There is no doubt that this year has been a tumultuous year and the Observatory community has faced many challenges, not least from the impact of COVID-19 and the associated lockdown restrictions but also many other civic developments affecting our community. Nonetheless, I think Observatory has weathered these challenges well and responded in ways that has boosted our Civic identity. I am therefore pleased to deliver this Chair’s report, reflecting on the past year.
Firstly, I want to thank my fellow Management Committee members who have carried this load together. This has really been a team and for all our frustrations, I can confirm the Management Committee has been able to work together and build the civic positively going forward, and the organisation has particularly benefited from the background work of the Deputy Chair Sheila and Treasurer Joy who have keep the organisation afloat and by the excellent communications set up by Edwin in the past year who has also carried quite a lot of secretarial responsibilities.
Secondly, I want to particularly thank De Vos Rabie for his sterling work in turning around the Pepper Square parking lot from a huge gaping financial loss for the OCA into a small running deficit, mainly through securing the City’s agreement to charge us a reasonable rental, which, if it weren’t for the COVID-related downturn, would have enabled us to generate a small surplus to support our community activities.
Thirdly, I want to thank Kirsten McKenzie to stepping into the breach of the Architecture and Heritage position when the previous incumbent stepped down as a result of being too busy to deal with the multiple applications. Kirsten has really done amazingly to coordinate a small team to deal with many, many building and development applications, which, despite the COVID-19 downturn, appear to continue to come thick and fast. This is a key committee for the OCA and one which I hope will go from strength to strength.
Kiki has done an amazing job in the Social Issues portfolio and Marc and Tauriq have kept the TRUP and ACS flags flying.
We enter this AGM with 129 signed up members as at 18th November 2020; Last year at our AGM we had 106 members and 2 further members signed up in the course of 2020. The level of interest in the OCA, even under COVID-19 restrictions, is very gratifying.