Chairman’s Report 2016
I am pleased to be able to make this annual report following another successful year for the club, and in the year that marks the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the lodge which occurred in July 1976. There was also a good deal of snow! I welcome all members who have been able to attend the AGM and acknowledge the greater numbers who are unable to attend but who nevertheless maintain a keen interest in the operation and management of the club.
There are a number of matters that I would like to touch on in this report.
Firstly, and of particular importance, you will see from the Treasurer’s report that the club finances continue in a healthy and sustainable state. There have been a number of capital and maintenance costs in recent years related to the upgrading of the lodge to meet fire requirements and of course the replacement and extension of the front deck. This has necessitated the imposition of some additional costs on members and the committee is appreciative of the cooperation that has been evident through this process. Running costs seem to be continuing to rise, not least because of an ever increasing level of regulatory control, but this is inevitable and must be managed. The Committee continues to be vigilant with regard to costs and the introduction of the sinking fund will help to smooth the peaks of capital expenditure in coming years.
Perisher Range Resorts governance review
As members will be aware the lodge is held by the club under a lease from the NSW Government (which, following the recent renewal, expires in 2058). The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has a responsibility for overall management and day-to-day operational responsibilities for the Perisher Range Resorts. This includes the 126 club and commercial lodge leases, which is now not seen as core business for NPWS. The Government is looking to the private sector for a model to deliver these important services and increase investment and visitation, through additional year-round activities. Consequently, a review of the management arrangements for the Resorts is underway. SLOPES (Ski Lodges Organisation of Perisher Smiggins and Guthega) have been representing all lodges, including us, in the consultation process that the Government has been conducting. A likely outcome is that a “head lease” will be created and offered to the open market.
Club leases would be reassigned from the current landlord (the Government) to the new head lessee. This arrangement is not dissimilar to the Thredbo situation where the head lessee is KNP Pty Ltd, and the club and commercial lodges are sub-lessees.
Club membership succession planning
A member has recently raised with the committee the matter of succession planning, noting that, with the club now being over forty years old there may be a danger of an ageing membership leading to a gradual decline of the club. The secretary has provided me with data for the ten year period 2006 – 2015 and I can advise as follows: An average of 2.7 memberships changed hands each year, a total of 28 memberships. This equates to a “churn” of a bit over 25% of the total memberships over a ten year period. Generally speaking, when a membership is purchased, the purchase is by a younger person, either single or a young family. This means that the club is achieving a healthy level of injection of “young blood” to the tune of about a quarter of the total membership over ten years and theoretically would be completely renewed every forty years. This would seem to be a very healthy situation.
Members will be aware that we have this year begun trialing a new booking system, with bookings for 5 day weeks and weekends now possible. All seems to be working well and we look forward to increased overall occupancy for the coming season. This initiative was in part at least stimulated by comments from some members to the Committee; the sinking fund is another example of a member initiated improvement. I encourage any members who may have ideas for improvements to share them with a committee member.
A feature of this club, and an important consideration for me when I agreed to participate on the committee, was the quality of the management team. Last year I took on the Chairmanship of the Committee from Peter Newton. Peter joined the Committee in 2002 and was chairman from 2002 to 2015. He has provided more than sterling service to the club and his stewardship is a principal reason for the high standards that have been maintained. It was the intention of the Committee to present Peter with a small gift to acknowledge his service at an annual dinner at the end of last season, but the dinner did not eventuate. So I now take this opportunity to thank Peter for his commitment to the club and look forward to spending time on the slopes with him in the future.
I will also take this opportunity to sincerely thank each of the committee members:
- Matthew Barnard, secretary
- David Hogg, Treasurer
- Tony Slatyer, Maintenance officer
- Geoff Chubb, 2nd maintenance officer
- Pierre Delarue, Providore
- Iris Bramley, Winter bookings officer
Without them, and their hard work and enthusiasm, nothing would happen.
Finally I’d like to thank my wife Polly, for her overall help and support, but especially for doing all the real work as summer bookings officer, work that would otherwise fall to me.