Edmonton

Royal Mayfair Golf Club gets lease extended to 2069

The Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton's river valley will have its lease extended for another 18 years, councillors agreed at a meeting Thursday.

Parks advocates oppose the extension, arguing the land should be open to the public

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson says the deal, based on present market value, is a win-win situation for the city and the club. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

The Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton's river valley will have its lease extended for another 18 years, councillors agreed at a meeting Thursday.

The golf club, which occupies more than 150 acres of prime land, asked the city to extend the end date of its lease from 2051 to 2069.

The club argued it needs the extra time to secure investment and make it worthwhile to spend $20 million on renovations needed to keep the facility open.

At a meeting Thursday, council's executive committee agreed to extend the lease for 18 years for a one-time payment of $870,000, with new conditions that councillors stipulated at a meeting in March.

The club agreed to open the golf course to the public 7.5 per cent of the time, for a fee no greater than what guests of members pay now.  

Before the new agreement, the Mayfair only allowed private members and their guests to use the course.

They're just crumbs from the table top- Michael Janz, Friends of the Park

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Mayor Don Iveson said the deal, based on present market value, is a win-win situation.

"It's a very, very good deal for the city, to have that money in our jeans today essentially," he said. "The city gets extra money, the club gets extra certainty."

Michael Janz with the group Friends of the Park was disappointed with council's decision.

The grounds of the Royal Mayfair Golf Course are open to the public for cross-country skiing in the winter. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

He said the club's offer to make the course available to the general public 7.5 per cent of the time is paltry given the $870,000 it's paying for an extra 18 years. 

"They're just crumbs from the table top ... when you look at how much this group is paying. This is still a sweetheart deal for a very wealthy, very small group of Edmontonians for a very, very long time." 

He urged the city to turn the land into public use.

"This is a massive piece of public land we should be shepherding for the future interest. [I'm] not against golf courses, but an additional duration of 18 years is just too long and it just hamstrings Edmontonians as to the choices they have for their river valley."

The club's general manager, Wade Hudyma, and president and chair, Craig Trendel, sent a joint statement to media after the decision.

"This has been a fair, open, and transparent process," the statement said. "Our club's future is now solidified past 2051 and beyond."

"The Royal Mayfair Golf Club has been a good corporate citizen to our neighbours in Edmonton for almost a century, and we look forward to continuing to play a small part in making our city a great place to live, work, and play."

Iveson described the club as flexible in opening the land to public access.

"They've been good partners and good stewards of the land, and their willingness to introduce some more public access I think speaks to that."

    The Mayfair, north of Hawrelak Park at  9450 Groat Road, has about 750 golfing members and 200 social members, director of golf Matt Johnson told CBC News in March. 

    The Mayfair already has groomed trails for cross-country skiing between Dec. 1 and March 31 each year.

    Janz said Friends of the Park will check to make sure the club is fulfilling its end of the deal to open the greens to the public.

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