Heritage Clubhouse Renovation
Fundraising Q & A's
as at August 5, 2019
Q. How do we know that the scaling of the project is right?
A. In 2016/17, we did in depth consultation sessions with DCC ‘Power users” those that were regular conveners at the Club, had used the Club for personal events like weddings, and past Presidents. We identified issues and challenges with the current Club House and documented user requirements and priorities. From that we used volunteer talent to develop architectural renderings for feedback and discussion. A series of options were presented to members at information sessions in 2017 and feedback was again received. In 2018, the DCC hired a professional architect, Todd Richards, from Montreal, who has developed permit ready architectural drawings reflecting the needs identified by the Community. These drawings were for both a 3-season and a 4-season option. The Board has determined that there currently is no business case for a 4-season option given the number of people that travel in the winter and involvement in other activities like curling. The plan is to renovate to a 3-season building, but be able to convert to 4-season should interest and funds become available.
Q. Why don’t you tear down the existing building and put up a new one? It may be cheaper in the long run?
A. One of the principles of the project that came up early on through the consultations was to try to preserve the ‘rustic charm’ of the existing structure. It’s a very distinctive building and people are emotionally attached to its heritage and charm. We also looked at providing only maintenance on the existing building and building another new structure, but this is cost prohibitive at this stage. When we hired the architect in 2018 he advised that the basics to our existing building were sound and worth investing in. We think we can modernize the functionality of the existing facility while preserving its historic nature and charm.
Q. What happens if I donate money and the project doesn’t move forward?
A. All the deposit cheques will be kept and not cashed until the Board decides to move forward with the project – expected in October 2019.
Q. Will a tax receipt be provided?
A. No. The DCC is a non-profit organization, but it is not a registered charity. We looked at trying to get a charity set up years ago, but it was not possible for a private golf club.
Q. Who should I make my cheque out to?
A. Cheques should be made in the name of the “Dunany Country Club” with a reference to the “Centennial Fund” in the memo line.
Q. Can I stage my donation over a few years?
A. Yes. We are ideally looking to get as much money as possible in by 2020 so that we can begin construction in September 2020. Donations can be over a 3-year period, with the first installment in September 2019, the 2nd in June 2020 and the 3rd in July 2021. We are aiming to have the bulk of the renovations complete for our 100th anniversary in 2022. However, we will be pleased to take a member’s contribution over a 5-year period if that is better for them.
Q. Do we really need to do this? Why can’t we just cover the costs in our Regular maintenance budget?
A. The Club House was built in 1939 and has undergone several renovations. We have managed to cost-effectively keep it relevant by improving and patching it over the years. However, there are significant things that need to be replaced – like the roof – and improved – like the bar and kitchen in order to keep it functional for our members and a viable place for our volunteers to work. The estimated cost of these basic changes is $150,000 - $180,000. For an incremental $300,000 we can significantly improve the structure so that it will last for generations to come.
Q. Isn’t it more important that we put our capital towards the golf course?
A. All our capital for the past 10 years and for the next 5 years is being invested on equipment and improvements to the course. Most members agree that the course has significantly improved – especially over the past 5 years in terms of the weeds and clover on the course and the quality of our greens – which are the envy of golf courses all over Quebec. However, we have not put any capital towards improvements in the Club House – which now badly needs work. It is because our capital fund will continue to be focused on Golf Course equipment and improvements for the next 5 years that we are raising this money to ensure that the heart of our course and the community – our Club House – is maintained, as well, for years to come.
Q. The renovation proposed is too aggressive. I love the old charm of the clubhouse and don’t want to see the character of the building change. Why can’t we just fix the roof, improve the kitchen & Bar areas to help the members & improve the working conditions for the volunteers?
A. One of the basic principles of this project is to preserve the rustic charm of the building. The proposed design that was done by the architects we hired last year preserves the integrity of the existing structure, but adds additional functionality and space to make it better meet the needs we identified in our initial consultations. We can do just basic maintenance – like replacing the roof, etc. and we estimated that it would cost about $150,000 - $180,000. However, for an additional $250,000 - $300,000, we can make really substantial improvements and keep the building going for years to come. We are really restoring this Club House for the future. If we don’t do something over the next 5 years, we won’t have a Club House.
Q. Assuming the septic tank and field is over 30 years old, will the tank and/or field need to be replaced and moved with the proposed plan? If so, what costs would be expected? Why not reduce the renovation plans and avoid these additional costs to our septic system?
A. We have engaged a septic engineer and met with the Wentworth permit manager. The Engineer will be looking at exactly what we need to do with the well, septic tank and field to be in compliance with municipal regulations. He will be developing a plan and costs by the end of August. We anticipate that those costs will be less than what we currently have in the budget.
Q. Why are we only building a 3-season facility? More and more people are staying in Dunay full time. Wouldn’t a 4-season be a better option?
A. We want to have a 3-season facility because currently we are a 3-season operation and we don’t think there is a business case for a 4-season facility. As well, many people go South for the winter or join other organizations, like the curling club. However, having said that, the plan is to build a 3-season facility that can be converted to 4-season should the need be required in the future or should funding be available. We estimate that the additional costs would be in the area of $100,000. We have received assurances from the Mayor and the MRC that the 4 municipalities would be willing to contribute $100K if we were to have a 4-season facility that could be used for an Emergency Shelter. If we are able to raise enough for a 3-season facility, we can convert later on if the money is there and we want to.
