Taxes can’t prop failing business

News that the publicly owned Cedar Hill Golf Course has been bleeding money has opened up a Pandora’s box.

News that the publicly owned Cedar Hill Golf Course has been bleeding money has opened up a Pandora’s box for residents around the region.

The facility operates at a huge loss covered by Saanich taxpayers, who will eventually have to decide on the fate of Cedar Hill. However, the golf course represents a much bigger issue.

The vast majority of people in Greater Victoria acknowledge that public subsidies are needed to provide recreational facilities in the interest of the greater good.

It’s the reason Peninsula municipalities kicked in for extensive renovations at Panorama Recreation Centre, as well as the growing number of taxpayer-subsidized recreation facilities on the West Shore. One of those is the publicly operated Juan de Fuca golf course, though it is closer to the Oak Bay recreation department’s Henderson pitch-and-putt than Cedar Hill’s full-size course. While none are money-makers, the latter will lose upwards of $300,000 this year – a much harder figure to swallow than the $23,000 the Juan de Fuca course will cost West Shore taxpayers.

Cedar Hill also has a municipally operated restaurant that is pegged to lose an additional $500,000 this year. The restaurant, open for the past 15 years, will stop serving meals on Feb. 18 as Saanich tries to curtail its losses. Retaining this service as a municipal operation makes little sense and it’s expected that the facility will soon be privatized in some manner. Whether the restaurant forces the municipality to re-think its commitment to the golf course itself remains to be seen.

Golfing at the Cedar Hill site has a long history, stretching back 80 years. Saanich has done an admirable job of providing an alternative to more expensive privately-run courses or the exclusive members-only clubs.

For a long time, Cedar Hill served a purpose that was essentially the same as what is offered by skating rinks, swimming pools and leisure centres. These things give the masses access to forms of recreation that, if left to private interests, would be too costly for many. But rec centres, as with parks and public libraries, require subsidies and can’t exist solely on the income from user fees.

However, a recent survey suggests Saanichites rank their golf course as among the least popular recreational service paid for by their tax dollars.

As difficult as it will be for the passionate supporters of Cedar Hill to accept, it’s time for Saanich council to consider whether the pursuit of golf still merits such subsidies.

With so many well-run private courses in the region, there’s simply no reason for taxpayers to prop up an operation if its better days are behind it.

Just Posted

Rebels season over after loss in Cullen Cup Final

Westshore had won ten straight games prior to championship game

West Shore fireworks courses start next week

Course required for mandatory permit

More than 900 new units planned for Langford Lake development

Council still has to sign-off on rezoning application

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

Art has become a lifestyle for local resident

Coast Collective’s latest exhibit celebrates all things late fall

Sooke fudge company on Dragon’s Den Nov. 2

Fudge in A Round appearance on Dragon’s Den celebrated with a viewing party at the local Legion Nov. 2

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

EDITORIAL: It’s time to change the sexual assault conversation

The words “Me Too” are taking social media by storm this week,… Continue reading

Pumpkins’ versatility goes beyond Halloween

Linda Geggie For the Saanich News Get this. My 13-year-old just came… Continue reading

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Event puts pets in the picture for Halloween

Pets West holding Halloween party Oct. 29 at its Broadmead Village location

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read