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Vol. 101 No. 28
Brian Street, President
Joan Posivy, Secretary

Next meeting: Monday January 28, 2019
Joint meeting with UBC & Young Professional Rotaractors @ UBC 

In the spirit of getting 2019 off to a great start with a joint meeting between Vancouver Rotarians, and the Rotaractors of UBC and the Vancouver Young Professionals clubs! 

The meeting format will include interactive components designed for us to get to know one another better. This follows a buffet dinner provided by the Potluck Cafe Society. Kindly note that members who are on a pay-as-you-go arrangement, and members' guests will be charged $30 for the dinner, otherwise, your dinner costs are already covered.

 

NO MEETING: Tuesday January 29, 2019

 

Upcoming meeting: Tuesday February 5, 2019
Michael Vonn, Policy Director, BC Civil Liberties Association
Cybersecurity: Hot topic and burning civil liberties issue

Michael Vonn is a lawyer and has been the Policy Director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association since 2004. She has been an Adjunct Professor at UBC in the Faculty of Law and in the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies where she has taught civil liberties and information ethics. She has many publications under her belt and is a frequent speaker on a variety of civil liberties topics including privacy, national cesurity, policing, surveillance and free speech. Ms. Vonn is currently a collaborator on Big Data Surveillance, a multi-year research project led by Queens University. She is an Advisory Board Member of Ryerson University's Centre for Free Expression and an Advisory Board Member of Privacy International.
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District 5040 Foundation Dinner

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Crystal Ball Room, 11780 River Road, Richmond

6:00 PM Reception with Appys
7:00 PM Buffet Dinner Indian and Canadian

Dress Up for Any Culture or Country
Silent and Live Auction, Entertainment
Paul Harris Fellow matching recognition US $500

$60 per person until February 25, 2019
$70 per person after February 25th 

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Supporting our fellow Clubs

Heart of the Matter Gala – Feb 8th, 2019

To the Heart of the Matter’s 21st Annual Fund Raiser and Valentines Community Event will be held Friday, February 8th, 2019 at the Inn At the Quay. The event includes a champagne reception, buffet dinner provided by the Boathouse, silent and live auctions, as well as a raffle. Last year the evening netted $45,000, which benefits the Royal City Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Burnaby and Monarch Place – a safe house in the New Westminster/Burnaby area for women and children fleeing violence. Both Rotary Clubs sponsor local and international projects while the money raised for Monarch Place remains here in our New Westminster/Burnaby communities.

The anticipated revenue from the raffle ticket sales will be shared among the three beneficiaries. The Royal City Rotary Club plans to use their funds to sponsor a hot lunch program for students in need at New Westminster Secondary School. The Rotary Club of Burnaby will use their funds to support the Progressive Housing Society, a non-profit organization in Burnaby who provides support and services to adults living with mental illness and other issues relating to homelessness as well as the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. Monarch Place receives a portion of their funding from BC Housing, with the balance of their budget to be raised through sponsorship of events such as To the Heart of the Matter.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

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Upcoming Events
please click on the titles for more info for specific events
Youth Committee Meeting
Terminal City Club
Mar 05, 2019 11:00 AM
 
Networking & Vocational Service Committee
Navid's office
Mar 07, 2019
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
 
Board of Directors' Meeting
Mar 07, 2019 5:30 PM
 
District 5040 Foundation Dinner 2019
Riverside Palace
Mar 09, 2019 6:00 PM
 
Food on the Corner
Mar 16, 2019 11:00 AM
 
Youth Gala Organizing Committee Meeting
Water Street Cafe
Mar 20, 2019 5:30 PM
 
International Service Committee Meeting
Listel Hotel
Mar 21, 2019 7:30 PM
 
Membership Committee Meeting
Swissreal offices (Franz)
Mar 26, 2019
 
Youth Committee Meeting
Terminal City Club
Apr 02, 2019 11:00 AM
 
Networking & Vocational Service Committee
Navid's office
Apr 04, 2019
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM
 

Membership Matters

 
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Last Meeting January 22, 2019

President Brian Street chaired the meeting and gave the invocation.
Kayo Otake accompanied us on the piano for the singing of O Canada.
Joe Lopushinsky, Sergeant-at-Arms, introduced visitors and guests.
 
