The City of Steinbach has agreed to collect donations on behalf of the Steinbach Fly-In Golf Club for irrigation system upgrades.

Head Golf Professional and Manager Brian Guenther says the wiring for their irrigation system has been giving them serious problems for the last few years.

"The Steinbach Golf Club installed a state-of-the-art irrigation system in 1988. Irrigation wiring is expected to last 13 to 15 years and ours is now 34 years old. The Steinbach Golf Club needs to replace the wiring that runs through the entire golf course. The wire has deteriorated causing poor communication to water cycles and individual irrigation heads."

Guenther says this causes interruptions to course play and has significantly increased labour when repairs are needed. Fixing the issue will cost approximately $300,000.

David Banman is a member of the Steinbach Fly-In Board of Directors. He says they plan to pay for the project through fundraising, reserves, and some borrowing. He recently appeared before city council with a proposal.

"We don’t qualify as a charity, obviously, but as the City of Steinbach is the legal owner of the front nine and the clubhouse areas of the course, the city would actually be able to issue tax receipts for the portion of the land that they own which is roughly 60% of the total mass of the golf course with the idea that the land that the city owns is being improved with the irrigation system."

Banman says this would really help their fundraising efforts. For clarification, he notes "Let’s say the number is $300,000, so 60% is $180,000. We would go to our donors and say ‘we need to raise $180,000 that is all that we are going to raise’, the rest of it will be made up in different forms, that might be reserve, that might be through financing or some other arrangement. If they give us $100, they will get a $100 tax receipt but that number will stop at $180,000."

Councillor Michael Zwaagstra moved to approve the request noting it is a way to help the golf course without using taxpayer money.

"The grant that the golf course receives will simply be in and out. The contributions that come in specifically designated for this project, that is the exact amount of the grant so this is not the city giving any extra money to the golf course, this is simply the city acting as the conduit allowing for donations to come in. That way, a portion of the donations that come in can get a tax deduction."

With prices rising, Banman says they hope to kick off their fundraising campaign this spring and upgrade the wiring course-wide before the snow flies.