MORNINGTON Yacht Club has signed a new 21-year head lease with the shire.
It has been a tough time, with commodore Graeme Alexander saying that since the Safe Harbour “debacle” of 2010-12 the committee had been struggling “to get the club back on track”.
At that time, a planning scheme amendment was needed for Mornington Yacht Club and its associated company, Mornington Boat Haven, to build a $18 million 170-berth floating marina, but this was knocked back by the shire.
It is believed the club spent about $500,000 on the ill-fated proposal, as part of $1 million spent by Parks Victoria and other government departments on scientific, technical and planning reports.
“The result was that they replaced an historic pier designed for paddle steamers back into its historical configuration,” Mr Alexander said.
“We’ve basically been playing catch up ever since, but we are not whingeing because at one stage it looked like getting nothing.”
Mr Alexander said re-signing the head lease was akin to walking through a “mine field”. “Don’t underestimate the work done [by the committee] to implement this. I really feel for the future committees that have to start renegotiating this 21 year head lease again in 15 years’ time,” he said.
The new lease means the club can start negotiating sub leases and expand and improve member services and development.
The focus will now be on supporting and enlarging the keelboat fleet, which was affected by the loss of the pier and defection of boats to other clubs and the marina at Martha Cove.
“Parks Victoria has built a new pier that has improved the sea state and, although not as good as we had hoped for, it is at least better than we have ever had,” Mr Alexander said.
“Swing moorings are again in demand and [the club] currently has a waiting list, including at least five new yachts wanting to partake in club activities.”
Mr Alexander said the club’s focus now would be on better managing the harbour and developing the hardstand. It will aim to realign the swing mooring grid to get more boats into the “golden triangle’ area protected by the breakwater.
Day passes implemented this year aim to raise keel boat crew opportunities, and there’s a commitment to repair the slipway.
Mr Alexander said welcoming new boats to the fleet was “hard when our mooring situation is so difficult to navigate”.
He said the club had written to licensed mooring holders saying it intended to better manage the 65 swing moorings in the harbour.
“The club does not have the ability to offer these moorings to others due to not knowing their current condition nor licence holders’ intentions,” he said.
“The letter sent was never going to be popular among licence holders, and nor, it seems, are the terms and conditions of the 12-month licence.
“Our intention is to have better control over the harbour giving greater opportunity to grow the Mornington keel boat fleets and new sailors.”