By Philip Buisseret
After weathering a severe financial storm and some public criticism on social media, the new Riverview Golf Course executive announced on Jan. 15 that the club will be open for golf season in the spring of 2019.
Former Mayor Bill Duncan expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the outpouring of support from Redcliff residents in general.
“The new board will comprise of Myself, (Bill Duncan) Cliff Sackman, Darrell Schafer, Gerry Beach, Cody Booker and Russ Paulson, with at least one member on the board from town council,” said Duncan.
The executive have been working closely with Redcliff town council to come up with a plan to save the course and put the past behind them.
“We have presented a sound business plan based on firm membership commitments for 2019. Council has approved the plan unanimously and have agreed to use their banking contacts to secure financing for the golf course. I would like to stress however that the loan will made to the golf course and not to the town,” said Duncan.
“ We will be repaying the loan directly to the financial institution, there are no funds owing to the town. The taxpayer will not be footing the bill, it will be the duty of the golf course to repay the loan in full, using the plan that we have presented”.
Town of Redcliff financial administrators will now put together a borrowing By-Law to be presented at the next town council meeting and if approved, the golf course will get the green light to proceed.
Duncan explained “It is important for Redcliff taxpayers to note that there will be very close oversight of the financials and daily running of operations by the town councillor(s) who sit on the board. Everything will be open and totally transparent. This is going to work and we are going to open as usual for normal business in the spring of 2019.”
Town Coun. Chris Czember had previously volunteered to act as a liaison between the board and the town to see if there were areas where they could work together to keep the course open.
“We couldn’t just let them go bankrupt (and) let the weeds grow for a year,” said Czember.
“Cut the weeds before the 2020 season and bingo we have a golf course again.”
“It would have cost at least $200,000 for the town to maintain the course in order to start a new season in 2020, there has been a lot of sympathy out there for the golf club lately.”
Czember explained that he felt it would have been a mistake to let the golf club fold.
“I know that the town could not have run it as well as the board that is in place now will run it, we have a fantastic board all with good business sense and so I think that this year it will make money.”
Now local golfers will again be able to enjoy Ladies and Men’s League, tournaments, restaurant facilities, and all the other amenities from the past with a slight reduction of membership prices from 2018. Long-time Redcliff resident and board ,ember Darrell Shafer also expressed his gratitude to local residents and golf course staff for their great support in volunteering to winterize the course and for their encouragement to the new board.