Kananaskis Country Golf Course
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Kananaskis Country Golf Course is a publicly accessible world-renowned 36-hole golf course situated in Kananaskis Country, a park system west of Calgary, Alberta, Canada in the foothills and front ranges of the Canadian Rockies which opened in 1983 at a cost of $25.5 million. The golf course near Kananaskis Village, Alberta designed by the golf course architect Robert Trent Jones, consists of two 18-hole golf layouts, played beneath Mt. Lorette and Mt. Kidd, after which the courses are respectively named. Score Golf Magazine has consistently ranked this facility as a top 100 course in Canada. Kananaskis Country Golf Course is part of the collection of seven golf courses and resorts in Alberta, the Canadian Rockies Golf – "the most storied and recognized group of golf courses in Canada." About sixty thousand rounds of golf were played there annually with eighty-five percent played by Albertans. The golf course includes the pro-shop, club house, tournament centre and other golf course buildings which were valued at $15 million in 2015. During the June 2013 Alberta floods, Kananaskis Country "sustained the most extensive damage in its 36-year history." The Alberta government committed $18 million to rebuild the Course and to protect it from future flood damage.
The course was built while Premier Peter Lougheed was in office at a cost of $25.5 million using energy resource money from the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund to diversify Alberta's economy. Since its opening in 1983 Kan-Alta Golf Management Ltd has had the lease to operate the Kananaskis Country Golf Course. Kan-Alta Golf is now the construction manager for the restoration of the golf course following the 2013 flood.
Jones, the architect described the course's location in the Rockies as "the best natural setting I’ve ever been given to work with." Early in his career Jones had formed a partnership with Canadian architect Stanley Thompson, and he helped design several courses in Canada, including Capilano in Vancouver and Banff in the Canadian Rockies. Between 1931 and 1999, Jones designed or re-designed about 500 golf courses in at least 40 U.S. states and 35 other countries.
Canadian golf expert Greg Dickman said, "[p]laying from 7,102 yards from the gold tees, Mt. Lorette is a tough enjoyable test of golf with water potentially coming into play on seven of the opening nine holes."
SCOREGolf’s Golfers’ Choice Awards has recognized Kananaskis Country Golf Course as "Best of the Best" in the following categories: Best Value in the West, Best Service in the West, Best Condition in the West, Best par 4 in the West, Best Par 5 in the West and Best Golf Destination in the West. Golf Digest rated the Mount Kidd and Mount Lorette in the top 50 Courses in North America for "Great Value."
Score Golf Magazine rated this facility at 7.6400, making it among the top courses in Alberta.
In 2011 ScoreGolf listed Mt. Kidd as the third Best Public Course in Alberta, with Mt. Lorette taking fifth place and Golf Week included Mt.Kidd on its list of Best Canadian Golf Modern Courses. In November 2011, the golf publication, Golf Digest included Kananaskis Country Golf Course on its top 75 golf resorts biennial list.
In 2011 the Kananaskis Country Golf Course showed a province wide net economic impact of $14 million, 175 full-time equivalent jobs sustained province wide, and a $4.4 million federal, $1.9 million provincial and $800,000 local taxes generated.
2013 Alberta floods
The Kananaskis I.D. in which the Kananaskis Country Golf Course is located was severely flooded in the June 2013 Alberta floods, the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history. Of the thirty six holes, all but four were flood damaged. Buildings on higher ground, valued at $15 million, were not damaged.
On 16 July 2014 the Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development finalized and signed an agreement with Kan-Alta Golf Management Ltd., a company with alleged connections the provincial government to rebuild the golf course.
Calgary Herald journalist McClure reported a "secret deal" involving Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development also known as Alberta Environment, "resulted in over $5.4 million" paid to Kan-Alta Golf "to cover business losses and other expenses" at the Kananaskis Country Golf Course, as a result of the 2013 flood damage. Also, "another $145,000 in property taxes owed by Kan-Alta Golf Management Ltd. were forgiven by government appointees on the local improvement district and reimbursement sought from the province." This was confirmed by Alberta Municipal Affairs. McClure added that "another $8 million in compensation and some portion of the $15-million estimate for rebuilding the 36-hole facility may yet be paid to Kan-Alta."
Scott Hennig, vice-president of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said he’s concerned Kan-Alta and its owners may have been paid twice for the same thing by different government departments as a result of the property tax deal.
According to an independent report by Deloitte LLP in September 2015, Alberta taxpayers would have to pay up to $16.9 million to break the contract with Kan-Alta. The contract between the PC government of Alberta and the compary "dates back to the course’s opening in 1983 when documents show the firm — owned by friends and former associates of former Premier Don Getty who have donated $2,600 to the Tories in recent years — was awarded the contract to operate the facility even though government documents show they were not the lowest bidder." The contract will be put out to public tender in 2026."No one in our government wants to be in the golf course business … and in 2026 this will be put out to public tender.
- McClure, Matt (5 April 2015), "Taxpayers hit with double-bogey for flood-damaged golf course", Calgary Herald, retrieved 13 April 2015
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- Wood, James (22 June 2013). "Harper, Redford promise to help". Calgary Herald. p. A5.
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- McClure, Matt (30 September 2015). "NDP say they won't rip up Tory golf course deal, risk more taxpayer dollars". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 30 September 2015.