At the outset let me say how delighted I am to be the new Secretary and how I look forward to meeting you in the coming months.
Regrettably the COVID-19 virus has had such a disruptive impact on all of us and has meant I have to date only met a few of you at various functions at the SMSA. Having had many years of experience as CEO of a large membership organisation, I recognise the importance of personal contact and contributions from members, so encourage you to say hello when next in the building and likewise I will be dropping in to various functions to introduce myself.
Currently the organisation has shut down for the period of the pandemic and staff, including myself are all working from home. This also applies to our tenants except for one tenant needing to complete classes for students graduating this month. By month’s end I expect some tenants will occasionally drop in to check postal mail and attend to matters not able to be completed at home.
With regard to the library, I know many of you are concerned with books that may be overdue. Please do not be concerned as they will not be recognised as such. At the outset of this pandemic we wanted to safeguard both staff and members and, as the Government requested we avoid all possible personal contact, I took the decision to close the library until further notice as did other libraries..
It is clear that, given the age profile of many members, the avoidance of personal contact is a key contributor to reducing the spread of this virus and, despite the great inconvenience, it is something we all need to adhere to.
If there is an upside to this current shutdown situation it is that we hope to complete much needed work on our building whilst it is unoccupied.
Some of the key priorities I have are:
- The roof of our building has a number of leaks, clearly evident on floor 9. The flat roof has waterproofing installed via a flexible membrane. Whilst attempts in the past have been made to patch spots known to have cracks, it is very difficult to have a strong bind with different materials and, regrettably, despite repairs, the membrane still leaks. The only alternative is to lay down a new membrane and this expensive repair is currently being quoted on with expectation that work will commence shortly.
- The building needs to be compliant with current standards and, as such, we require a toilet which conforms to the standard for people with disability. This will be located on the ground floor just past the lifts. A design is being finalised and tenders let shortly afterwards so this work can proceed.Our theatre is a key revenue earner for SMSA as well as the venue for major events. In a competitive hiring environment we need to ensure that it presents as an attractive venue hire alternative and that it addresses the needs of today’s businesses.
We want to expand the use and patronage of the theatre and provide audiences, including member’s guests, with access to many of the excellent lectures and other events we hold in the theatre. This means we need to review the technology options available and at the same time enhance the appearance and comfort of the theatre. This will invariably involve revising the current lighting and seating standards.
No doubt, after a few more months in the role, other requirements will also surface, but I wanted to assure members that, given my past involvement in projects, I have a very frugal and cost effective modus operandi.
I would be very happy to receive your suggestions for future presentations. For example I would like to organize more musical programmes but, as the SMSA doesn’t have a piano, I would be grateful to hear if anyone knows of a grand piano in good condition for sale or possible donation,
Finally, on behalf of the Board and Staff, I wish you all a Happy Easter, good health and a speedy end to the confinement.