Dear Members,

The last 12 months have been one of the most challenging times that the Club has seen since its inception, and to survive, difficult and unpopular decisions were required. For that, I make no apologies as, like most of the members, I have a passion for what the Club stands for, and I too would like to see it once again back to its former glory, but for that to occur, it needed to survive.

Regretfully the long hours and days have taken a toll on some staff and Flag Officers. It would have been an easy step to walk away from it all. Still, our belief in the ethos and spirit of our forefathers, who had a vision of a family yacht club for all members of the community, inspired us to continue and finish what we started.

I advised all present at the 2020 AGM that the past year will remain embedded in our minds for many years to come as one of the most unprecedented times that impacted us on a global scale. If it has taught us anything, it is the importance of members supporting the Club irrespective of the imposed conditions and restrictions.

Sadly, some members have either chosen to ignore or do not believe what has been sent out or understand the rationale for the small steps. I ask you all, instead of having a go at your Club, volunteers and staff, please come on board and have a go at rebuilding your Club. It is time to ask what you can do for your Club rather than asking what the Club can do for you. A club can never be truly great with members who do not have a moral compass and have no plans to participate or contribute to the Club’s future.

Nothing would give me more pleasure than opening up every part of the Club; however, this would not have been sustainable as we are faced with 15 years of no maintenance or equipment replacement that has been ignored or repaired with a band-aid approach. The result is significant. The taking of short cuts and undertaking repairs through contra-deals or replacement of equipment from auctions, eBay and Gumtree has further impacted our ability to operate seamlessly.

The fact is that as we progress on the “road to recovery”, further inappropriate actions and clear breaches of our Constitution are discovered regularly. This, culminated with unforeseen Covid Lock Downs, further exacerbates our ability to re-open more sections of the Club.

IMPORTANT UPDATES

Most of your staff members are under pressure, with specialised staff being challenging to recruit, and key positions remain vacant with the workload being taken up by current staff as best as possible. Regretfully the Head Chef and other kitchen staff have decided to resign, which has placed us in a difficult position that may require some re-alignment of functions and dining services. Brad and his team are working hard to minimise any disruptions that may arise in an unprecedented environment that has seen salaries soar and significant movement of staff in this industry. Some good news is that we have managed to recruit a new Head Chef in record time; however, their commitment to their current employer will mean some delay in them coming on board.

The HYC Committees have been working relentlessly over the past months to provide all members with sustainable building blocks based on service and sustainability. Soon, you will be provided with some documents that outline our road map to recovery.

I advise all members of the following:

  • HYC 2021-2022 Budget was presented and passed at the March 2021 Management Meeting. For the first time that I can recall, we were also presented with a five year projected budget to start to look forward finally. My research has indicated that this is the first budget since 2009 that unauthorised pen rentals/leases have not been extended to provide a cash flow to cover outstanding debts before the end of the financial year.
  • The new HYC Strategic Plan was presented and passed at the April 2021 Management Meeting and will be posted on the HYC Website shortly.
  • It was proposed at the Executive and Management Meetings in April 2021 that the House Committee be rebranded to the House and Social Committee. If you are interested in being part of this new exciting committee, please forward your EOI to the GM.
  • The best news is that we have budgeted to upgrade the upstairs kitchen that will include a new floor and replacement equipment. The Management Meeting approved the preferred contractor in April 2021, and we are hopeful that the upgrading will commence ASAP. This will enable us to re-open the Members Bar & Restaurant entirely once the work has been completed, which is expected to take some months both with the lead time of equipment ordering internationally at present and trades required. It is estimated that this will be a $200,000 project.
  • The Management Committee has agreed to look at undertaking a study and or review of all fees and how they are structured, including membership, storage, and pens.
  • Due to the recent COVID lockdowns, the Management Committee Meeting in April 2021 has invoked Clause 6.11.7 of the HYC Constitution to extend the levy expiry date by one calendar month. The extension is granted on the provision that the member is a financial member from May 2021.
  • An information night similar to the 2020 event will be scheduled for July 2021, before the AGM, with the date to be confirmed.

SUMMARY

  • We are working extremely hard to ensure the Club remains vibrant and a place Members want to be.
  • We cannot return to what the Club “used to do or be” as this was not sustainable but are working towards creating a new era for Hillarys Yacht Club.
  • The use of the upstairs areas for functions was one out of need, and without these functions, the doors of the Club would have closed. They injected much needed financial support and provided us with some hope that we can continue to improve our financial status.
  • The most challenging process at every AGM is the lack of volunteers for the Flag Officer positions, CCC, and other positions that usually are just one nomination and would have required some mentoring to get that volunteer committed to the role. 
  •  I have struggled to get members to become involved in the Club rather than sitting on the sidelines. We need new blood and experience on committees with members that bring life skills and different ideas with expertise in this arena. This has been lacking for years, and if we do not make changes soon, then the road will be a long and arduous one.
  • The Club has moved significantly since February 2020, including the removal of all the contra deals, the removal of unauthorised extensions on pen leases, the review and re-alignment of pen ownership back to the Constitution and Bylaws, fresh produce in our catering, open and transparent ordering of stock, managers being made responsible and accountable for their areas of responsibility, governance systems being embedded in place, handing back of the fuel jetty which was costing the members thousands of dollars a year when the actual figures were analysed, sponsorships becoming authentic sponsorships not contra deals, employment of a new General Manager, new Moorings Officer, new Accountant, new HMLS Business Manager – yes we have become more open and transparent. Importantly the members have taken back the control of the Club.
  • The Boat Lifting Yard is currently under new management who have been given explicit direction to clean out the yard with boats, cars, trailers etc. who for many years have had a free-kick at the Members’ expense and hopefully in the not to distance future will be able to provide the storage services that you require.

I trust that this update will provide you with some reassurance that we are continuing to move forward, but there is still a long way to go and only through working together will we be able to achieve this!

Stay Safe – Your Club, Our Members

Fred Gere
Commodore
HYC