This Chairman’s message will be the last from me as Chairman of the Community Association as I will not be standing for re-election to the CA Executive at the next AGM. I hope that you will therefore indulge me as I look back on the six years that I have been Chairman and the lessons that I have learned, as well as my hopes for the future of this wonderful Community.
My business career spans some 52 years and all of that time I have worked in a variety of companies and roles; starting as an Industrial Engineer and then qualifying as a registered psychologist specialising in organisation change management, cultural change, restructuring of companies, senior management leadership training as well as three years in New York where I did merger and acquisition work and large organisation reviews and restructuring. I was a partner of Ernst & Young for 12 years and in my later career, I was the National CEO of an international law firm for 13 years. I have also been a Company Director and Chair of several boards as well as coaching senior executives. I put this on the record not to boast, as many in this Community will have had similar or even more important careers, I mention it only because in many respects a large Community such as ours has many of the characteristics requiring the skills and expertise necessary to lead a large organisation.
However, long gone are the days when leadership could be thrust on a person simply by bestowing a title or the power of a hierarchical position, people will only follow a leader if they respect them, they do not have to like them, but they must respect them. To achieve respect the leader must be able to communicate a clear vision for success backed up by actions that show the vision is being achieved. They must be even handed and fair to all stakeholders. In my case, I hope that over these past years as your Chairman that I have demonstrated the majority of these characteristics.
I started with a Community Plan being a one page document that has a simple vision “Preserve the value of the Community assets and grow the value of owners’ assets to exceed the average value of the Sydney property market, while maintaining a secure and healthy environment”. There are four goals necessary to achieve this vision:
Governance & Structure – putting in place effective governance processes and procedures that ensure fairness across all members, transparency with transactions and finances and regular and accurate communications. Developing a structure of sub-committees that report to the CA Executive and comprise members of the Community. Sub-committees assist with the operations of specific community areas such as Assets and Standards, Finance, the Country Club, Communications, Landscaping, and the Admin Building.
Security of People and Assets – ensuring that members feel safe within the Community parcel and that the assets we share and own are protected from theft and damage.
Community Image – through our excellent landscape and gardens, our well maintained and unique buildings, our Country Club, Community Hall, Oval and Silkstone Park; projecting our image as a sought after location for a diverse range of age groups and ethnicity, a true Community that cares about our values and standards.
Affordability – We strive to manage our finances (our costs and revenue) efficiently and to keep levies at levels that are affordable, we take great care entering into contracts with suppliers to ensure that we receive value for money as well as work to a schedule of expenditure spread over time to match priorities. The fact remains however that in order to meet our Community Vision, costs will continue to rise, and owners should reasonably expect levy increases above CPI rates if we are to maintain asset standards in the long term.
Of course, as well as having a vision and goals we also have objectives and strategies for each goal and these are updated each year. I hope these will continue to form the basis of governance of all future administrations.
I have been very fortunate to have had colleagues both on the CA Executive and those that have been willing to form sub-committees and project groups. Community members who have worked tirelessly to advise the Executive and to ensure projects are well planned and executed, all of you have my gratitude, without your assistance very little of what has been achieved would have been possible.
Of course, all of these plans look great on paper and would only stay on paper if we cannot demonstrate real progress in the advancement of projects. This year we have focused heavily on improving our communications giving and receiving feedback on projects and issues of importance to the Community. We continue to hold Town Hall meetings, CA Reps meetings and have trialled informal Q&A sessions. Because I tend to only look at what is yet to be achieved rather than what has already been achieved, I am often surprised by how much we have achieved over the past six years. Listed below are the major projects and achievements.
Achievements in past years
- Signing the five year agreement with Canada Bay Council for Stage One of our Traffic Management Plan and implementing the plan to allow Council Officers to issue parking fines. Prior to this agreement parking was chaotic and dangerous.
- Recognising that while our tree scape is a great asset, trees can also be very expensive to maintain with roots lifting pavement and blocking water and sewer pipes. We have worked closely with Council to develop a Tree Management Plan that allows us some freedom to trim roots, reduce canopy size and replace trees that are unsuitable for our environment.
