BENJAMIN PRIEBE The Standard
SCUGOG: The Port Perry Lions Club is in decline through membership and funding, and has asked Scugog Township councillors for their support.
Long-time Lions Club member Rob Rice made a deputation to Scugog councillors on Monday, May 5, explaining that the volunteer service club has hit dire straits. "Our Lions Club is down to about thirteen members. Membership in service organizations in is decline across the board, ours has been here for 77 years," said Mr. Rice.
He went on to explain that the Lions have been renting the Latcham Centre on Water St. for last few years, and pay $1,500 annually out of their membership dues, to hold their bi-weekly meetings. Being located in the heart of Port Perry is vital to the club's spirit, according to Mr. Rice, but is no longer affordable due to dwindling membership.
"The money we spend on rent is money that won't go to wheelchairs or other things to help people," said Mr. Rice.
The Lions questioned Scugog's policy for a $300 security deposit in case damages occur, calling the retainer offensive in light of the Lions' long standing service and good-willed nature.
"In 77 years, we haven't done anything wrong. If we don't have the faith and respect of the council, there wont be a Lions Club," said Mr. Rice. "Community spirit is in decline, and I choose not to sit by and watch it."
Lions Club members who were present requested that councilors consider giving the group a period of free or subsidized rent, as is done for some other not-for-profit organizations – or help them to find a more affordable solution.
Mayor Chuck Mercier will schedule a meeting with influential Lions Club of Port Perry members, and hopes to find a solution that abides by regulation and allows the organization to increase membership and flourish.