Club News
Rotary International established the Paul Harris Fellow recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to the Rotary Foundation.  The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who have contributed $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation and recognition levels are given for each $1,000 given to the Rotary Foundation.  President Peter was pleased to present Past President Sam Brady with his Paul Harris Fellow +8.  The Rotary Foundation, established in 1917 is a non-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, education and cultural exchange programs.
 
As well, the Rotary Club of Belleville provides Paul Harris recognition to members who have completed 10 years of active service in the Club.  President Peter Malone was pleased to present Marg Wagner with her Paul Harris Fellow for 10 years of service from 2012 to 2022 to the Rotary Club of Belleville.  Marg graciously agreed to introduce today's speaker, Chief Michael T. Callaghan, having worked with the Chief as a member of the Police Services Board during her tenure of 8 1/2 years.  In fact, Marg was involved in the recruiting team when Chief Callaghan was hired as Deputy Chief in 2016.  Marg was so pleased to be able to perform this task and provide the Chief with a warm Rotary welcome.
Chief of Police Michael T. Callaghan was introduced as the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Belleville lunch meeting on February 15th by Marg Wagner, former Rotarian and member of the Police Services Board for eight and a half years.  Marg was on the hiring committee to bring Mike Callaghan back to Belleville as Deputy Chief.  (Marg Wagner is pictured here with President of the Rotary Club of Belleville, Peter Malone, Rotarian Nadine Langlois and Chief Callaghan). 
 
Callaghan made one of his last few speaking engagements on Thursday to the Rotary Club of Belleville at Capers on Front Street in Belleville. It was a packed house of Rotary members and guests who came to hear what Chief Callaghan had to say, before departing for a well-deserved retirement after dedicating 39 years serving and protecting through various Police Services.
 
“It’s bittersweet that I retire as I truly love the city, I love what we do, and I love my job” was part of his opening comment. He is also looking forward to being able to spend quality time with his loving wife Terry, who has been at his side his entire career despite being a stage four cancer survivor.
 
The presentation wasn’t so much about his amazing 39 years wearing blue, the dedicated service, and the great stories along the way. Instead, his story focussed on the unfortunate situation in which our city has found itself over the past few years. So, the focus steered toward the question that seems to be on everybody’s mind at the moment - serious opioid and drug overdose problems faced by the city in recent times. He noted “the problem isn’t localized to our community but is being felt across the province and country in police comparators – police services of similar size”.
 
Belleville Police Chief Mike Callaghan says he is very optimistic that they will be able to make some progress in key areas soon with provincial help. 
His words on the history of past decisions regarding permanent care facilities led the listeners through the social policies and peeling away of true support networks that many addicts or mentally ill individuals need to navigate life. Now on the streets struggling mentally and living with addiction, we see the impact of those decision made starting in 1993. Social policy decisions sound good at the time and can make sense when trying to convince taxpayers that it’s in their best interest to save money through service cuts. We can now see these decisions haven’t saved taxpayers any resources, but have actually cost us more in socio-economic terms.
 
“Many experts suggest that there are impact factors that are needed in communities struggling to help addicts. We need a detox centre and a RAAM clinic - Rapid Access to Addictions Medicine”. He went on to discuss another policy change that led us to this point based on international observations. Namely the law to decriminalize drugs in Portugal and how that country is revisiting that decision based on their struggles with increased substance abuse and addictions.
 
Dialogue continued with the little impact that interdictions and enforcement are having due to legal barriers that exist. “While it’s a component to help curb the problem its by no means a solution”. It was noted that the strain on the various services is clear. Fire, ambulance, police, hospital doctors and nurses are pushed to the limits with filling the addiction services role. “It’s obvious and clear that we can’t continue to address addictions through emergency service channels”. He also noted that “the exhaustion is real as is compassion fatigue”. These dedicated front-line service experts lose their passion when helping the same individuals night after night after night. This isn’t the definition of helping the community when the very small number of individuals use the services over and over again.
 
