Tempers flare at Vancouver council debate after mayor suggests turning Langara Golf Course into park

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson turned what was expected to be a discussion about golf course drainage into a debate over the future of the Langara Golf Course at Wednesday night's council meeting.

NPA councillor slams Gregor Robertson over 'bait and switch' during discussion about $3M drainage upgrade

Mayor Gregor Robertson wants to talk to city staff and the park board about whether there's a better use for the Langara lands in Vancouver. (Vancouver Park Board)

What was expected to be a discussion about upgrading the drainage system at Langara Golf Course in Vancouver wound up turning into a much bigger debate Wednesday evening at city hall.

Mayor Gregor Robertson steered the conversation into whether some of the Langara lands located near Cambie Street and 49th Avenue could be turned into a public park, track and field facility or something else altogether.

"We want to pursue the conversation with the community and with the park board and see what our options are," Robertson said.

"We don't want to race headlong into spending $3 million on golf course drainage."

NPA councillor George Affleck says he felt blindsided by the sudden change in conversation.

"This is a classic bait and switch," he said.

"This is taking it into a report that was on one thing and completely transforming it into something else without any public input."

What's next?

Council supported Robertson's motion to enter into discussions with city staff and the park board about other possible uses for Langara lands, but all four NPA members on council voted against it.

"This motion was thrown onto the floor out of nowhere, with no chance for the public to provide us with any feedback," Affleck said.

"It's undemocratic."

Robertson says he wants to hear from the community about what it would like the city to do with the 120 acres of land.

"I know we've had park board people and many people in the community talking about track and field and an international competition facility that would be fantastic," he said.

"We've had cricket and kabaddi people saying, 'why do we have no facilities in south Vancouver that the community can use?'"

Langara, which was built in 1926 and is one of the oldest public golf course in the province.

"Golf is the highest gross revenue producer in the park board's commercial operations portfolio, with an annual total of $10 million in 2017," a city staff report states.

"Langara gross revenues accounted for 25 percent of this total."

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Langara was the oldest public golf course in the province. It is one of the oldest.
    Mar 15, 2018 5:21 PM PT

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