Prince Rupert City Council has the balls.
On Sunday, at a packed golf clubhouse, members teed off on incessant delays to finalize plans for the 2014 season — if there is going to be one.
To save the 2014 season, the club has their glove on, driver out, tee in the ground, but can’t start because Prince Rupert city council won’t give them a ball with which to play.
The city-owned golf course, which has been described as a jewel by council, is in dire financial straits. It posted a $25,583 operational loss in 2013 despite one of the best weather seasons in its history.
As it stands right now, the club can’t pay its bills. Words like closure and insolvency were bandied about on Sunday.
Despite a visibly angry crowd of mainly member golfers in the clubhouse, who were eager to remedy the financial situation even if it meant coming up with the money themselves, an equally visibly frustrated board of directors could only shrug their shoulders and tell them that at this point there is nothing anybody can do — except council.
The first domino that needs to fall in order that the golf club can start to work on a plan to solve the course’s problems — and there are many — is a city contract.
Without that contract in place the club is simply swinging blindly at nothing. Again the analogy, the club can’t start playing the game until city council hands them a ball.
According to the golf club president Dave Tough, the contract with the city expired in October and despite numerous attempts by the club to renegotiate the contract, the boys and girls in the council chamber have delayed them into a deep financial corner.
“I don’t think the city wants us to close,” Tough said, “… but every time we want to get this settled, we get knocked back.”
Let’s be very clear at this point. The 157-member golf club isn’t looking for a handout. While they will need better city assistance to run the city-owned golf course, moreover they need the city’s immediate attention. They need the contract and funding finalized so they can begin to fix the many problems the club faces — specifically improved revenue streams. Closing the golf course is not an option given its spin-off benefits to Prince Rupert. While there is no question the club needs to take a good, long look at how they are conducting business, that look starts with a contract.
It’s unfortunate that the golf club couldn’t just play-through given all the council delays. However, delays in good decision-making at the Prince Rupert city council seems to be just par for the course lately.