Chairman's Letter - January 2008
An old Chinese proverb talks of interesting times by which they meant ones that were difficult and challenging. The Chinese should have tried refurbishing a time share!
With hindsight the Committee were left in no doubt that they had got some things wrong in the first five cottages. As a result it was agreed that we would only do a partial refurbishment of the kitchens and bathrooms in the second group. This has been successful and the remainder of the rooms will be done in early 2008 and the next group of cottages at the end of that year.
The response to all of this has been interesting; many of the fixed term owners have found the changes difficult while the short term visitors were happy with what had been done. It is easy to forget that not all in those first buildings was right — kitchen fittings, furniture that did not fit, an uncomfortable bed/settee, inadequate curtains in the lounge. There is no doubt that we all have our memories coloured by the past. This time round, however, we hope that we have got it much better.
One of the big discussions has been on how much of the existing furniture should be retained and whether there should be a total re-doing. There has been an accommodation with some reworking but generally it was felt that a complete upgrade is better in the long run.
The Committee has now been presented with a detailed estimate for the completion of the scheme over the whole of our 40 cottages, taking into account the Sinking Fund and costs from £50,000 up to £66,000 For the larger units. This can only be a best estimate to ensure that the management fee does not go overboard, but we have tried to be as realistic as possible.
From listening to other owners and to visitors, the Club has been doing well over the years. At over 90% occupancy, and long waiting lists for time, it must be doing most things right. As I explained recently, an important element in keeping up those standards is through the comment cards. I can assure you that they are carefully read and acted upon.
We have not always had the easiest of relationships with the Managers over the years but it has to be said that currently we have worked well, and I think that the triumvirate from Diamond Resorts International, Amanda O’Garrow (founder member), Steve Rixon (regional manager) and Jason Powell have proved a professional and supportive group who have been prepared to listen and to act in the best interests of the Club. Jason in particular has done a good job on the resort. That is not to say that we do not have our differences, but there has been a mutual respect and willingness to work together that has been both productive and helpful.
You will see from the net management fee that it has only gone up by 2.6%, which is certainly much better than the hugely notional and comparable government estimate of inflation. We have also been able to increase the amount invested in the Sinking Fund from which the refurbishment costs come and so prepare for the future. We have also made a small surplus for 2006 and estimate the same for 2007. Therefore this year the total increase in fees with below inflationary increase in the net fee and the boost to the sinking fund is slightly above inflation at around 6% which we feel is acceptable in order to see our cottages restored.
Finally can I draw your attention to two areas. One is wi-fl, which we had hoped to have installed this year but for various reasons the contractor failed to complete. If we can finish it next year you will be able to go onto your internet for £10 during our visit. We still battle with the difficult reception problem of TV, which may never be resolved hut, thanks to a new member, Sid Jenkinson, we have an excellent website here at www.kenmoreclub.com It is well worth a visit — and even a contribution.
Past Chairman Kenmore Club Committee