Saanich council is moving forward with proposed changes to the District’s parks and recreation fees including a $250 increase to the Cedar Hill Golf Course annual pass price.
During the March 4 financial plan meeting, municipal staff presented the 2020-2021 Parks and Recreation Fees and Charges Schedule that included a 20 per cent increase to the annual golf 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. Council chose to amend the proposal and reduce the annual pass increase to $250 – though three councillors were opposed.
After that nearly five-hour meeting on March 4, council agreed to take a recess and move the final decision to the March 9 meeting.
Monday night, council ratified the motion agreed on during the March 4 budget meeting; to accept the 2020-2021 Parks and Recreation Fees and Charges Schedule and the $250 increase to the annual golf pass, and direct staff to prepare the formal bylaw.
This means the fee for the 2020-2021 annual pass will be $2,330.
Coun. Colin Plant voiced concerns about a fee increase making the golf course less inclusive.
Coun. Judy Brownoff added that fee hike is a result of fewer than 150 annual passes being purchased in 2019 but she felt an increase would only further reduce that number. The motion passed with Plant, Brownoff and Coun. Nathalie Chambers opposed.
Plant then brought up a motion for council to direct staff to look at options for reintroducing 50x and 25x green fee saving cards with increased fees.
He explained to council that he’d misunderstood what was being voted on during the March 4 budget meeting and wanted to reconsider the savings cards.
Other councillors disagreed and the motion was defeated.
Val Mieras, 2020 junior development chair of the Cedar Hill Golf Club, was disappointed but not surprised about the fee changes.
She said golfers are “feeling betrayed, disillusioned, sad and angry.”
Mieras predicts some golfers will agree to pay more, some will just play less at the Cedar Hill Golf Course and others will just find somewhere else to play altogether.
Despite this, she knows the Club – which celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2021 – will regroup and “stick it out.”
On Tuesday, Coun. Ned Taylor, chair of the Parks, Trails and Recreation Advisory Committee, told Black Press Media that staff will bring the formal bylaw to council for three readings in mid-March.