Calgary

Southwest Calgary golf course may be in the rough

City council will be asked next week to padlock the gates at Richmond Green golf course. The par three, nine hole course in the southwest has operated for several decades.

Councillors want to shut down Richmond Green course to halt losses

Calgary may close Richmond Green golf course after several decades. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

City council will be asked next week to padlock the gates at Richmond Green golf course.

The par three, nine hole public course in the southwest has operated for several decades. The city's website states it's ideally suited for beginning players.

But due to declining gate attendance and mounting financial losses, Coun. Ward Sutherland and Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart say it's time to pull the plug on Richmond Green at the end of the current golf season.

"It's not being used enough and it's losing $150,000 plus [a year]," said Sutherland. "This is the right thing to do."

For golfers who enjoy a quick round at Richmond, he said they can get their swings in at the city's Lakeview nine hole course which he describes as being a seven minute drive away.

Job losses

It's not known how many job losses there would be if the course is closed permanently.

Sutherland estimates there are a handful of staff positions and most of the people who work at the course are seasonal hires.

He suggests the city would retain ownership of the land.

Coun. Ward Sutherland says the southwest course is losing more than $150,000 a year. (Scott Dippel)

Redevelopment of the space is hampered by underground water utilities on the site which prevent much of it from being built upon.

However, he's optimistic that the city could find someone willing to sign a lease to run another type of business on the land or build on the portion of the site which could support a new structure.

Other changes to public courses may be coming

The city owns seven other golf courses but there are questions about their long-term future as well.

The motion going to council on Monday calls for updates on the city's golf course sustainability strategy and its golf course real estate/development assessment plan.

Sutherland said the city must look at the future of some of the other five city-owned courses as well.

Last month, the city re-opened the first nine holes on its revamped McCall Lake course which had been closed for $6.7 million in upgrades.

"Their attendance is way up and it's over a flight path so it's very difficult to do other stuff with it," said Sutherland.

"Each course is going to have be analyzed individually."

Following the summer season, Richmond Green is only available for weekend golfing after Labour Day before closing at the end of September.

If council votes in favour of a shutdown, the gates would close for good this fall. 

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