Letter to Citizens - Golf Course Update

Letter to Citizens regarding the operation of Lee Creek Golf Course

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In 2011, the Black Sands Management Group made a proposal to the Town Council to assume the management responsibilities of the Lee Creek Valley Golf Course. At that time, a contract was mutually agreed which outlined each parties' responsibilities. Over the next 7 years, the contract was amended and changed to better suit both parties, resulting in an agreement that saw the Town paying Black Sands a small management fee to take care of all operations of the course. The Town and Black Sands negotiated specific costs, or waivers of costs that each party assumed. At the end of the 2017 season, the Black Sands Management Group terminated the contract with the Town. The Town Council wishes them well and hopes that the 7 years spent at the course were rewarding for all involved.

In December of 2017, the Town put out a "request for proposal" hoping to hear from other groups that may be interested in some level of participation in the golf course. The proposal process illustrated many ways that the golf course could move forward. These include the most basic model of the Town hiring a golf course manager and having this individual oversee all aspects of the course. The model of a golf association was also entertained, wherein a volunteer group would oversee a golf course manager and that manager would report to the association. The other proposals varied around the idea of a group of individuals who would manage the operations of the course on behalf of the Town.

The Town Council was looking for a partner that could help move their long-term vision of the course and its facilities forward, as well as offer best practices for modern golf course management. At the same time, the golf course needs to continue to be well maintained and have minimum financial impact on the collective community.

Town Council has chosen to partner with the Windmill Golf Group to oversee the operations of the course for the 2018 season. Windmill will act largely as a consultant to the Town in all matters related to the course. All revenues and expenses will be handled by the Town, and the Town has full discretion in budgeting. Everyone working for the golf course will be employees of the Town and will come from the immediate area wherever possible.

Windmill is the owner of 6 golf courses and they are involved in the management and/or marketing of 3 other courses. It is the intention of the contract that the Town can learn and implement the best practices from these courses to make the local operations even better. Windmill Golf Group has extensive experience and resources in marketing their courses. This affiliation is intended to increase the exposure of the course, drawing more golfers to Town through modern marketing approaches. Windmill Golf Group has in-house experience to assist the Town in the design and planning of a club house appropriate for our venue. They also have expertise in golf course design and can recommend solutions to some of the design issues on the course currently. Windmill has tremendous purchasing power which the Town can access to help bring costs down for supplies and equipment.

This is a 10 month contract that will give both parties a chance to get to know one another. The Town Council recognizes that there were other local groups interested in some form of management of the course, but the collective feeling is that this contract with Windmill Golf Group gives the Town the best chance at long term sustainability and financial viability without compromising local discretion over matters pertaining to the golf course. The Town Council plans to implement a local Golf Advisory Committee to represent the golf course membership and the local community. This Advisory Group will liaise between the Windmill Golf Group and the Town of Cardston.

It is the hope of the Town Council that the local golf community support and participate on our course. The Lee Creek Valley Golf Course is a great golf experience and it is the intention of the Town to continue to build on the great work and effort that this community has put into it.

Regards,

Town of Cardston Mayor and Council