Golf course issues back to court

Christine Wood/Staff Writer / Staff writer
November 16, 2012 01:00 AM

Sechelt Golf & Country Club (SG&C) Ltd. has applied to the court for more time to produce judge-ordered financial statements from 2011, but the District of Sechelt doesn't want the request approved.

SG&CC filed an application asking for an additional four weeks to have the certified statements prepared on Nov. 6.

The District responded, stating their opposition to the request on Nov. 8.

Sechelt Mayor John Henderson said SG&CC has had more than enough time to produce the documents requested.

"We were told by the judge that we had to suggest an accounting firm, so in early August we did," Henderson said, noting the District chose Price Water-house Coopers (PWC). "It wasn't until early October that Price Waterhouse was contacted."

Brian Hall, controlling shareholder of SG&CC, said discussions with PWC started earlier; however, the firm declined to do the work.

"We sent them all the information and, at any rate, the partner in charge and I spoke many, many, many times," Hall said, noting he was quoted about $45,000 to have the statements prepared.

"It continued and PWC, the partner in charge, went and started dealing with what they call in the practice a review partner and collectively they decided that $45,000 was totally out of proportion to what would be gained; therefore, they said 'no, we will not take on the engagement' and that's why we went back to court."

Now Hall says SG&CC wants more time to find someone else to do the work, or alternatively SG&CC is willing to adjust reported gross revenue from 2011 upwards by $100,000. That would result in an increase in rental fees paid to the District.

Henderson said PWC could, in fact, do the work once some "technical issues" are addressed.

"It is possible to do the work, and yes, it will be expensive, but there's a whole lot of reasons why getting a good set of financial records is important," Henderson said. "It helps us understand the viability of the business and it also verifies how much rent is due because of the structure of the lease."

A judge is expected to make a ruling on the issue before the end of November.

The District of Sechelt took control of the Sechelt golf course in January, saying SG&CC owed $191,332 in unpaid lease fees.

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. SG&CC took back control of the golf course on Oct. 1.

In April, 2013 a judge will decide how much SG&CC owes the District for the months it operated the course.

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