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October 28, 2017 3:14 am

Council Moves to Longer Contract for Pine Valley

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 @ 3:50 AM

Prince George, B.C.- There is still a chance of life for the Pine Valley Golf Course. 

Long touted as a course for the beginner or seniors, the course has seen dwindling activity over the past few years, and an increasing need for capital upgrades.

Councillor Jillian Merrick says she is aware of the controversy  of   last year when the  course was considered for closure and sale, but  says while she will support  having  an RFP issued  to find an operator for a five year period,  the stats show the use of the Pine Valley course is  down “We are just postponing the problem for the next Council.”

Ravaged by the mountain pine beetle and the loss of its driving range, Pine Valley has struggled to survive. Community volunteers have planted hundreds of seedlings to refurbish the course and with an aging demographic, it is the kind of course that would be accessible for seniors.

According to a staff report to Prince George City Council, the course needs between $750 thousand and $1.2 million in capital improvements including new irrigation, safety netting and a driving range.

The operator of the course has not been able to secure financing to carry out the necessary upgrades because the term of the contract (2 years) is too short. The current operating contract expires in March of 2016.

Council has approved  issuing a request for proposals to obtain a five year contract that provides management, operation and maintenance services for the Pine Valley Recreational Complex. The City would consider a longer term contract if the proposals received included significant capital contributions.


Since they change the course layout years ago it is not near as nice to play as it used to be maybe that’s why attendance is down.

Pine Valley Golf Course, sad to say, has had it’s day. The will to keep it open had ceased years ago and is being set up to fail and retreat to all the current new development. RIP

I am not a golfer or user of PV golf course but sure don’t have an issue supporting it through tax dollars. Seems council added a tax to support the winter, gives massive severance packages to ex city managers, but can’t find a few bucks to spend on a PG icon.
As for the decline in users of PV, golf in general has declined all across Canada so this is not just a local issue.

The beginning of the end for this golf course was the selling of the driving range. I have not golfed there for years – ever since McDermid’s ran the course. There was the same problem then with the operator being unable to do upgrades on the course and uncertainty over the operating agreement. So this problem is not new. I agree Cheetos this course has been set up to fail by successive city councils. It is a real shame that the people who went to council in the hopes of saving the course were not told the truth. The golf course is done. We need the land for another car lot.

Honestly, this course would do better if it could work into a niche. Here is what I think.

1) Build a full size driving range, possibly two levels. This would bring in a lot of business, there are no real driving ranges in the city.

2) Reduce the number of holes to 9.

3) Convert the remaining 9 holes to a true “Pitch and Putt” course (which it almost already is.) Basically, a Pitch and Putt course is smaller. each hole is between 50-80 yards long with big greens. Reducing the footprint of the course will allow for better maintenance of the fairways and greens.

I believe a P&P course could serve a niche. If the course was in good shape, you would have people from the PGGCC coming over to practice their short game. They could even work in a deal for PGGCC membership holders. The opportunity is there.

Also, with the leftover space, they can sell it to a developer who could either put in row housing (which the course would offer discounted memberships for residents) or even commercial buildings.

With this solution, you still allow the seniors and youngsters the ability to play and practice their game in slow paced and fun environment.

No brainer to me.

1. If the operator can get a long term lease (10 years) the plan is to fix the irrigation and put in a driving range.

2. Attendance is up this year, and there is no reason to believe that it will not continue to rise. Especially in view of the fact that the Yellowhead Golf course was closed down and the land sold to developers. So we are down one course. They have already seen significant increases in use at both Aspen Grove Course, and Pine Valley due to the Yellowhead Closure.

3. Prince George is fast becoming a retirement town. More and more people retiring and needing things to do. Pine Valley is a perfect place for them, plus juniors, and others.

4. We have to keep things in perspective. Jillian Merrick has no problems suggesting ways to spend big dollars on bike lanes, etc, because that is what she likes to do, however I would suggest that there are one hell of a lot more golfers than there are bikers in this City,. We need to look after everyone’s interest level’s as opposed to our special interests.

5. If those people who complain about the numbers being down at Pine Valley would grab their golf clubs and play a few games the numbers would go up.

6. This Course is about a park like setting in the City, available to Juniors, Seniors, and the mobility challenged, and it behooves the people of Prince George to support it as much as possible.

