The mayor of Headingley would rather the City of Winnipeg work with the rural municipality than sell John Blumberg Golf Course to a developer.
"We would prefer it remains green space. It’s 200 acres of prime green space, some of the best basswood forest in Manitoba, hence the reason we put in our own proposal as the RM of Headingley," John Mauseth said Tuesday.
Winnipeg council’s property and development committee rejected the proposed $13.7-million sale of the city-owned recreation facility in a 3-1 vote Monday.
Schinkel Properties is seeking to purchase and replace the 199-acre site with 339 single-family lots, 13 acres of commercial land, 29 acres of multi-family property and 36 acres of parkland over the next decade.
The proposal will still be voted on by executive policy committee and city council. The sale could proceed, if two-thirds of council members support it in a final vote.
The development also requires some clearances from the RM on the western border of Winnipeg.
Headingley’s proposal, meantime, would see the space developed into a year-round park, along with about 35 acres along Provincial Trunk Highway 1 developed into a commercial, possibly mixed-use area.
"I’m interested to see how that does pan out, but the one thing I would say wholeheartedly is the RM of Headingley’s offer is still on the table… or we’d love to talk with the city to see if there’s maybe a way we could work together to keep this as green space," Mauseth said.
"It’s not a matter of keeping it green space for Headingley, it’s a matter of keeping it green space for Manitobans, for the capital region and whoever wants to use it."
The RM’s proposal includes enhancing the existing sportsplex (which is not part of the proposed sale) by adding baseball diamonds, basketball courts, a cricket pitch, tennis courts, an ultimate frisbee area, a bocce court and a BMX bike track. It also features picnic areas, walking and active transport paths, an amphitheatre, toboggan hills and a boat launch.
A Schinkel Properties director noted the company’s proposal includes green space.
"We’ve designated a significant portion of this land to public green space… We envision putting a large park right near the river and we’re incorporating 13,000 feet for walking trails within there as well," Alan Klippenstein, company director of real estate development, told the Free Press on Monday.
Mauseth stressed the RM has a good relationship with the developer.
"(Schinkel Properties is) doing nothing wrong here. If it does end up going through, we will treat them like any other developer and go through the motions. But our No. 1 priority would be to keep it green space and I think the public agrees in that and I think some of the city council members agree on that."
At Monday’s committee meeting, several parks and open space advocates asked councillors to cancel the sale. Many stressed it would contradict Winnipeg’s long-term goal to add considerable green space within city limits, which council approved last year.
— with files from Joyanne Pursaga
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.