Grasslands for greens? Sask. proposes White Butte Trails golf course

The minister responsible for Parks does not support a private proposal to turn half of the White Butte Trails Recreation Site into a golf course.

Minister against converting one of the last native grasslands on the Regina plains into golf course

The White Butte trails are well-used by hikers and cross country skiers. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

The controversy over whether or not to replace grasslands with a golf course appears to have ended before it even hit the green.

A developer made a proposal to the government to turn half of the White Butte Trails Recreation Site east of Regina into a golf course. 

However, Mark Docherty, the minister responsible for Parks, Culture and Sport, said after Question Period on Tuesday that the government will not support the idea.

"We're going to continue to listen to people and listen to their concerns," Docherty said. "As it stands right now, we have got an awful lot of people that have voiced their displeasure with this particular initiative."

He said people are passionate about White Butte and have used it as a recreational site for decades.

Located east of the city, the White Butte trails are among the last native grasslands on the Regina plains.

The developers will still have a chance to voice their case for the project during a public consultation process. 

The government is expected to have a final decision on the golf course before the end of the summer.

Public outcry 

Environmentalists, cross-country skiers and wildlife groups came out against developing the area. 

Trevor Herriot, co-director of Public Pastures Public Interest, expressed concerns about the plan.

There's a proposal to turn part of this native prairie into a golf course. (Trent Peppler/CBC)

"If you want to walk your dog, see some native prairie, anything like that, we've got Condie, we've got Wascana Trails, and we've got White Butte. That is it," Herriot said. "If you get rid of this one, you're losing 25 per cent of that public land."

Twyla MacDougall, assistant deputy minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, said the parks have a dual mandate and must take these concerns into consideration.

"We provide recreational and interpretive educational opportunities for park visitors to promote tourism," MacDougall said. "But we also have an important role in preserving the ecosystem and cultural resources contained in the provincial parks."


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