City council has approved a land-use change that would allow 64 residential units on the Hamptons Golf Club in northwest Calgary.
The change would mean the Hamptons would remain an 18-hole course, but would see the 14th and 15th holes moved to allow for the residential units.
The developer argued Tuesday the proceeds would ensure the golf course remains sustainable.
“This isn’t a lose or die thing, but he can see the trend coming and he wants to put the capital into his golf course to keep it viable,” said Chris Ollenberger of Quantum Place Developments.
The city received nearly 2,500 emails and calls from Calgarians opposed to the plan.
Residents were concerned natural areas and wildlife habitat would be destroyed and argued the community doesn’t have the amenities or infrastructure to support an increased population.
Mark Decoux told councillors he bought his home on assurances there would be no changes to the course.
“If it was not explicit, it was certainly implicit and the whole idea there was that the golf course would never change and we were told that the community would never be redeveloped and would stay the same,” he said.
Decoux said while he understands the city is looking to increase density in neighbourhoods, not all communities “are designed for more density.”
Resident Gina Church expressed frustration over the loss of greenspace.
“What about our children and their children?” she asked. “How do they learn to golf on golf courses you have rezoned to residential and the many city kids who will never get to see migratory birds nesting, or animals caring for their young within the community’s large open spaces because you’ve rezoned these areas to housing?”
Coun. Ward Sutherland argued that it’s “unrealistic” not to expect change.
“The way this city was built 20 or 30 years ago is not viable or sustainable anymore,” he added. “If you drove through some of the new communities, you’d see that the designs of the road, how it’s structured to work and play … are 100 per cent different from the mature communities that we live in. Because they’re not sustainable.”
Council also argued the proposal is favourable to others that have completely done away with golf courses.
“When I look at what this applicant has done, coming forward with very modest changes… they’ve struck more of a balance here. Who’s to say that if this didn’t pass, they couldn’t come back and do what these other three golf courses have done?” Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart asked.