IMG_2465Arson or accident makes little difference to the favourable outcome for the city-owned Ledgeview Golf club in Abbotsford.

IMG_2467The building is covered by insurance and this perpetually in debt club will get a temporary replacement for their destroyed club house.  

The expense of taking down the old building and paying for the removal of old material won’t be quite as much of an issue since it’s just got to be done now.

Kinder Morgan’s $1.3 million gift towards a new clubhouse in exchange for a Memorandum of Understanding will come through, some time in the future, but that is contingent on the pipeline expansion approval.  The green light is anticipated but slowed down a bit by the Liberal government’s added deliberations.  So the new club house would not come for perhaps another year or so.

Now the old unwanted building will soon be gone, making way for the new club-house.

Abbotsford News:   “Earlier this year,  the city signed a  “mutual benefits agreement” with Kinder Morgan Canada in which the city would receive $1.3 million to replace the clubhouse with a more modern facility.  The agreement, which created some controversy, would proceed if Kinder Morgan Canada’s proposed pipeline expansion is approved by the federal government.  The pipeline cuts across the golf course, and construction would affect 10 holes.  

The agreement did not stipulate when a new clubhouse would be built.

Happily for Ledgeview Golf Club, …..“We weren’t in a rush, [Mayor] Braun said Tuesday. “That may change a little, now that the clubhouse is gone.”

I’m puzzled about one thing in Tyler Olsen’s April 20/16 News article.  He writes:  “The course is managed by the Ledgeview Golf Society, which rents the land from, and shares profits with, the City of Abbotsford.  The city’s precursor, the District of Matsqui, had bought the course for $1.1 million in 1980…………”

Tyler writes that the club “shares profits with, the City of Abbotsford”.  Maybe they did in the distant past but when has the club been in any position to even pay their taxes, let alone share profits?  A few years ago the club was before council asking for a quarter of a million dollars to shore them up.

But last week I got under ‘Freedom of Information’,  documents from the City that show the 1980 council discussions around the purchase of Ledgeview,……“The sum of Four Hundred Fifteen Thousand and Two Hundred Dollars 00/100  ($415,200.00) is hereby appropriated from the Matsqui Municipal Property Reserve Fund to be expended for the purchase of property for park and recreation purposes…….”

I will send this to ‘The News’, and perhaps they will explain how they came to the $1.1 million purchase price.

Maybe someone understands the difference between the Abbotsford News reported purchase price in their 2016 article, compared to the city’s 1980 figure,….. a difference of $684,800.

But then a lot about Ledgeview has been a puzzle. 


(Footnote – April 22/16:   I phoned the same City staff person the News got their $1.1 million  figure from, but no reply just yet.  However, whatever the original cost was, …….it becomes clearer all the time that Ledgeview was nevergifted‘ to Matsqui, and there never was a restrictive covenant to keep the property as a golf course ‘in perpetuity’.

 Since posting this, I’ve had some enlightening conversations.  One fellow told me the original owner was really unhappy with the City and he could not pay what they were demanding in taxes, so he had to sell the golf course and wanted this guy’s dad to buy it from him.  Another friend told me of one of his buddies who bought shares early on, not because he cared about golfing, but he anticipated a good return on his investment when the land sold for development in the future.  This astute businessman knew there was no restrictive clause keeping Ledgeview as a golf course, ‘in perpetuity.’

You can see the words “in perpetuity” in the above document do not begin to mean what the decades long fable have led people to believe.   Where did this deception originate, but more importantly, why did our elected officials seem to perpetuate the myth?

How could our wordly-wise news reporter, and long-time Abbotsford resident, Mark Rushton still believe and write the myth a few weeks ago?

One man wrote,  “Thank you Gerda. This is very good, factual information. I  not quite sure how to approach civic Mandarins on this subject as I sure got an earful from so many  folks who feel it is blasphemy if any one dare criticizes their sacred cow in Ledgeview. I am of the opinion that it be sold and the money goes to pay down our city debt. It either sinks or flourished without tax payer cash infusions.”

Matsqui/Abbotsford bought the land, owns the land, and has always been free to sell the land.  Instead we have been led to believe this financial albatross must forever be our tax burden, no matter how much it fails financially.)

The biggest game at the City of Abbotsford’s Ledgeview Golf course may be playing the tax-payers for fools.