Some local golfers aren’t happy with the proposed Cedar Hill Golf Course fee increases being considered during Saanich’s 2020 budget deliberations.
Proposed fee increases for Cedar Hill Golf Course users have been included in the 2020-2021 Parks and Recreation Fees and Charges report presented to council on March 4 as part of Saanich’s 2020 financial plan.
According to Val Mieras, 2020 junior development chair of the Cedar Hill Golf Club, the report includes several recommendations regarding fees that have upset golfers who frequent the Cedar Hill course.
The Cedar Hill Golf Course, located on Derby Road, opened in 1921 and includes 18 holes, a short club practice range, classes and more. Among other suggestions, the Parks and Recreation Department is recommending a 20 per cent increase to the cost of the 2020 annual pass – bringing it up to $2,500, $420 more than in 2019 – the elimination of both the 50x Green Fee Savings card and the 25x Nine-Hole Green Fee Savings card due to low sales, and an increase of at least two per cent for daily green fees.
The report also recommends that in an effort to align with other municipal golf courses, Saanich does away with annual passes at the Cedar Hill course and moves to a “green-fee-only” model in the next three years.
These changes come as a result of efforts to make the golf course more “financially sustainable,” Mayor Fred Haynes explained.
He added that the golf course is subsidized and run by the District, which is not a “core requirement” for municipalities.
Haynes emphasized that the proposed fee increase is not linked to the Jan. 16 flood at the Cedar Hill clubhouse which led to a shutdown expected to last six months.
In order to keep and maintain the course, cost increases are required– “that’s the reality,” Haynes said. He added that all departments were asked to take responsibility for their budgets and recommend steps for improvements.
Council will take the Parks and Recreation budget report recommendations into consideration and assess options for moving forward, Haynes said.
Six budget meetings have been scheduled. The first four – March 3, 4, 10 and 12 – begin at 6 p.m. and include presentations by the District’s various departments. During the last two meetings – March 31 at 8:30 a.m. and April 22 at 6 p.m. – council will finalize the financial plan.
The public is invited to speak in person, contact councillors or watch the live-stream.