August 21st, 2019

Town loan will keep Redcliff course alive

By JEREMY APPEL on March 13, 2019.

Germaine and Tom Bengert lift the pin at the ninth hole at Riverview Golf Club in May 28, 2018. Redcliff Town Council voted 5-2 to loan the club $315,000 to keep it afloat. It includes $208,000 in new funds and $107,000 in unpaid utilities.

Redcliff town council has come to the rescue of the Riverview Golf Club.

Town council Monday passed the third and final reading of its contentious Riverview Golf Club Loan Bylaw.

The bylaw allows town council to loan the club $315,000 over the next decade to help it stay open, which includes $208,000 in new funds and $107,000 in unpaid utilities.

The final reading passed 5-2, with councillors Larry Leipert and Jim Steinke opposed.

“I’m opposed to it because of our previous dealings with them,” said Leipert. “We’ve loaned money to them before and it hasn’t been paid back.”

He cited the example of $72,000 in unpaid water charges the town lent the course and hasn’t received back.

“I do have some misgivings because of our past dealings,” said Coun. Cathy Crozier, who voted in favour of all three readings.

“This is about the only way the town has any chance of a, keeping the golf course alive and b, getting the money back they do owe us, so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.”

Coun. Chris Czember said he has “a lot of faith and trust” in the club’s current executive, a sentiment shared by Crozier.

“I think they can get the job done,” said Czember. “Year one will be, I think, easy to make some money down there.”

Coun. Jim Steinke agreed that the first year will be profitable, but questioned what happens afterwards.

“What about year two, three, eight, nine and 10?” he asked.

“Do you want a golf course there, Jim?” replied Czember. “How are we going to do it otherwise?”

Bill Duncan, the club’s vice president, told Alberta Newspaper Group that the club will be in good shape to pay back the town’s loans once golf season gets into full swing.

“We, of course, need the co-operation here of Mother Nature to get started this year, but we are certainly anticipating having a successful golf course season,” said Duncan.

He says the course is hoping to attract tournaments and increase membership by making Riverview a place where amateur golfers and families want to attend.

“We’re quite enthusiastic about our ability to have a substantially good year and have significant revenue enough to certainly pay off our current bills and our loan payment at the end of the year,” Duncan said.

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