'You are not welcome here' messages greet residents of new homes built on old Calgary golf course
Online posts and napkin left on windshield are 'mean-spirited,' developer says
New residents of homes built on an old golf course in northeast Calgary have been greeted with hateful Facebook posts and even a note left on one person's windshield, which the developer describes as upsetting.
"You are living on our golf course," the note read. "You are not welcome here."
That message, scrawled on a napkin, was discovered Monday morning on a vehicle belonging to a new resident of the area, said Chris Ollenberger, managing principal of QuantumPlace Developments, the company behind the redevelopment of the golf course.
He said he felt compelled to call out the "mean-spirited" note, which had similar wording to a series of Facebook posts directed at new area residents in recent days.
"It was essentially saying, 'You're not welcome here.' Or, 'How easy is it to hate new neighbours? Real easy,'" Ollenberger said of the online messages.
The redevelopment of the Harvest Hills Golf Course was controversial when it was proposed, with many area residents speaking out against the project. But it was ultimately approved by city council more than two years ago.
Cedarglen Homes was given the green light to build a mixture of single-family and multi-family homes, with more than 700 units in total.
Now that people are starting to move in to the newly built units, it appears there is some residual anger toward the change, says Leah Argao, president of the Northern Hills Community Association, which includes Harvest Hills.
"We were part of the process during the original proposal and certainly had some reservations around it but QuantumPlace — and Chris in particular — have been very open-armed in hearing the voices of the community, hearing the concerns and making adaptations, in some cases," she said.
"So I truly think these [messages] are from a small smattering of bitter people. I don't see that as representative of our community, as a whole."
Ollenberger said he recognizes the loss of the golf course upset a lot of people who live in the area but it's not fair to take it out on people who are now moving into the community.
"I understand if people are disappointed or maybe even still bitter about decisions that have been made by council," he said.
"But to welcome new neighbours in your neighbourhood like that? Almost implying it's their fault and trying to make them feel bad for participating in that by just buying a new house? It just seems mean-spirited, especially at this time of year."