Construction on a new clubhouse and banquet hall at the city-owned Ledgeview Golf Course is finally set to proceed this fall, after three-and-a-half years of twists and turns that included a fire, a lawsuit, pipeline politics and a municipal election.
The bulk of the $6.8 million cost of the project is expected to be financed by money from pipeline company Trans Mountain and insurance proceeds stemming from the April 2016 fire that burned the clubhouse down. The clubhouse will include a 225-seat banquet hall. The city expects its own cost to be about $1.2 million.
Trans Mountain is expected to ante up around $3 million once it starts construction to expand its facilities on Sumas Mountain, but the city now appears confident enough that the pipeline project will move forward to finally start work on the clubhouse. That funding had been delayed last year because of uncertainties surrounding the pipeline.
Construction on the clubhouse is expected to begin this November and last for around 11 months. Meanwhile, Henry Braun revealed Monday that work on the pipeline and Sumas Mountain tank farm could begin within a couple months – although it may also start early in 2020.
“It has been a bit of a long go,” Braun said Monday. “There were a lot of hurdles that came our way that we weren’t expecting.”
In February of 2016, the city signed an agreement with Kinder Morgan – Trans Mountain’s predecessor – that would see the city receive a little more than $1 million to renovate the aging clubhouse on site. Just three months after that, the clubhouse burned to the ground. That fire led the city to design a new, larger project, but getting shovels in the ground became complicated by insurance issues and the high-profile challenges to Trans Mountain’s efforts to expand its pipeline, which runs beneath Ledgeview.
Last year, council voted to delay the project because it wasn’t clear whether construction would actually proceed on the pipeline – a condition for the city to receive its promised money from Trans Mountain. That delay, shortly before last year’s election, led the society that operates the course to blast Braun’s handling of the matter.
The relationship appears to have improved this year, as the prospects of pipeline construction improved. On Monday, as council announced construction was set to proceed, the society issued a news release thanking the city.
“The new clubhouse at Ledgeview is going to allow us to better serve the needs of this community,” Chris Gaudet, the president of the Ledgeview Golf and Country Club Society, said in the release.
Gaudet said the facility will help ensure the success of the course for decades to come.
Coun. Bruce Banman agreed.
“I think 30 years from now, as people sit on that deck, raising money for charity and watching the sun set or watching one of their loved ones get married, they will look back on this day and say ‘That was some amazing foresight,’” he said.
The new banquet facility will be open to the public, and rentals will provide a new revenue stream for the course and society
“We already have a signature golf course and all the accolades that go with it,” Coun. Sandy Blue said. “Having a clubhouse of this stature will allow us to do all those things that we should be able to do on the course and off for all the citizens.”
The $6.8 million cost of the facility will be split several ways. The city now expects to receive around $3.1 million from Trans Mountain – about half of that is compensation for the use of right-of-ways. Another $2.1 million comes from insurance proceeds linked to the fire. The city will put up around $1.2 million of its own money, with the society expected to chip in $200,000 and another $175,000 coming from the sale of a property near the course.
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