I think Pine Valley golf course needs to find a way to reinvent themselves. As it sits now, people don’t want to go there because its boring and dangerous.

The idea of a par 3 course in the middle of town is good. Make it a tough little Par 3, 9 hole golf course. Build new greens. Build more netting to protect the tee boxes. Plant more trees. Put in some nice water features, so it feels like your walking thru a park.

Change the clientele. Set it up so its $18 bucks for 9 holes. Set it up so they are off in 100 minutes. Of course have your Mens, Ladies night. Encourage tournaments and fund raisers.

Build the best driving range in town. Set it up so that a person can pound the ball 300 yards plus.

Better parking

All sorts of suggestions to make this a better, improved course which is good,.

The bottom line is that this course is being used by Seniors, Juniors, and others, the numbers are going up, the people using the course as it now stands, enjoy it.

Lets keep in mind that we have plenty of courses for those **better** golfers, ie; PG Golf and Curling Club, Aberdeen, Aspen Grove, Alder Hills, Links of Molly May, and Nesswood to name a few.

Pine Valley is best suited to those who presently use it, and to those who want to play a few rounds on a smaller course once in a while.

Pine Valley is no more dangerous that any other course.

Odd, I thought Pine Valley was already out of business…I can’t even recall the last time I’ve seen people golfing there. It looks like a empty field.

I agree with the other posters though. Make it a nice small 9 hole course with an awesome driving range. I’m not a big golfer, but I love playing around at the driving range.

If the current operating contract expires in March 2016 and August 2015 is here by the end of the week, that leaves no time to plan improvements, present them to respond to an RFP, get approval as well as financing in place do final drawings, award contracts and get the course ready for spring of 2016.

If the current operators, or a new successful proponent, gets a new contract for a 5 year period, they will have to operate the first of 5 seasons under current conditions or shut the facility down for most, if not all, of the first season.

Great planning on the part of staff at City Hall!!

There are two golf courses close to each other. They not only provide enjoyment for those who pay to play golf and enjoy ancillary facilities, but they are also part of the park/green space infrastructure of the city. Perhaps we can lose one from the green space point of view, but I would hate to see losing both.

This is really a long term planning matter. But we have lost all such planning capacity at City Hall. It is at times like this that we need someone with other than a real estate hat on to look at what is in the best interest of the citizens of this community to maintain a livable community.

There are many options to consider. Very few have been presented. Phje and He spoke have started off on a much better note than Merrick.

Footgolf seems to be a growing sport. It can be played as an “overlay” of a golf course, is played on less area (fits nicely on a 9 hole par 3 course), thus fits the Pine Valley property well.

We won’t be the first in BC. Vancouver, Kelowna and Kamloops already have it. It is international – actually started in Holland – with a “world cup” every two years. Great way to get younger people involved. Great way to broaden the market. Merrick should have been on to that. So should city planners. Any good planner keeps in touch with what goes on in the world. This city provides sports facilities, thus we need to have planners who keep in touch with what is happening in the sports world.





I agree with Palopu that 5 years is far too short. If the City is interested in keeping this as “green space” over the long haul, then longer terms such as 10 years plus are required.

The other option is to treat it like they treat any other sports facility we own. No one is going to rebuild an indoor ice arena with a 5 year lease or even a 10 year lease. Try a 25 year lease in such cases. That gives the operator a reasonable time to recover the investment.

Two year leases tell me that the City was looking at this property on a speculative basis to sell. Intentionally or not, it set the operator up to fail. The City should have known that, and probably did and did not care. After all, they are just operators.

If one invests in a golf course with driving range, small rentable area for restaurant, look for opportunities to expand the user base by adding activities such as foot golf, as well as opportunities for other uses over the winter months. There are golf courses which are open for cross country skiers and snowshoers in the winter. If designed properly with trails avoiding greens and fairways, one could even set up trails for ATV riders to learn how to use ATVs on snowy trails. Potentially conflicting uses such as motorized vehicles and skiers/snowshoers can be separated by scheduling. Add classes in the “club” house for any of the winter activities and they are off to another small niche market.

