Seven Hills Golf and Country Club is looking for assistance in upgrading their aging club infrastructure including the replacement of 11 hydro poles.
Scott Mitchell, Seven Hills Golf and Country Club’s new Secretary-Treasurer, presented the club’s request for assistance at the Regional District of Mount Waddington’s July 17 Board of Directors meeting.
“A lot of the original infrastructure is getting tired and so we are here today to talk about hydro poles – The poles that lead the clubhouse and maintenance facility are on their last legs,” said Mitchell, who explained that in 2017 the club’s board made the decision to replace the hydro poles incrementally due to budgetary limitations.
They replaced three poles at the cost of $30,000. Then in May 2018, an old pole nearest the club’s maintenance shed unexpectedly fell which temporarily terminated power to the club and cost $11,000 in repair work.
“It got us rethinking the whole incremental approach. Our interested is to get the rest of the work done,” said Mitchell, adding “We are running out of time and doing it piecemeal is risky in terms of the likelihood of another pole falling, especially if it were to fall during operating season, plus it’s more expensive paying to bring the work up here multiple times.”
Mitchell had also sent a detailed letter to the board explaining the club’s request prior to the meeting.
“The Regional District currently financially supports the golf club through the provision of an annual $20,000 grant towards capital expenditures,” wrote Mitchell. “The requested assistance consists of your Board’s agreement to provide the club with its 2018 grant plus advance payments of the 2019 and 2020 grants for a total lump sum payment of $60,000 in the fall of 2018.”
Mitchell added, that since the RDMW has already paid their 2018 grant to the golf course, their request would be for the remaining $40,000.
“The work is not going to be conducted until the fall after the busy season is done, so it’s not like I was hoping to walk away with a check today,” said Mitchell, adding “I just wanted to introduce the idea. I appreciate it’s later than you would like because your budgeting is all done for the year but all we can do is ask.”
Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen asked if Seven Hills had considered finding private funding for the project.
“We are barely breaking even and we have a fleet of equipment that is all getting very old. I think it’s going to be an ongoing challenge to balance the books and operate a nice facility that people continue to want to use,” said Mitchell, adding “I think the idea of private funding is something we are going to have to explore as a new board here fairly quick.”
“If we advance this money and you use it for other things, what are you going to use to operate the golf course?,” asked Malcolm Island Director Heidi Soltau.
“At some point in time you have to bite the bullet and have the conversation about pricing at the course,” said Mitchell, adding “I think there’s a bunch of things we need to do but the short of it all is we can’t operate a golf course without electricity and the next challenge is that we can’t operate a golf course without equipment to cut the grass.”
After a brief discussion regarding various grant funding avenues Seven Hills Golf and Country Club may be eligible for, Mitchell asked what the next steps would be regarding his request for funding from the RDMW.
“We would want staff to put together various scenarios of what is possible and what we can do and bring it back to us at the next meeting,” said RDMW Chair Andrew Hory, adding, “I think it’s a valuable asset for the North Island. It’s always a factor of trying to make sure we maintain as many of our attractions and activities as possible so we are supportive on that front.”
The Seven Hills Golf and Country Club operates as a registered not-for-profit Society and serves not only its members but many residents in the Mount Waddington region. The club was built in the early 1980s and consists of a challenging 9-hole golf course and driving range in addition to a clubhouse facility with a restaurant, bar and large meeting space used for the club and many private functions.