Tourism Department still has plenty to review before plan devised
Mill River golf course, shown here in this photo by Golf Links P.E.I, opens for the season May 16. Photo special to The Guardian.
The province has moved a step closer to ending its golf losses after getting several responses to its recent request for expressions of interest for the provincial courses, Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said Monday.
Last month, the province paid for advertisements, including in the Globe and Mail, to see what options might be out there to help stop growing losses at the four provincial courses.
Henderson said there were seven responses, but the department still has a lot of things to review before it goes forward with a plan.
"I'm not going to rush the process along just to get a deal here," he said.
Of the seven interested parties, he said all are Canadian and two have Island connections.
Brudenell River, the Links at Crowbush Cove, Dundarave and Mill River golf courses have been money-losers for the province, including last year when they brought in less than $4 million in revenues. They cost about $5 million a year to run.
The province is looking for someone to buy either one or all of the courses, enter into some sort of management agreement or lease them.
Henderson said before the government accepts any deal, interested parties will have to accept several terms, such as maintaining a certain standard for the courses and be willing to have a working relationship with Rodd Hotels and Resorts, which has leases at the courses.
The next step is for the parties that submitted expressions of interest to elaborate on them and prove they are able to follow through on what they proposed, he said.
"It's one thing to say that, but now you have to kind of show a little more proof to that."
Henderson said the expressions of interest were a combination of different offers, such as two that were looking at only one course, while the rest dealt with all four.
He also said the government would like to make an arrangement that would see a deal in place by early in the new year so any parties involved in a potential deal would have a chance to be as successful as possible next season.
"But I'm not gonna sacrifice a deal to get it done next month if it's not the right deal for the province," he said.