The non-profit that operates the city-owned Ledgeview Golf Club has blasted Abbotsford council’s move to delay construction of a new clubhouse.
Council voted last Friday to delay construction of a new $5.6 million clubhouse because of uncertainty surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs beneath Ledgeview. Two years ago, Trans Mountain promised the city $1.3 million to help build a new clubhouse, but that money is contingent upon pipeline construction proceeding. In April 2016, just a couple months after the deal was made, the clubhouse burned to the ground.
The city will monitor the pipeline situation going forward, with the hope that staff will provide updates in the future, Mayor Henry Braun said in a press release issued Friday.
But, in a sternly worded statement issued two days later, the Ledgeview Golf & Country Club Society said it was “extremely disappointed” with the delay, which it said was the fourth in the last 15 months. A ground-breaking for the project had been set for Sept. 15, with PGA pros – and Ledgeview alumni – Nick Taylor and Adam Hadwin to be in attendance.
“This is a tremendous blow to the golf community, especially for Abbotsford residents, our charitable partners, and the dozens of volunteers who support us.” stated society president Chris Gaudet. “We can no longer support Mayor Braun’s leadership on this issue.”
The society said it learned after the 2016 fire “that the City had not maintained sufficient fire insurance to allow the City to rebuild the facility.”
The city was to receive $1.5 million from its insurance company. The new clubhouse was expected to cost nearly four times that sum, although the building was also designed to be larger than the original building. Plans included a 225-seat banquet area on the clubhouse’s upper floor, in addition to a golfer’s lounge and pro shop on its lower floor.
The remainder of the money needed to finance the project was to come from Kinder Morgan for the use of right-of-ways ($1.5 million), the city ($1.1 million), and the society itself, which was to raise $270,000.
“Sadly, the City has tied the construction of the new clubhouse to the receipt of funds from the pipeline, the timing of which is unclear,” the society said in the release.
The society said that it had spend more than a half-million dollars since the fire “on infrastructure and temporary buildings with virtually no financial support.”
It added that it “has now nearly exhausted its insurance coverage that provides for extra expenses resulting from the fire.”
The release said that the lack of a clubhouse has left Ledgeview unable to host charitable and corporate tournaments, weddings, Christmas parties and other revenue-generating events.
“A further delay in construction will negatively impact the Society’s operations to the point where it may need to consider the viability of continuing to operate the golf course,” the statement warns.
The fire has also prompted a pair of legal actions.
In spring, an insurance company filed a lawsuit in the city’s name, alleging the society failed to adequately protect the building against fire. And in July, Ledgeview filed suit itself against its own insurance carrier, which covered contents and improvements for which Ledgeview was liable. Neither case has been resolved.
The club will still hold its appreciation event Sept. 15 for volunteers, sponsors and other supporters. Taylor and Hadwin are still expected to be in attendance.