Saint City Rotary Club begins anew on the trail
By: Stu Salkeld
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 11, 2014 06:00 am
A respected St. Albert service club is beginning anew as it’s adopted a new place and time for its regular meetings.
The Saint City Rotary Club held its inaugural meeting at its new location, the St. Albert Inn and Suites, located on St. Albert Trail, Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Club president Gerry Mazer said the club, which formerly met downtown, was watching its membership dwindle.
“Our club kept losing members,” said Mazer as he welcomed the group of about 40 members and guests Tuesday night.
Mazer said getting downtown for a lunchtime meeting seemed to be a problem for some people, especially people who may work in Edmonton. He said the new location close to the edge of the city and right on the trail is easy to access.
“I think this new location will be ideal for us,” he said.
He said the club’s meetings will always begin at 5:30 and will feature a light repast of appetizers and finger food, but no large dinner. As well, a cash bar will be available. Meetings are expected to last one hour.
Mazer said one of his goals as president in 2014 is to see the club increase membership from its current 10. He said he’d like to see it grow to 20, at least.
A number of special guests brought greetings from other levels of the Rotary machinery. Mayor Nolan Crouse was the keynote speaker.
Crouse pointed out so much of the news reported is negative, and misses the great achievements of clubs like the Saint City Rotary Club.
“When was the last time you heard ... the number of not-for-profits there are in a community?” he asked.
Crouse said he did a little digging and discovered there are 83 not-for-profits in St. Albert, plus churches and other related groups. The mayor said there is so much generosity in St. Albert that rarely gets a light shone on it.
“We’re a pretty giving community,” he added.
He commended the Saint City Rotary Club for its move to a new location.
“You made a gutsy move,” said the mayor.
Crouse then spoke a bit about a pretty positive-looking 2014 coming up.
He said a new elementary school named after Lois Hole, scheduled to open in 2016, will be a great opportunity for the Rotary Club. A new francophone high school in Erin Ridge is another great opportunity too, as the high school moving out of the bottom floor of the Youville Home will make more room available there.
The mayor pointed out there’s a number of recent or new youth initiatives, including BAM, SOARing and the youth festival.
A new palliative care group has begun in St. Albert, aiming to increase the availability of that important service inside the city boundaries, noted the mayor. The steering committee, he reported, is looking at successful models in other communities to glean some ideas for St. Albert’s project.
Another important project in 2014 will be the recent city approval of an expansion and renovation at the 50+ Club.
“That’s going to become a centre of attraction,” said Crouse.
Crouse said St. Albert, and lots of other communities, are seeing an aging population. He said it won’t be long before 20 per cent of St. Albert is over the age of 65 years and the city needs resources for seniors. “Not all of them are going to be in Phoenix,” he said.
A new neighbourhood is likely to be delineated inside the city this year said Crouse. The J neighbourhood west of Walmart is in the works after a land purchase by Melcor. He said the new neighbourhood should have a capacity of about 6,000 people.
Mazer said later he’s looking forward to seeing new members of the Saint City club because Rotary has much to offer.
“Part of it is giving back to the community,” said Mazer Wednesday. He said Rotarians help students go on special trips, provide scholarships and help with substance abuse programs to name a few projects.
Also, the Saint City Club has spearheaded the Rotary Park project with grant help from the St. Albert Rotary Club. “We’re hoping to actually add on to it new features as the years go on,” said Mazer.
Rotary is also well-known for international work, such as the effort to eradicate polio and special projects like People of Hope in Mexico. Saint City Rotary Club members along with Morinville Rotary Club members went to Mexico to help people who’d been living at a landfill settle in to new apartment accommodations.
“This group came back just really excited,” said Mazer.
Other upcoming events include a Rotary curling bonspiel, a fund-raising casino and much more.
Mazer said the social aspect of Rotary is one of the most enjoyable parts. “That’s part of it as well,” he said. “Getting to know each other.”
Those interested in becoming members of the Saint City Rotary Club can drop in on one of the Tuesday evening meetings at 5:30 p.m. at the St. Albert Inn. Also, those interested can call Mazer at 780-651-3088 or talk to any member of the club.