Chestermere residents against the proposed development of Lakeside Greens Golf Course into a residential neighbourhood have formalized their opposition and launched a petition, which has garnered more than 2,500 signatures as of Dec. 10.
Residents have formed the Lakeside Greens Golf Course Preservation Society. Along with the petition, the society created a website and Instagram account to protest the development.
“We’re going to work together to make sure we prevent any sort of rezoning or redevelopment of our golf course,” said society member Darby King-Maillot, a Chestermere resident whose house backs onto the golf course. “We’re trying to be representative of our community as a unified voice in all the actions we do.”
Lakeside Golf Club’s managing partners Glenn Carr and Wayne McBean announced their intentions in October to sell the 18-hole course, which has operated west of Chestermere Lake for 27 years. According to the partners, the club signed a partnership agreement with Slokker Homes to redevelop the property, contingent on Chestermere City council’s approval of a rezoning application.
But many residents are against the idea, according to King-Maillot, who is a member of the golf course.
“Having our golf course is a vital part of living here, whether you’re living on the golf course, near the golf course, or if you just golf on the course,” she said. “I think it’s overwhelming that people want to keep the golf course.”
Anstice Communications represents the partnership between Slokker Homes and Lakeside Golf Course. A representative of the company declined a request for comment.
While Slokker Homes has not yet appeared before Chestermere City council with a formal application, the company sent two emails to residents in recent weeks notifying them representatives have met with the City’s planning department to discuss the appropriate process for a redevelopment application.
“We have been working internally over the past few weeks on creating the right plan and timeline to begin the planning process,” one of the emails stated. “We are dedicated to a community-first approach and thus you can expect the engagement process to begin before Christmas. We will be notifying you very soon on the first steps, as we start the conversation around ideas, issues, fears [and] opportunities.”
The other email stated Slokker Homes intends to make sure the proposal undergoes significant public consultation.
“In the next few months we're going to have opportunities for you and other residents to be part of the actual planning process,” the email stated. “We'll be using surveys, town hall conversations and providing opportunities to weigh in on the plans as they evolve.”
In an email to the Rocky View Weekly, City of Chestermere Communications Team Lead Megan Matthies said the development proponent is "going through the Preliminary Project Review process, but no formal application has been received." Earlier, the municipality's chief administrative officer, Bernie Morton, said the process to allow for the golf course to be redeveloped would be extensive. It would include a public hearing, amendments to the City’s Municipal Development Plan and the City’s Land Use Bylaw.
King-Maillot said building a new golf course in Chestermere would be financially unfeasible.
“If we lose this golf course, the chance of us having one rebuilt in a different area is virtually nil,” she said, adding Lakeside Greens has a robust junior program that teaches local youth how to golf. “For a community like Chestermere with a young population, having access to a golf course where our kids can play golf is absolutely crucial.”
Information about Slokker’s proposal is outlined on lakesidefuture.com
Despite the proposed redevelopment, Lakeside Golf Club’s managing partners previously stated the course will remain open for the next two golfing seasons.