The Members Bulletin
Chartered 1920
March 25th, 2024
Last Friday's Meeting, March 22nd, began with announcements from the club. Matt Webster began with an announcement about signing up for club meetings. He remined everyone that you should register or unregister for a meeting by Thursday night. Jokingly, he discussed how Randy Seager was channeling through him with this announcement. 
President Mohan made an announcement about a Rotarian and his wife who visited our club from India. The visiting Rotarian talked about his club in Madras which was founded in 1960. After his speech, President Mohan and our guest exchanged flags. 
Noma Vales annnounced that it was the 40th anniversary of her arrival in Canada! 
Marva Wisdom discussed Matt and Melisa Webster's excellent advertising throughout the city and how her granddaughter, Cassia, gets excited every time she sees one of the signs. Marva also discussed the April 12th program and how it will be a special event with the Community Plan team. It won't be a program to miss! More details coming soon. 
Margaret Trainor shared a story about getting her youngest grandchild, Isaac, ready for bed. While brushing his teeth he accidentally used adult toothpaste and didn't like it. When Margaret told him that it was adult toothpaste, Isaac replied, "Being an adult is really going to suck." 
Chris Willard talked about a project with Sleeman Breweries that has been 3 years in the making. The project is a $40,000 living lakes investment and it was finalized on International Water Day. Congrats on the great work, Chris! 
Lastly, Faz Ashkar made an announcement about the Persian New Year and how the Persian calendars is one of the oldest to still be used. Happy Persian New Year everyone! 
After lunch, Faz introduced our speaker, John Farley. John is a development consultant for Home Opportunities, a non-for-profit organization that aims to build hundreds of affordable homes in Guelph.
John began his presentation by defining affordability. He argued that the Ontario Government's definition of affordability in Bill 23 is not sufficient, as it only considers 80% of the average resale and rental prices, which is still expensive for many people. In his understanding, affordability is what an individual can afford on their income. It is not a set number, it is something that is adjustable to every person.
In Canada, households struggle to afford homeownership due to high interest rates, insufficient downpayments, and unaffordable housing prices.
John's housing company seeks to remedy this issue through a unique development process. John's company provides affordable homeownership to the local workforce, students, and seniors in Guelph, without relying on grants or subsidies.
The company's model is designed to empower purchasers with financial capacity, and all projects are 100% owner-occupied to address real estate inflation and promote ownership as the goal.
John explained how his organization helps to bridge households out of rental and into homeownership by providing down payment loans, with 60% of purchasers having less than half the amount needed for a down payment.
The organization has a safe to home program for those with insufficient down payments and a sustainable affordable homeownership program to ensure perpetual affordability, with no grants or subsidies and no burden on taxpayers or city budgets.

Home Opportunities has partnerships with private sector, government, and nonprofit organizations.
The Company's innovative financing model prioritizes affordability for diverse household incomes.

John highlighted past projects like the Market Commons, a six-storey mid-rise residential and commercial development across from the farmer's market.
John then spoke about his new project in the South end, just by the Guelph water tower. This new project is located new the industrial park and is in walking distance of the South end plazas. An overview of the neighbourhood is shown in the image below. 
Notice that the neighbourhood is adjacent to our newest Forest project. John has already greenlit the continuation of this project in the greenspace below the neighbourhood and behind, with a trail going through it! 
John then explained that these condos, apartments, and town homes are kept affordable through through funding purchasers, not by downsizing square footage or lowering the price.
John also mentioned the option for shared Equity mortgages, which allow homeowners to sell their properties and retain some of the equity, with the rest going back into the community wealth fund.

John and his team want to set a precedent for future projects by demanding a holding designation for affordable housing, which would fast-track their project and ensure that the city does not question the affordability of the housing.

He also highlighted the importance of developers being involved in a project from start to finish, to ensure accountability. That's exactly what his team does.
After an excellent Q&A filled with many questions, Robert Turner, an architect and one of our newest Rotarians (who, coincidentally will be giving his classification talk next week), thanked John for his presentation. He presented John with his speaker appreciation certificate. 
President Mohan concluded the meeting. 


Notes taken by OtterAi, edited by Aidan Harris. 

ArtsEverywhere Festival
From May 2-5, 2024 the ArtsEverywhere Festival will take place in Guelph! 
As Marva explained in her announcement to the club last Friday, the ArtsEverywhere Festival is the place where conversations, ideas, and artistic experiments come alive in the community of Guelph. From May 2nd to May 5th join members of our community for lectures, conversations, music, artistic performances, circle gatherings, literary readings, exhibitions, and much more. The full festival program will be announced soon, so please subscribe to the ArtsEverwhere email list to receive upadtes. 

2023 marked the 20th edition of The Guelph Lecture—On Being, it was an exciting evening that confronted the urgencies of our time through the lens of art and ideas. By bringing together a diverse, informative, creative, and sometimes unlikely combination of people, the festival weekend offers programming that connects to the ongoing work and needs of many organizations and individuals who wish to make the world a better place.

If you are interested in attending, please follow this link for more info: 

Bulletin Editor
Aidan Harris
Apr 05, 2024
Up Close and Personal
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Upcoming Events
Good Friday - No Meeting
Mar. 29, 2024
12:01 a.m. - 11:59 p.m.
Indigenous Awareness Committee Meeting 10AM
Apr. 05, 2024
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
RCOG Charter Birthday
Apr. 09, 2024
Children & Youth Committee Meeting 9AM
On Zoom
Apr. 12, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.
Earth Day Movie Night
The Bookshelf Cinema
Apr. 22, 2024
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
View entire list
Birthdays & Rotary Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Elaine Beattie
March 4
Barb Holmes
March 10
Robert Eilers
March 15
Ramona Beattie
March 16
Jules Croskill
March 17
Brett Reichert
March 25
Justin Funk
April 7
Gunter Thase
April 11
Bill Stevens
April 13
Marva Wisdom
April 15
Liz Sandals
April 20
Lynne McCurdy
April 22
Brian Martin
April 23
Tom Funk
April 27
Janette Hogan
April 29
Join Date
Marva Wisdom
March 3, 2006
18 years
Carl Webster
March 4, 2016
8 years
Robert Turner
March 10, 2023
1 year
Elaine Beattie
March 11, 2005
19 years
Paul Demarco
March 12, 2010
14 years
David Van Veen
March 17, 1989
35 years
Liz Sandals
March 22, 2019
5 years
Ramona Beattie
March 24, 2023
1 year
Dan Vitale
April 4, 2008
16 years
Cyndy Dearden
April 6, 2018
6 years
Chelsey Mathieu
April 8, 2022
2 years
Ian Smith
April 9, 1999
25 years
Gunter Thase
April 15, 2011
13 years
Ruth Thatcher
April 22, 2005
19 years
Kerry Johnson
April 29, 1988
36 years
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