Golf in Saanich: Club members reject proposed changes to Cedar Hill course
The Cedar Hill Golf Club president said a report from Saanich District staff recommending changes to the way Cedar Hill Golf Course operates would harm the club and its members.
The report, which was due to be presented to the district council on Thursday evening, recommends a fee increase and the removal of the club’s preferred tee time reservations. The report also recommends that the club no longer use the course clubhouse for free for receptions and meetings.
“If they go ahead with the report’s recommendations and the board adopts them, there are some key things that will likely make members think twice before continuing their membership here,” said the Cedar president. Hill Golf Club, Jeffrey Monty. âI know the members will just say ‘we’ve had enough and we’re going to walk. “”
Monty says the removal of benefits the club has received gives members the impression that the Saanich District is severing its ties with the club.
âThe club members have a very deep interest in this golf course, we have had thousands and thousands of volunteer hours planting trees and stuff,â said Monty. “It makes me really sad how fast they’re trying to sweep the club under the mat.”
Saanich District Senior Recreation Director Tiana Solares says she understands the club’s concerns, but the proposed changes will make the course more accessible to all golfers.
“What we’re trying to do is provide a little more fairness and equity at all levels and less exclusivity to a club-type relationship, which is very rare with municipal golf courses.” , Solares said. “We would still like the club to be able to play golf here, book events and tournaments, it’s just the deal that gives them certain benefits that are no longer lasting.”
The staff report, which was created with the help of an Ontario golf consultancy firm, includes a proposal that a private contractor would manage both the golf course and the clubhouse concessions. Saanich will continue to maintain the course and will manage the use of the event spaces and the conference room in the clubhouse.
âWe periodically review most of our recreation business to ensure that we are staying on top of industry trends and continuing to provide value to residents,â Solares said. “It was part of that and the last time the golf course was reviewed was in 2009.”
The district has offered the 69-year-old golf club a one-year extension of its agreement with the municipality, which is currently set to expire at the end of 2021.
âAll of the origins of this golf course were started by golfers and it evolved into Cedar Hill Golf Club, so we’re part of the DNA of this place,â said Monty. âPeople will move if they don’t feel like they’re part of the organization.
The report will be presented to Saanich’s council for information at Thursday’s meeting. Monty says he, along with other club members, will be on hand to speak out against the proposed changes.