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REPORTING · 23rd December 2014
Walter McFarlane
Robin Lapointe, President of the Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club, addressed Council on Monday, December 15th with an update about the club and to introduce Steve Haggard, the new Operations Manager.

“As you were aware, we held our 2014 AGM yesterday afternoon. There were 57 members in attendance,” said Lapointe. “To summarize the last 9 months, I want to assure Council that when we met, none of us thought we’d be in the position we are in today. First off, our books are up to date, that has not only allowed us to make decisions based on our financial position, but has also enabled us to have our AGM 6 Weeks after our year end of September 30th.”

He told Council that since Haggard has come on board, they have also been able to hire a full time chef. Lapointe was pleased to tell Council the golf club lost $13,000 in 2014. Usually, they lose $75,000+.

He thanked the board, the staff, the volunteers for the work they do, and Council for their financial support.

Lapointe stated their goals for 2015 are to grow their membership and open the Kitchen in January.

“The Kitchen has been opened on an experimental basis. What we are shooting for is to be open January 5th for dinners from 5 to 9 and build on that and grow it into a full restaurant operation,” said Lapointe.

He told Council the biggest challenge is to build a 5 year capital replacement plan. They will attempt to be revenue neutral in operations and maintenance. Things are fixed when they break down and they will attempt to predict when they will break down and how they will replace them before they run into a problem.

Lapointe stated they will be talking with industry and Council about these problems because it will be expected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. They want to present and roll out a business plan to Council during their budget in 2015.

Lapointe thanked Council for the grant gave them which allowed them to hire the manager. Acting Mayor Mario Feldhoff reminded them the ‘grant’ was given to them to purchase some surplus lands. Lapointe expressed they are still discussing which piece of land the District will get from their contribution.

Councillor Larry Walker asked if the curling rink was their soft spot. Lapointe expressed the Curling Rink could only accommodate 64 curlers in a night. Fridays are drop ins and every rink has been full. He said there are people who are interested in learning how to throw a rock and how to broom.
Golf Course
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-SooS on 12th January 2015
Perhaps it is worth to note , that all the past and present members are also tax payers. Council gives grants to many others-where some are not tax payers- to direct some of the money towards the golf course, which is not a cardinal sin in my opinion. We the Taxpayers are getting some of our money back!
Present crews and volunteers have done a very good job thank you very much!
What we need is more families to replace many that we lost in the past decade. There are not enough people to support retail , sporting complexes, social clubs, churches and reopen the schools.
Camp jobs with the long 12/7 shifts do not support social fabric of the community.

Council and its Administration will be well off with the new assessment and commercial sector growth, how they will spend it is another story.

and...
Comment by long time member on 26th December 2014
typo/autofill "occasional' golfer.
I dont believe the "pro" has had many of those revenue items for a while. There may be some sort of cut but likely only lesson income would be theirs. As for the various clubs, all the money raised goes back to the HCGWC , in one way or another(albeit occasionally to pet projects that members feel need done) I do feel the factions need to agree on common goals to order to maximize the benefits of the money raised. The fees are pretty much in line with others in the NW (PR, Terrace, Smithers) and not so different than other small communities around BC.
somewhat agree
Comment by long time member on 24th December 2014
I tend to agree with "concessional golfer' on most points but strongly disagree that it wouldn't cost a LOT more to have the DOK run it. Prince Rupert had a municipally run course and losses in the millions. The DOK 100 K only covers a small portion of the operating budget.Presumably if the DOK ran it , they would be using union labor so those costs would likely double. Personally, I dont think that would be bad, as the DOK already subsidizes other facilities such as the rink(s) and pool, by millions as well, but judging by the comments/complaints about 100K/year I dont think the taxpayers would approve.
Losses and Liabilities
Comment by Occasional Golfer on 23rd December 2014
Nice to hear the Club has managed to slow down the bleeding. I know how challenging it is to operate the facility but I`m still not convinced the future is going to be any better. This year the club didn`t have the money losing kitchen operating or the big cost Club Pro, curling took place and probably lost money again. However the group choses to operate, the model for success has to include self sustaining undertakings that don`t take away from the bottom line. This means that operational expenses (including a portion of the capital reserve fund for operations) must be covered by golfers, curlers, donations and/or grants. The kitchen must make money to cover operating costs (including a portion of the capital reserve fund for equipment). The Golf Pro (if any) must generate funds (directly or indirectly) to justify having one and the curling side of the operation also has to cover its operating costs plus a portion of the capital reserve fund.
I believe the present Executive committee understands what needs to be done but the answesr to many of the questions aren`t popular ones resulting in even fewer people joining the club. There are revenue opportunities within but it seems like the Club has too many factions.
What sense does it make for the Men`s and Ladies Clubs to have money if the Club as a whole doesn`t?
On what line of thinking does having a Club Pro receiving a good salary, driving range, Pro Shop, golf carts and lesson income while the Club bleeds money make any sense?
How is it that local members still have such reasonable fees while the Club faces closure if it wasn`t for the DOK bailing it out each year to the tune of 100K?
As a tax payer who occasionally enjoys a round of golf and used to enjoy dining at the Club quite regularly I would much rather see this facility owned and operated by the DOK. I think there are many synergies that could be realized to lower the operating costs and make the facility sustainable.
There are fewer and fewer members (owners) in the Club and the challenges will only get bigger.
We have an experienced DOK which manages recreational facilities on a professional basis. The tax payers already pay for the operation so why not own and operate it. I know the DOK is afraid that it will cost us more to do this but I would disagree and in the end the important thing is that the operation continues to exist as it is a wonderful asset for our community. Through our taxation system major industry will carry the majority of the burden moving forward ,as they should, and this then becomes a true legacy of the industrial growth in Kitimat.