Although it is unclear as to the exact date of Balfour Recreation Commission (BRC) formation, it is clear from anecdotal reports that the Commission was in place as a viable community group by the late 1960’s. The BRC was first registered as a non-profit society in December of 1963, only to be struck off the register in 1972 for non-compliance with Society rules and regulations.
The land adjacent the Balfour Community Hall which consists of four lots, was donated by the owners of the Balfour Beach Inn and was later designated as Centennial Park to coincide with the opening of the original Balfour Tennis Courts as a Centennial Project.
By 1985, it was recognized that measures should be taken that would benefit the Balfour community and help to reverse the downward trend in the local economy. As part of this process, the BRC was requested to pursue the idea of golf course development in order to provide recreation and employment opportunities locally.
After many meetings with Lands, Parks & Housing, the Department of Highways and the Regional District, steps were initiated to procure 80 acres of Crown Land north of Highway 3A and west of Highway 31 for development of a nine-hole golf course to benefit residents of the community.
A referendum held in May 1987 to allow golf course development costs to be subsidised through local property tax was unsuccessful. Instead, the Board of Directors of the time resorted to raising development funds of $250,000 through private loans and donations. Many residents of the area, while unwilling to see additional property taxes imposed, were more than willing to support this endeavour by donating or loaning amounts of $1,000 to $5,000 so that the project could move forward. Renowned Canadian Golf Course designer, Les Furber, was hired to develop the lay out and in 1990, the doors opened at the Balfour Golf Course.
In 1991 the Board of School District 7 (Nelson) was seeking to dispose of the property know at one time as the home to the Balfour School. Many community members felt that this building and the land that it sits on have a heritage affiliation and that it should remain as a community asset despite no longer being used as a school. In 1993 the BRC was successful in securing title to this property and has since seen it used for day-care purposes, square dancing and it currently houses the Balfour Fitness Centre which has been furnished over the years with donations from our community.
By 1998 the BRC had recognized that provision of a public boat launching facility was desired by many in the community and when the opportunity to apply for title to the Balfour Wharf arose, the Board applied and was granted title to this property.
Thanks to the success of the Balfour Golf Course in its first ten seasons, the Board of Directors of the BRC was able to utilize some of the profits to help with improving and maintaining the other facilities that it operates. In 1998 they were exceptionally fortunate to be in a position where they could afford to re-surface the tennis courts which had deteriorated over the years while at the same time finance the completion of the regulation size soccer and ball fields. As with most non-profit projects, none of these improvements would have been possible without the donation of time, materials and labour from local citizens and businesses.
Around the turn of the century the idea of expanding the then nine-hole Balfour Golf course into an 18-hole destination facility began gaining some traction. Local resident, business owner and golf enthusiast, Ron Lang, took it upon himself to spearhead this project through formation of Osprey Ridge Golf Estates Ltd. Separate from the BRC, Osprey Ridge Golf Estates were the entity responsible for financing, land procurement, course design and development and in 2002, the back nine holes were opened for play.
In 2011, through partnership with another non-profit society, Let Kids be Kids, and a multitude of local donations, the BRC was able to secure the addition of a large playground facility to the field located adjacent their Fitness Centre. On the 28th of May, hundreds of volunteers were in attendance and ready for the initial build day. The generosity of the local community was very evident through the planning, fundraising and building phases of the project. So much so, that the fundraising capital that was raised nearly doubled the required $20,000 necessary which allowed for construction of a picnic shelter and completion of landscaping works around the playground. Throughout the consultation, design, fundraising and build process, community members were being asked to help in naming the park land that the playground and Fitness Centre sit on. The idea was to dedicate the park to a hero of the community, someone who has been dedicated to the Balfour area and has helped to make the community a great place to call home. In the end, the decision was easy! A former principal at the ‘Old School House’ that now houses the Balfour Fitness Centre, John Roos, lent his name to the park now officially known as the John Roos Community Spirit Park. John was very involved in the lives of area youth during the late 70’s and well into the 80’s and naming this park after him was a fitting testament to his legacy in the area.
Fast forward 15 years from the opening of Balfour Golf Course’s back nine and you’ll find the next major milestone for the BRC and the Balfour Golf Course. In 2017 the BRC’s purchase of the back nine holes from Osprey Ridge Golf Estates was finalized and at long last allowed for one entity to own and operate the golf course. Records indicate that it was always the intent for this purchase to happen however after a rather turbulent previous decade for the golf industry, due to the major economic downturn of the later 2000’s, the original timeline was simply not viable. With all golf course lands owned and operated by the BRC, long range planning became option and has provided a much more stable and secure future for the golf course operation.
In the Fall of 2021, the Balfour Recreation Commission decided it was time to evolve the well-known Golf Course brand to encompass all BRC operations. Although the existence and duties of the BRC were reasonably well know among long term Balfour residents, the general public were essentially unaware that the Golf Course was owned and operated by a small non-profit society who was also responsible for several other community facilities. Thus, Balfour Golf & Recreation was born providing one brand for all BRC operations and facilities to operate under.