I’ve spent the past few months telling people about the possibility of digital publishing after the launch of Global Golf Post, a free digital golf publication that comes to your inbox every Monday. To me it is a must read. And now there’s another reason to sign up — I’m the magazine’s new Canadian columnist.
My initial foray into column writing for the publication is about the departure of RBC’s Jim Little. I had a lot of respect for Little, largely because he was a straight shooter who gave you his honest perspective, unusual for a marketing guy. I’ll be writing about once a month for Global Golf Post — but I’d suggest you go and get it sent to your email addy, not because of me, but because it is a worthwhile way to catch up on everything golf once a week.
The Toronto Star follows up on its confusing tale about private golf clubs in the city that were part of a deal decades ago to defer some of their property taxes. The number that keeps being thrown about is $37-million, which isn’t all that much over 40 years, since I get the impression that is cumulative over all of the courses in question (something the Star stories seem to be fudging). In an editorial The Star seems to recognize that this isn’t likely to gain much traction. A deal, it seems, is a deal:
In fairness, the deal underlying this situation provided mutual benefit by successfully preserving green space in Canada’s largest city. Decades ago, during an earlier building boom, municipal officials worried that golf courses would be bought up by developers and used for housing. To prevent that, agreements were signed with nine private clubs allowing them to pay only a portion of their property tax as long as they continued to serve as golf courses. That has, so far, freed them from paying $37 million. If a club is sold or developed, all its tax plus interest would come due.
The deal seems ironclad; otherwise the city would have rewritten it years ago. Owners have been uncertain about their tax situation with the province-wide Municipal Property Assessment Corp. changing the way it evaluates golf courses. But that appears in the process of being cleared up.
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The title makes it sound like the city is writing cheques to the clubs. In reality, the clubs are not “costing” the City a cent. The City made a deal to get green space, which it got, and the cumulative cost of the tax burden means that these clubs will never be converted. In addition, the city got, year after year, hundreds/thousands of jobs for employees of these clubs and the related suppliers – without “cost”. Beyond that, many of these clubs provide winter walking space for people and their pets, cross country skiing, a natural year round nature habitat, etc. And no, I am not a member of these clubs. Let’s dedicate the newspaper space to the real story – the dangerous dimwit elected as mayor.
No — it isn’t costing the city money — it is just lost revenue. And in Toronto’s case it isn’t the kind of money that will make much of a difference. If we’re talking $37-million over 50 years, that’s not really going to help the city’s problem…