the Club has been providing monies to the school to assist in its Learning Assistance program, and to this point has sent some $51,000 (part of which was a benefactor’s individual donation) to provide material assistance to an immensely necessary benefit to children who struggle with words and structured tuition.
Monika is the school principal, and after an expression of thanks to the Club, she introduced Tyson, the architect and engineer of the ‘course’. He, obviously an enthusiastic and motivated teacher, described how the LAP for grades 3 to 11 actually operates and utilizes the funds that are received. He has generally been involved in these activities for 17 years and part of his dedication is shown by his regime of arising at 4am to prepare individual instruction for each pupil, the target being the obverse of the usual technique of only getting into action on the ‘wait to fail’ basis : this, as he said, is entirely the wrong way around for providing such assistance. Virtually all of his pupils go on to graduate, a target which initially many would not believe to be possible. These are often students whom he characterized as ‘angry and frustrated’, in part because of a complete inability to read by the time they reach grade 4. They are not, he emphasized, of low intelligence, it being a blockage of some sort that is holding back the learning process. It is his job to break that intellectual logjam, which is why his skills are so individualized. 
We were shown two brief films that his students created and in which they appeared. The first, entitled “Welcome to Thrive” was a moving demonstration of practical biodiversity, and indeed of practical film-making : an opportunity to observe a wise-looking barn owl was grasped when it unexpectedly appeared outside the school. It presented a powerful image. The second film was in reality a thanks for the Club’s having provided so much assistance. We were shown some examples of demonstrative mathematics teaching, an example of assistance that could not have been effected without the help of Rotary.
The world’s learning problems are, it would seem, profound. Of all children, Tyson said, 20% are illiterate, and of the balance, 20% are functionally illiterate. These are sobering thoughts.
Gillian Drake.   VanDusen Botanical Garden Director.  Children at need program.
Our Rotary club has provided funds for this program in the past.
It provides funding for inner-city school children to visit the gardens.
The kids pay to come in at the regular rate of $7.50 per student but this program provides the cost of the bus transportation to get them there.
Gardens are such an important past of our education.  Kids learn so much better by being there and seeing the flowers in person.
Think of how you felt this week with all the blossoms surrounding you?  The spring bursting forth.
It lowers your stress level.
We need unstructured time in nature.
It’s a breath of fresh air.  A garden gives you safe time.
To see a squirrel or a duck or a hummingbird or a leaf as big as a table.
Kids get the sensory experience.  Fantastic flowers. 
They run the program from April to June then again in the fall.
This is a Botanical garden not just a park so they also have a research program.
They take in 3,000 children a year.
They also have been assigned the Bloedel conservatory to administer and direct traffic to which has been a great success so far in generating additional visitors to.
Is it time for another club visit to the gardens?
The speaker was thanked by Laurie.
A D G Tom Smith came to see us today with an update on the foundation and the District  5040.
Tom talked a little about himself first as his experience as A D G.
Tom is a member of the  Tsawwasen club.
He finds the Vancouver clubs to be quite different than a suburban club.
The suburban clubs often have a defined territory and whilst the Arbutus Club has a territory it isn’t so well defined.
We reach all over and we are not so well know in our community.
Rotary is very well known in Tsawwasen.
Stop anybody in the street and they will more then likely have heard of Rotary.
Not so much in our territory.
His first year he just tried to absorb the culture of our club and learn.
The second year he got involved and the third year he has been direct but respectful.
Small clubs are not as structured and it hurts its effectiveness.
Being a Vancouver club is different.
Small clubs have an obligation to sit on the board.  If you don’t you could end up like Chinatown.
Small clubs need a succession plan that might include a recycled President.
Don’t forget the district conference.
North Vancouver from May 8th to 10th 2015. 
Rotary foundation.
How do you feel connected to Rotary and do you feel as connected to the Foundation?
Foundation creates sustainable projects.
What are we doing to make the Foundation sustainable?
Being a Paul Harris sustaining member will allow you to say no to other charities knowing you are supporting one that is close to home.
Donating to the foundation completes you as a Rotarian.

The Honey Bee Centre
On Saturday we had a cub visit to the Honey Bee Centre in Surrey.
Shail chose to drive in his brand new car.  A whole 2 days old.
Hmm, new car smell and Oh so clean.  Shame it was raining!
We wandered round the store then had an instructional visit with the bees by a bee keeper who showed us around the visitor centre.  It was cold and raining out side so the bees seemed happy to be inside attending to their duties.
After the tour we shared lunch with John Gibeau who told us his Bee story, which included everything from using bees in movies to school tours as well as exporting bees allover the world.
Hooray for the hard working Bees.
We came home full of samples of local honey and some jars to take home.

Thanks to our newest member PDG Hans Doge our Interact Club at Prince of Wales is back.  Hans has recruited enough students to charter this club that had not been active in the past few years.
Stand by for exciting things from this new Interact Club.  Well done Hans!


We make progress in society only if we stop cursing and complaining about its shortcomings and have the courage to do something about them.

