The Sunshine Coast Lions Club held a 50th anniversary celebration on July 19 and 20 with a dinner/dance at the Sechelt Seniors Centre on Saturday and an open house at Greencourt on Sunday.
All past Lions Club members were invited and more than 100 people were in attendance. Sechelt’s Gordie Hall was one of the original charter members in January 1964 when the club first started and he returned for the celebration. Also in attendance were district governor Jimmy Ho, first vice district governor Eric Keller, second vice district governor Bob Rasmus, past district governor Linda Wong, past district governor Bob Scales, and zone chairman Cliff Moss. Wayne and Jan Turner travelled the furthest to attend from Virden, Man.
Two of the longest serving members of the club are Garry Foxall and Kel Hansen. Foxall put on a slide presentation on the history of the club and some of the projects members participate in.
The club was the first Lions Club on the Sunshine Coast, centred in Sechelt, and included 25 members from Gibsons to Secret Cove.
One of the earliest projects was to help furnish the physiotherapy department at St. Mary’s Hospital after it opened in Sechelt. The club was also instrumental in the organization of the May Day celebrations and later in the organization of Timber Days. The club also cleared the eastern end of Hackett Park, built an adventure playground and paid for the construction of the Hackett Park tennis courts.
The club puts on numerous non-profit events throughout the year, including the annual Polar Bear Swim at Davis Bay and Easter egg hunt at Porpoise Bay Park. They collect eye glasses for reuse, provide bursaries to Chatelech Secondary School students and operate a very successful mobility program for those folks requiring a motorized scooter. Some of the fundraisers include pancake breakfasts, food sales at the drag races and other events, tail gate sales at Trail Bay Mall and the popular weekly meat draws at Gilligans Pub.
The single biggest project is the operation of Greencourt, which provides 139 units of affordable housing to seniors 55 years and older and for adults of any age with disabilities. Twenty-two units provide supportive living with two meals per day. The remaining units are for independent living.
In the mid 1960s, Canon Allan Greene of the Coast Columbia Mission realized there was a need for low-cost housing on the Sunshine Coast. He formed a society and they purchased land at Ocean and Medusa streets in Sechelt and built 10 units. Over the next 10 years, they built a further 29 units.
In the late 1970s the original members of the society asked the Sunshine Coast Lions Club to take over ownership and operation of the society and Greencourt.
In the early 1980s, the society built an additional 24 units, and in 1992, a further 22 units for supportive living. In 2012, the society completed the 65-unit Jack Nelson Annex where the first 10 units were located.
The Lions Club has had a very successful first 50 years and expects the next 50 to be equally successful. To join the club, you can contact Jim Brookes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-885-3822. See more at http://sclionsclub.com or on Facebook.
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