Commodore’s Newsletter – 24/8/2020

Tuesday 25th August, 2020
Peter Buitenhuis

Dear Members

We hope that you and your families are keeping well and coping with the restrictions due to the Victorian second Coronavirus wave. The stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne and stage 3 for regional Victoria is affecting a lot of people, business and clubs and we can only hope that these restrictions start to ease as our numbers are reducing and things start to improve in Victoria. Obviously, our club remains closed and all our activities are on hold, but behind the scenes the Committee and subcommittees continue to plan and have meetings via electronic means. Our monthly Committee meeting on the 14th August was held using Teams and this worked quite well. We will continue with electronic meetings for the time being; our next Committee meeting is scheduled for 11th September.

On a positive note we are finally starting the maintenance dredging of the marina which is scheduled to start Wednesday 26th August. Derrick and his team have worked very hard to bring this to fruition and are to be commended on their efforts. The last time the marina was dredged was in 2005 and since then it is calculated that there has been approximately 5,000 cubic metres of silt deposited on the floor of the marina after being brought in from the bay with tidal movements. All permits have been obtained from Parks Victoria and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Comprehensive environmental studies have been conducted and samples taken and analysed from both the marina floor and the seabed outside the marina to ensure that there will not be harmful discharge into the bay. Quotes from several dredging companies have been obtained and we have been able to secure a company that has come within our budget. The dredging works are intended just to return the silt to the bay, not remove any of the original marina floor. We expect that the works will take approximately 5 weeks and given the lockdown this is an excellent time to undertake this necessary activity as it should not adversely affect our boating members many of whom are unable to use their boats at present.

With regard to Committee positions, I mentioned in the last newsletter that several Committee members will be retiring: Derrick Kershaw after 6 years as Vice Commodore on Committee, Annalisa Elliott after 2 years as Treasurer, and Stan Jackson after 6 years as Communication and Grants Officer. It is an honour to serve on the Committee and a big commitment and these retiring members are to be congratulated for their hard work, and input in directing the club on behalf of the members.  I am pleased to say that we have interest from several members who have indicated they are willing to stand for these positions. Noel Street has indicated he will stand for Vice Commodore, Matt Ingham indicated he may stand for Treasurer but has since retracted his offer and we have had Denis Loweth indicate that he will stand for the position of Treasure and Gordon Campbell is considering standing for the position of Communication and Grants Officer. I thank these members for their dedication to the club and I am certain members will show their appreciation to these members and all the members of the Committee. The Committee puts in a huge effort on behalf of members and the running of our successful club. I would of course remind you that any senior member can nominate to stand for an upcoming position on Committee if they feel they have the skills required for the various roles available. We should also mention our sub committees and the members who get involved in these various activities: again they should be commended on their excellent input. If you wish to be part of the running and planning of our club, I am certain there are opportunities and I would be pleased to discuss these with any members who are interested in getting involved. Volunteering is a wonderful way of giving something back to the club and our club has always been run by dedicated volunteers, this is how we keep our fees low and maintain a successful, inclusive and healthy financial club open to all members of the community.

We normally have our Annual General Meeting on the second Saturday of October, which this year would fall on the 10th October. However, given the restriction and that the Covid 19 Pandemic continues we are uncertain whether this will be able to proceed. We are basically taking things day by day as messages and restrictions change. Under the rules we can postpone the AGM until a later date and we will continue to communicate what we will and can do regarding this important annual event.

On the financial front the club remains strong, and our annual audit went very well. We have been looking at our finances and our strategies for handling the club’s investments. Over the last couple of months, we have developed an “Investment Policy Statement” so that the finance subcommittee, the Committee and those responsible for investing the club funds have very clear procedures and strategies going forward to maintain the clubs funds. We remain conservative in our investment strategies and we align ourselves with best practice as laid out in the conservative portfolio guidelines of which recommends an investment mix of around 30% equities or property and around 70% in fixed interest/cash or bonds. Our current strategy is in line with these recommendations. We currently manage funds of over $3M and have capital reserves for items such as Marina Stage 1 replacement $1.8M, Squadron/clubhouse and surrounds future works $385K and Club boat $30K. We have also developed a 10 year cash flow chart prepared by our accountants going forward to 2030 and with the current financial planning measures the club is in a good position for the future, notwithstanding a large commitment required in 10 to 15 years for major works to the marina as it ages. The Investment Policy Statement will give clear guidance to this Committee and future Committees going forward and help maintain strong management of club funds and investment policy.

I have had some communication from a few members who are feeling lonely or vulnerable or just needed a chat at this difficult and unprecedented time. Please, if you need to talk or need some support please feel free to call me or any of the Committee, we would be delighted to hear from you. I am confident that things will improve and that in the not too distant future we will be able to get back to boating activities and good comradeship in our club.  I know like myself , everyone is looking forward to getting back to some sort of normal, whatever that may look like. This too will end.

Best wishes and please, to you and your families, keep safe, keep well and remain positive.

Peter Buitenhuis

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