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SWS Annual General Meeting - November 15

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by LeopardSkin » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:46 am

Alton wrote:Just for reference:

  • I spent August in Toronto so I only got 45 sessions at Squamish this season
  • $165 membership / 45 sessions = $3.70 per session
  • gas cost (excluding vehicle wear-and-tear) from North Van in a small car = $15 per round trip
  • Most of you probably spend much more $$$ on gas

My breakdown:

SWS membership - $165
Amortization of windsurfing gear - $1,500
Transportation (fuel, tires, wear & tear) - $1,000
Mags99 - $37,000
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by mjamero » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:43 am

ezzylover wrote:Not a member so my voice is not worth much, but should the spit have a maximum capacity limit per day for kitesurfers and or windsurfers ?
Day fees should be reduced I agree with Bandito, a rescue fee system should be in place, which would reduce the annual fee and make people more responsible.
I am not looking at starting a debate here, just throwing some ideas out there, so 1 day we might come back to the spit to spend time with friends.

Agree Ezzylover.

Make the fees lower and the rescue service should be pay-per-use. The first rescue should be an afordadble amount. After the first rescue it should increase in scale to discourage abuse and encourage responsible sailors/kiters. Perhaps $10 for the first rescue but $50 for the second and $100 for 3+. Even the most reasonable and experienced person may have a time where something happens and a rescue is required. If the first rescue is too pricey it could cause people who truly are in trouble to delay a rescue to avoid the cost of a rescue. This could be potentially dangerous. However, if someone requires a rescue 2, 3, or more times (Especially in one session) then those users really need to re-evaluate how/what they are doing and pay for those rescues.

During the summer (April-October) I'm pretty dedicated to windsurfing however, this season I've logged 17 sessions. 14 of them at Locarno/Jericho and 3 at Nexen. The year before I coincidentally also did 17 sessions; all at Locarno/Jericho. 45 sessions may not seem like a lot of sessions to some but if I could do 45 sessions I'd be ecstatic! A $165 season pass divided by 17 sessions is still about $10/session. And that assumes I sail EVERY session in my season from The Spit. This is unrealistic and the result is more than I am willing to pay to be honest.

Further, the drop-in fees are too high as well. They discourage Noobs like my wife and I. I must admit we have only just started sailing at Squamish this season. Three sessions and all at Nexen. Although we've checked out the Spit, we have chosen Nexen over the Spit for a several reasons.
1. It's expensive! $20/person is a lot. My wife and I both windsurf so its $40 bucks before we consider the gas in a full-size van from Richmond, breakfast and/or dinner out for two. It adds up quick. We do not sail at Squamish anywhere near often enough to justify a season pass. The fees alone discourage new sailors like us getting more involved in the Spit "Scene".
2. From what I can see, (and I could be wrong) windsurfers have to haul all their gear to the very end of the spit. PITA! Especially when two of you windsurf and you may need to re-rig or re-board several times.
3. The drive on that long gravel washboard road is BRUTAL on vehicles.
4. TOO busy.

Nexen is great for beginners. Has a safe cove to practice waterstarts etc. It's FREE. It also has a good vibe. Everyone at Nexen has been super friendly and welcoming which helps with the intimidation factor that Squamish can bring.

My 2 cents. Take it as it is. Peace.
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by 8mdude » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:04 pm

Are proxy votes allowed, in case I can't make it? Just want to make the most of $165 spent on the season by voting.
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by Adrian L » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:56 pm

Season pass should be $200 at least! if you go enough its worth it... can't ski Whistler for that! More money should reflect better services in the future... stop bring cheap! lol
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by ezzylover » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:18 pm

Adrian L wrote:Season pass should be $200 at least! if you go enough its worth it... can't ski Whistler for that! More money should reflect better services in the future... stop bring cheap! lol

these are 2 completely different situations, whistler and cypress to name a few, have huge infrastructures and personnel that work for it, skis are averaging around $600 a pair , while a windsurfing board is at least $1500, plus sails to go with it. it would like comparing a night at a campground against a night at a nice hotel with room service.
People (including me ) are not being cheap , they reflect and are wondering where their hard earned money is going.

I don t know if you are into other sports , but would you be upset if you had to pay for extra money if it was just to access a hike , a canoeing spot, a soccer field, or just go for a run around the seawall, just to pay for people who get hurt there or need insurance and rescue ??

just think about it
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by Tony360 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:26 pm

8mdude wrote:Are proxy votes allowed, in case I can't make it? Just want to make the most of $165 spent on the season by voting.

