2017 Annual General Meeting AGM Minutes

The Bilo Bar Club

2017 Annual General Meeting Minutes

Held:  09th November 2017, 10am at Ratu Makutu Events Centre, Fijian Resort.


Imperial Bilo             :               Mr. Barry Hancock

Grand Bilo               :               Mr. Chris Hamilton (In Attendance)

Trustee                    :               Mr. David Neaves, Mr. Mike Mulcahy, Mr. Sean McEvoy, Mrs. Sue Brett

Members Present:

Michael Gildea                                         Yvonne Gildea                                         Ken Curnow

Betty Curnow                                          Edna Whiting                                           Christie Maddison

Clive Snell                                                Trish Snell                                               Linda Hogg

John Hogg                                               Lyn Bendle                                              Lance Meehan

Heather Needham                                  Greg Needham                                       June Lehman

Max Lehman                                           Kevin Brett                                               Tracey Ell

Andy Crane                                             Peter Lonnevik                                        Jenny Lonnevik

Gloria McEvoy                                         Emily Thomas                                          Sarah Thomas

Judy Steel                                                Allan Steel                                               Lance Graham

Lurlene Graham                                      Valerie Large                                           Terry Large

Erin Dilmore-Muir                                    Nola Nelson                                             Geoff Ross

Peter Klages                                            Andrew Neaves                                       Meg Reid

Garry Reid                                               Allan McCudden                                      Alexander Ross

Luke Atkins                                              Allana Hancock                                        David Hollis

Cindy Neaves                                          Danny Damcevski                                    Sharon Damcevski

Gal Hodgson-Budd                                  Vicky Mulcahy                                          Sharon Mott

Max Mott


Imperial Bilo in his welcome to all members stated he was happy with the quorum, thanked all for making it to another AGM and introduced Mr. Chris Hamilton, Resident Manager who will do a run through of the happenings at the resort in the absence of Grand Bilo.


Ian & Marie Maddison, Dean Deedenval, Graeme Harvey, Claire & Neal Robinson, Wendy Meehan, Patricia Walter

Ray & Laurel Louis, Kim Shoe Smith, Roger & Ngari Dunn

Quorum confirmed.

Confirm Minutes of previous AGM

Last AGM meeting minute was accepted as a true copy and this was moved by Judy Steel, carried.


Mr. Hamilton apologised for the absence of Mr. Francis Lee, GM & Grand Bilo who is away on an urgent business trip, he wishes he could be here and  has passed on his best to all Bilo Bar members.  He thanked all Bilo Bar members for the warm welcome extended to him personally for joining the resort in the last four months and over the last few days, this was followed by an Update on the Resort Renovation:

Renovation Update

Lagoon Blocks 1, 2, 4 & 5 : These blocks have gone through initial completion  and will be processing final defecting work and hoping to have 100% completion product by February 2018.

Lagoon Block 3: is a thorn in our side down there in Lagoon side of the resort, she is putting up a bit of a fight but we are hoping by 30th November will have the first hand over part of the process  and go through defecting process to be completed by February.

Golden Cowrie Restaurant & Lounge: Hand over to commence on the 15th November, those of you who have partially walk throughs this area couple of weeks ago have seen and will agree with this fantastic looking venue will be a fantastic addition to the resort.

GC Lounge: opening date is likely to be 01st December, we are pushing it to get slightly earlier but it’s a little bit fluid at the moment, depending on some final pieces of equipment coming in from overseas.

Lagoon Restaurant:  To be closed from the 15th November undergoing a full refurbishment and expected completion date is February 2018.  A very, very aggressive timeline for Lagoon Restaurant and we are working very hard with suppliers to get all customised equipment done. Hoping work to complete and opened by 10th February 2018.

Golden Cowrie wing will go under   refurbishment as of 01st December, with work to finish within 10 weeks.  By 10th February, Golden Cowrie should be completed and scope of work to include: interior & exterior painting, bed linen, replacement of soft furnishing, artwork, soft decoration, etc.

Next phase will see all Ocean Rooms to go through refurbishment process from Mach 2018. No exact time line for that at the moment but working with our contracting partners that by end of next year, we will have an almost completed renovated resort.

The Infinity Pool will go through extensive renovation along with the two accommodation blocks, food & beverage offerings, swimming pool and surrounding areas.  These will bring about a big change down in the Reef Wing by the end of 2018.

