Red Deer’s River Bend Golf Course has received a deferral from the City of Red Deer on repaying its clubhouse expansion loan until Dec. 22, 2022.
Red Deer City Council also took other measures designed to ease financial pressures on the River Bend Golf and Recreation Society while it plans for the future.
The 2.5 per cent licence fee normally received by the city for River Bend operating on city-owned land is also waived until the second quarter of 2022, according to a motion passed unanimously on Tuesday by city council after an in camera discussion about River Bend Golf Course’s finances.
This will allow about $35,000 to to be put aside towards the cost of a new Master Plan for the golf course site, including Discovery Canyon. Council heard that some new amenities are being considered.
Up to $150,000 of profit sharing between the city and golf course will be used towards repaying the advance for the golf course’s operational loan.
Coun. Vesna Higham later stated that 2020 was a rough year on the golf course because of the pandemic. The operating society was also previously feeling financial pressure in re-paying this loan.
Council heard it will be up to a new council, formed after the Oct. 18 election, to bring forward a new bylaw to replace the terms of the existing golf course loan for the clubhouse expansion that was deferred for an additional year.
In 2004, River Bend was given a $1.7 million loan from the city for a clubhouse renovation/expansion project. In Sept. 2020, council was told that only three payments have been made so far. After more than 15 years, about $125,000 of the loan was repaid, with more than $1.5 million still owing.
Last year, fluctuating golf course usage as well as the outstanding loan prompted the city to order a financial and operational review of the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area.
In recent years, River Bend’s ski trails and Discovery Canyon water park have seen major improvements. A city recreation manager had stated in 2020 that it was, therefore, felt that a service provision and operations review would be timely.
Mayor Tara Veer could not be reached to comment on Tuesday’s motions after the city council meeting.