Land sales, hous­ing off the ta­ble for golf cour­ses

Coun­cil says no to rev­enue schemes

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - MATTHEW VAN DONGEN The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor

The city will keep the green in its pub­lic golf cour­ses af­ter a vote by coun­cil­lors to aban­don fur­ther study of land sales or hous­ing rede­vel­op­ment. The city hired a con­sul­tant last spring to look at rev­enue-boost­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and fa­cil­ity im­prove­ments at King’s For­est along the Red Hill val­ley and the two un­der­used 18-hole Che­doke golf cour­ses nes­tled un­der the Ni­a­gara Es­carp­ment.

At the time, fa­cil­i­ties di­rec­tor Rom D’An­gelo said the scope of the golf course study could in­clude any­thing from new driv­ing ranges to pri­vately run ban­quet halls to land sales.

The task of ex­plor­ing sales and rede­vel­op­ment — a con­tro­ver­sial idea in the past — was later handed over to Hamil­ton’s land de­vel­op­ment task force.

But coun­cil­lors ruled out even study­ing the idea Wed­nes­day with a vote to fo­cus fur­ther stud­ies on part­ner­ships to im­prove golf op­er­a­tions or fa­cil­i­ties.

“I don’t want to spend our time fa­cil­i­tat­ing some­one’s de­vel­op­ment play,” said Coun. Chad Collins, who pitched the mo­tion to “re­fo­cus” the city’s golf course study.

“We asked staff to come up with cre­ative op­tions to im­prove our golf course op­er­a­tions. I don’t think sell­ing off (pub­lic) land is the sort of cre­ative so­lu­tion we had in mind.”

The need for im­prove­ments is par­tic­u­larly acute at Che­doke, which has a 62-year-old club­house and drop­ping us­age of its two cour­ses, Bed­doe and Martin. The 274-acre pub­licly owned green space off Aberdeen Av­enue has been eyed since amal­ga­ma­tion by de­vel­op­ers — but also by those city res­i­dents who want to en­joy the beau­ti­ful set­ting with­out golf clubs.

Ward 1 Coun. Ai­dan John­son re­cently com­mit­ted $50,000 in area rat­ing funds to­ward com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion on the fu­ture of the Che­doke cour­ses. He said some con­stituents have ex­pressed in­ter­est in more “green space de­vel­op­ment” on the golf prop­erty.

D’An­gelo said ideas con­sid­ered dur­ing the city’s study to date have in­cluded shrink­ing one of the Che­doke cour­ses to fit in a driv­ing range or some other pub­lic use.

John­son em­pha­sized he does not sup­port “elim­i­nat­ing” af­ford­able pub­lic golf at Che­doke. “But I do have a lot of sym­pa­thy for the idea of com­bin­ing golf with other sus­tain­able com­mu­nity uses on the prop­erty.”

The city’s an­nounce­ment of its golf course study last year spurred pub­lic buzz about the po­ten­tial for the Che­doke prop­erty as the site for a new ban­quet hall, dog park or nat­u­ral­iz­ing ef­fort.

Res­i­dent Si­mon Car­roll even blogged about the po­ten­tial to turn part of the hill into a “tub­ing park,” evok­ing mem­o­ries of the pre-2003 win­ter use as a ski hill.

“I agree that the club­house is a wasted op­por­tu­nity for golf but it would be awe­some for après tub­ing hot choco­late if it was up­dated,” he wrote in a post that noted the suc­cess of the non-profit Chicopee recre­ational park in Kitch­ener.

D’An­gelo said he would up­date coun­cil on study rec­om­men­da­tions to cut costs and gen­er­ate more rev­enue in March but he wouldn’t re­veal any of the op­tions ahead of time.

I agree that the club­house is a wasted op­por­tu­nity for golf but it would be awe­some for après tub­ing hot choco­late if it was up­dated. SI­MON CAR­ROLL BLOG­GING ABOUT A ‘TUB­ING PARK’ AT CHE­DOKE

Collins: Sell­ing city land isn’t ‘cre­ative so­lu­tion’ he had in mind to im­prove golf op­er­a­tions.

HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTO

De­vel­op­ers have eyed space at the 274-acre Che­doke Civic Golf Course off Aberdeen Av­enue since amal­ga­ma­tion.

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