Qualicum Beach council will not rule out the possibility of purchasing Eaglecrest Golf Course.
Coun. Scott Harrison’s motion that the town will not purchase the course, or any portion, was defeated 3-2 at council’s Oct. 6 regular meeting.
Harrison expressed concern over the condition of the course’s greens and the funds required to purchase it.
“This would basically cash out our reserves entirely and still some more money leftover. There would be a 10-15 per cent tax increase over five years, if it doesn’t go to a referendum,” he said. “When we look at all the things we’ve heard from people, that they want us to address — I don’t think spending every dollar on this is really advisable.”
Coun. Teunis Westbroek called the motion “premature and misguided.”
“I think for us to look at this in the long-term would be positive,” he said. “I think to say that it will increase your taxes by 10-15 per cent, I think is a bit of fear-mongering. I think there are other ways to deal with costs like that.”
Harrison said he heard a lot of concerns during a recent Eaglecrest Residents Association meeting, including frustration with the course’s ownership. He added he does not see any indication the course will return to 18 holes.
“If you’re not even watering the greens in the middle of a drought, that is very concerning,” Harrison said. “I don’t think watering is too expensive and I don’t think it’s too big of an ask.”
He also expressed skepticism the town has the resources to look after two golf courses and also restore Eaglecrest to 18 holes. The town purchased Memorial Golf Course in 1981.
“If they’re going to essentially not take care of their own properties, that causes a lot of concern for me. People might think that the town should step in and when we do that we’re now taking on a huge amount of cost and it won’t benefit as many people as six million dollars, seven million could spent on other areas,” Harrison said.
Coun. Robert Filmer said he does not think the town should own any golf courses because it is a lot of money for an asset not everyone in town will use, but also said council should not limit itself with the motion, in case an opportunity comes up.
Coun. Anne Skipsey said she could not support the motion because according to procedure a motion should be expressed in a way to take action or express opinion and a motion to not do something should not be offered if the same result can happen without anything being done.
“Not that I want to go out and buy Eaglecrest or anything, I just don’t think it’s an appropriate motion,” she said.
Harrison’s motion was defeated with Skipsey, Filmer and Westbroek opposed.