CUPE Opposes Contracting Out/Sale Of Winnipeg’s Golf Courses

May 26, 2011

“Any move to contract out/sell-off the city’s golf courses would be opposed by the union,” said Local 500 President Mike Davidson. His comments were in response to the recommendations contained in the Operational Review of Winnipeg Golf Services Audit report which was voted on by City Council at its meeting held on May 25.

The first of the two motions tabled would see the City enter into a competitive bid process for the operation of the city-run golf courses. But what is potentially more concerning is the second motion that would see the City stop operating golf courses altogether and sell off some of the property for commercial or residential development.

In his presentation to City Council, CUPE Local 500 President Mike Davidson reminded politicians of the history and important role municipal golf courses play in our communities. He also said that the municipal golf courses are the price setters locally and therefore contribute to the affordability of golf in Winnipeg.

“We have a long and proud history of providing a full range of golf services to thousands of Winnipeggers for many decades,” Davidson said. “They are publicly owned and have provided an affordable and accessible option for beginners, young people, families, seniors and others for almost 100 years.”

According to the City’s audit report, Winnipeg Golf Services lost $1.1 million last year, and is projected to lose another $1 million in 2011. Davidson pointed out that although transfers to general revenue stopped in 2009, there was $1.7 million in revenue transferred from 2003 to 2009 that could have been reinvested into the golf course services infrastructure.

In his closing statement, Davidson advised the City that before any final decisions are made, a full business plan should be provided to the citizens before rushing to conclude that contracting out and privatization will automatically correct the problems.

Local 500 is taking steps to actively respond to this issue. With the support of our National Union, we will continue to work hard on behalf of the membership to defend our work and these important services. We will update the membership on this issue once more information becomes available.