The local golf courses have been faced with major water increases in the last several years by the City of Vernon and the Regional District of North Okanagan. These increases have to materially affect their ability to operate profitably in order to continue to operate.
Hillview Golf Course, for example, has been faced with a 300 per cent increase in water rates from 2011 to 2013.
A committee representing the golfing community appealed to the authorities regarding these increases and they agreed to roll back the rates in 2014 to the 2013 levels. What is unfair in the application of this decision is that it applied only to the Vernon Golf and Country Club, the Rise and Predator Ridge, users of reclaimed effluent water. Hillview was advised that it would be subject to the full 2014 rates as well as being subject to further 22 per cent increase for the year 2015. Serious increases are also slated for the next two years which will increase their water costs dramatically.
It can be argued that they should pay the full rate for water but the golf course property provides an aesthetically pleasing entrance to the city that few other properties can provide. In my limited travels over the years I have found that a golf course property provides the most pleasing entrance to a city that you can have.
They are always nicely maintained with green fairways and greens, water hazards, sand traps and tree growth, etc.
Who knows what the developers and the city will decide would become the new landscape if the golf course is forced to close. What you do know is that you will lose that green space at the entrance to Vernon. It is unlikely that any future use of this property will provide such a pleasing entrance to the city.
They appear to only be concerned about extracting every dollar they can from these businesses without concerns that they are not treating them fairly or equally. One of the things that should really be concerned about is the responsibility they will share in forcing a very desirable business for the City of Vernon to close by placing these massive increases on a business in Vernon.
It is not too late for the water authority to rectify a very unfair application of an earlier decision to at least put all four golf courses on an even playing field.