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Rotary Club pitches Links proposal to Council

Last Updated Jan 28, 2020 at 2:45 pm MDT

IMAGE. A master concept plan of the proposed 18-hole RotaryLinks golf course. Supplied by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

EDIT: A previous version of this article listed the Fort McMurray Golf Club as privately run when it operated as a non-for-profit golf course since 1988. We apologize for this error.

The Rotary Club of Fort McMurray comes before Council on Jan. 28 to ask for funding for their proposed 18-hole golf course.

First presented on Nov. 27, 2019, the club requested $3-million from the 2020 Community Capital Grant to complete the course.

RMWB Council passed a resolution to defer their applications to the administration for review.

The Rotary Club also requests a Sustaining grant of $500,000 for daily operations in 2020.


The club found fundraising for the golf course project difficult due to the current economic climate.

Nearby housing development also suffered and they did not sell enough of the required homes or lots.

RMWB Council in 2015 did supply the Rotary Club of Fort McMurray with funding to help complete the 18-hole RotaryLinks.

They approved a $3.927-million grant as well as $2.2-million through a repayable cost-sharing land development arrangement.

However, RotaryLinks only opened as a 9-hole course in 2018.

In its review, the administration found RotaryLinks would be in direct competition with two other golf courses.

The Regional Recreation Corporation (RRC) operates the 18-hole Miskanaw Golf Course on MacDonald Island.

The 12-hole Vista Ridge family golf course received funding from the RMWB and plans to open in the summer of 2020.

Fort McMurray Golf Club is a non-for profit golf course since 1988.

The Municipality also learned of declining membership at municipal assets.

At Miskanaw, membership decreased by 50 patrons in 2019 from 2018.

Administration recommended RMWB Council approve no furthering funding beyond the funds granted in 2015.

The Rotary Club of Fort McMurray intended to complete the other nine holes with the $3-million requested in its application.

Also, they requested $330,000 to cover its operating deficit from 2019 and the projected deficit in 2020.

Ultimately, Mayor and Councillors referred the matter back to the administration.

Recent history

At the conclusion of the 2020 budget meetings on Dec. 5, 2019, the Rotary Club of Fort McMurray requested a meeting with the administration.

The club said without the $360,000 they requested, they would not be able to operate in 2020.

Since the first ask, the grant amount increased by $30,000.

In its Sustaining Grant application on Dec. 31, 2019, which the club embedded into the Community Capital Grant application, that figure increased to $500,000.

The Rotary Club provided the administration with a 5-year budget forecast.

They forecast an accumulated operating deficit of $1,787,736, and a phased approach to capital completion estimating full 18-hole operation in year five.

RMWB Council will choose between three options: Approve the full Capital Grant application, approve the Sustaining Grant, or reject the club’s applications.

Council preview

Also on Jan. 28, RMWB Council will decide whether or not to write a letter to Strathcona County in support of a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Resolution.

The resolution urges the federal government to begin discussions with the provinces, municipalities and Indigenous groups about developing a utility corridor.

Endorsed by Strathcona on Dec. 10, 2019, the FCM resolution would also ask the federal government repeal or amend Bills C-48 and C-69.

Strathcona County asked the RMWB for support arguing the corridor would reduce internal trade barriers and grant new access to international markets.

If approved, Mayor Don Scott would draft a letter of support to Strathcona County.

Council meets at the Syncrude Athletic Park Clubhouse at 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 28, 2020.