Presidents Report – 20/21 AGM

Dear Members,

COVID
Dealing with the impacts of COVID has created many challenges over the past year, which none of us could have thought was possible a year earlier. Nevertheless, we have been actively setting up the club and the flying school to cope with the ever changing environment to manage our way through the mire and keep the engine of the club turning over.

The hardest hit by the COVID shut downs has been our instructors as they have lost a significant part of their livelihood. May I ask that when we get back, you keep any bookings you make as late cancellations hit the back pocket of our staff.

We as a club can hold our head high, as we have kept the airport open to emergency services, who continue to use the airport several times a week accessing fuel while undertaking law enforcement, fire flighting/prevention and other services.

Additionally, throughout the year members continued to provide Angel Flights to make the lives of many people in the regions a little better by accessing city hospitals for specialist treatment. I admire our pilots who give up their time and offer their aircraft to deliver a wonderful service to regions for free.

I also need to thank the members for their compliance with the COVID directions and doing the right thing. I recognise we are a large part of the Tyabb community and it is important we show leadership and act responsibly and correctly. I feel that everyone has done their part to do the right thing.

Financials
Financially, whilst difficult, we have managed to keep our head above water and stay on an even keel. Fortunately we qualified for several government grants to help offset some of our losses. Ian Johnson and Sue Verran have done a fabulous job in managing our finances and staying on top of things and working with the State and Federal agencies to obtain these grants.

We had an unexpected one off expenditure when we were preparing for the increase in air pilots award adjustment, when we found a historical error that required us to make a back payment to staff. This caused us to undertake an audit and rectify the situation and make good the gap, which is now finalised. We have now put in place a more frequent and rigorous process to ensure we remain better informed and have changed the employment conditions to manage this into the future.

Safety
Never far from my mind is our safety agenda, over the year we organised two CASA evenings to discuss safety with Tim Penny, which all adds to our bank of safety knowledge and improvements. Our HOO, Gerard Lappin, has also been out there amongst the members continuing to support those needing to improve their skills and sharing with us his thoughts on making our flying safer with articles in the TTF during lockdown.
As many of us have had very little airtime this year, because of COVID, we all need to be mindful that we will not be as current as usual. Our instructors are ready to support you with a check flight to ensure we ourselves are airworthy.

Building Projects
This year we saw the completion of two major projects, being the construction of the hangars and tractor shed. The hangars will provide the club with an ongoing source of income for many years to come as well as provide homes to aircraft that would otherwise be parked outside.

The Club’s tractor shed has now been completed, which has freed up a lost hangar spot in the club’s T-hangar, which we all know was a long time coming and took a VCAT hearing to finally get approved.

Our thanks needs to go to both Brian Kholar and Peter Cutting for managing all of these projects which is a great step forward in new facilities and improvements for all members.

Legal Issues
Over the past 12 months we spent more time than we would have liked in VCAT resolving issues, which should have been done at Council, had it not been for the Shire attempting to apply unrelated conditions to permits or attempting to make application for baseless enforcement orders.

We were successful in obtaining costs from the Shire when VCAT ruled the Shire was standing in our way and blocking our application, and the second issue was our successful application for existing use rights to have the “Church Hour” removed from our permit over a Sunday church service that had not taken place since 1978.

The Shire also decided to withdraw from its VCAT application for enforcement orders, for reasons best known to them alone, although we could not see any grounds for such an action in the first place.

This year we have made a VCAT application to the seek a Declaration on our permits as well as obtain existing Use Rights across all of our airport operations for what we have been doing for almost 60 years. This will not get resolved until 2022, however the process is now in train and will hopefully forever resolve any discussion about our permit conditions and activities. I must recognise Judy Pay in all of her assistance and the many many hours supporting me in dealing with these legal matters.

Staff
This year Kellie Gavin has joined us and has taken over from Lisa Waugh in Flight Operations. Kellie has already started to stamp her mark on things and we see new improvements every day.
David Bell has decided to retire from the school and is looking to find a retirement place nearer the sun and sea later this year. I wish David well in his retirement and thank him for all of the great service he has given PAC.
Barry Aldatmaz and Jason Tang have joined our instructor staff, and both gentlemen have great experience and skill to teach new students, and some of us older members, new competencies.

