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Q&A Session 2023

Q: What’s the breakdown on nationalities of the membership?
A: 65% are UK nationals. 15% are Irish and 15% Portuguese. The remaining 5% are from multiple other countries.

Q: What’s the nationality of the Board.
A: Mr. I. Hares (IH) answered that there were four English, one Scottish, one Irish and one Portuguese.

Q: Where are the Board meetings held?
A: IH advised that there is one in November in Portugal whose main business is to approve the budget and membership fees for the coming year which is timed to coincide with the Long Service Awards for the staff. Another is held in May, typically in London. The third one takes place before the AGM in the location where it is held. Any other meetings that may be required are normally held by Zoom.

Q: Are there any plans to upgrade the children’s playroom?
A: Mr. Pereira da Rosa (APR) mentioned that the team always tries to improve the facilities although at this point, there are no plans for a full renew of the crèche. Equipment is though renewed when needed.

Q: The snooker room is quite outdated.
A: APR replied that the snooker tables and the cues have just been renewed. In terms of ambiance in the room, it fits within a more traditionalist décor.

Q: The entertainment in the evenings could be more lively
A: APR answered that there is a live music program year-round. Added to his, in winter there are quiz nights and wine events. There are also themed dinners in the restaurant. As summer starts, we halt these because of families, and hold the weekly barbecues, along with Tapas evenings and Sushi evenings.

Q: Can the shuttle could go to the shopping area at the entrance of Quinta do Lago?
A: APR replied that the shuttle’s main purpose is for staff transportation. There are no available slots to provide a service to the shopping area although we continue to provide transportation to go to the Quinta do Lago beach. There are several options to go to the shopping, for example Uber and VDL.

Q: What are the plans for the future and specifically the pool project?
A: IH said that our goal is to expand the existing pool capacity and to provide a heated outdoor pool throughout the year. The new pool will be rectangular and be capable of being covered at night and will provide an outdoor heated pool though the winter when it is not economic to heat the main pool. The second part of the project is the rebuilding of v.97, the former show villa which is now used for disabled guests, which does not comply with modern health & safety standards. To facilitate this, the admin office building needs to come down, and therefore a new floor on top of the minimarket will be built to accommodate the workplaces currently located in those offices.  This project has been under consideration for some time and may have started after the completion of the villa refurbishment had it not been for Covid. We have also experienced challenges in obtaining planning permission, which has recently been received. The Board is now in a position to provide final approval for the project and works are planned to start in the Autumn. A member engagement programme is now being developed.

Q: Can the plans be seen?
A: IH confirmed that and also said that the project has been shown at the last AGM in London, and was referred to on last year’s Chairman’s Statement. It is also commonly mentioned in Open Forums and the plan is available for members to see in the Club, by asking for someone in the Management team. They will also be included in the engagement programme mentioned earlier.

Q: Who is the architect?
A: IH said it was Gisella Terfehr, with whom the Club has worked with for several years. He continued saying that the project is expected to take 18 months and should start by Autumn, finishing by Spring 2025.

Q: The discipline in the pool seems to be uncontrolled as there were many inflatables.
A: APR commented that this is difficult to control at this time of the year, partly because a lot of the users are renters and therefore sometimes behaviours are not as expected. Lifeguards are however aware of the restrictions and Management should be called if a bigger issue arises. It is though a difficult balance.

Q: Can the bus go to Julia’s beach, rather than QdL beach?
A: APR replied by saying that the time it takes to go to that specific beach, especially in peak season, would disrupt the shuttle operation, as it would take much longer than the trip to QdL beach.

Q: Do members have priority to book a stay?
A: APR stated that members always have preference, but the problem is sometimes not having availability. This is linked to the fact that Members have to release their weeks to rent and sometimes only inform us of their intention rather late in the day, which impacts our ability to confirm booking requests as early as we would like.

Q: Can we have card games, etc. and organized competitions, as happened with Golf.
A: APR mentioned that these are available although it is difficult to organize something specific as we do for Padel or for Tennis, because we do not have the facilities to organize an event. The library was an option but there are many limitations. Mrs. Michelle O’Gorman, from the Board, recalled that there used to be a notice board to sign up for activities such as the card games, which currently exist for Padel, Squash and Tennis.