2018 Bilo Bar Rates

2018 Bilo Bar Rates have been passed through to Dee, we know that you all have the opportunity to see them.  Most of  you are aware we do not have a Director of Sales & Marketing, we are in the transition period with Justin having moved on and are working on the Bilo Bar reunion rates for next year.

CSR Initiatives

Just to touch base on a few Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives the resort has participated in over the last year and what we are planning for 2018.   We continue our strong relationship with Sigatoka Special School and we work with them with the complete refurbishment of the Home Economics classroom.  Alongside that, we completed a Life Skill Training Course and Fire & Life Safety and Chef got through there to do a Baking class with the students.

Our Heritage in Young Hands programme continues to grow strong. The 30 students from the 5 local schools participated in this programme have gone through several, several initiatives throughout the year and are due for graduation in the next  6 weeks.

We’ve recently started to partner with National Kidney Foundation and recently we sponsored 10 medical students to attend the National Kidney Symposium in Suva. This partnership is part of a long term vision that we have partnering with health organization around the country.

We forged a very strong relationship over last year with Australia’s Centre for Integrated Agriculture Research and we are working together with them with the people of Nadroumai to establish sustainable farming practices and Agro Forestry practices up in Nadroumai.

We are working very closely with WOW Foundation, those of you who do not know, WOW stands for work on work strong, they are a foundation that support kids suffering from cancer and supports their families.  They are a valuable partner of ours and over the last 12 months we have raised and contributed over $35,000 to assist those kids and their families to make their lives a little bit easier during this challenging time.

Most recently we have just signed an agreement with Ex- Servicemen League of Nadroga/Navosa and will be sponsoring  them for this year’s 2017 Remembrance Parade, on the11th of the 11th and will have ongoing partnership with them moving forward.

We have a fantastic relationship come out of almost nothing  with the Mossman Junior Rugby Club.  So far working with the Junior Rugby Club we’ve managed to import and share around   the communities over 1400kg of rugby gear going out to the community in needs, bringing a lot of smiles to the children faces.  We will continue with the relationship into 2018.  We are working with Mossman Rugby Club in bringing junior tenth tournament over here next year and we are working closely with Fiji Rugby Union to maintain this relationship.

As the Coral Coast Chapter of FIHTA, we’ve launched “No Plastic That’s Fantastic” campaign which was launched across all hotels down here along the Coral Coast.  We’ve also launched the “Cleanest Village Campaign” which is being fantastic and have distributed over 30,000 of re-usable shopping bags.  Sigatoka is hoping to become the leader in the country for the reduction in the use of Plastic Bags.  As you are aware the Government have placed 10cents on the use of each plastic bag.

Lastly during the last couple of days, I have been going back and forth emailing Ray Louis who has pass on his sincere apology for not able to attend and wishes you all and your families for an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.


Bilo Bar Scholarship Report by Mike Mulcahy:

1st Year 2016, we had 10 successful recipients, unfortunately during the year, two dropped out whilst the other 8 continued to their second year of studies.  Will are awaiting their result.  One of the school has turned into a Technical College.    It’s nice to see Bilo Bar Newsletter had profiles of these students and to see what the BB scholarship means to the students.  The recipients thanked Bilo Bar members for their support and hoped this will continue next year.

Ray Louis – report on the 4 Kindergartens: Delivered by Barry Hancock

Cuvu Kindergarten had 23 enrolled as there was a funeral in the area only 12 in attendance.  A few bits and pieces with some minor works to be done, fix tiling in the bathroom, pipe disconnected and fix ceiling.

Yadua Kindergarten had 22 attendees with a roll of 28, the eaves on the buildings are breaking away and every couple of years for they are repaired with ply boards.  Tiling in bathroom need to be addressed.

Navuevu Kinderagrten has 17 attending with a roll of 28, eaves & bathroom tiles need attention

Sigatoka Kindergarten has 26 attendees with 45 enrolled.  Need new wall to put up a store room as books stacked up everywhere and the eaves again are suffering and a new fence to keep cattle out of the back yard and some big children from the primary school run around there during the day. The cost to us will be very minimal, around F$5,000 to F$6,000.

On a more serious note there are a number of events happening through the government which concerns the committee quite dramatically.

