Golf club gets advance of funds as part of land deal being worked on with District of Kitimat

The golf club has received $100,000, but it's money that's part of an eventual land deal with the municipality.

The Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter club is getting a $100,000 advance on money from the District of Kitimat but it’s not precisely a handout.

Councillors were cautioned against handing more money to the golf course by a resident earlier in their meeting and not all councillors were onboard, but the money will flow as part of a land exchange agreement with the golf course.

It also provides the remaining $100,000 of $160,000 total the council has committed.

The golf course owns land in the vicinity of the main grounds and work is underway to transfer ownership to the DoK.

Resident Tim Algor spoke against the money transfer saying it’s not right to be subsidizing the organization.

“If they can’t run a business, why do the taxpayers have to fund them?” he asked. “Taxpayers should not be on the hook for one penny for what used to be a semi-private club.”

Subsidizing the golf club, which runs a restaurant, has also been a sticking point for some in the community, according to councillor

Mary Murphy.

While she said under the current terms, which provides the land transfer, she can accept offering the money she is cognizant of worries from the community of what seems to be council subsidizing a community business competitor.

In arguing in favour of the motion, Mario Feldhoff said the money is a relatively small amount in the greater picture of what the town spends on recreation, not only with their own facilities but through transportation to Shames and grants to the Snow Valley Cross Country Ski Club.

He said supporting the money is consistent with his own promises during the all-candidates forum during the last municipal election.

Director of Leisure Services Martin Gould on being asked said that the town, approximately, has a budget of just over $4 million for recreation from operating the rinks, pool to the Riverlodge, inclusive of wages and administration.

He said last year, a busy time for recreation use with the extra amount of people in town, the department had $870,000 in revenues.

“The subsidization of revenues to the revenue generating facilities fluctuates between 24 and 30 per cent,” he said.

Claire Rattée was a vocal opponent of the motion.

However, saying that even though it’s connected to a land transfer she hasn’t seen specific details on how that transfer will happen.

Without more information she wasn’t ready to approve it.

“There’s far too many people who are opposed to it,” she said, adding that her opinion is not a reflection on how she believes the current board is managing the facility.

Without a service agreement in place though, she said, giving the money would be “morally wrong.”

Edwin Empinado stood in support saying it’s not simply dolling out money but providing a value in the community, in addition to the forthcoming land agreements and service agreements as well.

Feldhoff concluded the debate saying “A diversity of recreation makes for a strong community,” and the town is getting a good deal for their money.