Thursday, May 23, 2024

Final season looming for Petawawa Golf Club

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This summer could be the final season for the Petawawa Golf Club.


The course and clubhouse is located on base and owned by Garrison Petawawa but operated by civilians.


The club was recently informed that the clubhouse would have to close by April 2025 due to a lack of funds to keep the building operating safely. 


“They’re using the excuse that the building is unsafe due to electrical and plumbing, that is not the case,” said Bob Nancekivell, a groundskeeper at the Petawawa Golf Club.


“Why are we still in the building now if it’s unsafe? Why did they put, we think a $2-million elevator in here if the building was unsafe?”


Garrison Petawawa base commander Col. Jason Guiney says the building is owned by the Department of National Defence, and regulations during “a different fiscal reality” influence the installation of an elevator at the clubhouse – an elevator that is still under construction and has been for quite some time according to Nancekivell.


But Col. Guiney says the long-term future of the clubhouse is not sustainable under its current price tag.


“The initial rough order of magnitude estimate for the repairs and renovations that are required for that part of the building to operate now, to deliver food and beverage, is around $7-million.”


The base commander says those funds are now needed for military training, which is set to ramp up over the coming year.


“Given the estimated $7-million repair bill for the facility, it has to be prioritized to operational health and safety needs in support of our upcoming operations.”


The course is available for use by military personnel and civilians, and provides a variety of services such as junior golf programs at cost effective prices.


“It gives the kids an opportunity to participate in golf that can be an expensive venture, gives the family a break, and includes their parents as well,” said Jackie Findlay, a coordinator of the club’s junior golf programs and charity tournaments.


There is also a concern that losing a social and recreational space such as the golf course could be damaging for morale among active members and veterans.


“We want to get them out of their houses, out of their basements, and we want to get them on to the golf course,” says Jim Myler, a member of the board of directors with Emeritus Golf, an organization that is committed to providing access to the game of golf to members of the Canadian Armed Forces, first responders, both retired, serving, and their families.


“We want to get them with like-minded people like themselves, so that they can go out, enjoy the game of golf and not stay at home and be alone.”


The clubhouse also brings in revenue through its event space, which would also shut down next spring.


“They’ve got weddings scheduled there, but now they’re phoning brides to say I’m sorry your wedding in 2025 is now off,” said Nancekivell.


Col. Guiney says he does not want to see golf leave the base, but the club says operating the course is not economically viable without the clubhouse.


“Regretfully the repairs or renovations that are required to keep that building going for food and beverage in its current form are just beyond our economical means at the moment.”

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