Saanich seeks to increase scrap club fees and privileges at Cedar Hill Golf Course


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A report prepared for the Saanich council tonight recommends raising fees and disbanding the club which has preferential tee times and free use of the Cedar Golf Course lodge.

Tiana Solares, senior director of recreation services for Saanich, said a consultant report commissioned by her department also proposes an operating model in which a private contractor would manage both golf services and concessions at the club. -house, and would change its annual pass system.

The report notes that club contracts are “very unusual” on municipal courses, and says that providing high-value benefits to Cedar Hill Golf Club is “no longer sustainable.” These benefits include free conference room rentals valued at $ 10,000 per year, preferred tee time bookings 29 times per year, and events that cost the facility over $ 8,000 per day in public green fees lost.

“It’s about leveling the playing field and being fair and equitable for everyone,” Solares said.

Cedar Hill is one of the busiest golf courses in Canada, with approximately 300 departures per day throughout the year. Solares said the goal is to ensure the viability of the golf course in the future and to capitalize on the gains from increased use during the pandemic.

The report to the board is for information only and there will be no vote. However, the board will hear from some speakers opposed to the changes.

Wendy Swonnell, vice-captain of the club’s women’s team, said breaking the contract with members of Cedar Hill Golf Club, which has been in existence for more than 70 years, would be “like a slap in the face”.

Swonnell, who plays golf every Tuesday morning on the club’s Ladies Day, said they have around 100 members – about the same as the men – but only a handful of golf each week, typically taking about two hours of departure.

“We pay fees and passes like everyone else,” Swonnell said. “It’s not like they’re losing money on us. We love the fresh air and playing with other ladies of our caliber. What’s wrong with that? “

Saanich Parks and the club have a contract that expires in December and the parks department has agreed to a temporary one-year extension.

Mick Goodger, a member of the men’s team, said that during its peak years, Cedar Hill Golf Club had 600 members and “contributed money to Saanich”. He said the club donated $ 50,000 for the lodge renovation in 1978 and $ 33,540 to complete the new lodge in 1997.

The club, which produced PGA players Jim Rutledge and Jim Gibson, also existed long before Saanich took over the golf course some 50 years ago from its former owner.

“So I said to Saanich: what loyalty price? The golf course is not receiving any tax subsidy and is making money with the pricing structures exactly as they are today, ”Goodger said in an email. “If I were a swimmer, tennis player or weightlifter, you would subsidize my activity and run ads to encourage me to purchase a monthly membership.

The consultant’s report was prepared by Global Golf Advisors, an international company headquartered in Phoenix and an office in Ontario. Only report highlights are made public to ensure the integrity of a request for proposals for a private contractor overseeing operations, Saanich Parks said.

The report recommends increasing the peak fee rate from $ 51 for 18 holes to $ 54, aligning the discounted rates with a percentage of the peak rate, phasing out the annual pass, and introducing a laissez-passer. – go continuous or “flexible”.

Cedar Hill fees are low compared to other courses in the area. At Cordova Bay and Gorge Vale golf courses, for example, playing 18 holes costs $ 89 and $ 95.

After an initial increase of 3-10% next year for most green fees – none exceeding $ 3 per round – a minimum annual increase of 1.5% is offered until 2026-2027.

Saanich Parks will introduce a Flex Pass from 2023 requiring an upfront payment of $ 350 in conjunction with reduced green fees.

The report says the changes will allow Cedar Hill to maintain “competitively attractive” rates in the local market, achieve a higher rate per ride, and modernize the pass system to meet Canadian standards. industry. Staff will present an updated fee and charge policy at a board meeting later this fall.

The consultants propose to consolidate the management of golf operations and the catering concession under a single contract, with the maintenance of the course and the use of the event spaces of the clubhouse to remain under the control of Saanich.

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