Edmonton

Mayfair Golf Club lease may include improved public access, city councillors say

The Royal Mayfair Golf Club may end up opening its once exclusive greens to the public — to some degree — if the club and the city agree to a revised lease in April.

City committee calls for revising lease to open up greens to public part of the year

Despite the sign at the entrance to the club, the grounds are open to the public in the winter. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The Royal Mayfair Golf Club may end up opening its once exclusive greens to the public — to some degree — if the club and the city agree to a revised lease.

The club is asking the city to extend its lease by an additional 18 years, from 2051 to 2069, at a cost of $870,000. 

Craig Trendel, volunteer president of the Mayfair, said that the longer-term lease would allow the club to secure investment so it can move forward with renovations.

Monday, city council's executive committee heard from both interests: golf club shareholders and members of the public pushing to turn the land into public use.

Coun. Ben Henderson put forward a motion that the Mayfair match the lease the city now has with Highlands Golf Club, which opens the greens to public tee-off seven per cent of the total rounds of golf a year.

The city's last lease with Highlands dates back to 2006 and also runs until 2051.

"This isn't an ideal situation," Henderson noted. "I think people are imagining that somehow, somehow or other the ability is there to turn back time, and we can't."

"If we say 'no' outright, then there's a real chance that the asset can't be maintained."

Craig Trendel, volunteer president of the Mayfair, said the club is transparent and willing to work with the city. (John Shypitka/CBC)

The Mayfair proposal includes a clause that would see the club offer "public use of groomed ski trails located on the leased lands for the sole purpose of cross country skiing from December 1 to March 31."

Trendel attended the committee meeting to show the club is transparent and willing to work with the city.

"It's about finding that right balance," he said. "So I think we're close and I'm sure we'll get something that everybody can live with."

He said that providing groomed cross-country skiing trails was "not insignificant" to the club's operations.

"There will be some investment — potentially some liability — we have to sort all those things out," Trendel said.

Henderson's motion also calls for the club to consider added amenities, like public washrooms for cross-country skiers.

Royal Mayfair Club has been a good partner and a good steward of the land- Don Iveson, Edmonton Mayor

The club boasts banquet rooms for rent and hosts some charity events throughout the year.

It hosted the CN Canadian Women's Open in 2013.

Mayor Don Iveson called the relationship with the club a mutually beneficial deal.

"Royal Mayfair Club has been a good partner and a good steward of the land," he said. "It has worked with the city in good faith, for decades."

Eric Gormley advocates for the land to be turned over to public control by the end of the current lease at 2051.

"Our main issue is it's not public, it's part of the river valley. The river valley is supposed to be for the public use for everybody."

Like nearby Hawrelak Park, Gormley thinks the land could be used for festivals and recreation.

City administration is being asked to report back on April 25th with a revised lease for the Mayfair.

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