Tuesday , 27 July 2021

City and feds agree on deal to continue operating Golf and Winter Club

The City of Cold Lake will continue to operate the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club on CFB Cold Lake.

At its regular meeting on March 9, City Council unanimously passed a motion to enter into several agreements with the federal government to continue operating the golf course, curling rink, and pro shop. The agreements, authorized for a 5-year term, allow the City of  Cold Lake to continue with seamless operations of the facility and all amenities, while also allowing either party to exit the agreement within a reasonable time frame if needed.

“Council saw the value that this facility provides for the community year-round,” Mayor Craig  Copeland said. “We also recognized the hard work that administration and our dedicated staff have put into its operations. They’ve made great progress with both the golf course and the curling rink, and we’ve heard great reviews of the operations from users on both sides of the house. Just like with any recreation facility, we need to balance the cost to the taxpayer with the value that the facility brings. Council recognizes the value and is also confident that  the course and its operations will continue to improve with the dedication our staff has shown.”

Operations at the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club include a clubhouse, 18-hole golf course, six sheets of curling ice, a well-stocked pro shop, food, and beverage service, a driving range, a meeting room, and tournament services.

4 Wing Commander Dave Moar said they are extremely pleased a deal was reached.

“The leadership of both 4 Wing and the City recognize the importance of this facility to our community, and for almost two years we have been committed to working together to find a solution,” he said in a statement to Lakeland Connect.

“The City has done an amazing job with the maintenance of both the golf course and the curling rink during the last few years, and the facility continues to gain popularity within the community. I appreciate that the City of Cold Lake shares 4 Wing’s focus on recreation and sport, and I’m looking forward to working with the City of Cold Lake in the future on initiatives that benefit the entire community.”

Negotiations were complicated by concerns relating to Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT,  which is owed to the City by the federal government. The Government of Canada has an outstanding municipal tax bill of approximately $13.1 million-plus $13.4 million in penalties,  totaling approximately $26.5 million owing to the City, relating to PILT.

This was compounded by the fact that the Government of Canada stopped payment for the PILT relating to the Cold  Lake Golf and Winter Club, despite 4 Wing Cold Lake making assurances that Payment in  Lieu of Taxes for the golf course would continue.

“The PILT issue is complicated and is in litigation, but it’s important to realize that the issue is between the City of Cold Lake and the Government of Canada,” Copeland said.

“It was only due to our exceptional relationship with 4 Wing leadership that we were able to arrive at the agreements we did. We both ultimately want the same thing: A strong and vibrant community with plenty of opportunity for our residents. We will continue litigation with the federal government for a fair PILT payment, just as we will continue to work with 4 Wing to build a community that will serve everyone who lives here.”

The City of Cold Lake would like to thank the residents and patrons of the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club for all of the positive feedback it has received relating to the facility’s operations.

The sale of golf memberships was delayed by the need to arrive at a new agreement, but staff will be advertising the membership opportunities at the earliest convenience through coldlake.com, the City’s social media channels, and the local media.

The Cold Lake Golf and Winter Pro Shop can be reached at 780-594-5341, or via email at [email protected]

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.