Kananaskis Country Golf Course (KCGC) experienced severe flooding on June 30, 2013, along with many other parts of southern Alberta. Damage to KCGC was extensive, and most fairways and greens were damaged or destroyed. KCGC has been closed since the flood occurred.
In April 2014 the Department of Tourism, Parks and Recreation submitted a recommendation to the Southern Alberta Recovery Ministerial Task Force to restore KCGC. The task force agreed that the proposal to restore KCGC should go ahead. The Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, a member of the task force, gave the department direction to restore KCGC and negotiate an amended operating agreement with the operator, Kan-Alta Golf Management Ltd.
In July 2014 the department amended one agreement and signed two new agreements with Kan-Alta. These agreements committed the government to an operating relationship with Kan-Alta until 2025.
In April 2015 a member of the Legislative Assembly requested the auditor general perform an audit of the department’s decision to sign these agreements with Kan-Alta. The MLA’s request occurred subsequent to media reports that the department made $9.3 million in payments to Kan-Alta and that the department had extended the operating agreement. We decided to perform an audit to assess whether the new agreements:
- provided value for money for Albertans
- followed government contracting practices
What we examined
We examined whether the department used adequate contracting processes in 2014 when it recommended to Cabinet that the government should:
- rebuild the golf course
- amend the operating agreement with Kan-Alta
- provide flood compensation to Kan-Alta
- lease land for housing for Kan-Alta staff
What we found/overall conclusion
The department used adequate contracting processes in 2014 when it recommended to Cabinet to rebuild KCGC and signed the three agreements with Kan-Alta in July 2014. The agreements made financial sense given the existing contractual commitments the department had with Kan-Alta at the time of the flood. We make no recommendations to the department.
Why this is important to Albertans
Albertans need assurance that the department’s decision to rebuild the golf course and sign a new long-term agreement with the operator was in the best interests of Alberta taxpayers.