Council proceed with contracting out city-owned golf courses in Calgary

Shaganappi Point Golf Course in Calgary, Alta. City of Calgary

Members of Calgary city council’s Priorities and Finance Committee are being asked to proceed with the next step of real estate analysis for two of the city’s golf courses.

Council is also being asked to continue the process of contracting out operations of the facilities to private companies.

READ MORE: Value of Calgary’s city-owned golf courses to be examined by councillors

Right now, the city is spending $700,000 a year to subsidize golf course operations but wants to get that to zero by 2022.

The city has already conducted a study on the potential development of its seven golf courses, and are moving forward with an in-depth look at the feasibility of two locations in particular — Richmond Green, which is already closed, and a section of Shaganappi golf course.

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The study will look at various issues surrounding the sites including, geotechnical, engineering and environmental stressors.

Click to play video: 'Calgarians paying for golf course losses: taxpayer group' Calgarians paying for golf course losses: taxpayer group
Calgarians paying for golf course losses: taxpayer group – May 15, 2018

A report to council states that a consultant will be hired to develop the guidelines for a request for proposals (RFP) from groups that want to take on the operations and services of the city’s golf courses.

That RFP will go out in the third quarter of 2021.

It’s a timeline Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland, is not happy with.

“This has been the longest race just to get to the starting line,” he said.

“In terms of the consultants, the turnaround time they’re asking for is way too long.”

READ MORE: Calgary council votes 12-1 to close Richmond Green Golf Course at end of season

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Sutherland said whoever is chosen to run the golf courses will have to provide affordable rates for families.

“It’s a normal process of the contract,” he said.

“The pricing would be just like it is for the YMCA when they’re at the rec centres that we built. There’s pricing and access guarantees and that’s just a normal course of business.”

Sutherland added that city unions could also make a bid to operate the golf courses.

He said a major issue leading to the unsustainability of these golf courses being city-run is the high wages that are paid to unionized city staff.

The committee is set to meet on Tuesday to talk more on the issue.

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