THERE has been much talk and speculation with regards to the hosting of the University rowing regatta by the Port Alfred River and Ski-boat Club (PARSC).
The PARSC committee hereby wishes to acquaint the community of Port Alfred with the basic facts .
The regatta has relocated. Happily the event is to remain on the Kowie River. The community can continue to debate the pros and cons, and possible benefit to the town of the influx of thousands of students to the associated party. There is obviously a direct financial benefit to the professional event organiser.
The PARSC will not be hosting the rowers, their coaches and officials. The facts may be stated briefly:
- Historically hundreds of rowers, coaches and officials have used the club’s facilities without paying fair and market related hire charges. Members give up privileges attaching to their membership in order to accommodate the students for a week.
- An attempt to put the relationship on a proper footing was initiated by the club in March this year. The idea was to accommodate the rowers, meet their requirements and extract fair compensation.
- Through numerous e-mails and meetings with unauthorised “representatives”, nothing was achieved other than repeated requests to escalate the issue to those in charge of University Rowing. It was made abundantly clear that the club was not prepared to host the regatta unless an agreement was achieved.
- Ultimately on July 22 a “final” meeting was convened. The universities were represented by a professor and an attorney, both of whom proclaimed themselves to be properly authorised to conclude a binding agreement.
- The rowers offered a payment of R25 000. The PARSC had calculated fair payment for the use of its facilities for the week (based on market related venue hire) was R45 000, after taking into account the current financial constraints of universities, social responsibility and a funding model of R100 entrance fee per participant.
- Now this is important! The PARSC accepted the tender of R25 000 made by the professor and the attorney and agreed to every stipulated usage required by the universities. A binding agreement was achieved and everyone left the meeting having put in place a comprehensive agreement which was subsequently reduced to writing, signed by the club and sent to the attorney and professor for signature.
- When the agreement was not signed and returned, correspondence followed. The club wanted to know where the signed agreement might be.
- What followed, two weeks later, was a list of 12 further requirements and usages to which the club could not agree. Most additional requirements were irreconcilable with the binding agreement.
- On August 9 the trustees of SA University Rowing made themselves known for the first time. They stated in a letter that they would not be using the facilities of the club.
Those are the facts. There the matter ends.
The PARSC committee is satisfied we negotiated in good faith and had the interests of the club and the Port Alfred community at heart.
PORT ALFRED RIVER AND SKI-BOAT CLUB COMMITTEE