Coronation Community Golf Club sees future downturn

With COVID-19 still on the rise within the province, the Coronation Community Golf Club is bracing for the impact.

On April 9, Alberta’s Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw deemed golfing a non-essential service, putting many clubs in hot water financially.

Three members including club president Kelly Shaw and director Darryl Usselman were present at the Coronation council meeting on Mon. April 27 to present their struggles since this announcement.

Shaw warned they may ‘need some serious help’ when it comes to operations and wages.

“If we don’t open, it is going to be very costly,” said Shaw.

The only source of income they noted if they were to continue being completely shut down was through shed space rentals.

On Thurs. April 30, the province announced the beginning of rolling out a phased reopening with golfing as one of the first to do so which may help with Coronation’s golf course numbers in the near future.

Outside wages were seen as high after already having some cuts, while utilities would go down. 

Fertilizer and fungicide will continue on the same in price and service as they must stick to their program to keep the greens fresh.

Golf cart lease for the year was $6,000 but the company they lease from is entertaining the idea of letting them pay only half this year in relief.

Repairs and maintenance was ‘a shot in the dark’ as they are unsure what prices are for the work they need done.

The town has already agreed to provide $30,000 and $16,000 is in the club’s reserves.

With these numbers as a buffer, the total shortfall comes to $37,400 if the club remains closed.

There is, however, hope that the government may ease up on this, allowing courses to open but have strict rules in place like no use of golf carts, only people in the same household can play together, etc. to limit exposure but still allow people to exercise outdoors.

“I’m pretty sure we won’t fully open but I’m pretty sure it will partially open,” said Shaw.

“Now these numbers are just a guess and this is the opening day of June 1 if we have to wait that long. If it opens May 15, the numbers maybe a little better, right? Open more.”

Between liquor and concession sales, the club has been able to profit roughly $75,000 in years past.

“This is probably null but when you don’t have men’s nights or tournaments you’re going to lose a lot there. Like major.”

Memberships sit at $41,000 but for this year they think it will come to $25,000 with the way things are.

“We could be the busiest place in town, you never know,” said Shaw.

The use of cash to play a round would be down as well so they expect debit and credit card transactions to increase.

Coun. Vickey Horkoff via teleconference video asked if the town could possibly help with this to which the representatives were open to doing.

“We will do everything we can to monitor it. We know we won’t have any big moneymaker events,” he said.

They are looking at having a limit to how many people can be at the clubhouse at one time as well as potential subsidized memberships or payment plans

“Hopefully they will open things up,” said Coun. Keith Griffiths.

Council agreed to accept the presentation for information and will wait to hear more from the province before coming to a decision on whether to help in any capacity or not.

Fields Store closing

Rumours that the local Fields Store in town will be closing has been confirmed true after Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Quinton Flint was able to contact Jason McDougall, the CEO of Fields, Western Division.

After discussion, the CAO found the current owner to be more than willing to work with anyone willing to take over the store and was “very sympathetic in the fact that he knew that the store was important to the community but from a corporate standpoint they didn’t feel that the store was lucrative enough to keep open.”

McDougall did say, however, that he’d be interested in having an entrepreneur or younger person take it over ‘as a starting point in a business’.

“He was willing to support them financially to get them into the franchise. He was also very eager to assist with anyone who was willing to contact and help get them established in some way,” said CAO Flint.

For the time being, the store was looking at depleting its inventory over the next year as they don’t want to pay for moving costs.

“It’s not a very immediate thing but definitely true and was going to happen,” said Flint. 

“I did also express to him the actual importance of that location for our senior’s population and for many other residents that rely heavily on the store due to their limited ability to find transportation.”

Council accepted the information as presented and suggested they take this issue to the Paintearth Economic Partnership Society (PEPS) or Battle River Economic Opportunity Committee (BREOC).

 

COVID-19 Deferral of tax and utility payments

With the current progression and the increasing numbers with the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal administration has been frequently asked by residents about deferrals on utilities and taxes.

Currently, the Provincial government has deferred natural gas payments for 90 days, student loans, and many banks have also provided various avenues of assistance as well.

Council, after discussion on the issue, agreed to defer all municipal utilities, taxes and penalties for a period of one month, with the following recommended deferral dates Aug. 1, 2020 to Sept. 1, 2020.

Councillors enquired as to how many people have approached the town already with this request and CAO Flint replied with two within the last month.

People who do choose to take this deferral are still obligated to pay the funds back eventually.

“I think that it does show we are kind of trying to help people,” said Coun. Horkoff, “but it also doesn’t put us in too big of trouble.”

FCSS Office painting

At the April 6 regular meeting, administration was directed to obtain three quotes for the FCSS office painting project.

Coun. Jackie Brigley abstained from the conversation and the vote due to conflict of interest as she submitted her own quote to paint the office for $1,684.

