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Administration will explore increasing golf fees

Red River Coun. Michael Zussino was looking to increase adult golf user fees before tax at the city-owned courses, which would have meant an increase of $30,000 in the user fee revenue within the parks and open spaces 2024 budget.
Chapples Golf
File photo of Chapples Golf Course (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY – At Wednesday night's meeting, council asked administration to examine user fee adjustments at city-owned golf courses.

Red River Coun. Michael Zussino put forward a motion to increase what adults pay before tax at both Strathcona and Chapples by the following percentages:

  • 4.55 per cent more for a season pass – Adult (36 years to 59 years)
  • 4.83 per cent more for a season pass – Intermediate Adult (23-35 years)
  • 6.13 per cent more for daily green fees

The measure would have also meant an increase of $30,000 in the user fee revenue within the parks and open spaces budget.

At-large Coun. Mark Bentz instead requested a review of all golf rates and present user fee adjustments to achieve a revenue increase of $30,000 as well as consequences of not increasing user fees.

“We have a viable product that we should be covering operating and capital costs for that,” Bentz said after the Feb. 7 meeting.

“We do want to provide golf, but we don't want to subsidize it to a point where we're hurting financially. I want staff to have the capital and operating costs in mind when they set their rates, not just the operating.

“If you’re a guy my age and they increase the rates of golf by $5 more, as an example, that’s not going to make a significant difference on me. I can afford it,” said Northwood Coun. Dominic Pasqualino.

“If we are going to increase the cost for someone who is 12 years old, that will make a difference."

Cory Halvorsen, manager of parks and open spaces, said staff does track course utilization and user rates.

“If there's one user rate that's being under-utilized, there could be a variety of reasons for that. It could be the price or perhaps it’s just not really an appealing option based on all of the other recreational opportunities that exist,” Halvorsen said.

He added that from a utilization standpoint, city courses achieved 67,000 rounds of golf in 2023, which was an increase of 11,000 rounds over 2022 numbers.

“We will look at the user rates a little bit closer and see if there's something else we would recommend to achieve the $30,000 in increased revenue.

“Projecting increased revenues is not based on user rates alone. It relies on the utilization of the courses. Every year when we put a budget forward, there's a certain amount of risk that we take by projecting increased revenues. The course utilization is not just based on how well we maintain the course and provide service, but it's heavily weather dependent.”

Halvorsen added there is a need to be conservative in increasing projected revenues over time.

The report back will be included in budget ratification on Feb. 12.


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