From the Deputy ...
October has brought to the Masons of Ontario, shorter daylight hours and the end of a summer of sunshine and warmth which at times seemed it would never end.
This month we continue our review of the Committees of Grand Lodge. I have chosen this month to highlight a committee whose work could be considered life or death. Seriously!
The mature (not older) Mason will remember sitting in Lodges with one exit, on the second floor, perhaps even a ground floor, in a building completely built with wood, windows boarded up either from the outside or inside, candles burning as lesser lights and they never gave their personal safety a second thought.
Perhaps in the same building sat Brethren whose occupation was either volunteer or full time and they knew it was only a matter of time before someone, perhaps more than one, would pay the ultimate sacrifice by being trapped in a fire.
M.W. Bro. D. Garry Dowling during his year as Grand Master formed a hoc committee which used the following overview to create the Lodge Building Compliance Policy.
“For many, many years this Grand Lodge wrestled with the increasing poor conditions of lodge meeting places. The time had come when we, collectively must take accountability for the actions necessary to ensure we do the best we can to avoid any major accidents, with possible related deaths”.
(partial quote Section 2 Lodge Building Compliance Policy)
“Every Masonic Building in which Lodges of this jurisdiction meet, regardless of whether it is owned, rented or lease, by the Lodge or a group of Lodges as a Temple Corporation, must be compliant with the local fire code requirements”
(partial quote Section 3 Lodge Building Compliance Policy)
The Building Compliance Policy was implemented in 2012 and we are now in the middle of the second
round of inspections. Last year alphabetically, Districts from Algoma to Ontario completed their second round of inspections, this year Districts from Ottawa 1 to York are due for inspections.
One of the concerns often heard by this committee is the actual cost of inspections and why every three years.
Cost of inspection range from no charge to as much as 500 dollars, inspections are done every three years.
Taking the highest cost $500 and the smallest membership of 20 members and divided by three years equals $166 per year divided by 20 members comes $8.30 or 4 medium Tim coffees per year or one coffee every three months, a small price to pay for fire safety. A Lodge of 100 members would be one coffee a year.
Three years is a reasonable time, cost of inspections can be pro-rated over three years in a Lodges annual budget. Although not mandated by the Ontario Fire Code, every three years is the policy of your Grand Lodge.
The Building Compliance Policy does contain a penalty clause, “on violation that is of having the Lodge Warrant removed” to date it has not been employed.
R.W. Bro. William Atkinson is the Team Leader for Building Infrastructure
Remember “Procrastination is the Foundation of all Disasters”
Author Pandora Poikilus
October is the month of Thanksgiving. So as a Mason we all need to take a moment and reflect on all our Blessings and I trust that you are like me and have many blessing to be thank full for this year.
Paul E. Todd Deputy Grand Master