Q: Is there is any indication on how QdL golf is performing, considering the high cost of playing there.
A: IH advised that he recently played in QdL and it was full and in excellent condition. He then played Amendoeira at a similar price which was in much poorer condition. All of the courses in Algarve have increased their prices and there is unfortunately very little that the Club can do to prevent that. FSCC continues nevertheless to have the benefit of the contract.

Q: Could new golf clubs be available at the Club to go to the driving range, as the current ones are not in the best shape.
A: IH suggested that the golf course clubhouse does provide individual golf clubs to rent.

The Chairman went on to read and answer to Members questions sent by email:

Q: Would the club consider increasing the minimum notice period required in respect of placing properties for rental as the current minimum notice period of two weeks is too short which can result in a loss to the rental pool.
A: This is a matter that is being discussed internally. The challenge is coming up with a solution that is simple and actually works. It’s just a matter of coming up with something which drives the right behavior and is fair to everyone.

Q: Under the Consolidated statement of income and retained earnings for the year ended 31 December 2022 I note an item of (€44,692) under Foreign exchange deficit. Please can you provide further details and have any actions been taken to mitigate against such losses in the future.
A: IH confirmed that this is related to the fact that we are a Euro business although sales of club weeks are in GBP. In the last couple years we have had significant income from the sale of weeks and therefore our GBP balances have been building up. We normally converted these balances to EUR but recently have been holding more GBP because of the costs of the redomiciliation process which are in GBP. At the end of 2021 the exchange rate was at 1.17 falling to 1.12 at the end of 2022 and there is therefore a re-evaluation difference on that. The rate has now recovered to 1.17 so broadly that would reverse. Once the redomiciliation is completed we will reduce our GBP balances in favour of EUR.

Q: Would it not be more equitable for EV points to be charged at commercial rates?
A: IH said we currently have 6 chargers. Mr. Clive Bowles, form the Board, said that he was involved initially with the setting up of the chargers and that installing chargers that we could charge for were quoted at €11K compared to €300 for the current chargers. Additionally, the Club is not able to charge for electricity. APR added that EDP, the local electricity supplier, have presented a solution where they install the charger, and the user will just make the payment direct to EDP by swiping the e-card. Initially we are looking at installing two devices.

Q: My family and all the guests that we have spoken to are very concerned that once the new pool is built the heating in the main pool will be switched off. We have been members from the very start and can remember when the pool was not heated and it was very cold and very few people used it. The current four star rating is well deserved but I feel that guests will not want to visit a resort if the pool is too cold to swim in. Please pass this concern on to the Directors who I understand have made this decision and if possible please add this as a discussion at the forthcoming AGM.
A: The new pool will provide an outdoor heated pool 365 days/year which is an improvement to what we currently offer.

Q: I have had some discussions with Antonio our General Manager over a period of time and previously with Ian Pugsley regarding the proposed new swimming pool, new offices and improvements to the on site shop.  The project start has dragged out as we know due to planning delays and the interruption of Covid and I understand the original budget and scheme was signed off by the Directors in 2014 at considerably less than it is now.  Personally I am for the scheme as long as it is delivered at a reasonable price and to a good standard and on time and that the club has the funds to meet the scheme, which I believe it has.
Additionally as members, can we be assured that the procurement is being executed on a competitive tender basis to obtain best value, although I realise building cost inflation has run high over the last 18 months or so.  Finally do the Directors have the authority to sign for a project under the terms of the club’s original constitution, without membership approval? By example if the Directors decided to build a block of flats on site, could they proceed without member approval? Surely there must be some limits in terms of capital expenditure?
A: IH advised that whilst the development has been under discussion for some considerable time the decision was not made in 2014. In fact, the final decision has only just been made following receipt of planning permission. The Club has the funds available for the development and additional financial support from members will not be required.

IH also advised that the Club’s constitution does not require Member’s approval for these works. The main control in the Articles of Association of the Club is that Members consent is required if the Company was to borrow money and create security over the property in Portugal, which is something that has never done and is certainly not needed for this. It should also be noted that the cost of this project in substantially less than the villa refurbishment. The controls in place have worked for the last 35 years so there is no need to change something that is working well.

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