Roger Golby also sent a quote for labour and materials to paint the office excluding storage rooms at a price of $1,675.

There is a budget allocation for repair and maintenance of $500.

Although the town approached two other contractors, no quote was received from Bob Long as well as JG Brigley.

Council passed a motion to go with Roger Golby’s quote as it was the lowest bid.

Trailer removal 

Terry Couturier, a County of Paintearth resident has approached the town asking for one of the trailer units located 5125 Railway Ave as is.

The town is already removing others from the area. 

Councillors were hesitant to accept this request as the county has yet to allow this either so they requested this be brought to the county’s attention.

They were concerned with the age of the trailer, if asbestos was still present and what bylaws were in place to allow this sort of situation.

Council directed administration to gather more information and accepted it as information.

2020 Municipal projects

Currently, the provincial government has provided the municipality with the 2020 Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) and Gas Tax Fund (GTF) numbers.

Administration recommended $50,770 from the Federal Gas Tax (FGT) may go to water meters and MXU’s [devises for reading water meters wirelessly] spread over five years.

After a few discussions with neighbouring communities, the CAO found that the Village of Veteran is replacing all meters and MXU’s over two years.

The Village of Consort is also looking at replacing its system over a more extended period as well, finances permitting.

The administration has sent out requests from a few different companies and has only received information from one so far.

However, they found their quote was very unorganized, so a re-quote was requested.

If the FGT is used, the municipality would have no choice but to replace the water meter and the MXU’s.

If the municipality only replaced the MXU’s, the FGT will not cover the costs.

Most of the MSI is proposed to be allocated to paving projects.

An amount of $64,032 from MSI Operating will be used to provide funding as it has over the last few years to the different municipal departments and societies for operating expenses.

MSI capital and the Basic Municipal Transportation Grant (BMTG) is providing $274,433.

Administration requested to use the MSI allocations to be used to rebuild the roads in the country residential areas and for any significant patching in any areas in town that require immediate attention.

This includes a portion on the west side of town.

M&N Energy Services Ltd. quoted this work to be done for $28,655.

The Country residential roads will require a two-year program, with year one being the rebuilding and compaction of the clay and the gravel.

The second-year would then be allocated to the paving portions.

This would allow the road to be widened and to be adequately built to ensure that the paving will last longer, and drainage issues can be addressed.

At this time, it is unknown if the Minister of Municipal Affairs will be providing additional funding to the municipality, as they have stated additional funding will be ready for projects that are shovel ready.

Other projects currently being considered under MSI/ BMTG include fixing the water tower.

At this time, this project will need to be quoted and tendered out.

Funding for this project will need to be built into the MSI, BMTG portions, along with the GTF would cover a portion of this cost.

This project also requires proper engineering lift certification for it to proceed.

CAO Flint reported the town needed ‘quite a bit of work done’ to the wood framing which must all be engineered and x-rayed for stress on the welds holding it together.

In talks with MPE Engineering, not just any engineer can handle this kind of project so with time they were able to find the appropriate person to handle this structure.

No ideas on cost were available at the meeting.

Council asked the CAO to be ready to apply for more infrastructure grants as they come available to stay on top of it.

Another top project that came to mind was the Frontier lift station and swimming pool as a third project.

The town could put shovels in the ground next week for the lift station if they wanted as they have already had all the engineering completed and the government is after shovel-ready projects to boost the economy and create jobs.

MPE said the rehabilitation will include removal of existing manhole as well as the new pumps and piping, installation of a new 1800mm diameter manhole with access hatch, an air circulation blower, ladder, electrical wiring and call outs.

They quoted a cost between $370,000 and $395,000 for each of the two lift stations. 

“I’d say that is our most important shovel ready program so far,” said Coun. Horkoff.

For now, council asked to bring this item back onto the next agenda and accept the other three projects as information until proper quotes are received.

Community garden plots

With only four community garden plots currently available, resident Brian Haniford asked the council if more plots could be added within town.

CAO Flint noted a spike in interest for these plots with five people in total asking at times.

In the past, names are drawn out of hat for which plot will go to who and returning members have preference.

“It’s not that many when you think about it,” said Mayor Mark Stannard.

It was recommended that the Town of Coronation use the old municipal office lots located on Royal Street, next to Vital Networks, to provide the community with six additional garden lots.

Flint added that this is a ‘good location’ that is central to some of the people who have asked for a plot. 

Coun. Shelley Cook asked if a raised garden would be available for seniors as crouching down can be cumbersome or even painful for the elderly.

Councillors were worried about the additional costs to make one so they said with the proper bylaws in place, potentially soon – but not yet – anyone could put their own raised garden near the other plots.

In the meantime, town staff will get to work on creating the six rototilled plots in time for planting.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this paper on her dinner table growing up helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA).

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