Saturday 18 February 2012

Winnipeg's Golf Courses: Action Items Part II

To recap Part I:

  • sell Crescent Drive golf course
  • destroy Windsor Park, Kildonan Park, and St.Boniface golf courses
  • preserve river banks as park space, develop the rest as residential
Onward ...

4) Destroy the Canoe Club

Much like Windsor Park and Kildonan Park, the Canoe Club is an obsolete golf course. It is only 9 holes, and it is split clean in half by a major road, leaving two small but separate parcels of land.

Parcel 1: This is easily accessible by road. In fact Glenlawn Avenue comes to a dead end right at the golf course, almost as though they intended to develop it and had a last second change of mind. Meanwhile, with Dunkirk on one side and Fermor on another, this is hardly prime park space. That makes this an easy decision: extend the adjacent residential development into this space. Bonus: close to a school!

Parcel 2: This area is on the Red River, so in accordance with my policy of reclaiming riverbanks I toyed with the idea of turning this into greenspace. However there are three factors working against that. 1) The only access is from the north, past existing condominiums. 2) There is no trail access except via a large culvert under Dunkirk Dr, but the river banks both to the north and south are clogged with private properties, making this a somewhat useless and isolated greenspace. 3) One of Winnipeg's largest unbroken stretches of river-side greenspace -- Churchill Drive Park -- is a mere 5-iron away just across the Osborne bridge. It is remarkably greedy of people in this area to demand more greenspace when they have so much just a short walk away.

What I therefore envision for this spot is a condo-park of sorts. More condos, since the ball is already rolling on that, but spaced out enough that it's a pleasant sort of place to walk around. Maybe a retirement home, or maybe row-house type units. Something like that.

5) Destroy Wildewood

Oooo, the residents of Wildewood aren't gonna be happy about this one. Wildewood, directly across the river from the Canoe Club, is a quiet park-like enclave, and the residents want to keep it that way. This is a neighbourhood were the residents even fought to kill a cell phone tower.

Wildewood golf course, much like Canoe Club, is a short 9-hole semi-private course, but given it's tucked-away location many people may not even know about it, rather is seems more like a plaything for the residents of this litte Shangri-La. I wonder if it would be profitable if they had to pay more than $1 in annual lease fees. Maybe it's time we let other people into this elite enclave by developing this course. It appears taylor-made for it when you look on Google Maps. You could build a series of bays with single family homes that would integrate seamlessly into the surrounding neighbourhood.


By now you're probably thinking: "what the hell dude, you're blowing up all our golf courses!" Don't worry, the destruction is over ... but the changes are not ...


6) Sell off John Blumberg

There are two courses in this complex: a 9 holer and an 18. The 9 hole track is fine for what it is. The 18 is easy, and mostly wide open. It is a decent length, yet it's not up to the standards of a modern golf course. I would like to see what a private owner could do with it, perhaps improving drainage and irrigation, maybe adding another set of tee boxes, planting some trees or moving some dirt to make the holes more interesting ...

Blumberg is way out in Headingley, barely even part of the City. Turning it into a park would be useless, and developing it would add to sprawl, but it's potential as a golf course is being wasted in the current arrangement in my opinion.

7) Keep Tuxedo

Like Kildonan Park and Windsor Park, Tuxedo is an undersized 18 hole course, but it is margially longer, has a better layout, and has a driving range. It is also the only course in the SW quadrant of the city.

8) Convert Assiniboine, Rossmere and Transcona to public courses

I'm sure it's not as easy as that. You probably have to wait for the lease agreements to expire, and then what do you do with existing memberships? Grandfather them out? Buy them out? Hang 'em out to dry? I don't know, but I can tell you this: the city should not own semi-private courses, much less subsidize them with $1 lease agreements.

I was waffling on this one. Although it sits right beside the airport, it certainly could be developed as residential housing. In fact there are houses on either side of it. People who are hearing impaired need someplace to live too. In the end, I decided to let it live to represent the NW quadrant of the City.

If the city trashes Windsor Park as recommended earlier, that will leave a public golf void in SW Winnipeg. That's where Transcona fits it. This would be a poor place to develop as residential because:
1) It is out on the edge of the city. Developing it would reduce density, not increase it.
2) It is across the street from an industrial park. The small number of people who already live there created a minor uproar when a hog processing plant tried moving to town; if we create a whole new subdivision it may be even harder to draw industry to the industrial park.
3) It is in Transcona. Who wants to live in Transcona?

Meanwhile it is a decent golf course. A little on the short side, but it would make a good public golf alternative if it were opened up to everybody. I am convinced that some of these courses don't get the number of green fees that they should because of their semi-private status.

It is a sea of green in the residential grid that is North Kildonan (or is it East K? I don't know where the line is.) You could do anything with this space. It could easily be converted to infill residential, or into a park for the low-to-mid income masses that live around it. However, there is not much public golf in this area, especially if we kill Kildonan Park Golf Course. But if we keep it as a golf course, it should be as accessible as possible. It should be public.

9) Keep Harbour View

Lastly, we have modest little Harbour View. At 1124 yards, it is the shortest course in the city, yet it is a far more interesting par-3 course than Crescent Drive. It has elevation changes and water holes, and it also has a driving range. It is a great little course for beginners, and resides in a nice park-like setting. Although it has been many years since I've golfed there, it would be a shame to lose it.

Next post: the wrap-up!


reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

Harbour View is also a former landfill, so good luck turning that into condos like you want to do with everything else.

cherenkov said...

I sense that you're mad at me.

Brian said...

"so good luck turning that into condos..."

...or, more accurately, good luck turning that into infill multi-family housing that brings non-public-access land into the tax base at full price, instead of at the subsidized tax rate that's at a fraction of its true value.

John Dobbin said...

I think the one thing here that needs to be emphasized is that the city should not be losing money on golf courses.

Whenever I hear people say they are moving outside city limits because of taxes, I think about something like this.

Golf clubs, including private ones, have been closing down all over North America. Not sure why their popularity is declining but we shouldn't be subsidizing their operations, especially when there are so many of them.

I am sure residents who have lived across from a course or any open area are resistant to development. However, the city also has a problem maintaining the present park system.

The city has a duty to maintain greenspace but also to contain sprawl. And the issue of taxes won't go away.

I think hearing all of the people who want to speak on the issue is important but asking for suggestions of how not to lose money should be turned back to the public.

reedsolomon.matr1x at said...

I sense that you're mad at me.

Not really mad, no. I'm not a golfer so I have no real stake in losing the golf courses, personally. But I don't think the solution to the city losing money off of public property is to turn everything into housing. The city doesn't have to make money off of everything. It'd be nice to at least break even, though.

I'm simply pointing out that your abrupt love and devotion to the preservation of kil-cona park and its golf course is not based on any actual concern on your part for golfers or golf in general, but on the fact that you can't commoditize it for housing purposes even if you wanted to.

Riverman said...

Pretty sure the EK/NK line is considered to be McLeod.

cherenkov said...

@reed: 'love and devotion' is a little over the top. I tried to keep in mind the needs of golfers as well as potential alternative uses of the land, and balance them off. Of the courses that I proposed getting rid of, at least three of them are definitely obsolete and will never break even.

The Traveler said...

Heh whats wrong with Transcona still better taxes then most of winnipeg

cherenkov said...

I like to pick on Transcona. Just a hobby. No offense to the people who are trapped there.

Kids Left Handed Golf Clubs said...

A golfer who can golf both right or left handed can only have so many clubs in their bag at a given time.

Kids Left Handed Golf Clubs

/* Google Tracker Code