Land sales, housing off the table for golf courses
Council says no to revenue schemes
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.
Developers have eyed space at the 274-acre Chedoke Civic Golf Course off Aberdeen Avenue since amalgamation.