A group of volunteers recently brought their interests to a Cache Creek council meeting in hopes of reinvigorating the once-popular local golf course.
The society — known as the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Regional Golf and Country Club — formerly operated the Semlin Valley Golf Course on the outskirts of Cache Creek, but that society folded in 2017 after the Elephant Hill wildfire destroyed over $75,000 of their course’s fencing and a bathroom facility at the fifth hole.
When the society folded the Semlin Valley Golf Course subsequently closed. The following spring, on April 14, 2018, the newly renamed Bonaparte Ridge Golf Course opened at the same location. However, since then business seems to have dissipated, with no social media activity since May.
Now, as another year approaches, a handful of local volunteers are in the early stages of developing a new society to hopefully operate the course.
During the Oct. 28 regular meeting of council in the Village of Cache Creek, one of those volunteers presented a late addition to the agenda in the form of a permissive tax exemption request, which council ultimately denied.
Cameron Rittinger, secretary of the proposed Ashcroft-Cache Creek Golf Society, wrote to council requesting the exemption for 2020 for the aforementioned group that is exploring the feasibility of re-establishing a non-profit society to operate the course.
In his letter, Rittinger noted that the golf course was previously granted a tax exemption by the Village.
“We believe the golf course is a valuable addition to Cache Creek and our region and as volunteers are attempting to keep it functioning. Financial support from the Village of Cache Creek in the form of a possible tax exemption would certainly help make our task more viable.”
CAO Martin Dalsin replied that a tax exemption had to have been agreed upon by the end of October 2019 in order for the property to be exempt for the next year, adding “If we don’t do it during this time period they’ll be paying full tax next year. Unfortunately, at this time they don’t meet the criteria for a permissive tax exemption.”
Rittinger is one of five core members of the newly proposed society, and says that efforts to re-establish a formal non-profit to manage the golf course are still in the early stages.
“We have a name, which is nothing, it’s just a starting point,” he says. “We’re in the process of developing a business plan to see if we can make it work.”
The five core volunteers report back to a larger group of about a dozen people who comprise the proposed Ashcroft-Cache Creek Golf Society.
“We are in the process of trying to get things organized to run it,” Rittinger says. “We’re trying to get a plan in place.”
He notes that the group is currently working out a lease agreement with the landowners, but will also need to secure funding for their future aims.
“The owners of the land have been operating it [the golf course] on a somewhat limited basis in terms of the clubhouse being open and things of that sort,” he explains. “They’ve tried to keep it going on their own. I guess their preference is not to run it.”
At press time, the owners of Bonaparte Ridge Golf Course could not be reached for comment. Their official website lists the property as up for sale and the phone number listed for the business is out of service.
“I don’t want to speak for them,” says Rittinger, “But I guess, how I see it, when they purchased the land, the golf course was there and it was being run by a non-profit society that decided to disband and shut down in 2017 when Cache Creek was threatened with fires.”