The Government are going to take over payment of teachers wages and there are so many discrepancies ie mooted that the government will be paying the teachers wages but only for age 5 and up not 3-4 year olds.

The Basic teachers wages guideline by the Fiji Government is; Teaching Certificate is $7 an hour, Diploma $11.00 an hour and Degree at $14.00 an hour, we pay $4.

If they bring in what they are saying, the club will be bankrupt in a couple of years.

We have to be very, very careful what we do, the committee will discuss it further and see what happens after the election in 2018 and liaise with the area Director of Education.

The Kindergartens are all looking good and attendance have been good with the teachers are doing a great job.

Barry Hancock’s Report on St. John’s Project

The proposed St. John’s Ambulance Facility across the causeway has not been completed by the Builder due to the last Cyclone that caused cost increases in materials far beyond what he allowed for in the contract.   For instance building blocks price increased from $1.60 each to $2.05.

The cement factory broke down and could not supply cement for 5 months and it was impossible to buy any sort of material.  They were bringing cement in boat loads and only supplying the major projects, whereas one contractor can only buy 2 bags of cement at a time.

Then the builder has had a job engagement with the Government to build 2 classrooms up the Sigatoka Valley.

We haven’t been able to start the foundations and therefore will seek a new contractor to build the project next year within our price bracket. That’s all about St. John’s to date.

Financial Report by Treasurer – Sue Brett

No unusual events happened during 2017 so we ended up with $20,000 more in the bank compared to last year. Term deposits have all been renewed and we’ve done very well there.

A big thank you to Barry and David for all the effort in arranging their renewal & rates. She thanked Barry for organising the BBQ’s & chairs etc for the fireworks night & for everyone else helping at all the happenings to make it a very successful night.

Money collected during the Re-Union

Beer Wraps – $2,000, Auction Night – $2,500, Fire-Works Night – $1,000, Ken & Betty’s Bear – $650, Melbourne Cup – $6,118, Coconut Collection – $2,320

Sue raised the fact that every year the Calcutta prize money is getting bigger and bigger and feels that the club is not getting fair value for the work load & effort that Kevin and Sue put in and they are not here to make other’s rich, so she would like to move a motion to change the percentages to:

40% for 1st  Place, 20% for 2nd Place, 10% for 3rd Place and 30% for the trust.

This motion was seconded by David Neaves and all were in favour. Carried.

Report from David Neaves:

I attended the resort in May to go over the accounting records with Dee to ensure the required audit can progress and met with the bank managers with Barry to negotiate the term deposit renewals. We also came to the resort in October to gather the required information for the auditor.

Dee is doing a great job with keeping the books and records.  Last week Barry and myself attended the Sand Dunes site at 7am.

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Industry and Tourism was presenting a report on the site and along with nearby resort managers, school representatives and staff from the National trust, we all planted some 200 trees, collected 1000 seeds and performed other maintenance tasks within the park.

Whilst there we had a meeting with one of the Directors and the Chairman of National Trust about the completion of the coffee shop and displays.  Barry added that he has a profile of what they plan to do, if anyone wants to see the finished product.

It’s going to cost a lot of money, the coffee shop is under construction and it will be magnificent but it has taken a long time.

Hoping it will be opened later this year.  We’ve done a lot of work with their renovation and they have spent a lot of money, they have mounted the Kalevu’s photograph as well.

This will be quite a nice coffee shop/restaurant. They are getting about 1,200 people going through there every week.  Local & tourists arrive early in the morning and late in the afternoon when they do their walk with a large number of buses daily.

I believe this will be a major tourist attraction on the Coral Coast.

Election of 3 x Office Bearers

David, Michael & Sean – being already nominated, seconded & signed off by the General Manager, they were the only nominations and they’ve accepted the position, so I declare them elected.

Barry Hancock – 2 Motions, I have been asked to speak on them, one from Graham and one from Ray;

Back to Kindergartens: Ray is very keen and I support him in funding the teachers wages and maintenance of the  Rukurukulevu Kindergarten, but under the circumstances already mentioned above, we cannot approve to take up their wages etc as its depends on what the Government’s outcome is.  If the Government’s outcome is favourable, and we are not going to be affected, will certainly take up the Rukurukulevu Kindergarten again.  I’d like to move that we postpone the funding but approve in principle the funding subject to Government decisions. Carried.

