The Castor Golf Club wants to develop a better, more cooperative relationship with the Town of Castor. Two representatives of the club’s board of directors spoke to town council as a delegation at the Sept. 27 regular meeting of council.
Club president Todd Pawsey and executive member Bryce Cook brought a list of issues they stated the club’s board of directors has with the town, many of them involving town staff and which the town council may not be aware of, stated Pawsey and Cook.
The club representatives stated they wished to discuss the issues and answer the question of how best the club and town could move forward in a cooperative spirit.
Beginning with facility-related concerns, the pair noted the club received a grant in 2020 for kitchen renovations and during the project it was discovered plumbing work that the pair claimed was completed by town staff didn’t meet certain code requirements.
In 2021 the pair stated the golf club continually had water shortages and no water flow including at a major event and town staff were called in.
The pair stated a contractor was hired to examine the water flow issue, including in the clubhouse. The pair submitted to council a report made by the contractor listing some issues and suggested solutions.
The pair of golf club representatives asked that work be done to resolve the no water flow problem, and also requested that a plumber be hired rather than have the work assigned to town staff.
The pair moved on to maintenance issues, and they quoted a figure of $1 million worth of town assets at the golf course.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee confirmed the figure was correct.
The pair stated the club has limited resources and cannot maintain all of those assets all of the time; the pair also noted the golf club pays for insurance coverage for town assets.
They also discussed concerns with cooperation between the town and golf club, and the pair stated the course is a major tourist draw to Castor and hosts seniors, youth, families with traffic that rivals the arena or swimming pool.
The pair stated the golf course likely has a bigger economic impact because golfers pay to use the course while visiting hockey players, for example, don’t pay for ice time.
The pair also stated the club has several issues with the nearby town-owned campground. They said the club would like more latitude when offering camping discounts to visitors or for promotion purposes.
As well, they noted their club manager lives in the campground all summer, and spends about $600 per month in rent which is ultimately a cost to the club which pays the manager’s salary.
They added that there are also water loss issues related to the campground, possibly choking of the meter.
The pair stated it would be nice if the golf club could get better response from town staff when requesting help; in the past the town has told the club there is no agreement for help which made the board of directors unhappy.
The pair stated a formal agreement between the town and golf club would spell out who has the authority to do what, and they pointed out that, currently, the town could dismiss the club’s board which also didn’t go over well with the club executive.
The pair noted the club has made major investments of time and money in the course over the years. They suggested an agreement could be drafted that includes a clause guaranteeing the club’s status unless the board is dissolved.
Coun. Kevin McDougall stated that the relationship can’t be one-sided, the town has to get something back from the golf club too.
The pair pointed out that the club, for example, pays utility bills. CAO Robblee stated the golf club pays half of the utility bills for the course, the town pays the other half. Robblee also stated the town grants $5,000 to the club every year.
McDougall asked how the club’s rates compare to other golf courses. The pair answered Castor’s rates are right in the middle. They added the club compares itself to other courses every year to remain competitive.
They also stated it appears the COVID-19 pandemic caused people to become more interested in the sport, and that appears to have carried over to 2021.
Councillors unanimously accepted the Castor Golf Club’s presentation as information.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review