President's Announcements:
  • Today is the last day to register for the joint meeting with our two Rotaractor Clubs as we need to get numbers to the caterers in the morning (Jan 23rd). Let Carolyn know before you leave the meeting if you will or may attend.
  • We are looking forward to celebrating the Lunar New Year on February 5th. The Terminal City Club will be providing a special menu and Min Kuang will be sharing some cultural knowledge with us before our scheduled guest speaker.
  • We had our first meeting of the Youth Gala Organizing Committee last week. Thanks to Katherine Copeland for organizing a spot for us at the Water Street Cafe, to all who came out, and to others who have committed to help even if they couldn't join us. The wheels are starting to turn already; really looking forward to working with the group to organize a great event. 
  • We have received an invitation to a fundraising event being put on by the Rotary Clubs of Burnaby and the New Westminster Royal City -- the annual To the Heart of the Matter. See above for more information. If you are available this is a great opportunity to support fellow clubs.
 
Joan Posivy, provided the Secretary's announcements:
  • reminders of upcoming events/meetings (see above)
  • birthdays: Ralf Behringer Jan 24th, Justin Emilio Jan 26th, Kaz Kadono Jan 27th
  • member anniversaries: Kamyar Asadibeiky 1 year
  • wedding anniversaries: Gabriel & Charron Kalfon 48 years Jan 23rd
     
Special announcement and member's moments:
  • John Hayto reminded all that, though there are a few weeks to go before the ski weekend, space is limited. All are encouraged if interested in attending to contact him asap. Dates: February 15-17. Skiing is optional, just come out and enjoy whatever activity you like. If you can only come up for the day, that's great too!
  • Sandra Lowe, as a new member, formally introduced herself to the Club. She is one interesting lady! She is currently the COO at Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, has two grown children (a son who has recently started his own business, Planted Meals, and a daughter who is at med school at McMaster). Sandra is a level 4 hockey Canada referee and continues to enjoy the sport. Her philanthropic activities include her involvement with HHART - Hispaniola Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Team (CLICK HERE for info), having been on numerous volunteer trips with them. We are very lucky to have Sandra join our ranks!
Program:
Fred West introduced Anne McMullin, President & DEO, Urban Development Institute (UDI). Her talk titled, More Home Choices: Solutions for Business & Communities. 
 
Public Opinion polls have shown that affordable housing is the most pressing issue here in Greater Vancouver, impacting all ages, incomes, workers, business, and everyone on some level. A serious lack of affordable housing is dragging down our economy and our region’s competitiveness. Public discussion of housing affordability contributed heavily to influencing the outcome of our last provincial election and our recent municipal elections.
 
UDI members build homes, offices, and commercial buildings to enable residents to live, work, shop and play in their communities. While we’re headquartered in Vancouver, we also have chapters in the Okanagan, South Island and Fraser Valley. We are a Non-partisan and a Not-for-profit association with more than 850 members. Our diverse membership represents builders, planners, engineering and architectural firms, financial institutions, accounting groups, legal firms, marketers and governments – everyone associated with community building.
 
A recent analysis by the independent consulting group MNP, found our industry is very significant to the BC Economy because our sector supports more than 233,000 good-paying, family-supporting BC jobs through nearly $23 billion in annual economic activity. It’s about 20% of B.C.’s GDP. With employment numbers that high, everybody knows somebody who works in this broad sector, whether it’s skilled trades, engineering, accounting, finance, law, real estate or sales. Our industry provides $6.6 billion in taxes to all levels of government each year (and this doesn’t even include the recent additions in the last BC Budget, new Speculation Tax, increased School Tax, Luxury Tax)

Metro Vancouver is among the most desirable places to live anywhere. That’s no longer a secret. We are also heavily constrained by geographical limits, oceans, mountains, borders, ALR. We invited the world for Expo ‘86 and the Winter Olympics 2010. They came and will continue to do so. We’ve had approximately 30,000 people coming here each year but that will grow with the federal government significantly raising immigration to about 40,000-45,000 annually in our region.  Our net housing starts are about 19, 308 annually. Seeing an imbalance?

On top of that, we attract about 140,00 foreign students and temporary workers to Metro Vancouver annually. This is up significantly as government’s have marketed B.C. as a destination for foreign students. While foreign students and temporary workers are an economic boost for our local institutions, and fill critical job shortages,  unfortunately, we didn’t build any housing for them. This contributes to our rental crisis with less than a 1% rental vacancy rate. Plus we have local people such as seniors who are downsizing from single family homes or young people leaving local family homes all competing for the same apartments with these recent arrivals.

