By David F. Rooney
Directors of the ailing Revelstoke Golf Club made a well-thought-out pitch for municipal support during the first full meeting of the new City Council on Tuesday, December 9.
The club suffers from a declining membership, ineffective — maybe even non-existent — marketing and a poor public image locally.
Director Sabina Spahmann said membership is down to 181 this year from 230 and she has begun putting her marketing degree to work formulating an advertising strategy for the club, which is widely regarded here in town as little more than a club for retired CPR railroaders.
Without a consistent, sustained effort to turn things around the club’s existence is in jeopardy, she told Mayor Mark McKee and members of Council.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Spahmann said the club is seeking a new financial relationship with the City that will give it the stability it needs for the future. It certainly needs it. Earlier this year the previous Council discussed a January 2013 internal report that said the club needs $592,000 in repairs and upgrades. Club directors said later that total is way to high and that the real number is closer to $200,000. Be that as it may the society that operates the club doesn’t have the money required to address the structural deficiencies of the 104-year-old clubhouse and other buildings.
The club wants to reduce its debt by $91,000 through a number of grant applications. It is also arguing that the City should be responsible for the clubhouse’s internal deficiencies and it is seeking inclusion as a line item in the City’s annual budget. It also wants to come under the Parks, Recreation and Culture Department’s umbrella just like the Forum and the Community Centre. Both of those facilities serve as widely accepted venues for community recreational programs. Golf should fall into that same category, Spahmann said.
Asked by Councillor Scott Duke why the City shouldn’t just privatize the course, which it owns, the club’s Greg Austin said that industry-wide there is declining growth in golf. Most clubs that are sold, he said, are primarily marketed as real estate ventures.
“Everyone’s very committed to seeing the Golf Club improve,” said President Heather Duchman.
It can and should continue to play a role as a key tourism attraction but that can only be accomplished through the plans drawn up by the club and with assistance from the City. The club also needs to work on marketing with the Accommodation Association and Revelstoke Mountain Resort .
Council, which will soon begun budget deliberations, took the club’s pitch under advisement.
Please activate the YouTube player below to watch the presentation at Council’s Tuesday, December 8, meeting.