The restaurant at Campbell River Golf & Country Club reopens after a fire

When mother nature is your boss you get use to dealing with unplanned challenges and situations.

The staff at The Sandtrap restaurant at the Campbell River Golf & Country Club are looking at the small kitchen fire late last month as it would a rain storm, finding the silver lining and charging ahead. The restaurant reopened on Friday.

“We are proud of our impressive time line of re-opening within two weeks of the fire,” says Amanda Raleigh, general manager of Campbell River Golf & Country Club. “In the time the restaurant was closed we accommodated and fulfilled all of our banquet and event bookings. We made sure that none of our clients were put out.”

She says they owe the fast turnaround to vertical integration within Broadstreet Properties, owned by the same family as the course, and between the two companies.

“Projects like this normally take a lot longer to resolve,” she says. “But our strong, efficient team got us back up and running ASAP, while incorporating a few improvements!”

The fire was caused by neatly folded, clean kitchen cloths and the little known fact that using olive oil, residential laundry machines and commercial detergents creates a dangerous combination. Residential washing machines don’t have the power to fully remove cooking oils and commercial detergents from materials. Put them in a hot dryer and it’s a recipe for combustion.

“It’s happened to multiple other business and even homes around town,” Raleigh says. “It’s something we need to address as an industry and we’re looking forward to working with the fire chief to create awareness about the problem.”

The restaurant reopened on Friday, March 10 for dinner service. It continues with the same operation hours as previously schedule: serving guests Tuesday to Sunday, for breakfast, lunch and dinner starting at seven a.m. Banquet rooms are available for booking now. Find out more at crgolf.ca

The fire helped Raleigh and her team decide on the next step for the country club.

“It has been a bit uncertain with the plan for the current clubhouse,” says Raleigh. “We’ve been debating if we should close it and just use our new driving range building or run both operations. The fire has helped us solidify the decision.”

The restaurant and banquet rooms will stay open through all of 2018. The casual and family friendly restaurant will continue to serve its diverse and creative menu using fresh and local ingredients. And the multiple event spaces are available to reserve into 2019 for meetings, workshops, parties and gatherings. With a kitchen and bar on site, different sized rooms, flexible configurations and up to date technology, Raleigh says, they can be responsive to just about any need and budget.

“We’ve been really surprised by how popular our banquet spaces are,” she says. “We’ve hosted everything from intimate weddings to lunch and learns and physicians workshops. We’re glad we can continue to provide this service for the community.”

Outside on the course, the fire had no impact, says Greg Austin, the course superintendent. As soon as the ground is warm enough, grass seed will be laid, the last step in a reworking of all 18 holes.

“It’s a totally new golf course,” says Austin. “You won’t recognize it. Every hole plays differently.”

Once the seed is on the ground, it’s up to Mother Nature; the course will open when the grass is properly established on all 18 holes. Austin figures it will be late spring or early summer.

There’s a similar time-line on the driving range. The course awaits final building permits to begin construction on an unique space that combines a sports bar lounge and Toptracer technology, turning the practice area into an entertainment event. Using radar the technology tracks the ball and swing, allowing anyone to virtually play different courses and compete against friends in a fun and social environment. When it opens it will be the first driving range of its kind in Canada.

“It’s going to be an exciting, new opportunity for Campbell River and tourists visiting the North Island,” says Raleigh.

Finally, the course is working on a new website, set to launch this month. Mobile friendly and full of information, it will make it easy to keep up with everything that’s happening, the nearly 60 year history of golfing at the course and the Mailman family’s vision for the future of the game.

“There’s a really strong tradition of golf in Campbell River,” says Raleigh. “As someone with deeps roots in this community the chance to bring something totally new to town is what makes this project so intriguing for me.”

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