Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Belleville Ontario! Due to Covid-19 our regular lunch meetings are cancelled until further notice.

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Capers Restaurant
272 Front St
Belleville, ON K8N 2Z2
Due to Covid-19 our regular lunch meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Please contact us for further details.
Home Page Stories
Doug Peterson welcomed everyone (mostly by Zoom) to the 35th and final meeting of the Rotary Club of Belleville in the 100th Anniversary.  It has been an interesting and challenging Rotary year.  President Doug was very pleased to recognize the work of Rotarians and the results of that work by dedicating the Rotary Fitness Park to the City of Belleville.  This is the Club's final major project honouring the Club's 100 years of service in the community.  Past District Governor Bill MacKay, Rotarians Vince Lynch, Bill Lowther, Ken Wheeler, Cory MacKay, John Smale and friend to Rotary, Ross Wagner collaborated on this meaningful project.  The dedication of this Fitness Park comes almost a year after Rotary's first project, the Rotary Music Garden, dedicated at Riverside Park on July 3, 2019.  The same hard-working crew was on the job then!
PDG Bill MacKay, Chair of the 100th Anniversary Committee was personally very pleased  to mark the Rotary Club of Belleville's 100th Anniversary with the opening of the Rotary Fitness Park, an idea suggested by Director John Smale in conjunction with some other projects.  A Celebration dinner was planned, unfortunately was sidelined by COVID-19, but re-arranged as a virtual Zoom celebration meeting!  The start of the celebration saw the dedication of the Rotary Music Garden a year ago, followed now with the Rotary Fitness Park and a history book to ensure the Club's history continued to be captured.  The final idea that was acted on was to develop a video of past presidents and their stories.  The Rotary Club of Belleville has now launched their own YouTubeChannel that will also be posted on our Facebook page.  To the members of the 100th Anniversary Committee, to the Committee Members of the 100th Dinner Celebration and Chair Pat Feasey, to the Club History Co-Chairs Jo-Anne Wheeler and Karen Baker and the team of editors, to the Music Garden and Fitness Park Team Leader Vince Lynch and his team of installers and to all those who helped and assisted in making this year such a special one, thank you.  Bill was very proud to say that between him and his father, long time Rotarian Bill MacKay Sr. they have a combined 100 years of service in Rotary, as Past Presidents and Past District Governors, all from the same Club.  Quite a milestone and appropriately linked to today.
Vince Lynch as the key installer of the Rotary Fitness Park, refers to the timing as "just in time", finishing at 8:30 a.m. this morning after a very busy month of June taking delivery of the equipment on June 9th, getting the site excavation started, installing the equipment (18 pieces with 84 anchors), installing the sign, all done under the constraints of COVID.  Vince thanked his right hand man, Bill Lowther who was invaluable and always available on short notice.  Vince also made special mention of Rob Rashotte, site lead from the City along with Joe Reid and his Parks and Open Spaces staff.  Everyone was determined to get the job done in time.  And a thank you to Mayor Panciuk and Council for their support.  The Rotary Assembly Crew are becoming experts at park installations!  Great job.
Mayor Mitch Panciuk was excited to accept this Rotary Fitness Park on behalf of the City of Belleville and although he was looking forward to the 100th Anniversary Dinner, was very impressed with the Club moving forward with their project and not stepping back.
Historian Jo-Anne Wheeler announced the availability of the Club's History Book, a special walk through the century that was.  The content of "A History of the Rotary Club of Belleville" will surprise you.  The book committee headed up by Jo-Anne included Bill MacKay, Cory MacKay and Karen Baker and they all worked on this project for almost 4 years.  With the assistance of Past President Garth Stephanson and the generosity of Rotarian Ian Anderson, owner of JB Print, the book is available at the low price of $25.  Every Rotarian, past Rotarian and anyone who knows a Rotarian should not miss the opportunity to purchase this piece of history.
Incoming President Tim McKinney thanked everyone for this much needed facility, for their countless hours planning and constructing this Rotary Fitness Park as well as the Rotary Music Garden.  The location of the Fitness Park is appropriately located with trees in the background as part of the Rotary Keegan Treescape project from the Club's 75th Anniversary.  A proud moment for Rotary and the Club.  Tim is looking forward to his term as President of the Club as of July 1st, the 101st year of the Rotary Club of Belleville.
Rotary Club of Belleville - The Rotary Fitness Park Project & Dedication Ceremony
Certainly the arrival of COVID-19 was a roller coaster ride for everyone, including businesses and different professions.  Today, we will hear from four (4) people who work in different industries and professions, all with a different perspective on how they managed or how they have had to change.
