Golf balls are flying out of the fairways at Maple Ridge Golf Course into the surrounding neighbourhood, hitting houses and cars, and one parent has seen near misses of his children.
A relative newcomer to the Golf Lane residential street has taken the issue to city hall, asking that his property and his neighbours be protected from wayward drives from the city-owned course. It is near 207th street, along the Fraser River.
Dustin Bell moved to Golf Lane about 10 months ago, and has collected some 100 golf balls so far. They have dented his railings
“They have almost hit me close to a dozen times, but that is the least of my worries,” he said.
“My son who is just a baby has almost been a hit a few times by a golf ball, which would have ended his life.”
Last summer, his five-year-old daughter was sitting in a kiddie pool and golf ball splooshed into the water with her. The little girl was only startled, but her dad asserts it could have caused serious injury or worse if the shot had hit her.
Bell said he keeps the kids indoors, rather than in their own yard, for fear of golf balls.
There is also significant damage, with dents on his garage door, aluminum railings and on stucco finish.
“Everything gets hit,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s a form of trespass, and it causes damage, and it could cause bodily harm.”
If a high net was erected along the border of the golf course, the neighbourhood would be made much safer, and residents enjoy their properties more. As it is, “You have no idea if a golf ball is headed straight for you,” said Bell.
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said he has had his car windows fixed after they were broken by golf balls. Now he parks on the street, close to a tall hedge and a net that provide some protection to the neighbourhood, rather than in his own driveway.
He recalled a run-in with golfers. He was outdoors, and heard a loud bang as a ball smacked into his neighbour’s house, followed by loud laughs from a foursome on the course. He walked to the fence and gave them a verbal blast.
He has lived on the street for almost 10 years, and said he fills up a vase with golf balls, and donates it to friends who are golfers.
All the homes in the Golf Estates subdivision have registered covenants, including a statutory right-of-way. That means the City of Maple Ridge and golfers on the course are not liable for any damage to their properties.
However, the city may be ready to take some action.
“This issue has come up in the past and the city is looking to support a better outcome for residents next to the golf course,” said Valoree Richmond, the city’s director of parks and facilities.
“The city will work with the neighbours and golf course operator to explore solutions to address the concerns related to the errant golf balls. Staff will reach out to the home owners that are dealing with the greatest impact in the coming days to start this work.”
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