I’ve shared my ideas before on Pine Valley, but I’ll share them again. Here is what I’d suggest:

– Convert it to a 9 hole course (executive 9 hole or pitch and putt, but make it nice)
– Incorporate trail networks, ponds, marshlands and other landscape features (gardens, local plants, etc.)
– Ensure that the trails are multi-use capable (walking/jogging/rollerblading in the summer and cross country skiing/snowshoeing in the winter)
– Create a skating pond in the winter with one of the water features
– Have partial residential development included on the site (higher density but nicer stuff)
– Include some low density commercial for neighbourhood services, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.

In short, I think it needs to be developed as it’s own micro community. It’s close enough to major services that you wouldn’t need large grocery stores or stuff like that, it’s not in the lower bowl so the air should be okay, it’s far enough away from Hwy 16 that road noise shouldn’t be much of an issue and it would provide infill development. If done right (and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be), it would even attract people from other parts of the city to hang out and socialize in the area.

It really could be a gem of a development IF the city showed some vision.

I thought it was originally parkland that was deeded by the federal government to the city to remain parkland in perpetuity? If so then lets get on with planting some trees and fixing it up, so that its something future residents of PG in 50-years will look on with some civic pride.

Right now its a dump, lets face it. But I don’t like the idea of residential development using that land… if for no other reason than its proximity to the city sewer smells that permeate the area at night.

I would close it down with a 5-year sunset clause that it opens as a completely new golf course in that time. Have it remain open as is until construction could begin.

I think Peden Hill is a huge infrastructure problem in PG, and the biggest bottle neck of traffic North of the Lower Mainland. It can be dangerous with the steep grade in the winter and the blind left turning light problem at the bottom of the hill doesn’t help. We should realize as a city this is a huge problem going forward with growth out west, and even a South Fraser Crossing will not fix that.

I think Peden Hill intersection on highway 16 needs to be built into an over/under pass to facilitate the increasing traffic flow. It is the only safe way to fix this.

If Peden Hill get the fix it needs it would be a 100% federal provincial responsibility, as that is a major trans Canada connector piece. This is what our councilors should be spending their time lobbying for.

I think if a Peden Hill fix goes ahead, then yes they will require some land to stage stockpile aggregate, equipment, supplies for what would be a major construction project. The city of PG could then step forward with the offer to rent the Pine Valley golf course to the prime contractor of the Peden Hill highway overpass and alignment project. With the equipment on site it would be an easy few days work to change the topography of the land dramatically with hills and ponds and winding fairways… and 80% of the heavy lifting in redeveloping the golf course would be paid in kind through a swap of land rent for the duration of the project.

When all was said and done we could have a much safer, smoother flowing transportation infrastructure able to handle growth out west and the commerce that uses this highway, as well as a fully redeveloped golf course far in excess of anything that would be achieved otherwise… and it wouldn’t cost the city tax payer a dime in local taxation dollars.

That said I think with all the hotels going in on highway 16 and the area growing as a destination of sorts… I think its about time the city appropriated about 20-feet of real-estate around the full circumference of PGGCC for a proper walking path with bench seating and street lighting for year round use by the whole community. if designed correctly it could also help to accentuate the gold course as well.

Its a bad joke the kind of street sidewalk on Westwood, and as far as I can tell its a shambles the entire perimeter of the golf club. Why not fix it up so it looks like something more than an old walked on lawn perimeter with an ugly chain link fence to the outside world.

Lots of good ideas, why can’t Mayor & Council, the planning department, etc. etc. who are paid well by us tax payers realize that Pine Valley is a diamond in the rough, it just needs some imagination and will power. Lots of good ideas today, free of charge to boot.

There are some excellent suggestions posted here! Very refreshing to have some positive/constructive input on this site. For the love of God we dont need another car lot or box store!!! Mixed use/park like public space, in the perfect central location, is what would be the best fit. I feel this would compliment the current businesses in the area…grocery, retail (clothing/home/sports), vehicle sales, dining, these would all benefit from more foot traffic. I personaly quite enjoy seeing the golf courses while driving on Ferry. I swear i saw some time ago a proposed drawing for this site that had a circular park area in the middle with access to and from in any direction, surrounded by some smaller residential here and there and pockets of commercial buildings. I agree with downsizing the footprint to allow for integrated paths and community access. But keeping 9 quality par 3 holes sounds like a must. Great discussion, thanks :)

We all need to print this and send it to City Hall, Especially Jillian Merrick who has not shown any imagination on this one. She is normally quite good on Council and offers input on most issues. She bombed on this one.

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