The call to action is clear – if we as members of the community want change, we will have to have our voices heard by the leaders whom we have elected at every level of government. Rotary Club of Belleville President, Peter Malone, thanked Chief Callaghan for his many years of service and recognized the incredible work of the Belleville Police Service and all first responders during a complex and difficult time in our City. Peter closed with “The Rotary Club of Belleville wishes the Chief and his wife Terry all the best in retirement and thanked him for his leadership role in our community”.  Rotarian Cassandra Bonn presented Chief Callaghan with a certificate of thanks, noting that a donation would be made for the Food for Learning program, providing a student with a hot meal.
 

 

Born and raised in Belleville attending Kente Public School in Ameliasburgh and Centennial Secondary School, Scott is one of Canada's most sought-after corporate communications and issues management professionals and a founder of the firm Feschuk Reid.  A former senior advisor to Prime Minister Paul Martin, he has counselled countless CEOs, senior executives and political leaders.  He is the former co-host of CTV's National Affairs, a past columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, currently serves as an analyst for CTV News, Newstalk 1010AM and the Bellmedia radio network.  He is also featured on the popular Curse of Politics podcast.  In 2022, Scott was named one of Canada's 50 most influential Canadians by Maclean's Magazine.  He is a Fellow at the Clayton Riddell School of Political Management at Carleton University and is an Adjunct Professor at Queen's University's School of Political Studies where he teaches a course on government communications as part of the Masters of Political Administration program. 
 
The 55th annual Joint Services Club Luncheon was held at The Grand and the hall was filled to capacity, a total of 13 service clubs represented and welcomed by Peter Malone, President of the Rotary Club of Belleville as host -- the Picton Rotary Club, Quinte Sunrise, Stirling Rotary Club, Trenton Rotary Club, Wellington Rotary Club, Belleville Shriners, Belleville and Trenton Kiwanis, the Lions Club, Belleville and Quinte Probus and the Hospital Auxiliary.  Dignitaries included MPP and Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith, Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis, Hastings County Warden Bob Mullen and Past President of Rotary International Wilf Wilkinson who remains active in the Trenton Rotary Club.  Also present were LG Marj Buck, Kiwanis District and Assistant Governor Sandi Ramsay, Rotary District 7070.  Each of the Club Representatives presented current initiatives about their organization and the work being done in the community.  Very impressive with a very wide scope of community service, all for the greater good in our community. (pictured above Cory and Bill MacKay, Co-Presidents of the Rotary Club of Stirling and Peter Malone, center)
Scott Reid remains optimistic with respect to the current Canadian political system as well as in the U.S. that the pendulum will swing back from today's deterioration overall, influenced by lessons of humility and perseverance and commitment of like-minded people such as are here today.  We are what drives the direction and will end up being in a better place, more positive.  Social media has encouraged the promotion of saying horrible things, winding up already angry folks.  Today's politicians operate using a different set of principles, nothing to do with party association.  We need to look for certain values in political people who recognize the importance of service and a sense of acting collectively, coming together.  What used to be a sense of community has been beaten out of politics and people need a taste of humility, not acting out of a sense of their own self.  Being part of a team needs to be a combined effort with dedication towards the constituency being the greatest priority.
 
Brad Ford, President of the Belleville Kiwanis Club thanked Scott for reminding everyone that politics are everywhere and people of the right character are what are needed to be leaders.
The Rotary Club of Belleville was very pleased to welcome His Worship Mayor Neil Ellis to the lunch meeting on January 18th to share what's ahead for the City of Belleville and for an opportunity to hear what is in store for the community.  Mayor Ellis was introduced by Rotarian Dave Allen and touched on several topics of interest.
 
