Local golfer gathers support for Langara Golf Course
He stopped short of calling it park-board vice-chair Aaron Jasper’s Waterloo, but the president of the Langara Golf Club had this to say when asked about Vision Vancouver’s recent movements in relation to the feted public course.
“Well, I think it could be politically risky for him for sure,” Colin Mills told the Straight by phone, “This could be very unpopular. In three days, we collected 700 signatures [in support of retaining the golf course’s green space as is.] In fact there are still hundreds more that we just didn’t collect the papers for, because we didn’t have time to go get them. But the ladies club got together and they got signatures from over 700 people.”
Like many other recreational users of Vancouver’s parks system, the 44-year-old golfer attended the July 9 park-board meeting at Beach Avenue, where commissioners voted 4-2 in favour of Jasper’s motion asking staff to “compile and report back usage and revenue metrics” of Vancouver’s golf and pitch-and-putt courses. The motion was amended to say that there was no suggested use of golf course land for commercial or residential developments.
“We’ve been going since 1928, continuously, and we are concerned,” Mills said. “We think the motion put forward by Jasper, many of us think that there is an unspoken agenda that lies behind it, that his comments about turning it into a park or a nine-hole course suggest that he’s not just interested in looking at the metrics.”
Mills was most passionate when asked about one of Jasper’s ideas, which would see the golf course reduced to a nine-hole course.
Mills said he didn’t want to guess what the motivation behind the latest moves is on the part of the ruling municipal party.
“I don’t know if Vision has an agenda, or whether Jasper has an agenda for him or his own career,” Mills said. “I really can’t speak to their motive, other than it seems that they think that maybe there is a better use for the course. We’d like to make the case that we don’t think there’s a better use; that that is a great use of that land, and historically has been a great use for that land.”
Mills noted he lives around Cambie Street and West 16th Avenue and takes transit to the course all the time, especially now that he’s on holidays from his job at Langara College, where he teaches urban geography.
“When I play there, either in my club or with the public, I am playing with a diverse range of people in age, men and women,” he said. “I am playing with people of all ethnicities. I’m playing with people of all income brackets and this is a course that has served that purpose in Vancouver since 1926.”
Mills noted the golfers are also “one of the few user groups that put in more in terms of the facilities that we use than we get out of it”.