OCTOBER 20, 2021

Town Hall Q&As

At the October 20 Town Hall, Membership Chair Dr. Briar Sexton shared the Member Satisfaction Survey results and the Executive and the Chair of Finance, Ms. Kristine Simpson presented the year-to-date financial update. In addition, Board President Mr. Dean Medwid announced that Philip Ireland will be stepping down from his position as General Manager and C.O.O. at the end of 2021.

Following the evening’s presentations and announcements, members present in person and attending virtually were welcomed to pose questions to the Board and management. The full list of the questions and answers is below:

Q: Is there an increase in the special assessment for next year’s budget?
A: No. There will not be an increase to the special assessment for next year’s budget.

Q: Is there Christmas lunch or dinner in 2021?
A: Yes. The Christmas events calendar will be sent to the entire membership the week of October 25th. Reservations will be available via online request forms.

Q: It seems that the membership has expanded over the past few years to younger members. This is a good trend for the future of the Club. However, the reason we love the Club is in part due to your fine dining experience. Noise levels in the dining room have been increasing to “pub level” from tables filled with younger members. At a recent dinner, there was a table next to us of 6 and two women screamed in laughter…. baseball game level …. throughout the meal. What procedure or practice is the F&B department considering to address this issue?
A: We are sorry to hear that you experienced noise levels that impacted your enjoyment in the a la carte dining room. The Club’s food and beverage team always strives to provide the highest level of service to our members and their guests.
If the noise level is at a point that’s infringing on member and guest experience, the Director of A La Carte will politely ask the noisy party to be mindful of other guests in the dining room.
If a party is sensitive to noise, it is noteworthy to communicate this to the Concierge department upon booking the reservation. The a la carte team will be happy to reserve a table for the party in a quiet section of the restaurant or alternative space.

Q: Can we remove the 14 days restriction for visiting the club when leaving Canada. The borders have been open for quite some time, land borders very soon, and travel is becoming more common.
A: Members and guests who have travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days and meet the Government of Canada’s exemption for quarantine as fully vaccinated are eligible to visit the Club.

Q: Can you confirm if access via the Cordova entrance can be available to members traveling via bicycle or visiting for a workout?
A: Management prefers all members to access the Club through the front entrance on Hastings Street to ensure that the required health procedures are followed. However, on occasion, if a member must enter through the Cordova entrance they are required to check in with the Concierge in the front lobby.

Q: I’m interested in knowing the status of removing the special assessment fee.
A: The special assessment took effect October 1, 2020 for a maximum period of three years, as voted on by the membership at the 2020 AGM. ($90 per month for resident members and $45 per month for other classes of members, as per the model used for the current CIF).
At that time, the Executive and the Board advised that they would continue to track the financial position of the Club during that 3 year period, and if possible, they would consider removing the special assessment fee earlier than planned. At this time, the Club is still recovering from the pandemic and although our financial results are positive compared to budget, no decision has been made to remove the fee yet.

Q: Can monitors/screens be added in the coworking space to a few of the desks for member use?
A: Management will make this change when updating the coworking space in the new year.

Q: Can phone rooms be available off the coworking space for when a member may need to take a call but does not want to disrupt people working or where the call may be confidential? Maybe there already is, but some awareness around this if so?
A: Management is looking to install a private phone area or booths in the near future.

Q: When will the Vancouver Club reinstate free parking when dining at the Club?
A: Currently, the Concierge team validates Easy Park parking tickets after members dine within the Club.

Q: When are the registration stations no longer going to be required? It is quite time-consuming at the lunch and dinner hour to have guests include all their information. Quite the backup recently. If we are following BC government regulations and suggested protocols, shouldn’t the vaccine card be sufficient enough?
A: The stations set up at the entrance to the Club are an added step to ensure the health and safety of our members and their guests when visiting. We realise that this can at times be frustrating but appreciate the support and patience of the members. We will continue to follow ongoing public health orders and best practices and amend as appropriate. Note that members can download the Envoy app and scan at entry to expedite the check in process.

Q: Has this data been benchmarked against other similar organizations? More specifically, how does this compare to survey results of other private social clubs?
A: Data has been benchmarked in the survey in terms of ratings such as 9.1 for the front door and Concierge, which is well above industry average. Our net promoter score is considered outstanding with scores consistently above 8 for food and beverage and above industry average for fitness.

Q: Why can the Club not expand the gym and related services when there are several levels of unused parking under the Grill?
A: We now have the gym on P1 (formerly Krenus Auto Detailing) which is a space used for HITT classes, boxing and TRX. Members are also provided with options for activities outside of the Club like snowshoeing, hiking, cycling and the Polar Bear Swim. Philip will be spearheading a push-up challenge in November as well.

