With potential buyers lowballing their bids for golf courses owned by the province, the P.E.I. government has taken down the for sale signs until the economy improves.
'We actually would not have lost money last year [with the courses] if we hadn't had the rain.' — Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty
Crowbush, Brudenell, Dundarave and Mill River went on the block as a package in 2007, but no buyer has come forward with an acceptable offer, and the Tourism Department is taking the courses off the market. When the golf courses were first put up, then tourism minister Philip Brown said several groups were interested in buying the money-losing operations. The price tag was about $40 million.
Now, under a new government, a new minister, and new economic conditions, the province is giving up on selling the public courses for now.
"Let's say the courses were valued at a particular dollar figure, and someone came in at 50 per cent less," said Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty.
"What kind of good business sense would that make for us, just to sell the courses?"
Docherty said there was recent interest from one group, but the offer wasn't close to what government thinks the courses are worth.
Budget numbers released last week show the government estimates it lost $650,000 on the golf courses last year, and it's projecting to lose $800,000 in this upcoming season. Despite the projection for even higher losses this year, Docherty said it was only rain in August that brought about last year's deficit.
"We actually would not have lost money last year if we hadn't had the rain. We had something like over 6,000 rounds we lost to the rain," she said.
Docherty said government will revisit the idea of selling the courses in a couple of years, once the economy has turned around.