President's AGM Report

President’s AGM Report

President’s Report

Canterbury Tennis Club

Annual General Meeting, 2020

Good evening everyone.  Welcome to our COVID-19 special AGM – streaming live to you in the comfort of your own home.  I’m pleased you could all attend this evening.

I especially would like to acknowledge our life member in attendance this evening: Chris Thompson.  Another two of our life members – Sue Constance and Kevin Bolton – has sent their apologies for this evening.

Eleven months ago, I joined the committee and nominated for president.  The club was in excellent health and continues to be now.  Demand for competition tennis and coaching thus far has been undiminished by a lack of a proper clubhouse and by COVID-19 restrictions.  With the introduction of “attendance registration” due to COVID-19, the club now has a record of how much social tennis is also thriving.  Previously, we could only make educated guesses about the court utilisation outside of coaching and competition.

The club continues to have an excellent financial position.  The operating surpluses created by previous committees has allowed us to:

  • Reduce coaching contract fees to assist Nima during a period where he was unable to hold classes – both in January due to bushfire smoke and during the COVID-19 lock-down period
  • Withstand the lack of revenue due to the cancellation of night tennis competition
  • Co-fund to improve the design of the kitchen in the clubhouse

In the near future, the surpluses also allow us to:

  • Furnish the clubhouse with new tables & chairs befitting the new building, and purchase a TV
  • Consider how the club may vary membership fees to reflect the loss of court access during the COVID-19 lock-down period
  • Install LED lighting on all courts

Last year then-president Stephen Liu noted that it had been a particularly trying year for the committee.  These past 11 months were less trying – very much because of the hard work the previous committee had put in on the coaching contract, and convincing and cajoling Boroondara Council to build us an appropriate clubhouse.  Less trying this year, but no less busy thanks to the clubhouse build and the impact of COVID-19.

Lets now discuss the new clubhouse.  The build started a few months later than expected, in January.  However, that seems to have been the only delay.  The build has stayed on track.  We’re expecting the clubhouse to be available to us by the start of September.  I thank the committee for their time spent thinking about the floorplan and Boroondara Council for being accommodating where they could.  It’s a very exciting time for the club.  We will be looking to see what kind of events the club can hold to celebrate the opening of the clubhouse – COVID-19 pending.

On that note, we would like to form a sub-committee to focus on putting together an annual calendar of events and organising these events.  If you are interested, please contact Andrew Taylor.

The club championships were held in September, and we were very lucky with the weather.  A great weekend of tennis ensued.  The ladies champion was Di Williams, defeating Meg Batrouney in the final.  And the men’s champion was Andy Bhardwaj, who defeated Justin McNeany.  I hope that we can hold club championships this year – COVID-19 pending.

Looking ahead, planned developments for the next year:

  • Introduction of Tennis Australia’s Book-a-Court system
  • Replacement of our 1000W metal halide lights with 400 – 500W LED lights
  • Release of a 5-year strategy document
  • Shading or repainting the rear of the kindergarten

Boroondara Council and Tennis Australia will jointly fund the introduction of Tennis Australia’s Book-a-Court system.  This system will allow the reservation of courts by members, and non-members alike.  Non-members will have to pay their visitor fees as they do now.  There was much thought put into this decision by the committee.   In introducing the system, we will need to provide appropriate support to those members who may be uncomfortable in using a website to make court bookings.  I’m confident, for three reasons, that members will like the system:

  • I have spoken to three other club presidents in the nearby area that have Book-a-Court installed, and all three had overall positive positions on the system. The clubs were: Kew, Balwyn Park and Box Hill tennis clubs.
  • Since requiring members to register attendance at our club (due to COVID-19), members have been wanting this attendance registration system to be a booking system. We’ve received multiple requests for the ability to book more than a day in advance.
  • Book-a-Court shows when the courts are available so that members do not have to keep in their heads the typical availability of the courts. g. is it school holidays? is ERT competition running? is Nima running adult classes?

