The Rural Municipality of Headingley hopes to transform John Blumberg Golf Course into a regional park filled with spaces for sports and other recreational activities.
The municipality submitted a proposal to the City of Winnipeg, who’s selling the property, on March 30. Headingley hopes to buy 4540 Portage Ave. from Winnipeg for $1 — then, it will begin a major overhaul.
In its proposal, the municipality submits it will sell 35 acres along Highway 1 for commercial and possibly mixed use buildings, including housing. The money it makes from the sales will go to redeveloping a minimum of 160 acres of the golf course.
"No administration, legal, overhead or like costs will be deducted from the sale proceeds," the proposal states.
Headingley envisions putting baseball, ultimate Frisbee, cricket and multi-use fields on the site. The plan includes tennis, bocce, volleyball and basketball courts; a BMX park; a toboggan hill; a boat launch; a skate park; an amphitheatre; a nature play structure; active transportation pathways and a picnic area.
The golf course’s clubhouse could be repurposed to include a gym, conference room, office and recreation equipment rental space, the proposal outlines.
Construction would likely be rolled out over 10 to 15 years, according to Headingley mayor John Mauseth. Property taxes from the buildings in the 35 acres along Highway 1 would go straight to the development and maintenance of the park, he said.
Current Headingley residents would not see a tax increase due to the creation of the park, nor would they have to give their money in any other way, Mauseth said.
"It would just be revenue from that one area (the 35 acres) that we would commit to using for development of that green space," he said.
There is no set estimated cost of redeveloping the parkland area, according to the proposal. The municipality’s plan involves developing the park as funds become available. John Blumberg Golf Course would be allowed to operate until construction begins.
Winnipeg’s city council voted to put the property up for sale last October. Winnipeg has owned the land since 1964; the territory has been in the bounds of the RM of Headingley since 1992. A request for proposals, either for a sale or joint venture with Winnipeg, opened on Dec. 11 and closed on March 31.
"The City is now evaluating all submitted proposals before making a recommendation to the standing policy committee on property and development, heritage, and downtown development, which is expected to happen prior to the summer," a city spokesperson wrote in an email. "We aren’t able to provide any details about the submitted proposals at this time."
The spokesperson said stakeholders will be able to speak to the City’s recommendations at the meeting.
Mauseth said he’s talked to Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman about John Blumberg Golf Course a couple of times.
"You look at a city the size of Winnipeg — that profit will probably be eaten up fairly quickly, where the green space is going to be there for a lifetime if we’re able to retain it," Mauseth said, adding he’s open to working with the City on what the course’s future could look like.
The park would benefit Headingley and surrounding municipalities, including Winnipeg, Mauseth said. Headingley’s submitted plans aren’t set in stone — they could change to meet the region’s recreational needs, Mauseth said.
"If you look at Headingley, we don’t have a lot of riverbank left for green space," he said. "Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Once you have houses on that land, you’re not going to have a park anymore."
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.