Residents worry about plan to re-purpose golf course into Nordic ski area
Initiative a first for city and Nordic club seeing interest from local groups
The Foothills Nordic Ski Club hopes to fire up its new snow-making machine at Confederation Park golf course as soon as the weather — and city officials — allow for it, but not everyone is happy about the idea.
The initiative is one of the first in Canada to be undertaken and some area residents are worried about bright lights, increased traffic and noise.
"There will be increased traffic for sure, parking issues, we have parking issues in this area already so we want to make sure that the residents don't have additional parking issues because of this," said area resident Rick Lundy.
"Even so this is happening already, this is going to bring more [people] to the area"
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But not everyone is concerned about the idea.
"There's a lot of excitement for sure," said Kevin McLean, Foothills Nordic Ski Club president.
"We have interest from many different potential users, boy scouts, board of education, outdoor program centres, there's a lot of people that want to ski and they see this as a great solution."
The plan was prompted by the recent closure of trails at Canada Olympic Park. The Nordic club has been working with the City of Calgary to bring the snow-making machine to Confederation Park.
Mclean tried to assuage fears, saying they are hoping to use the golf course lot for parking.
"It's a lot less noisy than people think," he said, noting the club must adhere to the same noise bylaws as all Calgarians.
"We'll most likely limit the snow- making to the hours of 7 [a.m.] till 10 [p.m.] which is the normal hours when you are allowed to make a bit of noise. Unfortunately, there's a fair bit of misinformation out there and really all those concerns have been addressed, but I'm not sure they've heard that."
The club hopes to get the machine up and running by the end of November.
Greg Steinraths, with the city's recreation department says they are breaking new ground with this initiative.
"This whole approach to snow-making on a golf course, from our understanding, hasn't been undertaken yet so we're going to look at piloting, what's the lessons learned, what can you do to protect that asset but also get more people out, and really start to share that on a national level."
But the city says it still needs to see a finalized plan, and address any community concerns before granting an approval.