Shirley Granger cleans the head of her club with a makeup brush while playing a round of golf with friends at the Cedar Hill Golf Course earlier this month. Saanich is increasing green fees and annual passes this year as it continues to reduce in the public golf course’s operating expenses.

Golf fees go up as Saanich reins in costs

Playing a round of golf at the municipally owned Cedar Hill golf course will cost a few dollars more this year

Playing a round of golf at the municipally owned Cedar Hill golf course will cost a few dollars more this year, as Saanich continues to chip away at the facility’s large operating deficit.

The golf course’s poor finances dominated Saanich’s budget discussions in 2012, after council voted unanimously to close the second-floor clubhouse restaurant to save money.

Last February, the potential 2012 golf course loss was estimated at $820,000. Closure of the restaurant and a restructuring of food service in the clubhouse, combined with hikes to passes and green fees, is forecast to cut this year’s loss to $342,000, which will come out of municipal reserves, said Doug Henderson, director of parks and recreation.

Amid heated public discussion surrounding options at the golf course last winter, council approved a three-year plan that set predetermined annual increases to play golf. This season green fees will go up $2 to $47.70 on weekends and $42.70 during the week – but it’s the pass holders who will see the biggest change.

For the second year in a row, they’ll have to pay more to golf less, as Saanich tightens restrictions on the maximum number of rounds playable in the summer season, while increasing a full annual pass by $70 and the restricted weekday pass by $38.

Val Mieras, president of the Cedar Hill Golf Club, told the News last year that Saanich’s “pay more, get less” golf plan was neglecting the course’s most loyal players.

One year later, she believes the fees should be reassessed, as club members remain disappointed with the fees.

“My suspicion is green fees are up and pass sales are down, because many who would’ve been passholders are now just paying green fees. It’s not necessarily new people playing there,” Mieras said.

Mayor Frank Leonard said “the signs are good” that the direction the golf course is taking is the right one.

“We’re at the front end of a plan, and so far we’re making progress,” he said. “We’re in the right direction, but we’re not where we need to be.”

He acknowledged, however, that the plan is still not sitting well with everyone. “I know that the regulars are not happy. I’m not going to minimize that they’re frustrated, but we need to act in the best interests of all taxpayers.”

In addition to having to pay more to golf, purchasing a long-term pass to access Saanich’s recreation centres is also going up.

The price for a 10-visit access card for adults rises $1.86 to $52.86, while an annual pass rises $11.90 to $411.90.

Drop-in fees for adults, students and seniors, however, will drop by 25 cents.

Henderson attributes that small savings to the adjustment from the HST to the GST/PST system.

Saanich council was expected to approve the 2013 parks and recreation fees at Monday night’s council meeting. The new fee structure would go into effect beginning April 1.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Did you know?

Saanich golf and recreation centre fee changes as of April 1, pending council approval

-A full annual Cedar Hill golf pass that allows weekend play on the course will rise $70 to $1,488. A restricted annual pass for weekday play jumps $38 to $1,125.

 

 

-This year’s full pass allows for just 90 rounds, with a maximum of 50 played in the summer season (April 15 to Oct. 15). The restricted pass gets you 100 rounds this year, with a 55-round maximum during the summer.

 

 

-Saanich recreation centre drop-in fees are going down 25 cents, but 10-visit and annual passes are going up.

 

 

-Recreation centre 10-visit access card for adults rise $1.86 to $52.86. Annual pass rise $11.90 to $411.90.

 

 

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read