Revelstoke council agreed to waive the golf club’s outstanding rent and sign a new lease with the club that would see it go rent free for the next two years while a task force works towards a plan for the course’s future.
“I don’t see any point in burdening them with a lease they can’t pay because I would rather them do what they have been doing, which is paying down their debt,” said mayor Mark McKee during Tuesday’s council meeting. “What’s the point of collecting money they can’t afford, then have them pay less down on their debt, or have the debt increasing?”
The Revelstoke Golf Club leases the golf course from the city. According to a staff report, the Revelstoke Golf Club has not paid its rent for the past year and owes the city about $43,000, including taxes and interest.
The golf club made the request as it works to deal with its finances.
There was some hesitation to the request, with councillor Connie Brothers saying she was concerned about eliminating future rent.
“I think it has to be limited to a certain period of time and we can review it then,” she said.
Her suggestion was seconded by coun. Gary Sulz. “I understand the point of writing off the rent because they don’t have any money and I’m for us not beating a dead horse,” he said, adding the agreement should be short-term. “We cannot continue to write off their financial obligations.”
McKee proposed an amendment so the next lease would only be for two years. It was passed unanimously by council.
The decision to waive the club’s rent was followed by a vote to establish a task force that would create a long-term sustainable plan for the club.
The task force would be expected to develop a 10-year capital improvement plan for the club, make recommendations for future priorities, investigate ways to ensure the club is sustainable, help the club develop community partnerships and provide regular reports to council regarding maintenance issues.
Part of the goal of the plan “would be to include options for funding that would remove the burden for fixing the Golf Clubhouse from the tax payer and utilize funding opportunities,” states a staff report on the matter.
The task force would include two golf club board members, one city councillor, a member from the Revelstoke Accommodation Association, one from the Chamber of Commerce, Rural Revelstoke director Loni Parker, and three members from the public at large.
“The city is not going to turn its back on the golf club,” said McKee. “It wants to be there, it wants to help, but it also wants to get the golf course into a sustainable future.”