Resident voices complaint about disruptive noise from city golf course

A Prince Albert resident is voicing his concerns over the Cooke Municipal Golf Course’s exemption to the City’s noise bylaw, which he says is disruptive to neighbouring homeowners. 

“I’ve been fighting with the City for several years now over the amount of noise they make at the Cooke Golf Course as early as 4 a.m.,” said Todd Kirkham, who lives near the south end of the golf course. 

“[The City] gave themselves an exemption to the noise bylaw, so they just make as much noise as they want, whenever they want.”

Kirkham says he’s been woken up several times by Cooke’s employees cutting grass or using leaf blowers anywhere between 4 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

“One morning at 4:30 a.m., they had two workers with large leaf blowers blowing dirt off the parking lot and sidewalks around the clubhouse,” he said. “They had to wear hearing protection, but saw no problem doing that at 4:30am directly across the street from residents.”

Kirkham says the noise from the mowers and leaf blowers is often constant from 5 a.m. in the morning until 7 a.m., then is quiet for the remainder of the day. 

“They cut the grass everyday,” he said. “Even when it’s dark until 7 a.m., they still cut at those times, using headlights on their tractors.”

“The noise I hear is from the 18th Hole, the last hole of the course, and it seems like they cut it first,” Kirkham said. “I think it’s ridiculous to be cutting the grass when it’s dark, especially the 18th Hole which won’t see a golfer until several hours later.”

He has suggested that the noise bylaw exemption be changed so Cooke’s employees would be unable to use equipment within 100 metres of residential homes until after 7 a.m.

“The area within 100 metres of houses is a small fraction of the course and much of it is bush. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to cut those areas after 7 a.m.”

He said he doesn’t believe it’s fair to anyone that lives close to the golf course and that the City is abusing their position. 

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous, the whole idea that it’s fine for them to run whatever kind of equipment that they want, whenever they want. They look at it from a business owner’s point-of-view and of course, they want to do what they want because it’s better for their business. They’re the only business in town that can get away with it because they write the rules.”

Kirkham said he tried reaching out to City staff after being woken up by three tractors clearing fallen trees off the 18th Hole at 4:30 a.m., but was given excuses, dismissed and eventually ignored. 

Having spoken with the previous City Manager about the issue, he was told that it is dangerous for the employees to be cutting grass later in the day due to flying golf balls.

“Sure, I’ve had a ball land close once or twice, but definitely not often enough to feel like it was dangerous to be out there,” Kirkham said. 

“It’s clear to me that the main reason they don’t want to be running equipment later is so their customers won’t be disturbed by the noise or have to wait for a mower to move to the side,” said Kirkham. “Disturbing residents is fine, but an early morning golfer hearing mowers after 7 a.m. is unacceptable.”

“It’s not a public park or any other kind of public property, and it’s in a residential district,” he said. “The golf course is a business. If it was a privately-owned business, one complaint would be enough for changes to be made and making this much noise so close to residents would not be allowed.”

The Daily Herald reached out to the City for comment on Friday and Monday, but did not receive a response by press time.

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