In the wake of a disaster such as the flood that hit Southern Alberta just over a year ago, there are bound to be disputes over what gets priority in the rebuilding efforts.
It’s an emotional issue to be sure and you can feel for homeowners affected by the flood who either aren’t back in their residences yet or don’t qualify for disaster assistance.
It’s understandable hey think they should go to the head of the line ahead of a golf course that needed restoration after the flood.
They’re not the only ones who feel they should take priority over the Kananaskis Country Golf Course and the $18-million fix-up that was announced by the Alberta government last week.
This may not tie in with the flood, but now lawyers are stating their case that Alberta’s legal aid system, which provides legal help for the destitute, is badly in need of funding and that money would be better spent on that than fixing Kananaskis Country.
Improving the legal aid system is not a problem that’s exclusive to Alberta, but they make a fair point. There are quite likely other causes out there, either flood-related or not, that need immediate government attention.
Everybody has an opinion on how to spend money, but nobody worries about where it comes from, which is not to deny a good cause, but to add some reality to a situation in which Alberta is also trying to move forward with economic drivers such as Kananaskis Country.
Had the Alberta government abandoned the golf course, it would have meant the loss of undamaged buildings worth millions, not to mention 175 jobs.
Some of those long-time staff members got behind a Restore the Vision campaign to save the Kananaskis course when it was stuck in limbo over the winter. You can read about that here.
So, there is a human side to this story, but the decision to restore the golf course to its former glory goes beyond jobs. Kananaskis Country is renowned inside and outside of Alberta, across Canada and outside this country, which prompted the Restore the Vision campaign.
The 36-hole facility is a big draw for Alberta. It put through 60,000 rounds and injected $14-million annually into the province’s economy. It won’t take too long for reconstruction to pay for itself (and more) with the $18-million the province is investing.
What makes it so important to get going now on the reconstruction is that a 2016 opening might be possible but realistically, it will probably be 2017 before the cash register at Kananaskis Country really started ringing.
From both a human side and an economic side, there is good reason to get the restoration underway as soon as possible despite the most vocal critics who will use the argument about the government favouring a playground for the rich.
That old argument may be convenient, but it won’t work. Kananaskis Country is an investment that will pay for itself and the province will benefit despite the protests.