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This article was published 4/5/2011 (3629 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Mayor Sam Katz said he supports exploring ways to stop city-run golf courses from "bleeding" money.
Earlier this week, city auditors released a report that recommends Winnipeg consider selling some of its golf courses or converting them into parks, saying city-run courses are in a "downward spiral" and have incurred massive debt. Winnipeg Golf Services is a special operating agency that runs 12 public golf courses and is currently $8 million in debt.
Winnipeg Golf Services lost $1.1 million last year, and is projected to lose another $1 million in 2011.
Auditors say financial losses will continue to mount unless Winnipeg takes swift action to contract out the management of Crescent Drive, Kildonan Park and Windsor Park golf courses. The report said Winnipeg should consider selling Assiniboine, Wildewood and Canoe Club golf courses when their leases expire.
In the long-term, auditors suggest, Winnipeg should stop operating golf courses and sell some of the property for commercial or residential development.
Katz declined to comment on whether he supports the sale of some of the city-run golf courses, but said he supports exploring opportunities so the city stops losing money.
"I support the idea of exploring opportunities that may be out there," Katz said, following this morning’s executive policy committee meeting. "Those opportunities may be to have someone come in and manage – like we have in other situations – so we can stop the bleeding. I’m not going to support anything until I get some really hard material."
Council’s audit committee will review the recommendations on Friday.
Katz said part of the problem is there are too many golf courses in Winnipeg and the number of golfers has declined, in part due to wet weather in the past few years.
The audit reports states the supply of golf courses in Winnipeg outstrips the demand by 10 per cent, and some city-owned facilities are in need of significant upgrades. Fewer people are golfing at city-run courses, as competition from privately run facilities has increased.
"The realities are our golf courses do need some significant capital injections, (and) the numbers have been dropping," Katz said, noting many private courses have dropped their fees since they are also seeing fewer golfers. "There aren’t enough golfers to go around."