|15th Hole yesterday morning|
Early in the week I was told there was a rumour that I was going to be part of a team that will lease and operate the course. I only laughed and said I wish I had the money that others think I must have.
It’s common knowledge that Highlands Links will be part of an RFP process where Parks Canada will look to create an arrangement where a private operator runs the golf course. This was done recently with Green Gables recently in PEI. It is also the same model at Banff Springs, Jasper Park and Waskesiu to name a few other courses found in National Parks.
In preparation the staff was informed told they will either be laid off or re-assigned. I also have no idea whether I will continue to work at Highlands Links, but that pales in comparison with the others from the local area.
There is the possibility that a new operator may bring everything that the course needs, from additional key people right through to capitol to deal with all the drainage issues that plague the golf course on a regular basis. They may keep key people and provide a greater level of support required to succeed. Many see this as essential and a very important step to bring the course up to the conditioning they expect.
The other side is the new operator “has” to make money. They may cut staff to a minimum and try to operate without any capitol investment in the course. This may stop tree removal, drainage and other restoration projects that have created the recent turnaround in the conditions.
The RFP has been delayed. We are all curious to see what the terms are and find out if the hotel is attached to the course or whether its allowed to go out independent. That condition alone may be the difference between a positive outcome and a disappointing one.
All any of us can do is wait to see the terms of the RFP and find out who the successful entity is. That’s when we will all begin to understand how it impacts the people currently connected the golf course and the course itself.
I was lucky enough to be the consulting architect for the last five years. We have made strides with the golf course, but lots more needs to be done still. I hope get the opportunity to fix the remaining problems and bring the course to a place we would all like to see.