City of Kimberley answers questions about asset sales

Bootleg Gap Golf Course is one of the recreational assets the City of Kimberley will be selling. Bulletin file.

The recent decision by Kimberley City Council to sell off recreational assets, including Riverside Campground and Bootleg Gap Golf Course, has caused a lot of discussion, and consternation, in the city.

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This week the City published a list of frequently asked questions about the sale, hoping to lead to a better understanding of the decision.

1. Why is the City considering the sale of Bootleg Gap Golf and Kimberley Riverside Campground?

This is a financial decision. The City receives money to provide services to residents from taxes, fees and grants and funds are needed to leverage grants. There are unfunded capital projects and core services that are under stress due to aging infrastructure and depleted reserves.

Currently, several infrastructure projects need City support in order to leverage grants. These projects can be viewed in the Departmental Capital Budget Request Summaries document for the 2020-2024 Capital Plan. We do not want to raise taxes or fees beyond inflation, so we require new money to achieve the goals as outlined in this plan. The plan can be found here: https://kimberley.civicweb.net/document/68727\

Replenishing the Kimberley Reserve fund to tackle the core infrastructure deficit and avoid borrowing is deemed a higher priority than owning these non-core assets.

2. What will the City do with the proceeds of the recreational asset sales?

Funds received from the asset sales will be placed in the Kimberley Reserve Fund and used to leverage grants to address core infrastructure issues, used to purchase other land, and used to address other improvements to capital assets.

Reserve funds are used to provide match-funding for grant applications, which typically require a 1/3 investment from the City in order to secure each grant. Leveraging can secure as much as 3-5 times the amount in grant money.

There are several grant-dependent projects in the current 5-year financial plan including the replacement of the Wastewater Treatment Plant. In order to secure grants to help fund this $46.5 M project, the City must contribute as much as $10 M to secure the grants. Some of the other projects requiring grants include repairs to both the Civic Centre and Marysville Arena, restoration of Centre 64 roof and trusses, and addressing downtown flood control. A full list of capital projects that are grant dependent can be found at: https://kimberley.civicweb.net/document/68727

3. Both of these assets make money. Why would the City sell them?

Businesses that make money are worth more than businesses that lose money. Both of these assets are at their maximum value. The value that the City can garner by applying the sale proceeds to the City’s infrastructure far exceeds any current contributions that both of these assets contribute to City finances. The City will use resources that are tied up in these assets towards improving core assets such as water, wastewater, facilities, roads, fleet, etc.

4. What happens if a purchaser tries to convert the land use to residential or industrial use?

Potential buyers would be acquiring profitable businesses that are a going concern, and the City expects them to continue to operate these businesses as such. In the event that there are other motivations, the City controls the land use through the Official Community Plan (OCP), zoning, and various permitting processes.

Bootleg Gap Golf Course is zoned as P-3 Community Recreation Zone. This zone allows for use as a golf course, outdoor recreation, public building and public utility use. Along with this zoning, there is also a restrictive covenant registered on title that does not allow for residential development.

Kimberley Riverside Campground is zoned RC-2 Recreation Conservation Zone. This zone indicates the following uses: campground, mini golf, outdoor recreation, park and public utility use.

5. How can you ensure that the campground remains a campground and the golf course remains a golf course?

Council controls the land use through the Official Community Plan (OCP), zoning and various permitting processes. As stated above, Bootleg Gap Golf Course is zoned as P-3 Community Recreation Zone. This indicates that the land is restricted to community recreation use, golf course, outdoor recreation, public building and public utility use. Along with this zoning, there is also a restrictive covenant registered on title that does not allow for residential development.

Kimberley Riverside Campground is zoned RC-2 Recreation Conservation Zone. This zone indicates the following uses: campground, mini golf, outdoor recreation, park and public utility use.

6. Can the City put a buy-back clause into the sales contract?

Yes. The City can include a right of first refusal as part of the purchase agreement.

7. Why was there no referendum held?

Referendums are expensive and impossible to hold on every decision before Council. The City welcomes public input at Council meetings and through correspondence such as email, direct mail, etc.

With the sale of these recreational assets, the City is following the statutory requirements of the Community Charter that governs the disposition of City-owned assets. Approval of the electors is required for disposal of utilities (eg. SunMine) or designated parkland, boundary extensions, etc. but not for the disposition of recreational assets.

8. Will public access to the river remain?

Yes. The City will be protecting public access to the trail and park areas near the St. Mary River.

9. When will these assets be sold?

If council receives satisfactory proposals, these assets will be sold early in 2020.

10. Is there already a buyer?

No. Council has been approached by interested parties over the last few years but there is no buyer for either asset at this time.

11. What about seasonal campers?

It will be up to the new owners to offer seasonal camping. Seasonal camping does not maximize the number of visitors to Kimberley, and might not maximize the profits returned to the owner.

12. Why wasn’t the intention to sell these assets shared earlier?

This decision was shared with the community as early as possible, which was before the RFP and statutory notice was issued. This decision has been an in-camera topic of discussion for a year. As the City is preparing to receive proposals, it has been released to the public. The information was made public at the earliest possible time. The City also felt it was important to allow both businesses to finish their seasons before providing notice.

13. How will the proposals received be evaluated?

Proposals will be evaluated by members of Council and staff on the following criteria:

Financial Terms: 50%

Qualifications and Experience Operating Golf Course/Campground: 25%

Innovative Approach to Operations and Expansion: 10%

Proposed Contractual Terms and Timelines: 10%

Clarity and Presentation of Proposal: 5%

All proposals will be evaluated using the above criteria and the proposals with the highest scores will be brought to Council. Council may then provide direction to negotiate the terms of a contract for the purchase and sale with a preferred proponent.



carolyn.grant@kimberleybulletin.com

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