HOUSTON, TEXAS: The owners of the Dundee Resort and Golf Club are hoping to re-open by next month after making more improvements to the facility.
Sonny Grewal, General Manager of the Dundee Resort and Golf Club told The Reporter that after purchasing the Richmond County operation in 2017, they are finally turning the corner.
“That momentum continued over the years,” Grewal said. “Because it’s a seasonal business, we had a lot of hiccups here and there. It took us three or four years to get where we are today in terms of upgrades. We had a few challenges along the way, but now 90 per cent of upgrades are done now.”
Although it resulted in more extra work and effort, Grewal was proud of how the resort adhered to public health restrictions last year.
“We are following all the guidelines but it’s been a challenge. Last year what we did we had all the signage made up from Maple Signs in town and we made sure that social distancing was maintained and we also made sure that everybody who walked in the building was wearing a mask. And all the workers were given instructions, especially in the restaurant where we were preparing the food in the kitchen, all the precautions were taken,” Grewal noted. “We had a pro shop bathroom and hotel public bathrooms, so we had a dedicated person who was cleaning, every hour, the bathrooms to make sure they were sanitized properly for the golfers.”
Last year, Grewal wrote an open letter to all golf club members to come out for their May 22 opening. He said there was increase in memberships last year, but rules forbidding people from outside Richmond County from using the golf club have become an issue.
“I’m just puzzled by this rule. We did talk to the (Strait Area) Chamber of Commerce. We’re trying to figure out if there’s any exception to this rule, that local members from Inverness County are allowed to travel to Dundee to play” he said. “We are the closest course and people want to get out and play.”
Due to the global pandemic, Grewal said they saw a drop in visitors and golfers from 2019. And after the latest public health restrictions were announced, they had some of the 20 weddings planned for this year at the resort cancelled, Grewal said.
“I would 40 per cent to be more precise than 2019. But the wage subsidy from government helped us to get by like every other business,” he explained. “We are in the same boat like everybody else. I’m hoping that after everybody is vaccinated, it’ll all be behind us. And I’m planning on coming to the resort by Canada Day.”
The facility now boasts a new look in the main lodge, cottages and clubhouse with smart TVs, new furniture, a new door locking system, and upgraded Wi-Fi. In addition, guests can enjoy the cleared hiking paths and a new pontoon boat.
“The pool, or whether it was the rooms, we were old TVs, the carpet was a mess, you name it,” Grewal recalled.
From the first day he walked onto the property and was unable to call home, Grewal said cellular phone service was near the top of his list and he spent nearly $90,000 to upgrade that service.
“I immediately got in touch with Bell and invited the technicians, and they told me the nearest tower was like 10 kilometres away on the Marble Mountain Road,” he recounted. “They suggested that we can upgrade the service with the internet within the building.”
Next on the list for Grewal was internet speed. After the province announced it was spending $120 million to upgrade internet service in rural Nova Scotia, he learned that Bell will be providing high speed fibre optic to the facility by 2022. In the meantime, Grewal signed up with SpaceX Internet, which is promising speeds of one gigabyte per second by July. He said he will try that option before deciding whether to hook onto Bell’s connection.
“We’re still with Seaside wireless, it’s a satellite internet and our speed is only 25 megabytes (MB),” he noted. “Seaside said the maximum speed they can offer is 25 MB, that’s not enough speed to run a property of this size. I called Bell, they wanted a lot of money to bring fibre optic to the property. That was like a $200,000 expense out of my pocket. I thought that wasn’t fair so I contacted the local MLA and the local Member of Parliament.”
To provide food and beverage services, the owners have outsourced that part of the operation to Scanway Catering from Halifax, a process that Grewal said took about three years.
“I was struggling to find the right people to improve the food and beverage operation. When I say the right people what I mean by that is professionals. My food costs were high because we in the resort business, there’s a lot of food waste. I felt strongly that we didn’t have the right people to keep the food costs low,” he said. “Their menu looks great, their manager, he’s very experienced. We reorganized the kitchen and they came and did the job. They hired locals to work in the dining room and they’re bringing in one or two international chefs.”
This year Dundee Resort and Golf Club is offering packages for golfers, couples, as well as a new family package.
The Family Adventure Package includes two nights in a two bedroom cottage with a BBQ, breakfast daily for entire family, one round of golf with a cart; and Lakeside Adventure bracelets for the family which allows for the unlimited use of kayaks, canoes, paddleboats and scheduled activities. The package is based on a family of four and runs from June 24-Sept. 6.
For more information, or to book a stay, visit: www.dundeeresort.com.