A campaign pledge by mayoral candidate Gord Steeves to sell off four city-owned golf courses, including Windsor Park, has shocked the head of a ski club that uses that course in the winter.
On Friday, Steeves said if he is elected mayor in the Oct. 22 civic election, he would like to sell off four city golf courses that he described as "under-used," then roll the revenue into a fund to repair infrastructure.
Steeves said selling off the Crescent Drive, Kildonan Park, Windsor Park and John Blumberg golf courses would not only free up money to fix roads and bridges without raising property taxes, but it would also create 60 acres of free, public green space for Winnipeg's residents.
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"I've already made my choice. Council's going to have to choose whether or not we're going to stick with golf services as a core service or if we're going to move into infrastructure renewal, which they know is a priority for their citizens," Steeves told reporters on Friday.
'There was no consultation with probably the biggest user of Windsor Park.' - Brent Bottomley
But Brent Bottomley of the Windsor Park Nordic Centre says selling off the Windsor Park Golf Course would be a huge loss to the city's ski community.
"Oh, it'd be horrendous," said Bottomley, who chairs the nordic centre's advisory council.
The organization grooms 13 kilometres of cross-country ski trails at the golf course every winter.
"It is the place to ski in Winnipeg and Manitoba," he said. "It's the only place you can ski under the lights in Winnipeg. We put 14,000 skiers through there a year."
Bottomley said Steeves did not consult the ski centre, which has already embarked on a capital campaign to raise $1 million for the Windsor Park facility.
"First of all, totally surprised and quite aghast, actually. There was no consultation with probably the biggest user of Windsor Park," Bottomley said.
"Secondly, the city sort of went down this avenue 2½ years ago and determined it wasn't politically palatable or economically palatable."
A proposal to lease out the Windsor Park, Kildonan Park, Crescent Drive and Harbour View golf courses to a private company was killed by city council in May 2013.