Deputy mayor: City should look at outsourcing operation of its golf courses
The five city-owned golf courses are becoming less profitable and a report from Toronto's auditor general recommends that the city review its marketing and operating plans.
In 2007, the net profit of the city's courses was $1.2-million. Last year it was $520,000.
A report to be presented to the audit committee next week says that if the current trend continues, the courses will start to lose money and as a result they will require taxpayer funding.
Deputy mayor Doug Holyday, chair of the audit committee, agrees with the report that the courses need better marketing.
"I bet there's a lot of Toronto people who don't even know we have these golf courses," Holyday says.
But he says he doesn't think the city has the expertise to be promoting and running the courses. And he says the city should find private operators to take over those jobs.
"I think we should go out for proposal calls not to sell the properties, just to get people with the right expertise to run them," Holyday says.
Councillor Shelley Carroll, who also sits on the audit committee, says outsourcing now is the wrong way to go.
"[Outsourcing is] always his answer," Carroll says of the deputy mayor.
"Councillor Holyday thinks you run it into the ground and then outsource it," Carroll says. "You don't get a lot of money doing that. You get some goofball, low-earning, small businessman who will actually struggle, struggle and struggle and put into financial trouble his own self."
She says the city should get the courses back up to a competitive level and maybe then look for a private operator.
"Now you're going to get the highest market dollar from somebody who runs a good golf course and wants to run yours," Carroll says.
Holyday, though, says that the city should only hire a private operator if the proposal is right.
The matter will be discussed next Thursday.