President's AGM Report

President’s AGM Report

Canterbury Tennis Club 2019 AGM

President’s Report

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen and a warm welcome to the 2019 Canterbury Tennis Club AGM. I would like to thank you all for your attendance as your presence is very much appreciated.

I would especially like to welcome the club’s life members in attendance – Chris Thomson and Sue Constance.

I am pleased to report that despite my three years of presidency that the club is still in rude health. We have an oversubscribed night competition and healthy numbers of teams in both weekend senior and junior competitions. Our social tennis has to compete for limited court availability but the club still manages to have organized weekend and twilight tennis. Financially, we have been well served by our past treasurers and committees and have nearly written off the replacement cost of our fixed assets. At the same time, our membership fees have remained unchanged for the past 5 years.

It has, however, been a particularly trying year for the committee ( ‘annus horribilus?’ ) with several extra-ordinary issues imposing a huge workload upon the committee. Committee members have given up their time on weekends and at times worked late at night during the week so that we could develop, debate and resolve these issues. This work has been well over and above the normal committee members duties.

As it has been quite a momentous year for the club please allow me to provide some key examples to allow you to understand what has been happening around the club due to the hard work that has been performed by the committee over the past year.

Firstly, as you know, Linda Kelly decided not to seek re-appointment as club coach and ceased to be the club coach on completion of her 5-year contract on the 30th June. Linda had been a fixture at the club for over 20 years. During that time, she has built up the junior participation at the club from virtually nothing to having coaching or junior competition play 7 days a week, during school term. In turn, her encouragement of the juniors has had a flow on effect to our family memberships and instrumental in fostering the total club membership. Thank-you Linda and we wish you well.

We, fortunately, had a ready-made replacement for Linda. Nima Roshan was deputy to Linda and was keen to address the huge void left by Linda. This was not however a simple replacement task.

The committee had over the past year decided that the arrangement and contract with Linda needed to be greatly updated. Whilst we are indebted to Linda for her many positive impacts on the club it had been decided that any new coaching contract should be moved to a more commercially responsible arrangement. This was an acknowledgment that the club members should not be subsidising the coaching business to the same extent and that we needed to more closely monitor and balance the usage of the courts between competition, social play and coaching.

This lengthy process involved much debate and discussion on how best to reconcile these competing aims. Whilst, all of the committee was involved with this process, I’d like to single out Jonathan Holland and, in particular, Darren Bates and our erudite legal counsel Chris Thomson for having the initial discussions with Linda, firming up the details with Nima and creating a very comprehensive coaching contract.

Secondly, as you would be aware the committee has been negotiating with the Boorondara council for the past 18 months about the redevelopment of the club house so that it could better meet the needs of the club members and conform to the prevailing building regulations and disability codes.

Despite having one of the most successful clubs in the municipality, the council’s original plan was to only upgrade the existing club house. This was seen as manifestly inadequate given the high usage of the club facilities and the standard of build that had been provided to the other tennis clubs in the municipality.

A key requirement for the club was seen as the need to create a better connection between the club house and the tennis courts, particularly courts 3 & 4. This could not be achieved by a simple renovation of the existing club house and the clubhouse sub-committee of Richard Moore, Mark Watkinson, Brett Morey and myself had to carefully but forcefully argue over a long period of time that the council’s proposed changes would not meet this key requirement of the club.

The resulting design has, as a result, undergone several iterations and a near doubling of budget to ensure that the new building will largely meet the requirements provided by the club to the council. The clubhouse redevelopment sub-committee is therefore confident that the new building will now substantially meet the club’s needs despite the limitations of the site and the council’s budget constraints.

Concept plans for the clubhouse have been released and community consultations have occurred. The targeted date for completion of all the building works is mid 2020. Regrettably there will be a long period of disruption to the club whilst these works are in progress.

Further, let me acknowledge the tireless work of the committee and non-committee members who have performed their normal club duties and allowed the club to function with such smoothness whilst still attending to the aforementioned activities as well as their paying day jobs:

  • Darren Bates who aside from being club treasurer, has been on the coaching subcommittee and has recently taken over the role of junior convener from Penelope McKay
  • Jonathan Holland who has freely provided his professional expertise during our coaching discussions and is the club’s membership officer
  • Maureen Spencer who stepped in for Anita Drake and who both have ably performed the pivotal role of club secretary over the past year
  • Chris Thomson, who is a jack of all tennis trades and seemingly master of all, is the club’s senior competition convener, ERT representative and organiser for both social and twilight tennis.
  • Mark Watkinson who is our non-playing maintenance officer who donates his time to organise the upkeep of the courts and their surrounds
  • Richard Moore, the immediate past president and who is on the club house redevelopment sub-committee and a key sounding board for issues and ideas within the club.

Finally, we have several non-elected club officials that we need to thank:

  • Brett Morey is the author and wit who pens the highly entertaining fortnightly club bulletin. Brett also lends his building expertise to the clubhouse rebuilding subcommittee.
  • Nat Dunphy who has is our night tennis coordinator and has ably managed our 19 night teams over the past 2 season.
  • Penelope Mckay who undertook the junior convenor role and has worked to streamline these activities

Without all of the people the club would not be as successful as it is, nor function as well as it does. However, whilst all of these people have done a sterling job, the club is always in search of new volunteers. This is to not only replace existing personnel but to re-invigorate the committee with new opinions and ideas. The existing committee is a very welcoming group of individuals and will gladly help you transition in to a new role. Please consider this as we elect committee members for the coming year.

Looking ahead, it again promises to be a less trying but no less fruitful year for the club. The new coach will need to bed down his approach and style within the club and do this whilst we demolish and rebuild the club house. The clubhouse will likely be out of action over the summer period and not be completed until next winter. This will cause great disruption to the club but the end result, I expect, will be eagerly anticipated by all members.

Stephen Liu

President CTC

June 2019