Q. What assumption are you making regarding “in kind” labour help from the community to minimize discretionary costs?
A. The heart of our community is based on outstanding levels of commitments from our volunteers. This community has tremendous levels of skills that can help with this project. If we need additional help and work, we think our community will rally around the Heritage renovation project & engage in making it happen. According to the Building Codes, we have to use unionized labour in order to do the main build. However, we may be able to finish some of the interior work using our talented volunteers.
Q. Why is the Board taking $75,000 of funding from our cash reserves? I thought these funds are for financially challenging years that we may face in the future?
A. The bylaws are clear and $75K is well below the threshold that the Board can access for the investment needed for our 80-year old clubhouse. This approach still leaves the club with around $100,000 in the bank, well above what is required in our bylaws. The clubhouse needs extensive work and the needs of our members have changed over the last 80 years. This plan addresses those needs across the majority of our members.
Q. The By-Laws say that we only have to maintain 15% of revenues, is there not an opportunity to take another $60K and put it towards the project and still be OK?
A. Because of the long term debt – we don’t want to be too tight. Our CFO prefers to be very prudent at this stage. If we are short in the end by $25K or so, we can certainly look at this.
Q. This is a special community. Even though some people have access to greater wealth than others, we are all treated the same in Dunany. We don’t want to divide the community into “have” and “have nots”. What are you doing about that?
A. This is a prime concern of the Board and the Fundraising committee. Privacy of donors is critical. Only the campaign chair, our CFO and bookkeeper will know who donated. Those that have already committed donations have graciously asked that they not receive any special reward or recognition. It’s a key tenet of this campaign. It’s about the COMMUNITY and not about the individuals. Everyone will be donating something – even if it is through the assessment. Together we are helping to sustain our special community in Dunany for generations to come.
Q. Why should I subsidize those that don’t pay?
A. The Board is 100% committed to this project. They have agreed that all members would be assessed. We have kept the assessment low specifically because there are members with various means and we don’t want to drive away members. Everyone will pay something. We are hoping that the majority of people will rise above the minimum assessment and make their best contribution to ensuring this project is a success. The Club House is the heart of the Community. Every little bit counts.
Q. Is there not a risk of creating 2 classes of membership?
A. Through the assessment, everyone is going to be asked to contribute, however, some may want to donate more than others. We are very sensitive to this concern. As well, people could donate in labour or other activities; there are hard $$ and soft $$$. If anyone has a concern, please approach the Board and we will take that into consideration
Q. Have we applied to the provincial government for a grant?
A. Yes, last fall we applied for a grant but we didn’t get it. We have met with Agnes Grondin, the MPP and there may be opportunities. There is also a “Heritage Fund” program at the federal level. As well, the 4 municipalities have committed $100K if we move to a 4-season facility. There is an advantage to finding the money for the renovation within our community as it provides us with more flexibility in selecting a contractor and in terms of the labour that we use for finishing work.
Q. If everyone is assessed, are we afraid of loosing members?
A. The Club House is the heart of our Community it’s been that way for 80 years. It is used by those that golf, but also Social members and the community in general. We have decided to keep the assessment relatively low so as to not negatively impact those who are not in a position to pay more and encourage those that can and want to to contribute voluntarily. We hope that we will not loose members if they understand the importance of the project. As well, we might gain new members if the quality of our Club House is improved. We will certainly be improving the conditions for our numerous volunteers.
Q. Are there stages in construction to bring the costs down?
A. Everything is being done to bring the cost down. Last year we did an estimate with Stan and Geoff using ‘Montreal’ pricing; 1 year later we have done the same with a local contractor and reduced the price; have to put a price in – this is probably the worse case; our job is to get it free if we can; lots of stuff to focus on to get the cost down – septic, insulation and in kind labour
Q. What’s the ask in the Centennial Fund?
A. Our fundraising target is to raise $250K to $300K from the Community; if we do that can go ahead with the plan; the cost of the project is expected to be around $450,000
Q. Are we asking only for that plan or for other plans?
A. Only for this plan; if we fail to raise the money the board will meet to decide what to do
Q. I heard that you were only going to assess after you found out what the larger donors are prepared to give. Could the assessment go down?
A. No. Everyone will be assessed the minimum assessment amount. $100 per year, per member over 3 years. Even if we don’t proceed with the larger project, we will need to assess to do the basic repairs required – storage, roof and improvements to the bar and kitchen. Through the generosity and commitment of our members and the community our fundraising goal is to raise $300,000 to allow us to proceed with the Heritage renovations. These gifts will be in addition to the universal assessment.
Q. Did you look at putting in annual fees to this? Why not use them?
A. Annual fees cover the operations for the Club – the greens employees, starters, administration, insurance, etc. Only Initiation Fees go to Capital. We do have a capital fund which is currently fully committed to the golf course maintenance and upgrading. That is why we need to do large scale fundraising to ensure that we can move ahead with this Heritage project.
Q. Are you going outside the membership to the Broader community?
A. Yes. Also to Social Members
Q. Where can I get additional information?
A. The project background, architectural plans and additional information are available on the dcc website at: dunanycountryclub.com under the member login page (password: dcc1922).