Bonita Elliott sweeps during a match with the Friday Mixed Evening League at Glen Meadows curling club. The future of the ice sheet at the club is uncertain following the sale of Glen Meadows. (File)

Future of curling and golf uncertain at Glen Meadows

North Saanich golf course changes direction under new ownership

There will be no more curling at Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club and the future of golf there is uncertain.

Members of the golf club have been told that their memberships will end by April, as the course becomes a “pay as you play” facility under its new owner, Hung Hua Hu of Vancouver.

Golf Pro Robin Hutchinson says no new golf club memberships will be sold and all current ones expire at the end of March. He said the change came about rather suddenly and even the staff at Glen Meadows haven’t been told a lot by the new owner.

The PNR has placed a call to the spokesperson for the owner, Dustin Miller.

RELATED: Glen Meadows reportedly sold.

Hutchinson said the curling season ends March 16 as normal, yet curlers have all but abandoned the facility already, some teams and groups moving on to other area curling clubs.

“Curling next season is just not possible now,” Hutchinson said. “Members have abandoned it now because they can’t go on uncertainty.”

He’s anticipating that the pay-as-you-play format of golf — similar to smaller courses like Cordova Bay — will be offered at inexpensive rates. That could further limit the amount of golf at Glen Meadows and Hutchinson said he’s not sure if they’re going to be able to open all 18 holes this spring.

He described the staffing situation at Glen Meadows as “skeleton at best” and the club is currently without a grounds superintendent. Hutchinson said family members of the former owners, the Criddle family, have been helping keep the ice in and the greens cut, but he wasn’t sure how long that would last.

There is a lot of uncertainty around the future of Glen Meadows since the sale became final on December 12, 2017. Hutchinson said he’s heard all the rumours about bitcoin farms (the locker room at the clubhouse was cleared out, possibly for computers, but it hasn’t happened yet) and cannabis cultivation. It’s all speculation at this point, he said.

Reaction, he continued, has been surprise, disappointment and anger from some members. The new owners had initially told people they were going to improve the golf course. Those plans appear to have changed.

Glen Meadows has been around for 53 years, after its founding in 1965 by the Criddle family. It was valued at $5.17 million by BC Assessments as of July 1, 2017 and had been listed for sale at $6.7 million in 2016.

In 2014, the Criddle family had approached the District of North Saanich with a redevelopment plan that would have seen the golf course closed and turned to 30 large residential lots and handed 100 acres to the municipality as agricultural land. The District rejected that proposal.

In listing the golf club for sale, previous owner Percy Criddle stated in 2016 that the “golf industry has presented significant challenges in recent years and the time has come for new ownership with fresh ideas.”

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A draft vision of a redevelopment of the Glen Meadows Golf and Country Club from 2014. The District of North Saanich eventually rejected the concept, which would have created large lot residential properties and returned most of the golf course to the District as agricultural land. (File)

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