Graeme Harvey’s report on the Special School (which is a favourite with the hotel), I have been there a number of times with Graeme and spoke with the Director of Education, the hotel has done a lot of work in beautifying the school and now has a magnificent look.  With their kitchen for baking and wood & sewing workshops they are now making pillow slips about 100 pieces for the hospital, fixing the patients white gowns, etc.  The girls are baking scones and sell to government officials for their morning tea.  The young men are doing woodwork projects like coconut scrapers, roti boards and coffins.

Nursery Project: Graham is keen to get involved with the Nursery Project.  Two Horticulturalists both highly qualified from Australia were over here introducing new techniques in producing hybrid coffee, sandalwood, etc.  They have already started with the wild coffee industry and the end product is “Bula Coffee”.  Plus they are talking about growing seedlings in the Nursery and sandalwood plus local plants for selling. At present there are 25 boys in the school with a few of them at the age of 14 to 19 years.  Most of them don’t have visible disability.  If these children go through 2 years of training in the nursery and given a certificate at the end of their tenure, the hotels can provide them with jobs working in their nursery and gardens.  Personal from the Ministry concerned will give them the appropriate training.

By setting up a herb and spice nursery, hotels are prepared to buy spices and herbs, this nursery could be self-sufficient.  Graham has put this on hold due to upcoming election and government proposals, we can go ahead next year and can approve them if need be.  Proposed Barry, I would like to move that we put this on hold till next year and all agreed. Carried.

2018 Bilo Bar Re-Union

Mr. Chris Hamilton proposed dates for 2018 Bilo Bar Re-Union to start from Sunday  28th October to Sunday 10th November whilst Melbourne Cup is on the 6th November.

General Business

Andrew Neaves enquired on what is the Bilo Bar’s long term (10 years + ) plan, discussion ensued and Andrew Neaves volunteered to assist in terms of strategy. Allan Steele suggested we wait until after the uncertainty with Government funding on kindergartens is known.

Gloria questioned if the club is looking after the buildings, books, etc until the government steps in ?. Barry replied that as some sort of contingency for the kindergarten the club will have to look at that and use some money in the bank – All agreed.

As Grand Bilo, Barry brought up a request for discussion from several members (not present) that the re-union be tendered out to other resorts. Barry expressed his concern about the numbers not turning ups at certain events during this year’s re-union and quite a number of members have approached him on this, he is disappointed with the things they have said and to be putting blame on Dee and myself for matters out of our control.

Most events, we cater for 70 but only 25 turned up, as for the movie night 70 booked and 6 only watched the movie whilst 25 were at the dinner.  I understand Chef Rudy’s point of view.  He suggested that next year’s re-union is likely to have the daily activities with all nights at leisure.

He also mentioned that ample time was given for members to cancel the movie night resulting in a  lot of food wastage. He is prepared to resign for he cannot please everyone and doesn’t believe it’s his fault or the Club’s fault.

He was thoroughly pleased with the Fashion Parade Night and tried his best to satisfy everyone.

Trustee David Neaves spoke on the tendering out suggestion, he said that to contemplate any such action would be against the basic principles of the club and that without the support of Shangri La, the club would cease, they collect all membership fees and pay Kindy wages, super etc, in summary it would be ludicrous to even contemplate any such removal of re-union activities. The resort assists our club in many ways that you do not see or realize and for a member/s to suggest that we break that trust does not reflect on what the club is all about. If you don’t like what the resort is doing for the club, there are plenty of others to patronize in Fiji.

There was a lot of discussion back and forth from members about Barry’s comment and Andrew Neaves explained his background in the industry and suggested that he will liaise between the club members, committee and the resort in next year’s daily events for planning & outcome improvement.   He also told the members that the resort has invested so much time and loyalty in the Bilo Bar Club and that to turn your back on Shangri-La is much more than on your dissatisfaction with event/dinner pricing. To hear that Bilo Bar Club wants to move away from Shangri-La is disheartening.  “Remove yourself from the Bilo Bar Club instead of moving the Bilo Bar Club from Shangri-La” Unquote.

Geoff Ross requested if published programe can have prices on each activity so members know what they are, eg Wednesday night’s dinner had no price against it and it turned out to be a A$55.00 per head which was not good at all in his view.