Housing and real estate is costing more than the average person can afford, in fact, it's taking about 50% of a person's income to provide shelter in some cases.  A month ago, a real estate agent shared that she had a rental property available for $2,400 and had 81 applications.  It is a priority for the government to get back into affordable housing.  Perhaps housing should be a fundamental right in Canada.
 
Twelve or thirteen years ago, the doctor recruitment program was started and 21 doctors were recruited in the first couple of years.  At that time there were 10,000 people without doctors.  Now, ten years later there are 15,000 people without doctors.  The Mayor intends to raise this at an upcoming Ministry of Health meeting.  Should more medical schools be opened up or more positions available at university for medical students and foreign doctors.  People need to be encouraged to go into the medical field.  As a City, we have spent over 4 million dollars on doctor recruitment.  Regardless of whether it is deemed a provincial issue, it really becomes a council issue.
 
It has been a challenge to get the 2024 budget below 5%.  The Mayor and Council would like to be lower, but in today's terms of inflation, the best that could be done was just under 5%.  Comparables are at 6.9% and 6.6%.  The City of Belleville did not take money out of reserves to meet their goal.
 
The area's population has expanded by approximately 7,000 people.  Belleville is the hub, people come to this area for work and that puts pressure on our services including emergency services.  The homeless situation also puts pressure on all services.  Growth is good but requires investment in human capital.  That includes increasing police resources where calls for service have increased between 20% to 25% over the last three years.  This year's budget includes the hiring of 8 new police officers.  It is hoped that Council will endorse during budget deliberations plus another 6 in the next year.  The priority is to have more than 6 officers on the road at any one time.  Urban boundary has moved so resources such as fire and police have to keep pace with that growth.  Drug overdoses have been as high as 90 in one week as well as 24 fire calls in a 24 hour period.  These demands taxes both police and fire in the City along with EMS.  It may come as a shock but all city buildings now have security and this costs over half a million dollars to provide and ensure building security is maintained throughout the City.
 
The City has been successful in new businesses opening up and people continuing to move here.  A focus is required on new housing and there is a Loyalist Secondary Property plan to build 9000 new housing units to meet the needs for the next 20 years of growth.  The City also needs to focus on serviceable industrial sites for the future.  Council is moving forward to ready industrial land over the next two years.  As well the Queen Mary site has been approved for affordable housing and a tender will be issued in the near future.  There are other issues such as Myers Pier that needs attention and the water treatment plant, both big projects.    There are three revenue streams for the City -- user fees, grants and taxes.  User fees are currently subsidized at 90% and the goal should be at 65% so a plan needs to be developed to raise user fees to a more acceptable level for use.  We have one of the best facilities in Eastern Ontario and although more capital costs are required, we offer a better product.
 
Rotarian Jennifer Savini thanked the Mayor, recognizing his time and effort that he and staff put in to the Rotary Mayors of the Week program.  The Mayor was thanked for his support of the Rotary Club of Belleville and the programs undertaken by the Club.                                                                                         
A GREAT OPPORTUNITY  
 
The 2024 Rotary Youth Leadership Symposium (RYLS) for District 7070 will be taking place, April 18-21, 2024 at the Ganaraska Forest Centre! The 3-night, 4-day experience is geared toward youth between the ages of 16-20 and will offer an inspiring program: Conflict Resolution, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Reconciliation and Land Based Education, Leadership, Hands-on Activities, Group Dynamics, Public Speaking, Outdoor Survival along with campfires, friendship and tons of fun and learning!!!
 
The $385 fee for our participant will cover all programs, accommodation, and meals and will be paid for by the Belleville Rotary Club. There are only 30 spots available and I am sure this will be most rewarding opportunity for a son or daughter, grandchild, niece or nephew or someone in our community.  I have attended a number of these youth conferences where our club was involved and I can say the programs are brilliant!
 
Applications are due by March 1, 2024. Please let me know ASAP if you have a candidate in mind. 
 
John Smale 
Youth Chair,
Rotary Club of Belleville 
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