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Editorial: Municpality does compete for business

Deer Park golf fees one example
Deer Park Clubhouse
Deer Park Golf Course has municipality to help cover losses. (File Photo)

YORKTON - While we don’t often think a great deal about it, municipalities are often business owners, and in that capacity can find themselves in direct competition with others in the community. 

The situation was brought into some focus at the most recent regular meeting of Yorkton Council. 

At the meeting Rick Schrader vice president of York Lake Golf and Country Club made a presentation to Council raising something of a red flag reminder that when Deer Park Golf Course sets its rates, it has an impact on what other courses in the area can do in terms of fees.  

Schrader acknowledged Deer Park is “the premier course” in the area “without a doubt.” With that in mind the fees charged are seen as being for the best course, meaning other courses in the area can’t go higher in fees since they are not seen as being at the same level.  

“We have to reflect that we’re not as good,” he said, adding that is something for Council to keep in mind “when you make your decision on your rates.”  

So if the Deer Park fees are seen as being too low, other courses such as York Lake, Good Spirit, Canora and Melville don’t have a lot of room to push their rates higher. 

Schrader pointed to evening fees as an example, where Deer Park has charged $29 for 18 holes, and York Lake is charging $30 for 12 to try to stay profitable.  

“It’s a tough slug for us,” said Schrader.  

That is a particular issue for courses which are privately owned, or operated by a volunteer board because they don’t have municipal coffers to access if they lose money on operations. 

It’s the same thing when course improvements are undertaken. The new clubhouse announced for Deer Park is being paid for by the taxpayers of the city, a money source not available at York Lake. 

Of course Council also has to manage city-owned facilities in a way they feel best serves the community. 

Coun. Chris Wyatt said it comes down to the city doing what is best for its course. “We do want to see people at our facility,” he said. 

Of course the golf course is only one example. The banquet facility at the Gallagher Centre is in direct competition with various halls in the city such as the now gone Royal Canadian Legion and Orthodox halls, and St. Mary’s Cultural Centre. 

Another example is businesses with space at the Gallagher Centre too, taxpayers essentially being the landlord. 

So, one can appreciate a call for balance from those directly affected, because the city does have an advantage in terms of accessing taxpayer dollars. 

We want city-owned facility to be operated well, but the competition created with others in the city has to at least be considered too.


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