A flurry of recent reports involving Canadian clubs could bear watching, to see if they might have any “trickle down” effect.
When we’re searching for industry news to include in our daily e-newsletter and website postings, the emphasis is on finding and reporting on items that will be of interest and relevance to the largest possible portion of our audience. And that tends to strongly skew what we select to what’s happening at club and resort properties within the U.S.
But we’ll also include items from other parts of the world, when we think they might highlight notable trends or developments that could possibly apply or have an impact on operations in the States as well. Maybe it’s just because the borders between the U.S. and Canada were finally reopened, but a flurry of recent reports from Up North caught our eye over the last few months that seem to bear watching, to see if there might be any “trickle down” effect that could catch on and affect individual club operations, and the industry as a whole, in the States as well.
In Regina, Saskatchewan, the city council voted to eliminate a tax break for private clubs that had been established in 2001, to help them better compete with municipal clubs and courses that are exempt from property taxes (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/canadian-city-votes-to-end-tax-break-for-private-golf-clubs/). Because of the change, one club stood to see an increase of over $17,000 (Can.) in its annual property taxes.
“We are creating a tax loophole for a space and residents that probably do not need this,” said the councilman who spearheaded the change. “These are private clubs with pretty lucrative fees associated to their membership. I thnk that membership can afford to pay the difference.”
As memberships continue to swell at U.S. clubs, and more awareness is gained about their newfound prosperity (especially as higher-profile major capital projects are pursued), could this prompt similar reassessments and attitude adjustments among governing bodies, and make operating environments here less friendly, too?
In Ottawa, Ontario, the ClubLink management firm won an appeal that appeared to pave the way for it to proceed with a plan it has pursued for several years, to bulldoze part of the golf course at one of its clubs and partner with developers for a major housing project (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/clublink-wins-appeal-to-develop-kanata-gcc-over-local-objections/). Government officials, including the city’s mayor, have opposed the project, as have some very vocal and active civic groups. But the ruling by the provincial Court of Appeal even ordered the city to pay ClubLink’s $59,000 (Can.) in legal costs.
We hear almost daily now about the growing housing crises in cities and towns across the U.S., and of how many club and golf course properties, no matter if they’re thriving or they’re struggling or closed, are being eyed as prime targets for development to help ease the situation. There are also plenty of vocal and active groups and governing bodies that are fighting these projects in this country, too, to try to preserve green space, if not for golf than for other purposes. But could the Canadian example indicate a shift in the winds that might bring about significant change in the landscape here, too?
Finally, there was a report (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/exclusive-canadian-club-promises-longer-life-for-a-price/) about the “Longevity Club,” a pricey and exclusive property in Toronto that is seeking to attract members (at $100,000 Can. a pop) through this unique selling proposition: It will help to extend their lives as a destination where they can go to learn how to “ensure a longer and better healthspan,” through practices including “plant medicine, biohacking and a combination of technology and ancestral science.”
In addition to its 9,000-sq. ft. property that overlooks a ravine and an acre of forest in West Toronto, the owners have plans for a second location in that city and are also eyeing New York City and Miami for future expansions. So this appears to be a Canadian import that we can definitely expect to see come across the border—and in fact, it may already be here. We also recently ran an item (https://clubandresortbusiness.com/bonita-bay-club-introduces-a-biotech-bar-to-members/) about how the Bonita Bay Club in Florida is partnering wth a company to offer its membership “life-saving diagnostics” through a “Biotech Bar.”