Surrey's Riverside Golf Centre closes after city expropriates land
City of Surrey says it wants the land to increase outdoor recreation space for residents
A nearly 50-year-old golf course in Surrey, B.C., is saying goodbye to its customers this weekend because the city wants to turn the land into a road and conservation area.
"It's sad, but we're trying to stay positive," said Ken Poirier, the owner of Riverside Golf on King George Boulevard.
The city has expropriated the 16 acres of land that are currently home to Poirier's pro shop, driving range and nine-hole golf course. In exchange, it's giving Poirier just over $3 million.
It intends to use part of the land to extend Crescent Road, linking King George Boulevard to Winter Crescent. The rest would be used as a conservation area.
But Poirier said the money isn't worth giving up a long-time family business — one his father is devastated to leave behind.
"He comes here five or six times a week, not because he has to, but because he enjoys the company — his friends — he's known for the last 30 to 40 years," he said.
Poirier said the course already provides recreation and green space, and that he would gladly give the city back its money and the land the golf course sits on, in exchange for him to be able to keep his golf range.
"They can achieve the road, a nice walkway, a public walkway, and they can still have a recreation centre in the centre of the property," he said.
Nobody from the city was available to comment on the golf course's closure, but at an expropriation hearing in 2015, the city's parks manager Owen Croy said the golf course was the best location for the city to accomplish its goals.
"The objective is to acquire open land for park purposes for biodiversity conservation, passive recreation and the viewing of wildlife and scenery," said Croy.
With files from Kiran Dhillon