PRESIDENT’S REPORT to the AGM – 5th July 2017

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Introduction

This reports on my third and last year at the ‘helm’, and being ably assisted by our Committee and a few generous volunteers, I feel that we’ve had another successful 51st year as I will detail below.

50th Anniversary Celebrations

On the 12th November 2016, Swan Canoe Club celebrated its 50th anniversary with two very special events: an afternoon tea for all past Club Presidents, Life Members, Club Members of the Year and other significant contributors to the Club over this period. And in the evening a party was attended mainly by current Club members.

The afternoon gathering brought back lots of wonderful memories. On display were a range of old Paddle magazines, clothing and four giant murals covering the years early years to 1979, 1980s, 1990s & the 2000s with historic photographs, ‘Paddle’ newsletter articles and newspaper clippings.  A slide show was running which also included archival movies of some of the first homemade wooden kayaks running rapids on the Avon!  A full report and photos can be viewed online at http://swan.canoe.org.au/2016/11/26/50th-anniversary-celebration/

These events took a mammoth effort to organise, largely done by the Tuesday and Friday morning peer paddling group lovingly named The Ducklings – many thanks for your efforts.

Membership

Julia Davies reports that during the past 12 months we have seen an almost steady membership of over 300 active members. This not without the dedicated work of the volunteer members who provide the dry induction courses on the first Tuesday of every month and the wet induction session on the following Tuesdays.

The SCC Open Day was as usual very successful and encouraged a number of interested would be paddlers to come and try and indeed to eventually sign up as new members. Annual membership renewal takes place in September and last year there was as usual a turn-over in the membership across all categories. During the following six months the club replaced at least 100 memberships, with some late payers as well as new members across all categories.

The current membership stands at 357 active members broken down into the following categories:

143         Single Adults Members
56           Adult Couple Members
57           Family Type Members
6 Junior Members
10           Young Adult Members
58           Single Senior Members
22           Senior Adult Members
5 Life Members

Many thanks Julia for taking on this most demanding role this year.

Boat Replacement and Repair

As I mentioned in my last two reports, a priority has been to upgrade our aging fleet of Club boats since our money situation is very healthy. However, the only new boats this year are a double Delta sea kayak and a double guppy for juniors. Amanda was given a budget of $5000 to add two or three longer sprint boats for juniors graduating from guppies and is sourcing suitable craft.

Progress has been made on two fronts: we had to postpone a long overdue demo session with Mainpeak showing us potential replacements for our shorter plastic boats such as the Dancers and Corsicas, as used mainly for lessons by the juniors and adults. This will happen soon!  Any Julia Davies arrange a Saturday morning session recently where a few volunteers took every Club boat to the lawn and assessed it and a report is to be present to the Committee soon on their recommendations.

Tim Coward has been contracted a few times to do a range of repairs on boats, but has now moved to Tasmania, so I hope Colin Priest will follow through with his offer once retired.

Boat Storage

Chesson Henshaw reports that there is a trend towards people getting longer kayaks so demand for spaces in new area exceeds demand in old area. At present available are 2 spaces at level 4 on the A wall, several at level 5 on both A and B walls, 4 spaces at level 5 in new area and 1 at level 6.  There are frequent requests for lower spaces, and two people are on the waiting list for these.  She suggests that we increase the rental to $200 effective immediately. At least three kayaks have been abandoned during this year – she suggests we ensure people who take up boat spaces agree that if they become unfinancial and leave their kayak behind, that after six months we can dispose of the boat.  Many thanks to Chesson for doing this challenging job for the past few years.

Junior Program

The Junior Program operates on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Saturdays as well as programs in warmer holidays and we had up to 20 kids in the beginner classes in any one term.

We have a great relationship with Cottesloe Primary School over the past 5 years and have had between 25 and 30 kids coming for classes term 4.  We also experimented with combined activities with the Town of Mosman Park (TOMP).

Congratulations to Alexandria Choate, Louis Richardson, Billie Knell and Kira Wall who travel to the Canoe Slalom Junior Worlds Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia this month as members of the Australian Junior Team.

The Junior Program usually leads to the parents also joining the club which is a wonderful bonus.  Many thanks to Zlatan, Amanda, Isabella and Demi for your continued coaching contributions, and to Marion Ewing who managers the junior programs.  Please see the separate Junior Program report for 2017 on the website.

Training and Development and Courses

Our T&D sub-committee continue to provide a wonderful service to the Club organising regular beginner, sea kayaking and whitewater courses, and many day and overnight trips to a range of places. Thanks for Geoff Palmer for Chairing T&D for several years and who stepped down recently to be ably replaced by Sarah Whittaker. Please see a detailed 2017 T&D report on the website.

