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MEMBERS INFORMATION EVENINGS – Q & A

The Board and Management held a Members Information Meeting at the Club on Sunday, 23 June and Tuesday, 16 July 2013.

The meeting was to discuss why the club applied for re-zoning of part of its land from B4 to Mixed Use.

As a result of these meetings members raised the following questions.  We have endeavoured to answer those questions to the best of our ability at the two meetings; however the following is intended to provide greater clarity:

 

1.   Who owns the SSC land?  Is it a 99 year lease?

Strathfield Recreation Club Pty Ltd (trading as SSC) owns its own land.  This is not Crown land; therefore there is no lease with the government in place. 

 

2.   Does the ownership give SSC the legal right to sell the land?

Yes, the club has a legal right to sell its land and fixtures providing that:

·      the sale has been approved by the majority of ordinary members present at the General Meeting

·      the land has been valued by a registered valuer within the meaning of the Valuers Act 2003 and

·      Any sale is by way of public auction or open tender.  Please see extract of the Registered Clubs Act 1976 below.

 

3.   Is the SSC proposal similar to the White City model which resulted in a major negative impact on that Club?

The proposal for the development of our club (SSC) is totally different to that of White City.

Points to Note:

·      White City Tennis Club did not own the land.  Several tennis clubs used White City land/complex as their club base.

·      White City land was owned by Tennis NSW

·      As tennis was moving to Homebush, Sydney Olympic Park, Tennis NSW sort to sell the White City Land

·      A portion of the land was sold to Sydney Grammar School (SGS).

·      The remaining land was sold to John Alexander’s Clubs Pty Ltd (JAC) with the provision that JAC abide by the terms of a (MOU) with the yet to be formed entity White City Holdings (WCH) ensuring WCH a 99 year lease (which, in the event, was never formed).

·      Once the sale of the land between SGS and Tennis NSW was complete, the relationship between JAC and White City Tennis Club deteriorated and JAC terminated the MOU.

·      The result being a court case, an appeal and a further High Court appeal, which resulted in judgement for JAC.

 

The High Court had no sympathy for the Tennis Club.  It noted that the club was at all times legally represented and was not, on the evidence, labouring under misrepresentations, fraud, undue influence, duress, unconscionable conduct or any other disability.

More detailed information on the White City vs JAC case can be found on line at

http://www.lawyerassist.com.au/2010/09/07/cases/white-city-tennis-club-ltd-v-john-alexanders-clubs-pty-ltd-anor-2009-nswca-114/

 

4.   Can the members peruse the other redevelopment proposals that have been rejected, with financial analysis of these options?

In response to feedback from members at the recent Members Information Meetings the Club will prepare detailed alternative proposals including:

·      Refurbish the existing clubhouse, services and facilities as far as possible

·      Demolish and rebuild a new clubhouse (with apartments above) on the current site.

All re-development options /proposals will be presented to members in future Development Information meetings.  These sessions will include the proposed costs of each development option along with any pros and cons.

 

5.   What’s the governance process supporting the sale?  Will it be an open tender?

Yes, should a sale of land occur, it will be an open tender process.  Please refer to Section 41J of the Registered Clubs Act 1976 (shown in response to Q2).

 

6.   Given the proposed development, where will the new revenue streams come from to support the stead state viability of the club, given the possible reduction in gambling revenue?

It is a well known fact within club industry that club’s who do not diversify don’t survive.  Our aim at SSC over the last ten (10) years has been to source other income producing activities e.g. Golden Goal and foster relationships with those already in place such as RedPepper Bistro, Inner West Tennis Academy and Korean Billiards. 

A larger more modern facility will allow us to introduce more income producing opportunities e.g. rent from an independent caterer (in addition to the current bistro) by the inclusion of a steakhouse for example.  Rooms available for hire for corporate meetings, training and functions.  All of these inclusions help us increase revenue and safeguard the future of our club from the threat of any incoming gaming laws, whilst maintaining and improving club facilities for this and future generations.

 

7.   We have a responsibility to pass this land to the next generation as we have been passed this land before –

We appreciate the emotional attachment that many of our members have to the large land parcel that we are fortunate to have, and we also understand that any land that is sold can only be sold once. However; the club is more than a piece of land, but instead is an active facility which should meet the recreational needs of tennis players and other sports enthusiasts in a friendly, accessible, modern and secure setting.  Currently the Club fails on any number of these aspects, for example;

·      Compliance – the Club is not compliant with current Building Code (BCA) requirements especially around fire and emergency access

·      Accessibility – lack of parking, poor visibility on entry/exit to Morwick St, no secure car spaces (anyone who has tried to park at the Club on a Thursday – Saturday Night will know that many intruders are parking in OUR MEMBERS CAR SPACES

·      Power – insufficient power to light courts 6 & 7.  Regular blackouts at the clubhouse.

We should understand that the management and boards of each registered club in NSW that on average becomes insolvent each week or two have no doubt felt the same attachment to their club land. They either chose not to act, or maybe could not act but the result is the same – they no longer exist.

