by Phil Ambroziak
The City of Meadow Lake may have hit a hole-in-one in terms of finding a way for the local golf club to repay thousands of outstanding dollars from an almost two-decade-old loan.
During the regular meeting of Meadow Lake city council held Jan. 9, approval was given for a new loan agreement between the club and the municipality.
“City council met with the Meadow Lake Golf Club in December to discuss the outstanding loan agreement and terms for a new agreement that would suit both parties,” explained city manager Diana Burton. “This new agreement will require minimum annual payments of $15,000 with the requirement for additional payments in those years where the golf club has higher than average (more than $75,000) net positive cash flow from operations. This agreement will continue to be interest free, but allows for the reinstatement of the interest payable from defaulting on the original loan if the new loan is defaulted on.”
The city has actually provided the club with two loans. The first, totaling $130,000, was issued in 1999 and was earmarked for the development of a clubhouse. A few years later, a second loan – this time for $136,010 – was provided to the club for the purchase of equipment.
More recent efforts to repay the loan were curtailed in August 2014 when fire destroyed the club’s cart shed and almost its entire fleet of golf carts that were parked inside. At the time, it was estimated each cart was valued at $6,000 while the shed itself cost about $40,000 to build. According to Burton, the golf club currently owes the city $155,000.
“We’ve had a number of different agreements with them,” she added. “It dates back to the 1990s, but they’ve come back and we’ve loaned them more money and the agreements have been renegotiate over time. Leading up to this agreement being drawn up, council met with the golf course board and made the proposal of this new fee structure that would see the loan get paid off, but would also see the golf course get to retain extra money if they make extra money. This way they can still put money toward capital expenses they want to do, and they are still paying off the city.”
Golf club president Brent Assman said he’s more than pleased with the new agreement and with the support shown by the city over the years.
“I definitely want to see this loan repaid and it’s great to have both parties willing to work together to make that happen,” Assman said. “The city has been very gracious when it comes to helping the golf course out. We’re a major centre in Meadow Lake and are certainly recognized by a lot of people as an important sports facility in the community.”
While the loan itself dates back to well before Assman’s involvement with the club, he understands how things got to the point where they’re at now.
“It was a situation of hard times,” he noted. “The golf club isn’t a huge money maker. We’re as self-sufficient as can be, but were caught at the time with a mortgage on our clubhouse and the sudden need for new equipment. Unfortunately, things just snowballed from there.”
Also satisfied with the outcome of the recent negotiations is Meadow Lake mayor Gary Vidal.
“We met with the board from the golf club a while back and hammered out a deal that works for both of us,” Vidal reiterated. “We always look for win-win situations when we do things for the community and I think what we have here is definitely a win-win. It was a very positive meeting. Everyone at the table was looking for a solution and I believe we’ve found one.”