March 27, 2022- Held at the Lions Club, Fonthill
Meeting called to order at 2:45pm
There were 16 members in attendance.( 7 executive and 9 members)
Moment of silence for all deceased members.
Motion to accept the minutes of the November 27/21 general meeting – motion made by Dominic Macoretta and seconded by Nick Pizzacalla – carried
Treasurer’s Report :
Our current bank balances are as follows
MERIDIAN $63,082.49 – chequing account
RBC $ 165,622.05 - chequing account
GIC investments with the RBC -- We currently have 4 cashable GICs earning interest. We have a total of $550,000 in GICs. Breakdown is 3 x $100,000 GICs and 1 x $250,000 GIC for a total of $550,000. They are earning between .3 % and 1 % annually.
We currently have Meridian a small business loan for $40,000 that is not due yet. This loan was granted to all small businesses at the start of the pandemic in 2020 and was paid out by the federal government ( CRB loan) but secured by the Meridian CU. The loan will remain pending until Dec31/22 or it may be forgiven in its entirety by the government. We should know more later this year. This loan is not accruing any interest.
All utility, tax, government remittances are paid to date and there are no outstanding bills.
Our tax returns for 2022 have been filed with no balance owing. The financial statements for 2021 have been prepared.
David Wright and John Chouinard submitted the following report below:
There was no one in the position of Trustee from the period of Dec31/2019 until January 1/2021.
John Chouinard and I were elected to the position of trustees on Dec22/2020 and began our role as trustees effective Jan 1st, 2021.
The property known as Club Castropignano Niagara at 1311 Egerter Road was sold effective Jan14/2021 and the business operations ceased. A new property was purchased on November 24/2021 at 700 Steele Street Port Colborne.
We have reviewed the transactions for the period of Jan1/2021 to March1/2022 including the bank deposits, cheques, financial statements and tax returns prepared by our accountant Rick Fokkens. We have reviewed invoices, bills and random files and have found everything to be in order financially. We have reviewed the legal documents including the minute books and all minutes are typed, approved and filed as necessary.
All legal documents appear to be in order and have been reviewed. Membership lists and records are in complete order. All government remittances are paid to date.
It is important to note that during the period of 2016-2019 the Club was in serious financial peril with almost no contracts or documentation, little transparency and little or no cost certainty. In 2019, proper contracting, banquet event protocol and event costing was undertaken and a proper business plan was created that mapped out the goals and future sales and finances of the club into 2020.
Nancy Waters was brought in as the Business Operations Manager and oversaw the kitchen management, the events, staffing and inventory systems. Events became more documented in order to have more control of them financially. In the latter half of 2019, the club was finally making small profits on events with much hope for a better 2020.
When Covid hit, the club closed to organized events but a robust take-out side business kept the doors open until July of 2020 when partial capacity events could return but constant changing restrictions, section 22 orders by the Region of Niagara and an overhead cost burden that could not be covered by the limited events made the inevitable come to reality when the decision to sell the building in Port Robinson was made the executive and voted in agreement by the membership.
It was a timely move to sell the building as within weeks, the ceiling and roof collapsed under the weight of an ice jam on the roof, the septic system was in need of costly repairs immediately and the looming bills from repairing the long-neglected fire pond were expected. Years of non-repair of the building had finally caught up.
A search for a new building was made and 700 Steele Street was purchased in November 2021. The renovations and bureaucracy are making the process slow but the costing and committee work undertaken by the executive is good and on track for an opening later this year. In many ways it is an opportunity to start out "fresh" with our new location.
Our review of the books and records and our knowledge of how the last few years have unfolded in what have been very trying times for the hospitality industry—show us that the finances are in good shape and steps have been taken by the executive and Business Operations Manager to be good stewards of the club's resources and future.
Business Operations Report:
Nancy Waters advised that the minor variance from the City of Port Colborne was awarded without issue and that allows the club to begin the process of the renovations.
Nancy advised that the bar design and overall décor design has been approved and drawings for the bar are pending from Niagara Restaurant Solutions. Once those drawings are complete, they will be forwarded to the architect we have contracted- Jason Pizzicarola of Ridgeway. He needs the completed bar drawings to calculate floor space for our occupancy permits with the AGCO and the City of Port Colborne.
The downstairs design ( kitchen/bathrooms) is a work in progress and again Niagara Restaurant Solutions is preparing drawings and a full quote and at this time, we do not have complete quote information to share. The kitchen design is bit more complicated as we have a low ceiling creating a challenge to meet certain code standards. But we anticipate a full set of ( to code) drawings in the next few weeks.
To date we have paid for a new electrical upgrade, demolition costs, new HVAC system, insurance and to date utilities on the building. Deposits have been made for the flooring, lighting and new windows. We are waiting on a structural engineer report to continue the upstairs demolition and secure ceiling beams before moving forward with drywall and running electrical and plumbing.
Contractors and professionals are way behind due to covid and even supplies and equipment are taking up to six months or more to come in. We are cognizant that the opening of the club could take up to 8 more months. We remain optimistic that we will be open by Christmas. These delays are out of our hands and are being experienced by people everywhere trying to build or renovate.
Bocce Ball league- Nancy will follow up with Dorothy Santarella about the possibility of the club putting a team or two together to play at the Port Colborne Seniors Centre. More information to be updated.
There will be club picnic in July and date/ location TBA.
There are 105 members and 52 have paid to date. Membership is due by the end of March.
The executive has followed up on a decision made in September of 2019 to offer a scholarship bursary to a post -secondary student entering first year university/college/trade school in Canada. Please see the application template attached to this report.
The religious statues have found a new home and will be removed from our storage unit and delivered to St. Anne’s Parish in Niagara Falls; that parish has agreed to keep and display the statues for us.
The large Castropignano painting that used to grace the walls of the old Club is much too large for our new smaller event space and will not even fit into the building. The executive agreed to discuss with the membership and see if anyone has any ideas of what to do with it/ sell it/ donate it/.
Nick Pizzacalla suggested we take a photo of it and keep the photo ( a large photo) and display it at the new club. The Executive will reach out to Bruno Sardella about the painting as he was part of the group that donated the painting years ago.
The business portion of the meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm.
Guest Speaker Rita Giancola spoke to the members about her post graduate thesis studies on the traditions of death and dying in the Molisani culture and offered to keep the club up to date on her research and final thesis project
Next general meeting will be May Wednesday May 25th at 630pm.