It’s not yet known when Book-a-Court can be installed, as Tennis Australia is currently renegotiating contracts with their equipment suppliers.

At last year’s AGM, it was announced that LED lights had been investigated, but not going to be installed.  Why has the committee reversed that decision?  Primarily because LED lights work better with the Book-a-Court system.  LED lights can be immediately switched on and off, without any associated warm-up and cool-down time.  This works very well with the automation within the Book-a-Court system.  Secondary reasons include: improving the illumination of courts 1 and 2, reduced electricity usage, and reduced maintenance costs.

During the year the committee began the project of producing a 5-year strategy document to help us identify the objectives of the club.  Primarily this is about enjoying playing tennis, but also addresses the club’s financial and compliance responsibilities.  We also need to ensure that Boroondara Council is aware of, and, impressed by our contribution to the local community.  More information will be forthcoming about this project next year.

Since the kindergarten was painted last year, several members and visiting opponents have remarked on how much glare there is when playing night tennis on the top courts.  The committee has raised this with Boroondara Council.  Whilst they don’t seem to be rushing out to repaint the kindergarten, repainting is one option.  The other is to strengthen the fence, so that it may support some shade cloth to block out the Kindergarten.  Expect to see one of these options taken up this year.

On to coaching – Nima has not had the ideal start to his coaching business.  The devastating bushfires across the summer caused the cancellation of classes due to smoke.  And then, as we’re all keenly aware, COVID-19 sent everything including tennis into lock-down.  Nima has calmly navigated the challenges and has been able to build up his business to have 3 coaches, including himself, and book out classes in term 3.  I personally appreciate his adult clinics and the focus on doubles play in these clinics.  Nima’s business complements and enhances our club.

Finally, thank you to the committee for their work and patience throughout the year.

  • Darren Bates, our treasurer and junior convenor. It’s quite the workload, but he manages it very well.
  • Maureen Spencer, our secretary. Somehow we lost our soft-copy of the rules of the association, Maureen typed up all 18 pages again!  She’s also been welcoming to me personally, often offering to drive me to committee meetings.
  • Stephen Liu, our vice president and immediate past president. A driving force on the clubhouse rebuild.  He’s followed through for several years, never tiring when faced with bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Chris Thompson, life member. The unofficial face of CTC, and senior convenor.  He also manages to stay across all the happenings of ERT and organise twilight social tennis.
  • Jonathan Holland, our membership officer. Give him a 2-dimensional grid of data, and he’ll work his VLOOKUP magic.  All the information we need to chase down the last of the late payers.
  • Richard Moore, a former president and treasurer, this year has put together the beginnings of our 5-year strategy document. He worked on the document in conjunction with …
  • Andrew Taylor, who like me, was new to the committee last year. Thank you for the work on the strategy document so far.
  • Mark Watkinson, the expert in the lock codes and all other things maintenance-related. Mark doesn’t play tennis, so his contributions are above and beyond!

Other non-committee help during the year we’ve had:

  • Bridget Larkin, whose boundless energy keeps our excess of night tennis teams under control.
  • Brett Morey, who produces our newsletters and tolerates a good amount of back seat driving whilst doing so.

Without the volunteer efforts of all these people, the club would not be as successful as it is, nor function as well as it does.  And while all these people have done an excellent job, the club is always in search of new volunteers.  This is to not only replace existing personnel but to continually reinvigorate the committee with new opinions and ideas.  The committee is a welcoming group, and we will gladly help you settle into a role and be successful.

On this note, Richard Moore has indicated that he will be retiring from the committee at the next AGM.  This illustrates the club’s need for volunteers never ceases, and it’s always good when there’s overlap between the old and new volunteers.  Please consider this as we elect committee members for the coming year.

I look forward to the coming year at Canterbury Tennis Club.  Hopeful that COVID-19 can go into remission.  Excited to get settled in our shiny new clubhouse.  Eager to follow through on new projects.  And very keen to start playing night tennis competition again.

Philip Jay

June 2020