Local golfer reflects on status of Stettler Golf and Country Club

Current lease with the Town of Stettler expires on April 20th, 2020

Dear editor,

I consider myself to be a golf enthusiast, which for me means I enjoy the game, but my skill set does not match my enthusiasm.

Regardless, it’s something I’ve done since I was 12 and I continue to do to this day.

It’s also something I’ve had the chance to share with my three young daughters and I am enjoying watching them develop their own mediocre skill sets just like their father.

I have recently become aware of a situation with our very own Stettler Golf and Country Club (SGCC) which is concerning to me both as a member of the SGCC and as a resident of Stettler.

I’ve approached members of the SGCC board as well as members of the Town of Stettler administration so I could get the facts from both parties and decide for myself how I feel.

Honestly, at this point, I have not made up my mind, but I wanted to share with other members of the community what I have found.

The SGCC has leased the land on which the golf course and club house reside from the Town of Stettler on a rent-free and tax-free basis ever since anybody can remember and in return the SGCC has always taken care of all the maintenance and operating expenses related to the course.

That current lease is expiring on April 20th, 2020.

The Town has agreed to renew the lease under the same terms for an indefinite amount of time. While the SGCC appreciates this, they state that they are having issues making ends meet after a financially tough 2019 year, mostly due to poor weather resulting in a shorter golf season.

The SGCC also has a desire to make some significant improvements to the current course and club house over the next few years which they feel are long overdue and much needed.

The golf course, in the past, has been able to support itself through its regular operations but has not been able to generate enough profits to make many changes to the course.

With that in mind, it would appear as though the SGCC could continue to operate as they have in the past with either small profits or losses each year, but without some sort of additional financial support the desired improvements are not a viable option.

The Town has said that they will not and cannot allocate any funds to the golf course without raising taxes and they are not prepared to take that course of action. As such, if SGCC wants to improve the golf course and club house, they need to find either additional streams of revenue or increase the fees they are charging for their current services.

I would recommend that any SGCC members or residents of the Town of Stettler contact either the SGCC board or the Town of Stettler and let them know how you feel about this issue.

Would you like to see the Town of Stettler residents and businesses support the SGCC beyond a $0 lease going forward with additional funding for course improvements through increased property taxes?

Would you be in favour of the golf course raising membership fees and green fees in order to fund the changes they would like to make?

Are you of the opinion that the SGCC board should not renew the lease and turn the course back over to the Town of Stettler to find another operator, or if they cannot find one, do with as they so please?

I encourage you to make your opinions known, and to engage a member of the Town council or a member of the SGCC board in a meaningful and productive dialogue to make your opinions known.

The members of the SGCC board can be found by going to their Facebook page and members of Town administration can be contacted through the Town office.

Thank you for your time, yours truly in golf,

Justin Tanner

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