Sechelt Golf & Country Club Ltd. (SG&CC) met conditions to have the golf course returned last week, but the club likely won’t take control until the end of the month.
“Legally right now, since we have met the judge’s requirements, we could walk in tomorrow, but I think a proper transition is needed for everybody’s sake,” said major shareholder Brian Hall. “So the thoughts are around Sept. 30 and I don’t know whether that’s agreeable to the other side or their lawyers, but that’s what we’re shooting for.”
Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said the District will work with Hall to ensure a smooth transition.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that the handover is seamless,” he said.
The District of Sechelt took control of the Sechelt golf course in January, saying SG&CC owed $191,332 in unpaid lease fees. The District also cited concerns with the operator’s ability to manage the course, saying they had been advised that creditors were calling.
In July a judge ruled that only a small portion of the back lease fees were owed and that SG&CC should be given another chance to operate the golf course.
The judge set out conditions for SG&CC that included getting out of a commitment with CC Real Estate Mortgage and paying $125,000 into an interest-bearing account to be released at the order of the court or the consent of both parties.
Hall said they met those conditions on Sept. 19, after receiving a one-week extension to come up with the money.
Discussions about how the handover of the course will happen are now underway; however, Henderson notes some things may take time to figure out.
“To maintain the course we had to acquire things like used kitchen equipment and some tables and chairs for the restaurant and even some maintenance equipment, so we have entered into some leases, and in some cases we purchased the assets,” Henderson said, adding a number of golf carts were leased by the District as well. “We’ll have to have the conversation, if SG&CC is interested, about whether they want to take them on and assume the responsibilities or buy them from us or whatever.”
Exactly how much the District has spent on equipment leases and purchases at the golf course since the takeover in January is still unclear.
“I don’t know the exact amount, so I don’t want to give you the wrong details, but whatever it is it’s not the $100,000 or whatever amount, it’s ‘OK how much can we sell them for?’” Henderson said, noting he expects the District to recoup the majority of their costs. “So we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars net cost of the various equipment.”
Henderson said the District will be watching SG&CC closely in the coming months to ensure they meet operating requirements set out in their lease.
“We revert to being the landlord and SG&CC is the tenant,” he said. “And, like any landlord-tenant relationship, we’ll be watching to make sure the terms of the lease are adhered to, whether that means paying the rent on time or meeting any of the other conditions that might be in the lease. Among other things, the lease obliges SG&CC to operate a first-class golf course and to keep operating, I believe it’s every day of the year except Christmas and Boxing Day, including the restaurant.”