Building and Maintenance

We received news in September that our funding application to Lotterywest that we had been successful and granted us $53,464 to help with widening our stairwell installing a wheelchair lift, and to add much needed ramps outside our other roller doors – again thanks largely to Kerry Hughes for getting this submission organised. The wheelchair lift was a condition for being allowed to modify our balcony.  Even though the drawings for all this work had been approved in 2012, the TOMP were not happy with a range of aspects, so several more months of delays occurred.  Building started in late February and the stairs and balcony are essentially completed.

The new ramp has been more complex, and several designs have been considered and improved on over the last few months. We now have a design that everyone is happy with and are awaiting the TOMP approval to commence building. Finals costing for all these works are not in but we have good estimates and expect the Club will still have around $80,000 in the bank when the Lotterywest funds are received.

Observant members will have also noticed a new concrete path across the lawn to our front door – the TOMP agreed to do this to satisfy a Lotterywest grant condition to aid wheelchair access.

The TOMP did its annual major inspection of the buildings recently and found many issues which need addressing (a condition of our lease), so the new Committee will need to arrange this work – many are minor but a few could cost several thousand dollars to fix.

Hiring of Clubrooms

With the expanded clubroom and audio-visual system in place we have again been successful in hiring the first-floor room to a few groups this year.  But with no one volunteered to actively promote our facility, the potential for it use and resulting income has been unrealised. Thanks to Julia Davies for taking the hire bookings job on this year.

Website

The new Australian Canoeing website has been working well although is still not that friendly to edit and still needs lots of tarting up.  Canoeing WA has gone ahead with it new local website and started porting local clubs who desire the change to this new system. We are yet to decide if we want to do the transition, as documented in last year’s AGM report.

And I thank Colin Priest for his continued efforts as our Webmaster.

Cloud Storage

Elena Lennox initiated centralising the storage of T&D’s documentation onto Google’s Drive cloud storage to ensure all members could access the files and keep them safe and current. I extended this service by signing the Club up to free access to Google’s G Suite for Non-Profits to more broadly encompass all Committee documents and am progressively moving files to this system.

Sponsors

Mainpeak continue to be our only sponsor and in November we signed a revised three year sponsorship agreement, and I thank Mainpeak and Richard and Sue Lushey for their continued valuable support.

Town of Mosman Park: Fair & Stomp

We again participated in this annual fair in March – our third appearance. We displayed a pull-up poster about the Club, a PowerPoint animation of photos on a large computer screen and two plastic kayaks. Several members volunteered to chat with visitors and it again proved quite successful, and I recommend we should participate every year to support the TOMP and attract new local members.

We took part in our second TOMP ‘Stomp’ late in 2016 where many groups of teenagers run around the suburb and do set activities at about 20 locations. At our station they donned paddling safety gear and dragged a couple of short kayaks across the lawn. Thanks to Andrew Maurice for setting up and manning our station this year.

Events

We ran our Open Day in October with people attending and having a tryout paddle, and some subsequently joined the Club. Thanks to the volunteers and Instructors who assist on the day.

The Rod Fry race happened in April and saw about 60 people registering – down on the previous year.  Many thanks again to Lee Edwards for coordinating this event and to the many other helpers on the day.

Several day and overnight paddling events have been arranged such as Broke Inlet, Moore River, Penguin Island etc and I thank the Instructors who have arranged and led these trips.

We have again been lacking an active Social sub-committee and so have seen few social events other than our massive 50th celebrations.

Awards

At December 2016 Christmas party, Marion Ewing was awarded Club Member of the Year, Zlatan Ibrahimbegovic was presented with Paddler of the Year, and Alexandria Choate was crowned Junior Paddler of the Year.

Treasurer

Kate Vyvyan bravely volunteered to take over from Julie Wheelhouse, spanning a period that has required many payments with our building program, so many thanks go to Kate.

Cleaning

I hope everyone has noticed the significant improvement in the cleanliness of the Club in the last 8 months – this is the result of hiring member Karen Righton for this arduous task.  I thank Karen for putting much more effort into this job that we pay for.

Gym Equipment

Your Committee decided some months ago that we should purchase some basic gym equipment suitable for paddlers which will be placed in the north-east corner of the upstairs area.

Unwelcomed Incidents and Rules

We have had three events this year where members have seriously flouted our Club rules and this has resulted considerable debate on the Committee, resulting in realising that our rules are not well publicised and so it was decided we needed to formalise set of Club rules which David Williams is drafting.

Thanks

Lastly, I would like to thank the many people who have made this year a good success – especially our Committee and the Training and Development sub-committee and our Instructors who continue to provide a wonderful service to the Club, and to all the voluntary Club Officers doing a range of smaller jobs that keep things chugging along.

Peter Ewing – 5th July 2017