Barring last minute delays, a deal will be signed today which should greatly enhance the club's facilities. A sub-committee has been working behind the scenes since last February to secure an agreement with Highland Council which will give the club a long awaited extra storey to the club house. Plans drawn up include a members' bar, viewing platform, overnight accommodation for visiting yachtsmen and, above that, a tropical roof garden.
This, as everyone knows, has been long in the pipeline, but negotiations have necessitated some level of discretion. Highland Council finally gave consent to the plans last week, after months of work to ensure the interests of the club are fully respected. Alongside plans for the club, the council will be constructing a roundabout to ease traffic heading for the ferry terminal, which will entail moving the club a few metres seawards, and building up the sea defences to give us more hard standing.
The club itself, once the work is completed over the course of next winter, will be greatly improved. While upstairs becomes a members' area, downstairs will have changing rooms, with showers (men and women), a lecture room/dance floor and storage space. Bunks for four visiting yachtsmen and a commodore's office are envisioned.
In order to comply with Highland Council inclusivity rules, the club's name will need at some point to be changed to encompass all water sports users. A number of options have been put forward including Loch Broom Skiff and Sailing Club; Loch Broom Watersports Club and Ullasport. These will be put to a democratic members' vote as soon as the ink has dried on the contract.
The work will not be cheap, and subscriptions will inevitably have to rise from the current level. A modest increase of between 40 and 50% would seem reasonable for the added facilities members will soon enjoy.
Much of the expense will be funded under the Scottish Government's HFSSC initiative, for which we have to thank Paul Copestake for negotiating on our behalf. It does, however, mean that the club will need to become a CASC in the very near future, one of the stipulations being that the next commodore and at least 10% of the committee must be chosen from the ranks of our women, or gender non-specific members.
The work which is estimated to cost £120,000, has been put out to tender, with bids from Ullapool Construction and RJ McLeod the likely winners. The design has yet to be finalised but will be in keeping with the immediate surroundings. Plans show a gently curving profile to match the ferry terminal, with the club's logo, a red herring (which is to be retained) illuminated.
Some measure of secrecy has been inevitable throughout the process and members should not think they have been ignored in the decision making process. The committee, however, feels strongly that in order to survive, the club needs to expand to include skiffs, kayakers, divers, fishermen and jet skiers.
Plans will be available to see at the club house from today, 01/04/17