by Di Pearson
The Federal Minister for Vocational and Further Education, the Hon Andrew Robb AO MP, took part in a ground breaking ceremony to mark the official commencement of the building of Sandringham Yacht Club’s (SYC) in new clubhouse and training facilities.
Minister Andrew Robb and Commodore Bruce Eddington turn the first sod
Television personality Glenn Ridge was Master of Ceremonies and introduced Mr Robb, the Club’s commodore Bruce Eddington, and past commodores Kevin Wood, Phil Coombs and Geoff Henderson, all of whom played major roles in the development of the new premises.
Commodore Eddington said: 'this is a significant day in the life of our club. This will be one of the greatest things our club has done. This day marks the start of this project – by this time next week you won’t recognise the carpark.'
The Commodore went on to say that the planning for the new premises started in the year 2000 and he thanked all involved, including the Federal Government, the design team, St George Bank, former Commodores, CEO Richard Hewett, former CEO Scott Eccleston, the Estate of the Late Ken and Noelene King and club members, for their input, contributions and patience. The building works are expected to take 14 months to complete.
Mr Robb said: 'As a Patron of Sandringham Yacht Club, I feel proud to be associated with this project and the building of what will be a world-class facility. This is a vibrant club and a great community asset, because Sandringham is providing skills and training and is recognised as only the second sporting club in the Country with Registered Training Organisation (RTO) status, the other being the AFL Western Bulldogs.
'The vision and commitment of the Club is outstanding and all should be congratulated.'
Turning the first sod on the site of the new building (presently the carpark), Mr Robb said: This new training organisation will provide our community with a wonderful opportunity to address the skills shortages we are seeing in the marine industry.'
Taking the spade in hand, the Minister was joined in the historic moment by Commodore Eddington, Kevin Wood, Phil Coombs and Geoff Henderson. As the spade dug into the dirt, those present realised the Club’s vision was now a reality.
Kevin Wood paid tribute to the Bunurong people, Indigenous People from south-east Victoria. 'They were the first to occupy this land, and in deference to them, the Club named one of their committee boats Boonerong some time ago. My wife Nancy was very proud to christen that boat.'
One of Australia’s most progressive sailing club’s, Mr Robb explained that thousands of students across Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs would benefit from a new sailing academy to be included in the new building. The Howard Government will invest $437,500 in the new training facility.
Up to 70 school students will be able to study one day per week at the facility for a certificate course, and the academy will also offer an 18 month Tertiary Diploma in Marine Resort Management in conjunction with William Angliss Institute of TAFE.
SYC’s Boating Academy is an accredited Yachting Australia Training Centre and last year put through 2000 students through their programs encompassing youth, intermediates and adults. The exclusive training provider for the William Angliss Institute of TAFE, SYC delivers the practical components of the Diploma of Resort Management (Marine) course.
In March 2003, SYC brought to completion Stage 1 of the Club’s Facilities Master Plan involving the complete modernisation of their boat yard, including a state of the art underground pollution control system, placing the Club at the forefront of environmentally friendly boat yard management in Australia.
The planning of the Stage 1 project was done in close consultation with the Environment Protection Authority, Parks Victoria, the Department of Natural Resources and the Victorian Coastal Board. Grants for that project were received from Federal and State Governments. The balance of the funding was met by the members of the club who contributed $3 million dollars to the project.
In January 2004, SYC was awarded the 'Keep Australia Beautiful' Award (clean seas and foreshores category) for their in-ground pollution control system that collects, filters, treats and recycles yard and storm water, making it an accepted benchmark in Australia and overseas as a boating facility with an efficiently developed and managed marina and boat yard maintenance facilities using sustainable environmental management practices as an integral part of its operation.
In 2007 SYC was awarded the Victorian Yacht Club of the Year, was rated as one of the top 3 marinas in the country, received the environment award at the Victorian Marine Industry awards and has recently been nominated for the Club Organizational Management award at the upcoming 2007 State Government Sport and Recreation Awards.
The re-development of the SYC clubhouse and provision of additional car parking will complete stage 2 of the club’s Facilities Master Plan and provide a modern facility to service club members and the community for the next 50 years.
One of the largest clubs in Victoria, SYC plays a key role in the hosting of both National and International events on behalf of Yachting Victoria, including the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne International Regatta, held each January.
Within the design of the new clubhouse, public meeting facilities will be provided for outside organisations including community user groups. A large function area will also be available for community use.
Design processes have involved the key stake holders in the project; SYC’s landlord, the Department of Sustainability (DSE); the governing body of the precinct, Parks Victoria and locally, the Bayside City Council. A Town Planning Permit for the $11.5 million project was granted to SYC in April 2005.
The finance breakdown of the budget to construct this new facility is;
Members Contribution $5.3m
Federal and State Grants $0.5m
Bank Borrowings $5.0 million
Total Project Cost $11.5 million
What stood out on the day was the excitement of SYC members, including those coming ashore after their Wednesday afternoon race. All cheered and raised glasses in support of their new club.