City manipulating McCall Lake Golf Course future, former alderman says
Asking for public input after deciding to close it 'a dirty way of doing things,' John Schmal says
The city isn’t being above board in the way it is handling discussions about the future of Calgary’s only municipal golf course in the northeast, a former alderman says.
The city is looking at redeveloping McCall Lake Golf Course and has scheduled public consultations this week.
Last year council voted to allow the city's golf course operations department to proceed with a feasibility study of selling half of the land to developers and using the other half as recreational space.
But former alderman John Schmal, who speaks for a group fighting to keep the course open, said officials have clearly made up their minds to close the course for good.
“It is my opinion that they are manipulating the process in such a way that the outcome will be a given, meaning, when they start telling people that they’re going to close it, and sell off the land of the McCall golf course and then ask for input, that’s a dirty way of doing things,” he said.
However Kyle Ripley, the manager of golf operations for the city, says Schmal is incorrect.
“The future of the McCall Lake Golf Course is far from a done deal,” he said in a statement provided to CBC News.
“Right now we are engaging the public to find out how Calgarians feel about the potential redevelopment of McCall Lake as a way of sustaining municipal golf. The results of the public engagement, whatever they may be, will be included in a feasibility study for council’s consideration later this year.”
The McCall Lake course was pegged for possible sale because it loses a quarter of a million dollars per year and needs $6.7 million in capital repairs and upgrades, according to a city document.
It also sits on a high-value piece of land that could be used for a new urban corridor with industrial and commercial uses as well a recreational campus, the city says.
The current proposal would see the golf course at 32nd Street east of Deerfoot Trail shut after the 2015 season.
If the course closes, there will be six city-owned courses left in Calgary, none in the northeast.
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly said city council had voted to sell part of the golf course.Feb 25, 2014 11:41 AM MT