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross 1926-2004, Psychiatrist and Author



On Oct. 2nd we had a simple pasta dinner at The Blarney Stone and raised $632 for Polio Eradication.  The board approved increasing it to $1000 for the donations we make for our speakers.  And this $1000 will be matched by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation bringing the total to $2000!






Mary gave a presentation about a possible project for our club - Free Little Libraries.  These look like oversize bird houses and are put in the ground at the front of the property so that anyone walking by can take a book or leave a book.  Some have a binder inside where you can put comments down on books you have read from the library. They are usually half and half adults and children's books.  They benefit the community by getting neighbours to know each other.



Victor Chan has known the Dalai Lama for over 40 years, and in 2005, they co founded the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education here in Vancouver.

They also co authored The Wisdom of compassion.

Their previous work The Wisdom of Forgiveness: has been translated into 14 Languages.

The Dalai Lama is a Global Icon.  One of four people that have honorary Canadian Citizenship.

The Dalai Lama is coming here to Vancouver again.   (His only stop in Canada)

Oct 21 to 23rd.  for three days.

15 lucky people will be spending the afternoon with him on the 22nd.

He will be meeting with the students from John Oliver School one afternoon.

His goal is to raise the idea to balance the education of both the mind and the heart with cognitive development on one hand and kindness on the other.

His mission in the world is to create a well-rounded people.

There will be an open to the public session at the convention centre dedicated to the idea of Educating the heart.

This is the fourth time he has been here.

He is fostering empathy, social responsibility and to be mindful of others.

If this can be incorporated in the school curriculum we will create well-rounded students.

He will be meeting with the minister of education and his staff to help establish this in the education program.

We want more than just a PhD.

At the convention centre there will be a panel discussion.

There will also be an open session at the Chan Center at UBC.

The question is how to balance educating the mind with the heart.

Tickets are now available on line.

The speaker was thanked by Davinder.



Heather Deal.  Vision Councilor for Vision Party joined us today.

Heather Deal was first elected to the Vancouver Park Board in 2002 and served as the Chair in 2003.  She was then elected to Vancouver City Council in 2005 and was re-elected in 2008 and 2011.

   Her accomplishments so far are a supporter of the Food Trucks program, 30,000 sq feet of Artists space in the city now and many bike lanes.

Marpole Park is in her sights but still has a long way to go. City council is currently negotiating but the talks have stalled.  It could be a 10 acre park.  What an asset!  It is off Cambie Bridge on the waterfront of the Fraser River.

Lower medium income levels need attention by the city.  We have 50% renters in the city today but no new rental properties coming on line.  They are not deemed worthwhile by the investment community.

Ie. they are not profitable.

The city needs to hear from the public.  What do you want?

City council has helped certain properties to get rental status.

We do have developers fess to put toward the park.

We can create a trail for the North Arm of the Fraser.  We can have an 11 km trail.

The train tracks?  What to do with the land.

CN currently owns the land but they only have usage for them as goods transportation.

The city controls the land usage.  The city cant stop them from using the tracks again for transportation but there is no business case for transportation.

The last usage was for Molsons and they don’t have the need anymore.

Could they use them for container transfer?

CP has asked for 100 million for the lands.  The city has offered 10 million.

They seem to be negotiating through the press and the media.

Heather went on to talk about heritage designation.

If the city designate a property for heritage status the owners of the property can sue the city for loss of value so the city has to be very careful with this designation.

Heather often asks people do you have your property designated heritage?

The speaker was thanked by Teddie.



As part of the weekend to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Magee High School members of our club cooked breakfast for about 600.




Today our speaker was Mr Wally Oppal Q.C. who gave a review of the Missing Womans Inquiry that he chaired two years ago.

When we had 26 missing woman they asked the question, was it foul play?

Perhaps they are just missing? In 1991 there was no real conclusion.

Maybe they were subject to violence?

By 1995 the numbers were increased and 3 women went missing from Agassiz.

They were known to have been in the sex trade but a missing persons unit was established.  This was wholly inadequate.

It is no crime to go missing, people do it all the time and with no body on their hands there was no money released for an investigation.  There was some investigation done but with multiple police forces involved there was no overall coordination.

In 1996, 3 or 4 more women went missing so the Vancouver police stepped up their patrols, which had the effect of driving the sex workers further away from safety making them more vulnerable.  In 1997 a woman turned up in emergency with multiple stab wounds, as did Robert Picton.
They charged him with attempted murder but because she turned up high on drugs for the interviews they dropped the charges as they felt she was unreliable.

They didn’t bother to investigate him any further.

They didn’t even bother going to his farm.

12 more women went missing.

In 1998 Crime Stoppers received a tip off it was Picton and still they did nothing.

A killer profiler was brought in and he wrote a report that said maybe they were dealing with a serial killer.

It fits all the patterns.

A task force was formed in 2001.



ImageLast year there were 157 new cases of Polio in the last three countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.  Projected number of cases in 2018 - zero.  Where will you be when the world is declared Polio Free?


Bill is off travelling again and he did a make up at our sister club in Japan - Seto North.  In this picture he is at their front desk with Rotarian Setsuko Hirao who was part of the group from this club that visited us a few years ago.



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