Lakeside Golf Club's intention to redevelop Lakeside Greens Golf Course (LGGC) into a residential development has met resistance from some Chestermere residents.
LGGC, which is located on the west side of Chestermere, has been operating for 27 years. But according to a public announcement from Lakeside Golf Club’s managing partners, Glenn Carr and Wayne McBean, the club signed a partnership agreement with developer Slokker Homes in September to redevelop the property, contingent on “City council’s approval of a future proposed community.”
“It is a difficult but necessary decision,” the statement said. “Golfing around the world was experiencing a decline long before the global pandemic paralyzed our economy. Our club is one of many that have struggled to remain open. We have been operating at a loss for the past several years and the club is in need of millions of dollars of capital infrastructure investment.”
Representatives of LGGC and Slokker Homes declined to be interviewed. However, a representative from Anstice Communications – which represents the partnership between the organizations – said information about the proposal is outlined on lakesidefuture.com
“The time is right given the declining state of the Lakeside Golf Club and the opportunity to create a community that unlocks valuable economic opportunities, meets emerging housing needs and provides lots of enviable green space in the heart of Chestermere,” the website said.
LGGC's announcement prompted a public response from the City of Chestermere, which posted a statement on the municipality’s Facebook page Sept. 30. The statement, attributed to Chief Administrative Officer Bernie Morton, said the City has not yet received a formal proposal from LGGC, but the plan described in the announcement is not currently permitted under local and provincial regulations.
“Any proposal to redevelop lands in a way that is different than their current designated land use would require significant changes to local laws,” Morton's post said.
The City of Chestermere also declined an interview request.
Many Chestermere residents commented on the City's post that they do not want to see the golf course redeveloped. Darby King-Maillot, a member of the Lakeside Golf Club whose house backs onto the course, said this is not the first time the course's management has expressed interest in pursuing residential development. She said several years ago, they were granted four houses along the driving range.
“We’ve been in this situation with them many times before," she said. "They’ve had several different issues. They wanted to put condos on the 11th hole and they’ve come up with several different ideas about developments they were going to do. For the most part, they’ve been turned down.
"Several years later, we’re at it again."
King-Maillot said a new homeowners' group has been formed that will advocate against any future development of the golf course. She said there is little appetite among Chestermere residents to see the course turned into a new neighbourhood.
“We totally support the golf course to be sold, if there are other owners who want to take it over and run it as a golf course," she said. "If they don’t want to be in the golf course business, that’s completely understandable."
According to Morton's statement, the process to allow for the golf course’s proposed development would involve many steps, including a public hearing, amendments to the City’s Municipal Development Plan and the City’s Land Use Bylaw. Additional requirements might also include the creation of an Area Redevelopment Plan and an Outline Plan, Morton said, depending on the nature of the application.
“To move forward, all components would need to be approved by City council, in adherence with the MGA,” he said. “Council has the authority to deny, approve or request changes to proposals of this nature, including requesting additional public engagement beyond the required public hearing.”
The lakesidefuture.com web page, which appears to be operated by Slokker Homes, acknowledged the developer does not “have any formal plans at this time” and that any future application must go through both City council and a public engagement process.
“Any proposed redevelopment in an established community such as this would require changes to local laws and must adhere to a comprehensive process, which we will comply with,” the statement said. “We are committed to full engagement and will have more information on what this entails very soon.”
In their statement, Carr and McBean said the course will remain open for the next two seasons.