It is to my understanding that as of May 2020, there was a unanimous decision by Council to acquire the assets of the Leduc Golf & Country Club. This initiative includes eliminating any ongoing property taxes and will cost local taxpayers an estimated $6 million dollars to construct a new clubhouse and parking lot upgrades. This is in addition to the City also providing $75 thousand dollars annually in operational expenses.
On February 10th, 2021, I attended a “Virtual Town Hall for Local Businesses” meeting where attendees were encouraged to submit questions. In order to clarify my previous statement, I submitted the following question, which was never addressed during the meeting:
“With the apparent disconnect that present City of Leduc Council has pertaining to the hardships, foreclosures, mental illness, loss of jobs, inability to pay property taxes, utilities and mortgage payments, facing the Business Community, owners and staff of those businesses and all people in general living in this City, was it a unanimous decision by Council to acquire the assets of the present Golf Course in June 2020, eliminate property taxes and spend close to $6,000,000.00 dollars to construct a new clubhouse and upgrade parking and to further place all of this burden on the backs of all people and business owners in light of the already huge obstacles facing them presently?”
In one of the greatest economical hardships our world has ever experienced, the government redefined “Essential Services” which forced many businesses to close their doors. I have difficulty understanding how a golf course renovation would have been categorized as “essential” during this time of hardship. Outside of the timing of this capital expense to local taxpayers, it is difficult to locate the profits generated by the Leduc Golf & Country Club that would have led the City of Leduc to make this investment. The City of Calgary confirmed that four golf courses failed to turn a profit between 2015-2017 and lost nearly $2 million operating its courses during that time. Three courses within the City of Edmonton have also struggled to make money over the last five years.
As your Mayor, my focus will be primarily on “Supporting Local, Supporting You”. I would have made available $6 million dollars worth of loans targeted towards local businesses and residents, with very few conditions, low interest rate, up to a 30-year amortization and with no interest or payments for the first year. This investment by the City of Leduc would have created a more obtainable repayment plan, which would go a long way in helping to sustain local business, reduce financial stress, and most importantly, demonstrate to our local residents that they are more important than a Golf & Country Club.
I feel I am only scratching the surface of what our local government is defining as “essential”.