The news which was reported in the Abbotsford News last week, that Ledgeview Golf and Country Club appears to be back on its feet, is important to the community in so far as Ledgeview Golf Society interim president John Hambley says he “does not anticipate approaching the city for another subsidy.”
Whether or not the $115,000 the taxpayers sank into the golf course by means of subsidy and forgiven rent was the best way to spend taxpayers’ money is a debate this council simply refuses to engage in with the public.
It is prepared to discuss ad nauseam whether or not it should allow the province to spend millions on a low barrier shelter; it appears completely content with spending between $50,000 and $250,000 fighting its homeless citizens in court and on the streets; Mayor Banman is prepared to move heaven and earth to get the right councillors sitting at the table so he can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a UFV transit system we can’t afford … but discuss the $115,000 we gave to the wealthy owners of the ritzy golf course up on Sumas Mountain .. you’re kidding right?
In all of the wonderful coverage by the News on this issue we have yet to hear from anybody at Ledgeview about if and when they intend to pay the taxpayers – their friends and neighbours – back the $115,000 we sank into their private little club.
Nor has anybody stepped up to explain how they lost so many hundreds of thousands of dollars or who was responsible for allowing the club to get into such a financial mess.
When Dave Holmberg used his influence to suggest that his playground simply would not be allowed to fail (apparently no matter how much of his friends and neighbours money he was willing to spend on it) we got a bit of an insight into who pulls the strings around Abbotsford City Hall and who feels they have a right to dictate where public funds get spent.
There are still a number of questions which need answering about the gift to the golf course. We asked them last year at this time when the News published last year’s good news from Ledgeview. We’ll ask them again this year.
Some hard questions remain:
1) Were the former directors required or even asked to be jointly and severally responsible for the debts of the Society … or at least the portion owed to their friends and neighbours – the taxpayers of Abbotsford?
2) Will the taxpayers ever get a proper, public accounting of where the money went?
3) What did the former directors spend it on?
4) How did the Society manage to slip into such terrible financial shape in the first place?
5) Will taxpayers ever be paid back the $50,000 grant and $65,000 in forgiven rent?
And, for that matter, who were the directors who allowed things to get so out of hand in the first place. We know Dave Holmberg has always been involved with Ledgeview and, other than using his position in Abbotsford’s elite to argue for a taxpayer bailout and state, in no uncertain terms, that Ledgeview could not be allowed to fail, what was his contribution to the failure?
How did Ledgeview lose so much money on the sale of liquor – something that few businesses or individuals in history have ever managed to do