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City signs agreements to continue Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club operations

The City of Cold Lake says it’s reached an agreement to continue operating the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club at CFB Cold Lake.

At its regular meeting on March 9, City Council unanimously passed a motion to enter into several agreements with the federal government to continue operating the golf course, curling rink, and pro shop. The agreements, authorized for a 5-year term, allow the City of Cold Lake to continue with seamless operations of the facility and all amenities, while also allowing either party to exit the agreement within a reasonable time frame, if needed.

“Council saw the value that this facility provides for the community year-round,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “We also recognized the hard work that administration and our dedicated staff have put into its operations. They’ve made great progress with both the golf course and the curling rink, and we’ve heard great reviews of the operations from users on both sides of the house. Just like with any recreation facility, we need to balance the cost to the taxpayer with the value that the facility brings. Council recognizes the value and is also confident that the course and its operations will continue to improve with the dedication our staff have shown.”

Cold Lake has been operating the club since 2012 but last year a disagreement between the city and the federal government put the future of the operation in limbo.

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Negotiations were complicated by concerns relating to Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, which the City says is owed to them by the federal government.

The Government of Canada has an outstanding municipal tax bill of approximately $13.1 million-plus $13.4 million in penalties, totalling approximately $26.5 million owing to the City relating to PILT says officials. This was compounded by the fact that the Government of Canada stopped payment for the PILT relating to the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club, despite what the city says were assurances 4 Wing Cold Lake made that Payment in Lieu of Taxes for the golf course would continue.

“The PILT issue is complicated and is in litigation, but it’s important to realize that the issue is between the City of Cold Lake and the Government of Canada,” Copeland said. “It was only due to our exceptional relationship with 4 Wing leadership that we were able to arrive at the agreements we did. We both ultimately want the same thing: A strong and vibrant community with plenty of opportunity for our residents. We will continue litigation with the federal government for a fair PILT payment, just as we will continue to work with 4 Wing to build a community that will serve everyone who lives here.”

Operations at the Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club include a club house, 18-hole golf course, six sheets of curling ice, a well-stocked pro shop, food and beverage service, a driving range, a meeting room, and tournament services.

With files from a City of Cold Lake release

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