How can I help preserve Vancouvers Golf Courses
We have a new Park Board; How do we go forward?
Current Information on Golf Strategy Report
In November 2020, management were directed to postpone non-essential capital investments and maintenance improvements until completion and implementation of the golf strategy. (Somewhat ironically, this did not affect previously budgeted and much needed drainage improvements at Langara, but has had significant deleterious effects at other courses, especially McCleery.)
Also in November 2020, management were wrongly directed to transfer the golf reserve fund (initially established as a fund to pay for future upgrades to the courses, and therefore paid by golfers) to general revenues and further to use the money to pay for the Golf Strategic Initiative. Fortunately this was quashed.
In November 2021, management recommendations to increase golf fees by 3% for 2022, were over ruled instead voting to raise them by 5%, while increasing all other fees by only the recommended 3%. This resulted even though golf courses in 2021 delivered to the Park Board a surplus of some $6.2 million—a profit, paid for by golfers, that was used to subsidize all other operations.
Many of the actions documented above resulted from motions delivered “from the table,” at park board meetings and therefore not subject to public consultation.
This well-documented anti-golf bias is curious for a number of reasons.
All three civic golf courses, including Langara, are booked almost continuously, from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.
Golf has the highest participation ratio of any Canadian sport, and attracts a diverse demographic reflective of Canadians as a whole.
The greatest proportion of golf’s recent dramatic growth has come from women.
The courses employ forms of integrated pest management that minimize the use of chemical inputs and are designated as Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuaries.
In response to previous threats, Commissioner’s Couper and Barker joined by golfers and environmental groups have come out as strong proponents of Langara’s continued use as a golf course.
Under the Vancouver Charter, the Park Board is independent of City Council and solely charged with delivering park and recreational benefits. In theory this should largely insulate Langara from pressures to convert it to uses such as housing. However, given the anti-golf bias documented above, many worry that the Park Board could go against its own mandate and consider non-recreational uses.