Council to consider closure of city-owned golf courses
The City of Calgary will have to consider whether or not to close down some its public golf courses.
A report will go before city councillors on Monday detailing the finances of eight city-owned courses. The goal is to make sure each facility stops losing money and that all courses break even financially in three years.
In May of 2018, the City of Calgary confirmed four of its six golf courses failed to turn a profit in any year in the period from 2015 to 2017 and the city lost nearly $2 million operating its courses during that time.
In response to a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act request from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation the City released its revenue and expenses for the six golf courses for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The following is the net (revenue minus expenses) for each of the City of Calgary golf courses according to the City of Calgary’s ‘Golf Revenue & Expenses by Course: 2015-2017’:
- Shaganappi Point: +$1,158,786 (profits in 2015, 2016 and 2017)
- Confederation: -$204,770 (profit in 2015)
- Lakeview: -$239,852
- Richmond Green: -$469,379
- Maple Ridge: -$562,375
- McCall Lake: -$1,712,848
- Total: -$2,030,440
According to the City of Calgary, the profitability of the courses during that time was impacted by:
- 67 days lost to inclement weather in 2017 (32 per cent of the golf season)
- 65 days lost to inclement weather in 2016 (31 per cent of the golf season)
- The economic downturn
At the One Calgary budget discussions in November 2018, Council directed administration to prepare a real estate and development assessment for city golf courses and report back by May 2019.
On Monday, council will have to consider whether or not to adopt a plan, which includes further assessments of all properties and working toward zero tax payer support of courses.
The plan may include decommissioning courses in the future, selling off developments, or exploring each one’s real estate potential.
Ward 2 Councillor Joe Magliocca doesn’t like the idea of selling off assets, but he says the city should no longer own golf courses in the future.
“We're spending millions of dollars,” he said. “What I like to see is golf courses being in the private hands in the sector where they know how to operate golf courses. I’ve talked to numerous operators and they said you know what, Joe, we can give you millions of dollars back and we can even get them to pay property taxes.“
The city receives around $700,000 each year in tax support for its golf courses. The hope from administration is to work towards zero taxpayer support and report back with findings on a feasibility study no later than the first quarter of 2020.
Administration is also asking that McCall Lake Golf Course (MLGC) not be included in any development assessments because of recent upgrades.
The course has now officially opened up nine holes and will open up all 18 in June following a $6.7 million dollar upgrade from the city’s Sport Facility Renewal Program.
For more information on the city’s golf courses, go to calgary.ca/golf