Sorry no proxy votes at the AGM. But to be clear, the only vote at the AGM is the election of Directors for 2018. The members at the AGM can provide their views on fees (there was lots of discussion regarding fees at the open meeting at the Spit, for those who made it), but like most societies, decision about budgets and fees are made by the elected Board of Directors. SWS is always looking for talented people to join the Board of Directors, so it's nice to see that so many have great ideas, hopefully a few will want to step up and contribute their time and efforts to make SWS better.

On that note, as outgoing President I wanted to give people a bit of understanding of what the fees go to. SWS leases the Provincial Crown land called the "Spit" from the District of Squamish. In exchange SWS is required to maintain $5,000,000 of general liability insurance to protect the District and Province from lawsuits. SWS is also required to have retrieval staff present on all windy days in the season. The largest expenses are:

-Seadoos and maintenance (average lifespan of a Seadoo is 4 years)
-Spit maintenance including gravel work

Our operating expenses have remained fairly stable over the last several years at approximately $90,000 to $100,000. Income statements are always provided to members at the AGM. Revenues vary from year to year, mostly driven by weather. This last season was excellent weather so revenues were strong. The previous season weather was poor so SWS had a small operating deficit that was covered by the funds that were prudently stockpiled for exactly such a contingency from previous years. As a non-profit society SWS does not have the ability to borrow funds, so it must maintain a contingency to ensure that we are able to operate year to year.

A $65 reduction in membership fees, as has been suggested, would lead to a reduction of revenue of about $45,500. That would mean SWS would report an operating deficit of $20,000 to $30,000 for 2018, and would not be able to set any funds aside for Seadoo purchase, most likely required in 2019. To reduce expenses SWS could forego any Spit maintenance, or hire less staff, but it would be difficult to balance the services members want and the funds that are available.

There has been lots of discussion about retrieval fees being increased for repeat offenders. It seems like that idea has lots of traction, personally I have not been retrieved since 2014 so I'm not against it. How effective that would end up being as a revenue generator is not yet known, so prudent financial management would favour implementing that and leaving fees stable, and reassessing the impact of increased retrieval fees on general membership fees for the following season.

Another model that has been discussed is increasing sponsorship. There is money available in community grants and also from companies, including the controversial Woodfibre LNG. Chasing down that money takes time, and SWS is seeking a Board member who has the time and ability to try to develop other revenue streams in order to keep fees down.

The Directors of the SWS are volunteers, who donate their time and talents to preserve our right of access to the Spit and to work to ensure an enjoyable experience for members. We are always happy to hear from members about how things can be improved. We are even happier to hear from members who would also like to contribute their own time to improve things. In particular we are looking for two new directors next year, a Vice President and a Communications Director. If you are interested please let me know in advance of the AGM.
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by Adrian L » Mon Oct 09, 2017 8:26 am

Exactly! Thought about it the first time! Running costs add up in a hurry! $200 should smooth things out!
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by Pavel » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:25 am

I'm also new to Squamish. Only had 3 sessions there this year. One at Nexen, early in the season. I was a bit afraid of ppl breaking into my truck. There were a few strange characters wondering around. Two at the Spit, which I loved, and didn't mind paying the $20. Compared to golf, soccer or pretty much anything else, its way cheaper and there is no time limit. However, I wasn't too happy when no one came to my rescue when my boom broke and I spent about an hour flopping in the water trying to fix it. Luckily I was able to make it back on my own.
As for the annual fees, why not do what Cypress mnt does with the gold medal card. (Buy the card for around $50 which reduces your future admission costs)
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by bandito » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:47 am

-decreasing fees for membership will increase the number of them.
-a pay as you go rescues doesn't sound good to me unless its like n extra 5$ on a lowered membership. Beginner use it more and that is fine and keep rescue staff busy. I like to tell a beginner to not worry to end up a Bozo beach ,and to tell the staff before they launch , and go again as practice make better.3 rescue free. Actually, its too complicate and rescue cannot be ignored even for non member for safety and decency so SCRAP that idea!!!
-I believe in that Parks,Schools, public pools, and place like The Spit should have most of the Money needed for .maintenance and viability from The Federal n Provincial taxes ,not users. no publicity or Spit closures for private events or corporations be ever allowed .
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by AlexK » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:58 am

Thx Tony for your explanation of the fee structure at SWS.

Does the society keep a log of rescues and type each year?
For eg. Kites rescues vs windsurf rescues? Beginner rescues? No wind rescues? Major events?

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