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2012-09-14 at 13:47

Council likely to discuss Municipal’s future, but item not on agenda

By Jeff Labine,
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It isn't on next Monday’s agenda, but city council is expected to have a closed-door discussion on the future of the Municipal Golf Course.

Council voted 8-3 in favour of closing the Municipal Golf Course in April with councillors Andrew Foulds, Joe Virdiramo and Iain Angus voting to keep the golf course open. The main reason for the closure was that it would save the city millions of dollars.

Angus said Foulds is expected to put forward a notice of motion to reconsider the future of the golf course at a future meeting.

“Regardless of what comes out of the closed-door discussion, we will continue to try to retain the operation as a municipally run golf course,” Angus said. “There’s some real challenges. The city of Thunder Bay and the township of Oliver-Paipoonge does not have an official plan for residential development in a place like that.”

Other challenges the golf course faces include a proper water supply and trying to find a seller who will buy the property and pay union rates, he said.
But since the decision, roughly, 1,500 people have signed a petition to keep that golf course open. With that many people calling for the golf course to remain open, Angus said it’s worthwhile to revisit the issue.

He said he’s optimistic that people will change their votes but at the same time felt it was probably the courses last season.

“We want to have at least one more opportunity to have a sober second thought,” he said.


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panzerIV says:
My thoughts on this issue. Thunder Bay doesn't need to have 3 municipal golf courses under its roof. At a minimum, municipal should be cut and give to Oliver-Paipoonge. A golf course for roughly every 33,333 not including the private courses is crazy.

Golf should be reintegrated back into Parks division and the savings (reduction of admin and positions at municipal) should be used to reduce green fee's and general fee's. Hopefully the reduction in costs and fee's will bring back users who left due to rising costs.

I would say close Strathcona as well but since they just put millions into the course it seems like a waste.

In the end real savings wont be achieved until someone looks at employee #'s, management numbers and is willing to give the city real answers on what we need/want. The City of Thunder Bay can't be the biggest employer in town. The city overall (in pop.) has shrank but yet we continue to add employees.
9/14/2012 2:07:49 PM
waterunderthebridge says:
"""Closing Municipal would save the City millions of dollars"" Kind of doubt that statement is close to reality & believed by council and administration. This property could be sold - but dont bank on getting big bucks for it. As with Whitewater - any new proposed subdivision - even if it eventually went through the official plan amendment process complete with the forces who will oppose it - would require a sewage treatment plant. Therefore the potential owner would reduce what he would bid for this land with that in mind.
The costs of operating the course is really quite minimal, just the number of employees times their salary and benefits, plus the electrical and other physical plant costs. The biggest costs are probably the charge backs that the city does - portion of the superintendents wages and costs, property tax charge backs ( if not paid to OP), equipment write downs.
Lay the staff off as planned and put the course out to tender to be operated as a golf course. IMO
9/14/2012 3:43:12 PM
Me n My Opinion says:
Closing one course will realize minimal savings. Closing three courses would realize worthwhile savings. Sell Muni and let it become whatever. Sell Strath and let someone operate it as a golf course - it could be very viable. Let Chapples become parkland of some sort. This reduces overall operating expenses, it right-sizes the number of golf holes in the city, it results in some cash and the city would be out of the business of competing directly with the private sector (without the offer of any other service).

This seems like such a no brainer to me.
9/14/2012 5:25:08 PM
p.o.ed taxpayer says:
There are far too many in-camera meetings..this should be discussed in the open with the public having the advantage of knowing all the information...council will come up with many reasons to keep the public in the dark and hide behind in-camera meetings...taxpayer pays the bill but council keeps them in the dark, to hide their views from the public...sad
9/14/2012 5:32:04 PM
Dontlistentome says:
Personally, I totally agree. We should be demanding that all unnecessary in camera meetings be disallowed. If they aren't discussing HR, there is no reason we should not be included. My understanding is that elected individuals can not use in camera to hide their personal views from the public who elected them.
9/14/2012 8:57:29 PM
trevor99 says:
An earlier story had Jules Tupker dealing with a petition against the closure of this golf course, a long time NDP supporter.

Now long time NDP member Ian Angus is telling us that NDP member Andrew Foulds is going to bring a motion forward to save a golf course that is on the other side of the city from the area he represents.

I don't know what they are planning but it is starting to look like this is about more than just a golf course. A bit too much conincedence for my liking.
9/14/2012 8:31:43 PM
jimmyboy says:
WHO does not love the way the city council does business...yet again BEHIND CLOSED DOORS...this happens far too often for my liking.!

There is way too much information which is not recorded in any minutes or divulged to the public here in Thunder Bay.!
9/15/2012 9:01:11 AM
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