City helps River Bend

City council voted on Monday to help the River Bend Golf and Recreation Society, which manages all of River Bend, including Discovery Canyon, the canoe launch and other facilities, by deferring loan payments due to the City for 2008 to 2011.

In addition, it will receive $140,000 from the City to help run the non-golf amenities in River Bend. The money will come from the City’s tax stabilization reserve.

Golf course manager Andrew Gilchrist said the golf course saw a 15% reduction in golfing due to poor weather, was affected by the weak economy and increased property taxes while labour and other costs increased.

Council, while generally in favour of helping River Bend, had some concerns.

Councillor Frank Wong worried about setting a precedent in helping other organizations and councillor Chris Stephan wanted any deferment to “Be subject to annual review by council,” added to the motion.

Meanwhile, Councillor Buck Buchanan, who was attending the meeting by phone, said, “It was critically important to help River Bend.”

Councillor Lynn Mulder said, “River Bend needs a hand up,” while Mayor Morris Flewwelling said, “It’s really moving money from one pocket to another,” as the facility is owned by the City. Councillor Paul Harris says he sees River Bend as part of the City and that they should just get rid of the loan and save all the hassle.

In 2004 the City loaned $1.7 million to the River Bend Golf and Recreation Society to help with clubhouse expansion.

Loan payments should resume in 2012.