Rocky View County council approved a redesignation to separate about five and a half acres of land from a larger parcel next to the Springbank Links Golf Club, Sept. 28.
The land, which is part of 17-acre parcel created in 1978, will be used for a golf driving range, a facility the Golf Club does not currently have.
General Manager Kevin Heise was thrilled with the decision, as the club has been trying to build a range for about 10 years.
“I think it the single biggest thing that could happen to the golf course,” said Heise. “It is nice to get community and County support.”
According to Heise, the club is planning to fast track construction, with hopes of completion by the 2011 golf season.
Several residents spoke both in support and opposition to the range, which will not require safety netting or lighting and will operate from dawn to dusk.
Resident and local realtor Jason Bamlett said Springbank Links is a community hub that adds to land values in the area.
“I would like to see a good corporate citizen continue to thrive,” said Bamlett. “I would like to give them an opportunity to expand their business.”
Residents in opposition cited concerns about safety, property values, sight lines, transportation and the loss of a community pathway.
According to Heise, the community pathway is not a public area, but rather a North Springbank Water Coop easement. Although it has been used as a riding and walking path, it is on private land, he added.
Long-time resident Simone Byers was opposed to the range and read a letter from an errant golf ball expert which stated the golf range wouldn’t be safe as planned.
“We object because the North Springbank easement won’t be available,” said Byers.
“This is the only riding path in the north Springbank area.”
Resident Ken Nowicki said balls would likely enter residential properties and should have additional safety features.
“I just really feel there hasn’t been a good scientific analysis of this,” said Nowicki. “It is an impossibility that this can exist without netting.”
Councillor Mitch Yurchak said the most affected of the neighbours, the Makars, are in favour of the golf range, and voted in favour of the project.
The majority of council agreed, voting in favour of the driving range. However, councillors Gordon Branson and Harvey Buckley were opposed.