Contrasting views of what should be done – or not done – regarding the building of a new clubhouse at Ledgeview Golf Club were on display at Tuesday’s mayoral all-candidates meeting.
The city’s current plan to build a $5.67 million new clubhouse and banquet hall is on hold because it’s unclear whether the city will ever get $2.8 million promised by pipeline company Trans Mountain to help build the facility. That money is tied to the fate of the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which is currently in limbo and now owned by the federal government.
Given the uncertainty, the city announced in September that it wasn’t going to move forward with construction until more is known about the situation. The city had committed around $1 million of its own money, with an additional $1.5 million coming from insurance proceeds stemming from the fire that destroyed the original facility. The society that operates the course was also to raise around $270,000.
Following last month’s decision, Mayor Henry Braun had said it would financially irresponsible to proceed with the project, given the chance the city may have to ante up considerably more money than expected. But the construction delay was blasted by the president of the society operating the course, who said the ongoing lack of a facility was crippling the club’s ability to host revenue-generating events.
At Monday’s all-candidates meeting, Coun. Moe Gill said the city should move forward with the project immediately, despite the uncertainty.
“We don’t know if the money will come from the federal government or not so in the meantime, we have to put the money in,” Gill said.
He was confident, though, that revenue generated from the new facility would eventually help make up the city’s original investment.
Eric Nyvall said the city may need certainty, but the society that operates the course needs such certainty even more. He said the city should “bridge-finance” the promised banquet hall, but if council balks, then a “like-for-like” replacement of the original structure should be built.
Trevor Eros said the city consider new plans for a less-expensive facility. He said a new clubhouse was needed, but said it may not be a top priority for city spending.
Nadine Snow said the city look to local businesses to help reduce cost, by asking for contributions of building supplies in return for acknowledgement of their assistance.
The least-enthusiastic about the new project was Gerda Peachey, who said the golf course hasn’t historically made the city money and said more money shouldn’t be put into the club. Peachey said a new building should be constructed using insurance proceeds, and that if the society that operates the site wants a bigger clubhouse, they should pay for it.
“If they want to go bigger – and they do want to go bigger – then at that point they need to raise the money themselves.”
Braun, meanwhile, said the city is monitoring the situation and hopes to know more about the situation soon. On Tuesday, it was announced the federal government is restarting the First Nations consultation process. The project was stalled earlier when the Supreme Court ruled previous consultation with Indigenous groups was insufficient.