- Established a network of CCTV cameras throughout the Estate and combining this with an improved security patrol service that seems to have reduced the rate of crime in the Estate.
- Establishing and continually updating the Community website. There is now a great deal of community information on the site including meeting minutes, strata legislation, our own by-laws and the Community Management Statement and much more.
- Renovated the Administration Building which provides meeting rooms and furniture to allow all members in the Community to use the facility for meetings.
- Established sub-committees in key areas of Estate Management, providing policies and procedures for these and for short term project groups.
- Employed an Executive Assistant to improve our ability to reply to the numerous emails we receive from members asking for information or advising us of issues that need action. This has worked extremely well over the past few years improving our information turnaround time from days and weeks to hours. The Executive Assistant is also editor of the Breakfast Pointer newsletter that was previously outsourced at a significant cost.
- Employed a Senior Facilities Manager to handle the growing demand for large projects such as the extensions of the Country Club, painting and repairs of assets, installation of specific projects such as the CCTV cameras, projects in the Admin Building, ensuring compliance with the architectural and landscape standards, working with the Assets & Standards Sub-committee co-ordinating maintenance programs.
- Building stronger relationships with key stakeholders such as Canada Bay Council, Police, the Rose Group (Breakfast Point Pty Ltd). This time and effort has borne fruit, we work closely with Council to gain more understanding and control over our own assets, in particular tree management. The Police are providing more cover when needed as well as Community information sessions. Rose Group are helping us to find important information such as the mapping of our underground infrastructure as well as assisting with ad hoc advice along with internal stakeholders such as the BP Strata Network.
- Established a strong probity policy where all key contracts must have at least three quotes (unless unavailable) and each quote is posted to the Admin Assistant and locked until opened by at least two members of the CA Executive and usually the Senior Facilities Manager.
- Enhanced the Anzac Day Dawn Ceremony which now attracts a large number (some 500 people) of Breakfast Point residents as well as people from adjoining communities.
Achievements this year
Apart from continuing with most of the work mentioned above we have also:
- Completed the Country Club Extensions Project which has received popular acclaim across the membership. This project in particular shows the value of establishing good governance and communication processes. Starting with community involvement in the architect designs, approvals at AGM (SGM), establishing an Extensions Project Team with specific expertise for the build, governed by the Assets & Standards Sub-Committee reporting to the Executive.
- Upgraded Country Club facilities including pool furniture, lounge furniture refurbishment, painting internal and external, roofing over the front portico (due to be installed early November), paved the area near the gazebo, some of this being paid for from savings from the building budget.
- Completed Stage One of the Traffic Management Plan, involving installation of one-way streets and a roundabout, followed by design and approval of Stage Two involving road calmers and related facilities which will start being installed this year with progressive installation into next year. These actions are intended to make our streets far safer for both pedestrians and vehicles.
- Worked on succession planning for the Executive and the expansion of our sub-committee network to try to ensure that we do not lose the knowledge developed over many years in what is a complex managerial environment.
- In response to cost increases, conducted an investigation into water usage for the Estate and found that we were spending far in excess of what could be regarded as an efficient water network. Due to some excellent work by some members of our executive, BFMS and other contractors we are now seeing a considerable reduction in water consumption, leading to significant cost savings.
- We continue to believe in solar energy as a cost-effective means to provide electricity to CA Assets such as the Country Club, Community Hall and Admin Building and are working to encourage power companies and government to support a community wide project.
- Working very closely with Jemena regarding the remediation of Kendall Bay, a small team of member experts have been meeting with
experts from Jemena and their contractors to ensure that our interests are met, and assets protected, especially the integrity of the seawall.
Finally, I thank all of the Community who have supported our efforts over the past six years. It has been a very steep learning curve for us all and a particularly gratifying time for me. I hope that I can continue to support the Community in meaningful ways in the future.
I wish you all a very safe and happy Christmas
holiday and New Year.