Our primary concern is to preserve and improve this club for the enjoyment of future generations. Unfortunately there is a compromise that is required on one hand, but this will also lead to the vast improvement of the facilities on the other whilst securing the future.  The Board and Management strongly believe that a sensible strategic development of our Club will ensure that SSC remains as a thriving tennis centre for future generations for many years to come.

 

8.   Many community clubs have closed through a lack of management foresight and vision.  Isn’t this a matter of survival?

Yes, we believe it is a matter of being proactive rather than reactive when making decisions regarding the club’s future. 

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald dated 14 August 2012 ‘Time for Clubs to offer a different Jackpot’ stated that of the 354 clubs that have closed in NSW or been swallowed up by bigger entities in the past 17 years, have been bowling clubs.  50% of the remaining small clubs are struggling financially. The writer of the article, Debra Jopson quotes from a report by KPMG commissioned by ClubsNSW.

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/time-for-clubs-to-offer-a-different-jackpot-20120803-23knl.html

Furthermore by building a larger clubhouse and revitalising our courts we will be able to offer a wider variety of leisure and recreational activities to more members and guests i.e. people who could come from not only the apartments to be built next to our club but also from the other developments which we anticipate could commence in the near future e.g. re-developments in Morwick St and Lyons Rd as well as others near Strathfield station and shopping centre.

 

9.   What is the timetable for this development?

We envisage submitting a DA in the second half of 2014.  How long it will take to be approved, we are not sure, we are in Council’s hands.  Perhaps if the new White Paper Bill has been introduced, it may be quicker than we hoped!  We don’t anticipate any building work to commence prior to 2015.

 

10.  A new planning white paper has been released by the NSW Government with Bill enactment anticipated in 2014.  The sale of the land could be worth more if we wait.

The White Paper is part of the overhaul of the NSW Planning System.  The White Paper is a proposed attempt to streamline the planning system.  The main aim of the White Paper is to achieve faster development approvals, greater transparency, cutting of red tape, promotion of sustainable development and regional infrastructure.  While a simplified planning system is welcomed by all of us, it is not apparent to the club how this would result in achieving a greater price for our land.  Should the Bill be released in 2014 (which may or may not be the case) this will only assist the club in a more streamlined process.

Please see extract from www.nsw.gov.au below:

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE NEW AND OLD SYSTEMS?

·      The existing system was developed in the late 1970s and has since been amended more than 150 times.

·      It is widely regarded as extremely complex and confusing.

·      It is a paper-based system and was established at a time when subdivisions on the urban fringe provided most of our new housing. Now the majority of Sydney’s new homes are apartments in existing areas and we are well into the online age.

·      We are proposing a system which is easier to understand and use, which reflects today’s technology and urban growth

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE KEY CHANGES?

·      The White Paper sets out a detailed roadmap to deliver infrastructure alongside growth.

·      NSW will be the first state or territory to develop comprehensive plans for infrastructure as part of strategic planning documents.

·      Government agencies and councils will work collaboratively to ensure coordinated delivery of infrastructure.

·      We will remove the monopoly of the public sector in supplying new infrastructure. The private sector will have opportunities to compete to provide better value infrastructure and innovative solutions. This is known as ‘contestable infrastructure’.

·      We will involve the private sector in the preparation and delivery of Growth Infrastructure Plans to find all possible avenues to deliver infrastructure alongside growth.

·      There will be a clearer and more consistent approach to infrastructure contributions collected by the NSW Government and councils.

 

11.   If SSC is successful in having the land re-zoned for mixed use are we obligated to submit a DA (Development Application)?

If the re-zoning application is successful, the club is under no obligation to submit a Development Application and proceed with development plans.

The re-zoning exercise is an independent exercise from the DA. The re-zoning application if successful allows the club to explore potential development opportunities which do not exist under the current zoning.

What re-zoning success would also provide is greater land value to SSC as more of our site would be zoned for Mixed Use purposes.

 

12.     When will the various options, including those which management have rejected be made available to the members for perusal?

Our aim is to present all options previously considered to members as soon as possible.  We anticipate this to be October/November 2013.

 

13.      The improvements to the club that have been made in recent years have been great.  Why can’t we keep these and build upon them rather than redevelop?

We have been fortunate that the club has been financial enough, through revenues and grants for these improvements to happen. The problem now is the ageing of the clubhouse and our ability to retain an appeal to our members at a time when registered clubs in NSW are losing favour and revenues are under threat. Providing a cosmetic upgrade of the clubhouse will only work so far and even then we will be hamstrung by new rules with car parking. Given all of these considerations, the rezoning and redevelopment proposal will serve the dual purpose of improving the facilities whilst preserving the club for future generations.

 

14.       What is the percentage of income derived from Golden Goal each year?

A conservative estimate of 3% of income is derived from Golden Goal rent and bar sales per annum. There are no costs involved to offset this income.  SSC does not pay wages for Golden Goal or pay for repairs and maintenance associated with the upkeep of their fields.

 

Nick Birbara              PRESIDENT     

Graham King            VICE-PRESIDENT                     

Chris Dunn               GENERAL MANAGER                      

Audrey Bannantyne  BUSINESS MANAGER

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