The future of the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club is in limbo.
City council made an in-camera motion on March 10 to stop operating the Golf and Winter Club as of September 30, which they’ve done since 2012.
The reasoning the City ended their agreement, Mayor Craig Copeland said, is because of unpaid property taxes (PILT) from the federal government for 2019 and 2020, which is roughly $300,000 a year.
In an open house last week, they outlined possible solutions: the Department of National Defense asking to reconsider, reinstating the PILT, do a different operating agreement, 4 Wing takes it over again, or a Society steps forward to run it.
However, the facility ran at just over a $425,000 loss last year, which is common for recreation, said Copeland.
“Council over the years has been comfortable with an operating loss over there. The issue is now if you add the property tax on the outstanding deficit to operate the facility, it makes the number bigger.
“It sure seems that the bureaucrats in Ottawa have lost the focus of what the recreation facilities on 4 Wing are about and you got to feel sorry for the men and women of the Armed Forces.
“Why is some bureaucrat in Ottawa wanting to penalize the City of Cold Lake, who was asked by the Wing Commander to operate the recreation facility? Why does some bureaucrat want to come in and not want to pay property tax on property owned by the federal government?
“It’s really disappointing.”
City council reviewed correspondence from the Minister of Public Service and Department of National Defense at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
Lakeland Connect has reached out to 4 Wing for comment.
The City of Cold Lake has been in a dispute with the federal government on outstanding PILT since 2012.
They estimate roughly $13 million is owed over that span with another $10 million in arrears.
On the City’s website, there is a presentation staff walked through at the open house on the ongoing issues.