Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
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This article was published 15/11/2011 (3195 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Area residents are once again fighting to retain a parcel of St. Vital land as public greenspace.
The newly-formed St. Vital Greenspace residents’ group is circulating a petition asking that the city-owned Canoe Club golf course not be sold.
The club is a privately-managed course split by Dunkirk Road, with the western part of the course nestled against the Red River, and the eastern portion between Fermor and Cunnington avenues.
The property is one of seven golf courses listed by the city last month in an expression of interest, which invited developers to submit commercial or residential development proposals for any of the properties.
The move comes after auditors discovered a number of city golf courses are losing money.
St. Vital Greenspace member Grant Prairie said he was surprised and concerned to read of the city’s intentions in a news story, as the land is highly valued by the community.
"It’s always been open to the community. It’s not actually fenced-off. And that’s what the community likes because — when there’s no golfers on it — people use it. They walk their dogs, and in the winter people ski on it," he said.
Prairie said he and a couple neighbours distributed 400 leaflets to the community, leading to a meeting of 60 residents on Oct. 27.
"Residents were saying, ‘We need to get on top of this now so that we’re not fighting in a rezoning meeting later on’," he said.
Lorraine Iverach, who said the Canoe Club has been her de facto backyard for most of her life, said this is not the first time the community has rallied around the property.
In the late 1980s, the city agreed to allow condos to be built on a small parcel of the site, despite residents’ protests, Iverach recalled.
However, the community reached a compromise with the city, which agreed to rezone the rest of property as parkland in order to deter future development, she said.
A few years later, when the golf course wanted to erect a fence to deter vandals, the community successfully petitioned to have the area remain open, Iverach said.
Those battles have led the community to feel deeply invested in the property, she added.
"All kinds of people said, ‘Oh no, not again.’ Residents are tired of this issue rearing its head every few years," she said.
"We don’t want development, we want it as greenspace."
The group will collect signatures until Nov. 20, then distribute the petition to the mayor and city councillors — as well as all 10 candidates in the byelection to replace former St. Vital councillor Gord Steeves.
Prairie said it’s been difficult to address the issue without a sitting city councillor, but the group will ask candidates for their views on the Canoe Club at a Nov. 23 all-candidates forum to be held at the Norberry-Glenlee Community Centre.
For more information on the petition, email organizers at email@example.com or visit www.stvitalgreenspace.com.
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