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Mayor, 11 councillors won't talk about Idylwylde tax deal

Only one of Greater Sudbury’s 13 city council members — Ward 4 Coun. Pauline Fortin — responded with substance to’s inquiry about Idylwylde Golf and Country Club’s tax deal with the city, which has allowed the club to defer payment of $862,354 in property taxes as of last year
180822_then-and-now-idylwylde-anniversary 2
A beautiful clock was erected outside the clubhouse to celebrate the Idylwylde Golf & Country Club's centennial.

The vast majority of Greater Sudbury city council has opted to remain silent when it comes to Idylwylde Golf and Country Club’s special tax deal with the city.

Only one of Greater Sudbury’s 13-member city council responded to’s inquiry with questions regarding the tax deal.

In place since 1966, the tax deal has allowed Idylwylde to defer payment of a portion of their taxes each year. As of last year, the total deferred amount owing hit $862,354.

This deferred amount, which incurs an interest rate of four per cent according to a city bylaw, can remain unpaid until such time as their land ceases to be used as a golf course. If that were to become the case, the city would either have to be paid the balance or given the land.

Questions were posed to city council members in an email this week, and followed up with a reminder message a few days later. They included: 

  • What is your reaction to the golf course's 1966 tax deal?
  • What have you been hearing from people?
  • Given this is the city's only deal of this nature, and it's for the city's most expensive private golf club, do you believe it to be fair? 
  • Is this a topic you plan on pursuing in council chambers? If so, what approach are you planning?

The only member to respond in a manner that addressed any of these questions was Ward 4 Coun. Pauline Fortin.

She noted that the tax deal’s original intention was to preserve greenspace around Ramsey Lake, which has taken place.

“We should not judge this agreement too harshly, or the club for taking advantage of it,” she said. 

That clarified, she added that the deal isn’t good for the club in the long run, and they should draft a plan to pay off their tax deferral.

“I’d like to see an end to the agreement and the debt paid off over a specified period of time in a way that is affordable and beneficial to the club and fair to the taxpayers,” she said, adding that getting the deferred taxes paid off in one year would likely be unrealistic. 

“I would hope that in the interest of fairness and civic duty that the majority of the club’s members would accept that private clubs should not have preferential deals on taxes and recognize the image problem this deal creates for the club, as well as the actual financial benefits of clearing the liability off the books.”

Mayor Paul Lefebvre responded to’s inquiry with a written statement through his office. Instead of addressing any of the questions posed, Lefebvre’s statement simply restated known and previously published facts about Idylwylde’s tax deal. Lefebvre’s full statement was as follows:

“The original 1965 fixed assessment agreement (amended in 1966) between the Idylwylde Golf and Country Club and the Corporation of the City of Sudbury (as it then was) determined an amount of property taxes that could be deferred on a year-to-year basis. As a result, the deferred taxes and accrued interest owing to the city are a deferred liability against the property pursuant to said agreement.”

Lefebvre was also asked about Idylwylde’s tax deal by a member of the public during a town hall meeting at École secondaire Macdonald-Cartier in New Sudbury last month.

After clarifying that he’d only recently learned about the tax deal, he offered a non-committal response, saying, “At the end of the day, we’ll make sure that people that are paying taxes are paying their fair share of taxes that they’re supposed to.”

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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