Henderson heading into golf hazard

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Island taxpayers have right to examine Crowbush sale details before it’s too late

The Links at Crowbush Cove, seen here in this file photo, is one of Prince Edward Island's premier golf courses owned by the province.

There have been a number of false starts in recent years by the provincial government over plans to sell its four golf courses. It seems that at least once a year, the province trots out an anonymous offer as an acknowledgment to election promises to sell the courses.

This week Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said the province is close to signing a deal with a potential buyer for the Links at Crowbush Cove. This time there seems to be some substance to the deal as the potential buyer has been sent an agreement in principle.

There was wide speculation last fall that a deal was close on the Mill River provincial course. That fell through. A year ago last spring, there was an apparent deal to sell Crowbush but because it was so close to the season opening, plans were put on hold. So there is a degree of skepticism if this or any deal will actually be signed.

The course the government should concentrate on selling or closing is Dundarave since it loses the most money while the other three courses (Brudenell is the third course) at least come close to breaking even.

One would think that Crowbush, the premier golf course on the Island, would be the last course the province would look at selling. It is the course which attracts golfers to P.E.I. It’s the anchor and without it, other Island courses will be hurt.

If this offer is indeed a serious one, government should ensure it doesn’t lose money on the deal and that it doesn’t divest these top courses at fire sale prices just to tell voters they followed through on election promises.

The approximately 40 jobs at Crowbush are important for that rural area. It would be unfortunate if a private buyer comes in with deep pockets to turn it into an exclusive resort for the benefit of big spenders from out of province to the exclusion of Islanders. That would be a mistake.

Henderson says details won’t be released until all sides reach an agreement. By that time it will be too late to halt a deal deemed insufficient for taxpayers or P.E.I. golfers. It would make more sense for some public consultations before the sale goes through.


CEC model offers solution

The Island’s first Collaborative Emergency Centre model was launched at Western Hospital in Alberton earlier this week and it seems to have broad community support. The hospital’s emergency department has been closed from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m. since early July due to a shortage of available ER physicians and this CEC was developed to address problems for nighttime hours.

Natasha Dunn, chairwoman for the Save Western Hospital ER, is happy with the model which ensures that medical doors aren’t being locked in the middle of the night, and West Prince residents are enjoying an additional degree of comfort and security.

There are bound to be some kinks to work out and residents and staff should give the model a chance before passing judgment. The model is based on a successful project at a rural hospital in Parrsboro, N.S., which seems to have provided residents there with basic health services.

Western Hospital’s CEC, the first for P.E.I., will be staffed from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. with an advanced care paramedic and a registered nurse who will have phone contact with an emergency room physician. From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the emergency department will function as a traditional emergency department, staffed by on-site emergency room physicians and nurses.

It doesn’t solve all the problems but it seems like a reasonable solution.

Organizations: Save Western Hospital ER

Geographic location: Mill River, Alberton, West Prince Parrsboro

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Recent comments

  • Golfer
    November 09, 2013 - 06:46

    As a golfer who played the 4 courses all at least once this past summer I think it is a shame to go to at least 2 of these courses, Dundarave and Mill River, and be basically the only ones playing. Played both of theses courses twice and each time they were beautiful days and their tee sheets were not even 1/4 full. Such a shame to see these 2 top notch courses not being used and not being used by their owners, the tax payers, and why?? More than likely because of the $110 "Islander Rate" green fee, most islanders can not/will not pay that much when other surrounding courses offer $40-$50 cart included green fees. I think especially on government owned which is really taxpayers owned courses that they should offer a true "Islander Rate" discount. Prime time $75 cart included, twilight $50 cart included and let Islanders enjoy some fine golfing. Other Canadian courses offer these similar discounts. Doing this I would bet you would not have tee sheets only a 1/4 full and I would think that in prime time a few more $300 tee times(based on groups of 4) on the tee sheet would go along way in helping get to the black versus being in the red. Give Islanders a true discount and let them enjoy their courses!

  • Just the Facts
    November 08, 2013 - 10:17

    When the course's were first advertised, the province released course by course balance sheets with the request for proposals. Crowbush made money, Brudenell broke even (barely), Dunderave lost money, Mill River lost the most. Just for everyone's benefit, no matter their opinion on the sale.