Friday, September 14, 2012

Golf Course Society set to tee off at council

Perhaps as mad as a golfer slicing left into the woods off the number two tee at the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course, the Prince Rupert Golf Society is trying to make some sense of the latest developments percolating over their future, with word that the City is giving some thought to selling off the city's public golf course.

The Society which is currently operating the Prince Rupert Golf Course seemingly has been caught by surprise by Mayor Jack Mussallem's trial balloon of selling off the Golf Course to private interests.

Members of the Golf Society seem more than a little annoyed that the Mayor introduced his cash generating idea without the courtesy of a discussion with the group that has been running the place over the last few years.

Mayor Mussallem introduced the golf course option as one of a couple of potential revenue proposals for the city, dropping them into the end of the most recent city council session  (see the last five minutes of the September 4 council broadcast).

The last five minutes of council sessions of late have been where the Mayor introduces whatever has been simmering on his stove top since the last session, in July he expressed concern over the transfer of NWCC's electrical program to Terrace, though in that instance he was perhaps about six months late in trying to effect change and seemed a bit behind the curve and out of touch about developments at the local college.

Not so with the Golf Course, or the Airport Ferry, the other item he offered up for discussion as a possible way to reduce some of the public anger over tax issues in the city.

Couching the proposed sales of assets as a way to reduce the tax burden on the tax payers of the city could be the Mayor's one ace in the discussion. The Golf Course is one location that perhaps tax payers would be willing to see sent off to private interests, allowing the marketplace to set the bar for members green fees and maintenance issues at the course itself, without the need to dip into city revenues.

The Golf Course proposal would seem to have the Golf Society members on red alert, suspicious that the Mayor may already have some kind of arrangement on the fast track, at least that's the impression one gets from quotes that Terry Sawka, the Golf Society President, made to the Northern View.

Sawka offered up the thought that he suspected there may have been some discussion on the file already, perhaps in one of the closed council sessions that have taken place over recent sessions.

To learn more about the proposal and put forward their thoughts on the issue, the Golf Society is seeking to appear before council on October 9th where they will ask council to explain their intentions towards the golf course.

All in all it should make for a pretty interesting session of Council, which will be streamed live through the city's website.

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