Q: Many thanks and congratulations to Philip! Given Hollyburn Country Club and Capilano Golf Club are also looking for a new GM, are you using a reputable, well-known international search company who in the recent past has had successful GM recruitments?
A: The board is currently putting together a plan with the HR Compensation Committee. The next board meeting is October 29th and once confirmed, the board we will share this plan with membership.

Q: Why not canvas members for their willingness to contribute to a special assessment to renovate the Captain’s Lounge area and create a first-class wine bar and food area?
A: From a fiscally prudent standpoint, we have reduced our expenditures as related to club maintenance and focused more on the must-do versus the nice- to-do’s. We are now working with the House Committee, Long Range Planning Committee and the Finance Committee to bring to life a document highlighting where we want to spend funds. The Captain’s Bar lounge renovation is certainly a part of this plan. The focus is still on a prudent fiscal strategy and we want to make sure that that we recover to profitability before we take on large renovations, even though it was evident from the survey that members cherish the areas that have been renovated. We do understand that, but we also want to make sure that we’re sustainable. It’s important that we find a balance and do so in a transparent manner, so that members understand where we plan on investing funds.

Q: Value for food was an issue in the survey. Saying that prices have not gone up does not address that issue of value. It is an issue for members as to why pay monthly fees to dine at the same price as high-end restaurants. Also, did I hear right that beverage prices are less than BCL?
A: It is true that our Enoteca price per bottle is less than the BCL due to recent amendments to the liquor laws. Club management regularly performs price comparisons with other fine dining establishments in the city to ensure value. The fact that we’re able to hold prices at our current level with significantly higher costs for food and staffing demonstrates that we are providing good value to our membership.

Q: When will the Gold Bar re-open?
We look forward to the Gold Bar re-opening in the near future and are working to ensure safe physical distancing and high levels of service.

Q: As a non-resident member, I’ve had issues using reciprocal benefits. Is there a plan to change this?
The board is actively looking at what can be done to provide value to non-resident members. Dr. Briar Sexton will follow up on this with the member who posed the question.

Q: With the vaccine status restrictions in place, how does this apply to The Vancouver Club staff?
A: The health and safety of our members, guests and staff is of the utmost importance. The current Provincial Health Order does not mandate that staff are vaccinated. However, The Vancouver Club has put in place a policy that all staff must be double vaccinated and keeps a record of individual staff vaccination status. For the small group who are not vaccinated, we are taking steps to set up an accommodation using rapid testing. If an unvaccinated staff member refuses rapid testing, they will unfortunately be let go. Staff are also encouraged never to come to work if they are experiencing symptoms and to support this, we have a policy to ensure financial support for those taking sick days.

Q: I often can’t make it to the Club for weekday events. Could some of the events be planned for Friday and Saturday nights? Or, could there be more hybrid events?
A: We have recently launched a new event series called ‘New Growth’ which happens once a month on a Friday night. This event features exciting wine and spirit brands who are up and coming or thinking outside of the box.
This comment will certainly be taken into account when planning events for 2022 and beyond. Director of Member Experience, Emily Elston, welcomes member feedback regarding events and can be reached at emily@vancouverclub.ca.

Q: Do we have a line of credit? What’s the relationship with the bankers? Are the bankers asking the Club to carry on with the assessment or is that a board decision?  Has the bank asked for any sort of financial review in terms of our cash flow or projections post removing the government subsidies?
A: Regarding our line of credit, we changed banks last year and developed a new banking relationship that has been extremely partner-oriented. The special assessment was a board decision and not a banking decision, though they were aware of it. They understand where our revenues are generated from and now see the resulting profit. The bank has been extremely supportive of the actions taken by the board. There have been difficult decisions to bring forward to the membership, to increase the CIF and levy a special assessment. Fiscal prudence means that we’re in a position today where we can say that we’re profitable, and the strength of the Club is due to the support of the members. Helen Worth, Director of Finance and HR leads our banking relationship and the Chair of Finance also has a role in that they bring that information back to the board. We’re in a really positive position and will continue to flourish through communication with our banking partner.

Q: There are some members who like to have a cigar after dinner. Is there an appropriate solution to offer this opportunity while considering staff and other members?
A: Our priority is to protect members and staff and follow the city bylaws. The last thing that we want to do is to be offside or upset any inspectors. On occasion we’ve had events where cigars have been a part of them, but it’s certainly not a regular occurrence. Ultimately it comes down to following the bylaws that the city creates for us.