Discussion on prices, we were reminded there is a 25% tax added on to everything you buy at the resort which was not happening before at that level. It’s the Government and not the resort, that might add up to a lot of things.

Sue suggested that issues like this be put on notice for the committee to resolve or lodge notice well before the next AGM for discussion, she also felt that Wednesday night’s dinner was very expensive.

Another member stated that “We do not stay here the entire year, just the re-union.  We want to relax and join in some when we feel like it.  Not everybody will participate in the dinner – it’s your choice”.

Barry than responded: “Because people are not turning up and no ample notice is given, there is so much wastage.  We’ve got to work together, if you cant commit to attend do not tick the box, for there are too many accepting but not going I have to answer to the Chef”

Resident Manager, Chris Hamilton than addressed the members saying “ Please do not think that this is as a major cost concern for us as a resort.  I personally, and on behalf of Management and Owners, the Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort is completely committed to our partnership with Bilo Bar Club.  We hear the feed- back of other bits and pieces about the re-union and will work out ways to make it better next year.  This is my first re-union and I can tell you 100% that there are probably a list of 15 to 20 things I wish to do differently next year.  Dee, we all know she is working incredibly hard on this with 15 to 20 things too that she wishes to do to improve next year’s event. All this talks of moving away or turning things upside down truly disappoints me. This is a long standing relationship and will work on improving things. We stand up and own some of the issues, like the AV issue, we own it, but there were also some communication issue not clear between the resort and the club and may have not met your expectation. Those of you who have been in the club for 20 to 30 years, thank you for your support.  But to walk away or completely part will not help the resort.  Next year we will make an agenda that suits everyone and we can have a fantastic re-union.  And most of all the re-union is a great time to focus on what the Club is all about, which is the contribution back to the community. I will leave you with those words”

Another lady member stated: “We’ve been coming the last 2 years.  This year has been fantastic.  We did not go to the movie night – just a little bit of a communication issue”

Andrew Neaves – Volunteered to assist with organising the Activities for next year’s re-union.  He will work with the Committee.  Taking it on for next year and evaluate after the event. Others entertained the idea of an events committee but Andrew was the only volunteer.

Barry suggested if Andrew would like to assist with the events next year, he should join the committee.  It is great to have younger people join the committee.  The Hotels events committee starts to put the programme together in March, Andrew was happy to work outside the committee level.

Geoff Ross stated, this year and the last, things have been going wrong, with the timing and involving everybody, the 2pm Melbourne Cup hat parade, calcutta day early lunch, all those little things, event costs, the timing of the programme and combination of a lot of things, has made things worse. I am representing a lot of people, irrespective, publish the price so people can budget, and know what they can go to regardless of how much money they have, we should involve all people, encourage everybody to be involved, not just the rich. That’s all that is required and not threaten to leave the hotel.   All these people just want the committee to take all the little grumbles on board and address it, I doubt if the kids were ever discussed by Barry and Allan Lucas on the original day of this club. Someone was saying come on its for the kids but that’s not all that we do, charity is good and we should work towards it and not speaking against it.

Trustee Sue Brett  “I’d like to say something, talking about all these little things, Melbourne Cup and all these,  there is a lot of talk and complaints and we forgot why we are here.  This is a charitable club, if you get involved like we do and do things may be you will not be picky.  We come here because we love this place and we love the people and the comradery of the club, we are looking at members and their whole demeanour has changed.  Pull together and help each other in our functions/events.

Barry made it known that it was a loyalty/friendship club at the start which has over the years drifted towards a charitable organization and neglected the original intent. In talking about various past activities he mentioned that in 1987 the club was very much involved in the local school age sporting Club awards ie best sports person of the year and they did this for 3-4 years with a presentation night that grew so big it was televised.

A motion was put forward by Trustee David Neaves and seconded Barry: “That we, as Bilo Bar members are happy with things as they are, that we remain loyal to the resort and work through Andrew as sole representative to improve the reunion and liaise with the hotel” this was voted and agreed to by the majority.

Chris Hamilton in closing told the members to work with Andrew and take on board all points they’ve

Raised.  Come talk to us.  We look forward to next year’s re-union.

Trustee David Neaves raised a motion, that in accordance with our rules the Membership Fee for the next 12 Months be considered and set, resolved after discussion that fee for the next year remain F$50.00 and all agreed, carried.

There being no further business, meeting closed at 11.30am.

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