Saanich police responded to reports of people hitting balls the Ceder Hill Golf Course on Thursday night despite the facility being closed due to the pandemic.
Between 7:30 and 8 p.m. on April 16, the Saanich Police Department received two calls about a group of golfers using on the municipality-owned golf course off Derby Road in Saanich, said Const. Markus Anastasiades, public information officer for the department. However, when officers arrived, they were unable to locate the golfers.
He emphasized that this incident serves as a reminder to all residents that the course is “closed to the public until further notice.”
The Cedar Hill Golf Course was temporarily shut down on March 23 – along with all of Saanich’s other outdoor recreation facilities – in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Despite notices and signage indicating the closure, facility staff had trouble keeping residents off the course.
A reminder from @SaanichParksRec that the Cedar Hill Golf course remains closed. That includes walking across the grounds and keeping pets off as well. Please enjoy your weekend in the other wonderful areas Saanich has to offer. https://t.co/Tf06yYpRIt
— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) April 9, 2020
In early April, golf course manager Carole Ireland said that since the closure, staff had seen up to 60 people per day using the course when they shouldn’t be.
“Some of them are heading out there to golf for free, we’ve had lacrosse, we’ve had families playing in the sand traps, we’ve had soccer, baseball and people walking their dogs,” she said at the time.
Kelsie McLeod, information officer for the District of Saanich, explained that there are a number of reasons why the golf course remains closed.
“While we know the Cedar Hill Golf Course is a beloved resource in the community, we also need to balance the safety of the public and ensure the course is not damaged,” she said.
Aside from wanting to halt the spread of the virus, it’s unwise to have “rogue golfers” hitting balls while a family has a picnic nearby, McLeod added.
Mayor Fred Haynes also pointed out that the golf course is also one of the District’s assets and that treating it like a park could damage the fairways, leading to hefty repair costs to bring it back up to standard when the course reopens.
“We would like to thank those who are following guidelines and respecting the closures that are in place and remind those who might be bending the rules slightly that the golf course remains closed until further notice,” McLeod said.
She added that residents are encouraged to get active and enjoy the trail around the perimeter of the golf course or make use of Saanich’s more than 170 parks while following the public health officer’s orders.
-With files from Kendra Crighton