IT Systems
Chris Brown volunteered his services by helping us improve our IT systems with better stability and speed as well as upgrade our very old phone systems, which has been of great help to the club.
Ilona Patience has also helped us make the transition from MYOB to Xero accounting facilities to ready our systems for more extensive IT systems upgrades.

Committee
I need to thank our Committee for their support and help during the year and for all of the volunteered time they put into the Club to keep the grass and runways in good shape, the bar and kitchen compliant, events management, buildings, parking and hangarage as well as legal, Council and communications and lastly the financial management of the club under such difficult times.

Ray Taylor (VP & Events)
Peter Bernardi (IPP & Runways)
Steve Bull (Mowing & Competitions)
Ian Johnson (Treasurer & TTF)
Stephen Braim (Secretary & Comms)
Judy Pay (Community and Government affairs)
Luke Bramston (Bar & Kitchen)
Peter Cutting & Brian Kholar (Building Project)
Martin Cartlidge & Ray Jarvis (Hangarage)
Paul Lucas (Cross Hire Aircraft)

The Future
Whilst we had to postpone the airshow for 2022, we are still looking to coordinate a couple of smaller events such as open days and possibly a STOL competition. Ray Taylor is closely keeping an eye on things and following the Events COVID directions to understand what we can manage.

With any luck this first event will be a turning point for PAC, as I am hopeful this COVID fog will lift and we will emerge into sunshine to restart all of our operations and get back to what we like to do best, and that is, aviation.

President Jack

Presidents Report

Dear Members,

As always there’s never a dull moment with the goings on at PAC as we continue to navigate around snap lockdowns, flying operations, VCAT and our club improvement programmes.

COVID
As we continue to live with the effects of snap lockdowns and restrictions during COVID, I must congratulate the staff and members for their understanding and compliance with the rules.
To some extent, we seem to have fallen into a pattern of understanding and have good plans in place to shut down efficiently and safely and then quickly show our agility to restart and get back to work. We owe a lot of this good planning to our Ops Manage Kellie and our HOO Gerard.
Nevertheless, it’s hard on everyone and no-one more than the instructors with both personal and financial disruption to their lives. Please keep this in mind when making a booking make sure you keep the booking as late cancellations can often hit the pockets of the instructors.

Building Development
Our new club hangars have started to fill with aircraft which is pleasing to finally see happen. We decided to have the floors painted, whilst an expensive exercise, it finishes off what are a set of very well constructed hangars that will serve the club well into the future. There are a few spots left so do not hesitate to enquire if you are looking for to house your pride and joy in a safe location out of the weather.

You will also notice the tractor shed has been completed, which has allowed us to move our tractors and grass management gear over to the new shed. This will not only protect our very expensive equipment but free up a much needed hangar spot for a member.

We need to thank Peter Cutting for managing the building development projects which he has been doing for PAC over many years.

New Committee Member
Ilona Patient has come onto the Committee as Assistant Treasurer. Ilona has a background in accounting and runs a successful bookkeeping business and therefore brings a wealth of accounting knowledge. Ilona has already successfully introduced Xero accounting systems to the club, from our previous software, as we look to invest in new management and flight booking platforms.

VCAT
Many of you will have seen the Shire’s press release on their website and other publications about them welcoming PAC’s application to VCAT. As previously stated, PAC is seeking a declaration as to our permits as well as recognition of our existing use rights, thereby acknowledging all of our airport operations being lawful by virtue of the fact that we have been operating as an airport for almost 60 years.
Friday 13th Aug is the day that the Shire must provide their Statement of Grounds, which will give us insight into their alignment, or otherwise, to our declaration application.

Please be aware that Friday the 13th August is your last day to make your own application or simply write a letter to VCAT stating that you are in support of PAC’s application.

There are 3 options to make a submission to VCAT in support of PAC:
1 Make a full submission with a Statement of Grounds where you can take part in the hearing;
2 make a statement of grounds without opting to take part in the hearing; or
3 write to the tribunal simply stating your thoughts and support for PAC’s application for a Declaration on our permits.

We also received good news that the Shire has written to the Minister and withdrawn the application to amend the current zoning use of the airport. Furthermore the Minister has approved, and now made law, a correction to the typo that was in our planning scheme, which now makes airport operations a permittable use. This withdrawal, and more importantly, the correction to the Planning Scheme effectively ends the Shire’s arguments of the original dispute and the cause of stop work notices, albeit we say were never based in supportive fact or law.

