Golf course opens up the taps

By Meg Olson

The Point Roberts golf course, renamed Bald Eagle Golf Club by new owners, is asking for support from the local water district as they move through a projected $1.5 million rebuild.

“Due to the previous ownership’s management, the golf course did not receive proper maintenance for the last couple of years and resulted in a full shutdown last fall,” wrote project manager Lu Zhang to water district manager Dan Bourks on August 1. “It upsets many golfers around the region and also brings negative impacts to the local tourism and businesses.”

The new owners have paid off overdue water bills and are irrigating the course again to bring it back into playable shape. Working with course designer Wayne Carleton and superintendent Rick Hoole, Lu said they expect water use to be high as they renovate the course.

“We are confident that once the course is reopened, it’s no doubt that the new development will serve the local community better and bring more tourists from
the north.”

Lu is asking the water district to carry forward the existing water agreement under which the golf course has access to excess water as available for irrigation “at the same price for now and a better water price could be negotiated in the
near future.”

Bourks said in a recent meeting that he had been told that the golf course management had budgeted $150,000 for irrigation in 2017, having taken over the golf course in early July.

The water district will work to draft a formal agreement with new owners regarding their draw of irrigation water. “It is different from any other connection and so we should clarify it and get it in a legal document,” Bourks said. “We will sell them any excess water we have but it’s not guaranteed, and every other meter on the Point is.”

The water district pays for 840,000 gallons of water per day regardless of actual usage under the contract with the Greater Vancouver Water District. High summer usage is usually under 600,000 gallons. Bourks said he sets controls every day based on usage forecasts and the golf course draws before the water enters the domestic system on the Point.

Bourks said the first step will be to draft a legal agreement. “We want to sell the water but we also want to make sure it’s fair, legal and equitable.” The district is currently reviewing its rates and will consider if the golf course’s unique agreement with the district could accommodate a separate rate.

Consultants will look at whether giving the golf course a rate that will make it cost effective for them to buy the excess water for irrigation might have a positive impact on other rates. “It’s definitely going to be one of the factors,” Bourks said.

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