|When the 2013 season closed, the exterior of our new clubhouse building
was 99% completed. Footings were poured, the floor was built, walls and
rafters were raised, roofing was applied, soffits were enclosed, doors
and windows were installed, painting was finished, inspections were passed.
The whole exterior except for eavestroughing and steps to the doors was
Our focus in 2014 will be on finishing the interior. We've learned that
there may be some confusion among members regarding what's planned (or
not planned) for the interior, and so we'd like to share a few words intended
to clarify things and bring you all up to date.
Fundraising began for the clubhouse last January. Our fundraising goal
was $35,000. As we stated often in our appeals during the course of our
fundraising, this amount was only intended to finance the construction
of the clubhouse exterior (often referred to as the "shell") and maybe
the electrical work if we were fortunate. The base materials cost for the
shell — concrete footings, lumber, roofing, windows and doors — was
estimated at $27,261. Extras like fasteners and finish materials (such
as paint, trims, aluminum soffit and fascia, lock sets, etc.) were not
included in this base estimate.
As you will note, we intentionally built a significant "cushion" into
our budget. Apart from the obvious need to include enough money to cover
extras not included in the base estimate (like those mentioned above),
there was another less obvious but much more important reason to have a
large cushion. Our previous projects (especially the swimming pool) taught
us that navigating bureaucratic red tape is a journey that almost always
has an unpredictable end. We learned that no matter how well you research
a project, and no matter how thorough your planning might be, you can never
predict what the final outcome will be because of human involvement in
the interpretation and enforcement of laws and codes (aka government bureaucracy
and red tape). For a project like our clubhouse, this unpredictability
could easily have added thousands of dollars to its final cost. Building
a large cushion into our budget to offset these potential unknowns was
therefore both reasonable and responsible.
This time around, our red tape journey produced mixed results. On the
positive side, no expensive preliminaries or modifications were asked of
us. Our plans were accepted as drawn. That literally saved us what could
have amounted to thousands of dollars in extra costs!
On the negative side, our plan to use the clubhouse shell as basic shelter
for a number of years while we gradually found money to finish the interior
(electrical, drywall, flooring, plumbing and so on) hit a snag. We learned
that we would be required to finish the entire building within two years.
Fortunately for us, the positive outcomes in our red tape journey helped
offset the negative outcomes.
The money saved by not having to fund any red tape extras was substantial.
Hoping to add to this amount, we instituted cost-saving initiatives aimed
at stretching our building fund as far as we could in order to retain as
much money as possible for the interior. Instead of hiring a contractor
to pour our concrete footings, for example, the club did the job ourselves.
Shopping our building materials list aggressively yielded better pricing
than originally anticipated. We even went outside our borders to purchase
windows and doors at considerable savings. All this good fortune and intense
penny-pinching has left us with enough in the kitty to finish the clubhouse
interior to the minimum standard necessary to gain an occupancy permit
(with just a little help from general funds).
Besides obvious funding limitations, there are two other important constraints
that will influence how we move forward with finishing the clubhouse:
(1) The building
permit granted by the RM of Brokenhead describes the work to be performed
as follows: "Construction of a 28' x 60' Seasonal Amenity Building intended
to serve the 'Travel Trailer Park' component of Conditional
Use Order C-51-11 approved by and issued by the RM of Brokenhead March
8, 2011." The RM is holding us closely to that Conditional Use Order. What
we call our clubhouse is called a "seasonal amenity building" by the RM
because that description fits with what's permitted under their main building
by-law. That by-law permits us to legally use this building from May to
October inclusive. We will not be permitted to open it for use by campers
or visitors outside of that time frame.
(2) Our insurance company has informed us that they won't insure our
clubhouse if it's heated with a wood stove because they consider the building
"open to the public" and thus at risk if untrained people were to operate
These two important constraints have serious implications that may impact
our planning for the interior of the building. In the earliest stages of
that planning, we had talked about insulating the clubhouse and heating
it with wood so that we could make more use of it during the earlier and
later parts of the season (April and November, potentially). The May through
October restriction that we must now live with obviously changes things.
As its sole funders, you as members will play a significant role in
determining the way forward on this project. We'll be actively discussing
our options in the days and weeks ahead, beginning with the Advisory Council
meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 22. Please attend if you
Q: How much money did we raise in total for the clubhouse, and how
much is left?
A: Thanks to your generosity, we achieved our fundraising goal of $35,000!
Pay forwards and donations brought in $32,700 in cash. Donated materials
(chiefly the metal roofing) accounted for the rest of the total. We currently
have $9,246 left in the clubhouse fund. There is $9,800 designated for
clubhouse construction in the 2014 budget, with the $554 difference coming
from general revenues. We estimate that this $9,800 will be enough to finish
the clubhouse interior to the minimum standard necessary to obtain an occupancy
Q: What is "the minimum standard necessary to obtain an occupancy
A: For us to obtain an occupancy permit, the walls and ceiling must
be fully clad in 5/8" drywall in order to provide safety in the event of
a fire. The floor must also be finished (probably with vinyl tile). Because
the walls are being closed in, all electrical wiring and plumbing must
also be roughed in. We will need to finish the kitchen but the building
inspector has given us permission to delay installing bathroom fixtures
if we lack funds to do so because we already have operational bathrooms
Q: You've told us what our clubhouse building budget is for this
year ($9,800). How tight will this budget actually be?
A: This budget will be very tight! In many cases (where allowed),
our original principle of living with things somewhat unfinished until
we can afford better may still come into play. For example, our remaining
money will fund the electrical wiring, but we may need to live with bare
light bulbs in inexpensive white plastic sockets for a while until we can
afford proper light fixtures. We can afford to do the plumbing rough ins,
but we may need to live without toilets for a while. Our understanding
is that if the clubhouse is substantially completed to plan and to code
(the "minimum standard" described above), and if all wiring, plumbing,
exits and surfaces appear safe, then our occupancy permit will be issued.
Q: Where will the money come from to pay for clubhouse extras and
options not currently funded?
A: We have closed pay forwards because we've reached our debt ceiling.
We have also promised that there will be no more board-initiated fundraising.
That leaves member-initiated fundraising and voluntary donations as the
most likely immediate term sources of funding to complete the clubhouse.
Some of the revenue generated from increasing the size of our membership
could also be directed towards completion of the clubhouse.
Q: Are insulation and heat mandatory or optional?
A: They're optional. As a May-through-October "seasonal amenity building,"
we're not required to install insulation or heat.
Q: Do we have money in our clubhouse budget for insulation and heat?
A: No. As mentioned above, our fundraising was intended to finance the
construction of the clubhouse exterior only (the "shell") and perhaps a
bit more if we were fortunate. We were indeed fortunate, and so we have
enough funding left to do most of the required interior finish work. We
don't, however, have any money for insulation or heating at this time.
Q: Won't the building get too hot in the summer without insulation?
Other than saving money, are there any advantages to not
insulating? Can insulation be added later if we choose not to install it
right away? Can heating be added later? Since we can't use a wood stove,
what sort of options are available if we choose to heat the clubhouse?
Will we ever air condition the clubhouse?
A: These design questions and a whole lot more are now in front of the
board. We encourage each and every member to take an active role in this
planning. If you can't make it to an Advisory Council meeting, then please
share your ideas and opinions via letter, e-mail message or phone call
to a board member.
The board must make final design decisions in just a few short weeks.
Now is your opportunity to be heard.
We wish to once again offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who has
helped fund and build our new clubhouse! This new structure that now stands
proudly at Naturist Legacy Park once again shows what a small group of
truly determined nudists can accomplish when they all work together!
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