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From the Wheelhouse

April - May 2020

First of all, please accept my apologies for being slightly late with the monthly catch up.

There are still questions being asked about the staffing level at our Club - I explained some of the action taken in correspondence 17 April 2020. So, to bring you up to date, the staff will be able to use up some of their annual leave and the back log of jobs is being achieved. Most staff are eligible for Job Keeper and this is reducing the burden of staff wages as well as supporting staff who have been stood down. The committee was also very aware of the need to be in a position to reopen within a couple of weeks, as the government relaxes the distancing rules. There is also the financial cost to be considered when opening with restricted numbers and controls on how we manage service. We are aiming to have the Quarter Deck floor and ceiling replaced by the time we can open the doors.

We are still considering the date for the Half Yearly meeting to be held. Present indications will be late in June. This is where fees are set and hopefully adopted by July for the next financial year. There has been a lot of work involved in setting the new budget and looking at our financial position and this also hinges on the fees. With the Covid-19 virus wreaking havoc across the board, the committee has decided not to raise membership fees this year. Unfortunately, we can’t escape the costs of running the marina and in some ways the increase of 1.5% in pen fees is only a catch up from last year and the committee felt this necessary to soften the blow in the following years budgets. The proposal going to members at the meeting will be that pen fees will be capped at $70m2 plus GST. Travel lift fees are proposed to increase by 5% due to maintenance costs of the machine and filtration plant being greater than when the financial modelling was done in 2017. The Treasurer is happy to hear feedback from membership as I think we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch!

To follow the theme of my report in Soundings about the club being a diverse organisation of people, with a common interest, who meet regularly to take part in shared activities, which in our case is boating and socialising. I am disappointed to say the Management Committee is meeting too often to deal with complaints of poor behaviour at various levels of seriousness, some of which are going to cost the club money. The matters being dealt with are unacceptable. Please remember this is members money (staff wages + legal costs) we are spending to resolve the disputes and actions of members. This is your Club. It has been developed over the years to be a happy place where you can enjoy your leisure time. The Committee are all volunteers and I am sure we would prefer the committee to be improving the club and not having to spend time dealing with disputes between members or the actions of members!

Well, I have covered a bit in governance and as I was saying the budget has been reshaped for recovery in the 2020/2021 year. There is still great concern in the number of 90-day debtors and in the present environment this may worsen. There is also the likely scenario of reduced membership which will impact the bottom line. Looking on the bright side, the Club has qualified for the Job Keeper programme. We qualify for a reduction in payroll tax and other grants which is a welcome relief putting a smile back on the Treasurers dial! Being a little late with this report has had some advantages - the government has released the timeline to recovery which is good news and we can start to plan.

We have new membership applications currently on hold as the Rules require that applicants’ names must be published on a notice board for all members to consider. As the club is closed, we have difficulty in meeting the requirement. To overcome this, we have moved a motion to allow the names of the new members to be posted on the Club Portal under Proposed New Members. Troy reported that his membership committee had been busy and revisited the procedures and policy for becoming a member of the Club - this should be tabled at the May meeting.

The tenders for the centreboard club house have closed and been assessed with the lowest quotation accepted. Mind you, there was only a few hundred dollars separating the quotes. We are now in the process of finalising the many approvals required to make a start - hopefully by mid-June. We are lucky to have a diverse membership and member Harvey Simmons of Total Project Solutions was the successful tenderer. Speaking of diverse, I know most members are builders so when the works do start please respect the contractors and stay away!

As mentioned earlier, we have commenced the Quarter Deck renovations. The chair of works intends to be pouring concrete in the coming week with the lighting and ceiling finishing end of June. Thanks Tim.
Tim has also been busy finalising the kitchen extension with the sketches and 3D view ready for publication and comment by the start of June. This may be a long process as we face the approval hurdles.

If you have ventured down the Club lately, you may have noticed the entrance gates are a bit the worst for wear. There were two separate incidents a few days apart involving vehicle contact. This has bent the gates and damaged the drive motors. We have made temporary repairs and are now awaiting insurance assessment and replacement quotes.

There is still debate over spending $90k+ on a fence to replace the chain-wire existing fence on the hardstand boundary as against improving our Wi-Fi mesh grid and installing cameras. There has also been talk of gates on jetties. There are issues of member and staff safety especially after dark. Our security committee have a sound background in security, but I think we need feedback from you, the membership, to ensure we are progressing in the right direction.

Pens and Moorings
A huge thank you to the Pens and Moorings Committee led by Brian Cross. This committee has rewritten the whole Marina Policy and Procedure Manuals over the last 7 months. This is quite an achievement. The document was circulated to the Management Committee several days prior to the meeting for comment - there were a few bugs ironed out and about 10 minutes of the meeting saw the 3 motions put and accepted. Once again thank you. Brian also floated a proposal explaining the marina is possibly the largest cost centre of the club with the least staff time allocated to oversee the operation. Brian went on to say there was a possibility we may need to have a full-time facility manager to oversee all marina and bosun activities. In his outline we would need admin support as well. This could be housed in the centreboard club house close to the works area and bosuns sheds. With this system, all enquiries and bookings would be under the same roof for ease of operation. The Committee was in favour to explore the idea further.

General business
There was a lot of discussion about trying to forecast when we will be back to normal, or will normal be slightly different? Membership may be affected by the effects of the financial downturn or have we found different ways to spend our leisure time? Has there been a resurgence of home cooking?

Personally, I would just like to be able to come down the Club, go sailing (boating), have a few drinks with mates, dine with friends - back to normality.

Lastly, a huge thank you for your patience; this has allowed your staff and management team to get on with the job ensuring that the Club will survive the Covid-19 virus stronger and united for the betterment of its members.


John Midolo
SoPYC Commodore
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