The Pemberton Valley Golf and Country Club will remain in receivership for a little while longer as the Royal Bank of Canada continues to review its options.
The course went into receivership in August when the society charged with operating the course announced that it was not able to pay off accumulated debts of $415,000, and 181 society members were unwilling to shoulder a share of the debt load when the bank called in the loan. While the course does turn a small profit each year, the club incurred a large amount of debt during the construction of a new clubhouse.
Despite the course going into receivership, the course remained open until the end of the season under the RBC’s management.
At least three groups are believed to be interested in bidding on the course, including two bids from the Pemberton area, but it will be up to the bank to decide how a sale will proceed.
“For reasons of confidentiality we can’t discuss specific details about our business relationships to the course,” said RBC spokesman John Groves. “We are the secured creditor for the course, and we are currently assessing the situation, reviewing our position, and working to determine what the next steps will be. Once we’ve made that determination, we’ll be happy to talk.”
Groves could not say when an announcement will be made regarding a potential sale of the course, but said the bank will handle the preparation of the course for the winter, and that the grounds will be maintained as usual in the off-season.
That will come as a relief to local players, who were concerned about the necessary post-season work. That includes aerating the fairways, clearing water out of irrigation lines, seeding areas, clearing leaves that can kill the grass, and covering the more fragile putting greens to protect them from the snow load and cold.
“I think that’s been the number one concern for the people I talk to who play that course because quite a bit of work is required to get a course ready for winter and the greens bedded down,” said Pemberton Mayor Jordan Sturdy.
“I think most people will be happy if (the bank) found a local buyer to manage the course as it is. We see it as more of a local’s course that’s affordable to play, where you can walk in and get a tee time. The only similar course in the area would be Squamish Valley.
“It’s not our call what will happen as long as the lease for the course is still intact, but that’s what we’re hoping. It’s also important that the bank understands that they need to look after the asset to maximize the return on a sale.”
Ted Milner, a member of the course, is representing a trio of bidders based in Victoria and Toronto. However, he says his main concern is that the course remains the same in terms of price and accessibility.
“The land was zoned for a community golf course, and I hope that doesn’t change whoever wins the bid,” he said.