The proposal from the Weyburn Golf Club, requesting a $900,000 interest-free loan was discussed at City Council meeting on Monday.
"We would be putting our land and buildings up as collateral for that loan. The value amount of that is approximately 1.2 million," explained Dr John Corrigan, president of the Weyburn Golf Club.
The proposed payment plan by the golf club is $20,000 per year, over 45 years.
Corrigan also said that if there was a year where the golf club made $100,000, there would be a payment of 50,000.
"We have a lot of members and a lot of people within the community and area that use this facility and use it for fundraising activities also,” Corrigan explained. "We want to keep that golf course in as good a shape as we possibly can."
Corrigan mentioned how the hot weather of 2017 showed where the golf course weaknesses are, and a new irrigation system would be the most important big-ticket infrastructure item needed in order to make sure any other golf course improvements could be made.
City Council members asked questions for Corrigan to answer.
Councillor Dick Michel asked if any money had been put into reserve to prepare for the irrigation replacement.
Corrigan said they were doing that previously.
"The tax situation that we had discussed previously, because of the decisions that were made regarding that, depleted our reserve fund,” Corrigan explained. The Golf Club had owed back taxes to the RM of Weyburn which has been paid off in full.
Councillor Jeff Richards asked Corrigan if they had asked the RM for assistance since it is the RM the Golf Club pay taxes to. Corrigan replied they had not, yet.
Councillor Winston Bailey asked if the golf club had considered increasing membership fees.
Corrigan replied to Bailey, “We examine our fee structure annually to determine what the marketplace will bear." His concern is that if they increase fees, they may lose members who are unwilling to pay the increase. He added there is an annual increase in the membership fees anyway due to cost of living increase.
Bailey stated he believes the golf club are underselling the facility.
Corrigan and City Council discussed continuing negotiations in committee discussions including the Golf club executive. Councillor Mel van Betuw proposed the tabling of the matter until after the meeting happened. Three council members will be forming the Golf Course Committee to meet the Golf Club Executive and then bring their report with recommendations to Council.
Mayor Marcel Roy suggested the possibility of approaching members of the golf club for loans and asked if it is the time to even talk about giving a loan to the golf club because there is a shortfall from the provincial government due to budget cuts.Roy added there are other projects being looked at based on priority before asking councillors if the club was one of the city’s priorities.
In response to the mayor, councillors said the golf course is an important part of the city and part of what led to Weyburn being the fifth best place to live in Canada according to MoneySense Magazine.
"There is room for compromising to make this thing work," said Counsellor Michel.
The motion to table the discussion was passed unanimously and now a committee meeting will be set up with the golf club to discuss the matter further privately.