Misconceptions about the Victoria Recreation Club (VRC) need to be cleared up, General Manager Robert C. Cook said. Membership is open and there are multiple ways the public can enjoy its Emerald Bay location. The VRC is under relatively new management by Robert and Chairman Kam Wu-shing, both of whom took office early last year. For decades, the club had been perhaps the most under-used in Hong Kong. Now it is opening up.
Robert listed ways the public may use the VRC:
– Four major sporting events at the club will be open to the public during the rest of this year: August 20 Emerald Bay swimming classic; August 26 Hong Kong Stand Up Paddle Board Association championships with stars coming from overseas; August 14 SPLASH swimming gala organised by local firm Basecamp; and August 14 Children’s Cancer Fund yacht race starting from Hebe Haven and finishing at an Emerald Bay bbq. The public may use the club’s facilities during those events and buy food and drink from its canteen.
– The club is always open to the right sort of organisation — schools, kindergartens, sports groups, charities — using its grounds and buildings. As examples, nearby Waldorf School kids play on the lawns and the Leapfrog kindergarten will hold is 20th anniversary party there in October. Yoga and fitness classes (Francesca Balu) are held during the week.
– If you want to get the kids and friends together for an outdoor excursion you can camp in the grounds. Tents are available free ranging in size from two to 10 people. Only a $30 guest fee is charged. Kayaks, surf skis, dragon-boats and raft equipment are ready for non-members to use.
The VRC has more than 1100 members, Robert said, but is quiet during the week. On weekends and holidays usually only a couple of dozen people will be there. It is hidden away. Access is by the road off Tai Mong Tsai Road that also goes to Outward Bound. Expansive tree-studded lawns lead down to the Emerald Bay seaside. The club’s joining fee is $30,000 and the quarterly dues are $1430, much lower than most clubs in Hong Kong. Chairman Wu-shing and the committee have submitted plans to the Home Affairs Department for enhancement of the facilities — a new playground, sports pitch and perhaps a new building for a gym and multi-purpose studio.
If you like places that are laid-back and unpretentious — the VRC has yet to get air-conditioning — this may be the club for you. Especially if you’ve got kids. But don’t bring the dogs.
You can contact Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org