The Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club board took exception over comments made by Coun. Robert Filmer the course is a “financial burden” to taxpayers.
Filmer made the statement at the last council meeting on Oct. 6, when council discussed the possibility of purchasing the Eaglecrest Golf Club for the right price.
Filmer pointed out at the time that the QBMGC only benefits a small portion of the town and finds it unfair it is being subsidized by the whole community.
The QBMC wrote to council that the golf club is an asset to the town. It stated the club makes lease payments of $76,000 to the town as well as an additional $50,000 annually to repay a reserve fund loan for the building of its clubhouse.
“These expenses have been honoured without fail since our 2008 lease agreement and constitute, I understand, more than the tax revenues from all other courses combined under the town’s jurisdiction,” the letter stated.
The club, under volunteer asset management, also highlighted during the summer months, it employs 30 full-time and part-time staff in various capacities. A significant portion of its operational budget is spent with town and area suppliers. It has 310 members and a waiting list.
The club’s main revenue comes from public non-member fees of approximately 54 per cent and 40 per cent from members. The letter pointed out many of the non-members are visitors to town.
“So in its way, every citizen is served by our facility in the same way they are served by the town’s other recreational assets, even though all assets may not be used by all citizens,” the letter stated. “We all share in the town’s character and traditions.”
Filmer said he made the comments to let the community be aware of how much the taxpayers have paid for the the golf course and how it is benefiting the entire community.
“When we start looking at projects and stuff that they’ve asked us for, the public does not know,” said Filmer. “Like getting a dirt path paved out to workshop that’s not needed. And things that are needed like the work shop that needs to be essential ripped down and rebuilt. Those types of projects come at a huge cost to the town and need to be paid for. And it’s going to be very unlikely for the golf course to pay us back in full for those things.”
Filmer said he’s not going to apologize or take back what he said.
Coun. Teunis Westbroek said the volunteer board of the club has done a good job in ensuring it’s not a financial burden to the town. He said this is a golf course that does not cost the town money to maintain.
Westbroek made a motion council write a thank-you card to the board of the QBMGC in appreciation of the work that they do at the golf course. It passed unanimously.
Coun. Scott Harrison also made a motion to direct staff to come up with a longterm report on expenditures, revenues and infrastructure costs to provide the public a better idea on the financial operation of QBMGC.