Some more good news recently, is the Shire has granted PAC’s a 5 years unconditional secondary consent in allowing emergency aircraft to use the airport. Furthermore we have been granted 5 year Secondary Consent approval to run an airshow without the need for any additional permits other than a Place of Public Entertainment, which has always been acceptable to PAC. This is a good outcome for the club and I thank Cr Mercurio and the CEO (John Baker) for advocating this successful outcome.

Lastly on VCAT matters, we have yet to hear from the Tribunal about our costs claim against the Shire for their withdrawal of their enforcement application, hopefully this will be resolved over the next few months. We are still waiting on a decision regarding the Lifestyle Village which was heard more than 3 months ago.

The Flying Café
Over the past few weeks we have been trialling a mobile food van in our carpark, which appears to have been a fantastic success for members, the community and the owners of the cafe. The café owners tell me they will be running monthly specials on different fillings along with their pulled pork rolls and other popular yummy eats. I reckon when summer comes around, we’ll see this becoming a popular spot for many. Personally, I have to say their coffee is fabulous and I look forward to escaping after lockdown and heading down for a coffee with everyone.

Airshow 2022
Many of you will already be aware we have decided not to run the 2022 airshow owing to the impacts of COVID. It was becoming apparent the many requirements to comply with a State COVID plan were becoming beyond our capabilities and would require significant costs, which would eat into the funds we would have available for charities. Of equal concern, was that any potential of a COVID lockdown either in Victoria or even NSW, where we rely upon many of our aircraft and pilots, would result in a financial disaster for PAC.
However we are still committed to helping our community with a charity event and are looking to run a couple of smaller open day events during 2022. I have spoken with all of our key sponsors and they are in complete alignment and have committed to remain onboard with us to support smaller, lower risk events.

Presidents Report

Dear Members,

Turning a negative into a positive is always admirable, but not always easy to do. During the COVID-19 shutdown we’ve made use this precious time the best way we can and have taken this opportunity to do things we may not have been able to do before. I’m excited to announce that we are undertaking a major review of our operations and looking at how we can improve things for our members, students and our community.

I am pleased to share with you that we have undertaken a brand and positioning review of PAC and all that we do. Not only does it allow PAC to introduce a new visual identity, it also represents a fresh start. PACs rebranding creates a unique opportunity for us to communicate a renewed focus and a new strategy which reflects who we are as a club and the direction we are heading.

Our mission, vision, and values govern every decision we make, including brand decisions.  To kick the process off we have updated our logo with a more modern look that will retain the brand loyalty we’ve built for over almost 60 years, while refreshing our image to keep up with changing times. This fresh, unique look belongs to us and represents our club as we continue to strive in standing out in our industry. It still looks familiar, but it’s our design and captures a little bit of an art deco feel to reflect heritage and strength. You’ll start to see changes to our identity system, website, social media profiles, and our new visual brand signature around the airport.

Whilst the logo is fabulous, it’s only the header to the substance of what we are about. Our aim is to project a modern, safe aeroclub and that PAC is the leading aeroclub in Australia – and of that we are incredible proud of. PAC is where aviators come to fulfil their aviation dreams, where we support diversity, and provide the opportunity to learn to fly and achieve their ambitions.

We have it all. Whether you want to build an aircraft, seeking adventure, to meet and share experiences with like-minded people in a social setting or a technical one, we have it right here. We also want to make it clear we are part of the community and a force for good, where we continue and grow our support for local charities and facilitate emergency services.

We have built a new website that helps project these values and commitments, which is now fully integrated with social media i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram etc. We have also reviewed our learning opportunities to allow us to provide pre-recorded training videos, power point materials and other learning resources to help students develop faster and ensure safe and quality outcomes.

Over the next few months we will release a number of promotional campaigns to attract new members to PAC as well as inform the community about who we are and the value we bring. Additionally, we will be producing some fun stuff with new more modern merchandise – this means some new look clothing and useful flying tools and toys.

PAC is already the biggest and the best, and we want to make PAC the GA aviation place to be. We have it all and can cater for everyone, be it a career, be it a dream or be it adventure. PAC can offer everyone that seeks aviation with a safe and advanced environment to achieve and enjoy more.

We thank you for your continued support and for sharing your passion with us here at the club. Our members are the heartbeat of PAC and we are so excited to move forward into the future with you with gratitude and pride.

Kind regards
President Jack

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