The Future of GBYC

THE LIE OF THE LAND (AND SEA)

Currently, many yacht clubs around the country both in small fishing harbours and those in TNPA (Transnet National Ports Authority) ports have found their water rights under review. In our case the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) empowered by the Marine Living Resources Act and armed with official policies driven by government’s Operation Phakisa and its focus on the Oceans Economy has placed our 1984 Water Lease under review.

On a positive note DFFE has indicated a willingness to negotiate a new extended Water Lease, which will be more secure for GBYC then the current lease, should the Club opt to align itself to the ideals of achieving an Oceans Economy. Essentially the Gordon’s Bay Harbour is a designated Fishing Harbour and it therefore needs to contribute meaningfully to local economic development so that communities that the harbour serves share equitably in its resources and benefits under the motto “Oceans for All”.

In all adversity there will be huge opportunities too. GBYC is in a position to meaningfully contribute in partnership with DFFE. The name of the game is TRANSFORMATION. How we as a club set about achieving this will determine how successful we will be. Under the same considerations RCYC has just recently successfully concluded a 20-year water lease for themselves. We are hopeful that we can achieve a similar result and in doing so we stand to serve as the model for other small yacht clubs to follow.

The Committee has spent numerous hours and a lot of energy on research to find the best way forward. We have acquired the services of Advocate Louis van Wyk to assist us. Adv. van Wyk is a highly experienced mediator and negotiator. Thanks to his dealings with other yacht clubs and government departments he is well versed in the issues and challenges the clubs face. He has been advising us on strategy and also mediating on our behalf with DFFE on the way forward. He has established good working relationships with the government officials that are in control of small fishing harbours countrywide and driving Operation Phakisa. There are many complexities to these negotiations.

‘’Crook’s corner’’ is to be used as bargaining tool as per the mandate given to the Exco at a SGM in February 2019.  Having defined the playing field, DFFE is very open to finding a winning solution that satisfies all parties and stakeholders. We hope to gain some meaningful concessions in areas of important interest to our Club and it members.  

HARBOUR USERS’ COMMITTEE

DFFE policy, and that of Provincial Public Works, is that the Harbour Users Committee will be the only voice that is officially recognised by the authorities. The Harbour Master may preside over this forum but it is really the Committee’s constituent members who will have the loudest voice. This has been made very clear and it’s purpose is to ensure that the harbours resources are properly utilised and maintained for the benefit of the community which it serves and that it fosters local economic development.

Currently Alan Dawson is our representative on the Harbour Users’ Committee and is Secretary to the Committee.

NOT SO LUCKY

Some yacht clubs have not been so lucky. You are probably aware of Mossel Bay Yacht Club, Algoa Bay Yacht Club and the Zululand Yacht Club in Richards Bay  all of which have been severely impacted by the new policies. For our Club to succeed we need a united and committed membership going forward.

We encourage you to attend this year’s AGM. The date has been set for Thursday 14 October 2021. A formal notice and Agenda will follow in due course.  We hope to secure the attendance of Lindanii Mchunu (RCYC Academy) and RCYC Commodore to address our Members on these issues. The Exco will use this AGM to outline its transformation process and the roadmap to achieving it.

LAST WORD

It is normal to fear the uncertainty that constant change often brings. It’s natural for us to want to resist it. We all know that it is difficult to embrace diversity or even the need for it. Doing so is often challenging. But on the bright side, diversity brings a richness of alternative perspectives, ideas and possibilities. In all spheres it is the driver of innovation. It need not be feared as it almost always offers greater opportunities for innovative solutions.