Member Update – April 1, 2020 – Club closed until further notice
Board President Update
On behalf of the entire Board of Directors and Management team, let me begin by wishing everyone health and wellness for you and your families during this extremely challenging time. Like all businesses in BC, Canada, and the world, we are in an unprecedented time that is impacting all of us. Closing our club for weeks, or maybe longer, was not something that anyone could have anticipated. Like me, you are no doubt missing all that the club provides; recreation and exercise; quality time with friends, and a safe place for our children to play. Mostly, however, I miss the sense of community that comes with being a member of the NSWC. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how great it will be to walk through the front door again and say ‘Hi’ to Barb!
In time, we will all get through this, and our community, the NSWC, will be stronger for it. Your patience, understanding and support as we navigate these turbulent times is very much appreciated. We’re not all alone in this, we’re in this together, and when making important decisions, we are doing our best to find answers and to be as proactive as we can.
The safety of our members and our staff remains our utmost priority, and we will continue to follow all the guidelines as directed by the Health Authorities. Given the current COVID-19 circumstances, the situation is very fluid, and we really have no clarity about when the club will re-open. We just know that it will. In the meantime, we must be pro-active in doing all that we can in the best interests of the club as a business, and you the members. The Club will be faced with the difficult reality of losing significant revenues due to a sustained closure, leading to challenges with operation deficits, maintaining staff and keeping each and every member. Our goal is to continue to work hand in hand with senior management and to emerge from this with as minimal negative financial impact as possible.
Last week, the Board of Directors and senior management met by video conference to discuss the Club’s current operational needs and the financial implications of being closed for an indefinite period of time. In addition, we spent most of our discussion trying to determine how we can best support our members.
The result of our discussion was unanimous. The best way we can help our members during this time when incomes are dropping, and layoffs are sweeping, is to lessen their financial worries, in whatever small way possible.
As a result, effective today, April 1, 2020, your monthly dues will be reduced by 25% until the club re-opens. This will be reflected on your April statement that you will receive in early May. (Please note that the statement you will receive later this week reflects your March dues and any charges in March that you may have incurred). In addition, we will be reviewing all activity fees and providing refunds or pro-rates where applicable. These will be communicated to our various user groups in future emails.
Helping our members was an easy decision. More difficult, was trying to find various ways to reduce our costs to allow this to happen. Outlined below is a brief summary of the steps we are taking to ensure we are well positioned once this crisis is over.
Management has reduced our operational costs wherever possible, and we continue to explore options that will save us money. This includes reducing all energy consumption to the minimum, cancelling/reducing service contracts and other prudent measures. We want to be responsible financially, with the balance of still ensuring the facility remains well maintained and secure. We are also enhancing our many health, safety and sanitation protocols so that we are fully ready when the club re-opens.
Our hope has always been to keep our entire team engaged and employed, but like most of us are experiencing, this crisis has created a new economic reality that requires difficult decisions. When we closed on March 16th, we wanted to fully support our staff and committed to paying all of our hourly staff two weeks of wages until the end of the month. As of this week, 95% of our hourly staff have been temporarily laid off so that they can collect EI benefits, knowing that we will bring them back as soon as we return to full operations. The few remaining hourly staff are required for safety and security purposes. In addition, all Senior Management will be taking a 20% wage reduction, and further layoffs may be necessary. Rest assured that we remain hopeful that these necessary measures are temporary, and we are exploring all available financial support from the various levels of government to ensure that staff and their families are taken care of and remain available for when the Club reopens.
The Board has reviewed a high-level financial projection of our closure over the short and longer terms. The Board and Management are now working to balance our cash flow needs with the many fixed costs we will still incur while being closed. While we may be able to take advantage of various government deferral programs and possible subsidies, the majority of our major costs such as property taxes, insurance, employee health benefits tax and others will still eventually need to be paid. In addition, as outlined above, we have on-going minimum costs that simply can’t be avoided.
We feel that we need to balance optimism for re-opening with an awareness that no one truly knows the long-term impacts of this pandemic, and that our responsibility is to ensure the club continues to be fiscally prudent. We will also ensure that we continue to maintain excellent relations with our bank, our vendors and our partners. By implementing the steps outlined above, we are confident that we can remain financially healthy.
The best thing our members can do to support their club is to continue to pay their reduced dues and keep their account current, which will allow us to continue to pay our necessary expenses while the Club is closed. If you previously paid your account at the front desk, we ask that you either set up a pre-authorized payment plan (PAP), or alternatively, set up the NSWC as a payee with your bank or credit union. Simply use your primary member number as the account number (if your member number is 12345, your account for online banking would be 0012345). Of course, you can also still mail a cheque to the club. If you have any questions please contact our controller, Russell Ritchie at email@example.com. Your continued commitment and support will sustain the club throughout this turbulent period.
This is your club, and when the world returns to normal, it will be ready for you to come back! Someday soon we will all be sitting on the Tiki deck sharing stories of how we survived this new term called ‘social distancing’. A big thanks to the many members who have reached out in support of the closure and in support of our staff, who as I’m sure you can appreciate, are missing their day to day routines. That said, they still want to be able to offer you various services during the shutdown and self-isolation, so please stay in touch with the Club on Instagram & Facebook, as well as through the Weekly Connection eBlast, and let them know what the club can do for you and your family during this time.
In closing, I think the best way we can all support our club is to have faith and patience, knowing that life will get be back to some form of normal hopefully very soon. For today however, please stay healthy. There is nothing we would all like more than to be back enjoying our amazing club as soon as possible.
We will continue to communicate with you on a regular basis, but should you have any questions, myself or Joanna Hayes are available via email at anytime. Your continued patience and support are much appreciated.
James Cronk | Board President