All of these individuals and families need homes. So if we are going to accommodate the million more people coming to our region by 2050, we need to get building a diverse choice of homes, or our affordability issues are only going to worsen.

What’s preventing us from building all these homes people need?  

1. ZONING & LAND-USE RESTRICTIONS

Communities are more than single family homes or tall towers.  Unfortunately, the zoning in much of our Metro Vancouver region has 85% of its residential land restricted to Single Family homes. We can only build apartments on 15% of the land base.

2. MUNICIPAL PROCESSING TIMES

At last count, more than 100,000 housing units were locked up in municipal approval processes around the region. It can take up to 5 years to get a project zoned and approved – From my own personal experience, the situation has worsened since I’ve been at UDI – processing times have doubled in the past 6 years. 3 years is now a minimum wait for most projects in some municipalities. By comparison, The City of Langley is a track star, with an average approval time of ONLY 7 months. In Seattle, where many of our members are now building rentals, they can get an apartment building approved in a year.

3. INTEGRATED TRANSIT AND LAND-USE PLANNING

We need to get on with building more rapid transit – and the necessary home choices to support that expansion. Whether it’s the Evergreen Line, Canada Line, Broadway Line or Surrey, our experience tells us that it takes about 20 years of public ‘discussion’ before we get shovels in the ground building new transit.

4. HUMAN CAPITAL & CONSTRUCTION COSTS

We hear it every day, we have a shortage of talent throughout all facets of development.

Municipalities and builders both struggle to attract and retain staff, trades and planners.

Construction Industry experts are projecting that by 2026 we’ll see 247,900 retirements and only 215, 700 new entrants, with a lower labour productivity as a result.
On top of that we face nearly double-digit rises in annual construction costs plus steel and aluminum tariffs that don’t help.

Another critical barrier to building is the Tsunami of new taxes/fees and demand measures on our industry over the past two years. We continue to see a massive piling on of taxes and fees on the construction of new housing by all levels of government (federal, provincial regional and local). Federally we saw more restrictive mortgage rules, despite the fact the national mortgage default rate across Canada is less than one half of one per cent, and less than that even for the BC rate!

Another critical barrier our industry faces is opposition to new forms of housing in communities.  Many of you have probably noticed that much of our older and affordable rental buildings, about 75%, are over 30 years old and past their useful life.  Governments are demanding our industry spend millions if not billions to upgrade these buildings to reflect better seismic and energy efficiency standards.  But now these same buildings are all rent controlled, meaning landlords can’t increase the rent past the Consumer Price Index (inflation). This year, that’s 2.5%.

Rather than blaming others, or adding more barriers and disincentives to building, such as more rent controls, taxes or regulatory burdens, our governments at all levels should commit proven solutions and incentives. We can’t tax our way to affordability.

We need to build differently and work together. We have a 5-step plan to building a BC we can all afford and call home.

  1. Get building faster. Homes can be built faster by speeding up complicated government approvals.
  2. Make rentals make sense. Make rentals a reality by creating incentives to build rentals.  Look at Seattle, our neighbor to the south, where many of our members have begun building rentals.  Seattle has no rent controls, no excessive taxes and fees and take only a year to approve a building. Their vacancy rate is now 7.5% overall. 
  3. Rezone for modern BC. Change zoning and neighborhood design so we have different kinds of housing in one neighborhood like rowhomes, townhomes, duplexes and apartments. We don’t have any more new land to build on so we have to build better and up.
  4. Build near transit. Make it easier to get from home to work by building more homes where we have transit. This creates live, work, shop and play communities.
  5. End the tax grab on new housing. Stop passing costs of new housing on to the people. Reduce taxes, fees and charges on new housing.

What can each one of us do to help? 

  • The easy answer is to start by engaging with our social media campaign: #MoreHomeChoiceforBC on Facebook. Share solutions on our Facebook page.
  • Call your municipal politicians/staff or write letters/emails asking for more home choices, including rental apartments, in your community.
  • Attend municipal public meetings and publicly support new home choices.
  • Reach out to your local media and share your housing advice, your stories and opinions.

Every voice helps.  We’re in this together.

 
Meeting adjourned with a toast to progressive housing policies.
 

February 22, 2019

BE THE INSPIRATION

Brian Street, President
admin@rotaryvancouver.org   Joan Posivy, Secretary