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Report calls for closure of city-owned River Road Golf Course
LONDON, ONT -- A new report from KPMG to the City of London is calling for the closure of River Road, one of the city's five golf courses.
The report commissioned by the city is part of an initiative to get a “better understanding of the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of city programs and service.”
The report notes that it makes not determination as to whether the city should continue to operate golf course as whole, but does make recommendations as to how to better improve the revenue.
Currently the city operates five course at three locations: The Classic course at Thames Valley, the Hickory Nine Course at Thames Valley, The Traditional Course at Fanshawe, The Quarry Course at Fanshawe, and River Road.
"We're recommending that we take a further review on their option one," says Scott Stafford managing director of Parks and Recreation.
In the report four options are produced, with option one considered to be the most viable:
- Option 1 – close River Road
- Option 2 – close River Road and the Quarry course at the Fanshawe location
- Option 3 – close River Road, and the Hickory course at Thames Valley
- Option 4 – close River Road, Quarry, and the Hickory
The reasons for closing River Road highlighted by the report are on-going financial losses.
Since 2012 River Road has experienced a 37.5 per cent reduction in rounds played despite a revamping of the business model.
"The longterm sustainability is the challenge," says Stafford.
Back in 2011 the Golf Task Force looked at the possibility of closing River Road but ultimately the course was given a chance to turn its troubles around.
The golf course also suffers from chronic flooding during the spring and fall months due to wet lands surrounding the course and proximity to the river.
The report notes that other than 2018 the city’s golf operations have the potential for positive revenue operations and that closing any more than the 18 holes at River could only hurt the potential for more revenue.