First up was Ashley Rushnell who is part of the family business, Rushnell Family Services.  They are governed by the Bereavement Authority and received the heads up about a large outbreak from a funeral held in Newfoundland with several hundred people sick.  The funeral folks are used to flu outbreaks and dealing with long term care facilities who lock down because of the flu.  The business stayed open and operational with a limited number of people allowed to come in with most arrangements and paperwork encouraged to be done on-line.  Very strict restrictions.  Families could not approach the casket, no prolonged dispositions were allowed, people were not allowed to attend visitation and then leave and return, family members could not say goodbye.  Now ten people are allowed in and a service can be done with the same 10 people in attendance.  Graveside service also limited to 10 people.  Funerals can be done via zoom as well or by drive through.  In the future, they will be encouraging on-line arrangements as it is more efficient.  Booking 1/2 hour time slots is also a good idea and more efficient.  Ashley is hopeful that the limit of 10 people will change as it is hard to tell loved ones, only 10 people can attend.  Everyone grieves differently and these restrictions cause additional stress and emotion.
Jean-Marc and Sheranda Salvagno are the owners of L'Auberge de France, a French bistro in the heart of downtown Belleville.  The community support from local customers was very appreciated and helped local businesses continue to operate in some fashion.  This was huge for them.  They had to continually think outside the box, what do customers need.  They developed menus for take out meals on Friday and Saturday that were successful.  They will put out a few tables now that patios are allowed to be open.  Their main goal is how to market locally and bring people to their shop to buy the best quality and variety of food.  One stop shopping so to speak.  They provide lunch dishes, homemade dinners, ice cream.  They do not plan on opening up as a sit down restaurant.  They will have a take out window and are trying to think six months ahead, thinking about and providing a delivery service for older people on a Saturday afternoon.  The downtown group have worked collectively to promote local shopping and eating.  The restaurant business is unique with a small profit margin. 
The changes in the grocery industry happened very quickly according to Wayne Dewe, the owner of Dewe's Independent.  Grocery stores were identified as essential businesses and allowed to say open.  The number one priority was keeping their employees safe in order to say open.  Wayne took us on a virtual tour of the store and the upgrades done to ensure safety for all.  Social distancing was put in place to restrict the number of people in the store (limit is 60).  Anyone returning from outside of Canada were not allowed in.  Hand sanitizer was provided.  Shopping carts are cleaned after each use.  The service of PC Express (ordering groceries online and picking up at the store) went from 21 orders a day to 50 or 60 orders a day.  They had to order more coolers and freezers.  Never anticipated the growing service of on-line shopping.  One family member allowed in the store. Plexiglass was installed to protect staff.  Floors are marked to ensure social distancing.  A staff member assigns shoppers to a certain check-out.  The line up area is well defined.  Pin pads are cleaned after every order is complete.  Some supplies are short due to delivery delays.  They closed down certain fresh things like olives, cake counter, fish cases, gourmet meat.  They are now packaged and available, but not handled by the customer.  The biggest challenge will be in the Fall when the weather changes and people are still lining up outside the store. How will that be managed.  Hours of operation were cut in order to ensure proper cleaning everywhere.  It was chaotic, but calmer now.  The store manages 18,000 to 19,000 transactions every week.  The majority of staff are wearing masks and the standards that have been set will stay in place for food safety.  The store provides a continued, good variety of produce, bread, although there are some things in short supply such as groceries made outside of Canada as they are used first in the U.S. before being shipped to Canada.  Challenging times for sure.
Kelly McKinney said the first two months during COVID-19 were busier than ever.  As an insurance broker, their clients include retail, restaurants, bars, travel companies and everyone had to learn how each was affected.  It was a rough go for many, but somehow everyone pivoted.  As an insurance broker and the middle man, many clients were disappointed with how insurance companies were able to help people with rebates.  Everyone had to share the pain, fight to get coverage and Kelly had to make a case for companies he represented.  Forecasting revenue was very difficult, if not impossible.  With 440 staff in 37 offices, human resources was on a steep learning curve.  Trying to provide technology for people to work remotely was a nightmare for their IT staff.  And now the challenge is to bring people back to their offices, safely, many with health and childcare issues.  With the company's focus on customers, staff need to be back in the office, but clearly many like working from home.
President Doug thanked today's speakers for their input during challenging times. 
July 2020
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