Depending on where you tee off, the fourth hole in the Overlander Golf and Events Center in Armstrong (formerly Royal York Golf Course) brings water into play, a small dogleg left to the par 4 green and some sand guarding the putting surface .
Also coming into play, albeit out of bounds, depending on where you hit the ball, is Dave and Patti Ferguson’s backyard on Okanagan Street, where in their many years alongside Armstrong golf course they have many Titleist, Maxfli. Callaway and Taylor Made golf balls that hit their house, broke their windows, and ended up resting peacefully on their grass.
The Fergusons, who will be donating overlander pro Jesse Crowe buckets of found balls for his successful youth program on the course, will not be sad to see the fourth hole. And on Monday, September 27, after a 65-minute public hearing, the redesign of the nine-hole golf course moved one step closer.
In its third reading, the council passed a proposal to rededicate a charter from local developer Patrick Place for the old Royal York golf course property, still owned by the York family, which would allow for the construction of 141 single-family homes and the redesign of the golf course to make it smaller would allow with a new putting green to be installed.
“While Dave and I aren’t bouncing up and down for the joy of the golf course getting smaller, we’re happy to lose the fourth hole to a neighbor,” said Ferguson. “We trust that our council will ensure that if they allow 141 homes to be built, they will have access to good, safe drinking water from Armstrong and have good drainage …”
In one of the largest Zoom participant meetings of the Armstrong Council of the pandemic, eight people spoke with developer Place, Todd York as the family representative, engineer Mike Nolan and Crowe about the planned development.
“We offer a variety of different housing options that will come in a variety of sizes and price ranges,” said Place. “We are dedicating 2.5 hectares of publicly accessible, first-class parkland.”
Crowe told the council and the viewing gallery that his junior program has grown to 55 golfers after introducing students to all four Armstrong schools in the 2020-21 school years after school and is hoping 100 will be on a new one configured smaller place to play.
“What we are planning at Overlander is spectacular for the growth of golf,” said Crowe. “To further promote youth golf and youth activities in the city. The proposed on-site putting course will be great for non-golfers and golfers alike. “
The loss of the original space in the proposal has drawn much criticism from the likes of the Armstrong Green Space Society and other golfers. Erwin (Red) Leibel, a member of Royal York since joining Armstrong in 1994, is not one of them. He will be happy to support the application.
“In my opinion, the proposed development plans make the property financially viable and also offer a first-class golf course and the associated green areas,” said Leibel. “The proposal offers a good, workable balance. The project will be a net gain for the city. “
Del Honeybourne suggested that Place go ahead as owner of the golf course and drop the development plan.
“The small par 3 golf course is not going to be anywhere near what it is now,” said Honeybourne. “You won’t be anywhere near the players you have now. The current nine-hole course is fantastic and Bruce York and his family should pay tribute for planning and running it for many years. “
Okanagan Street resident Eli Silver spoke out against the development for many reasons, including additional traffic, the placement of the proposed parks in the plan, and parking.
“I’m just disappointed with the way this has been communicated and handled,” he said. “For something on this scale, I didn’t feel that I had the time in five working days to look at it, digest it and get input. I don’t feel that the city has given me enough time and documents, and I am disappointed with my councilors for making it this far. “
The council voted 6 to 1 in favor of continuing the third reading on the proposed amendments to the statutes that would result in the official land use regulation of the property moving from multi-family houses (low density) to parks, changing the land use regulation of 10 hectares on the property Convert from commercial recreation to one- / two-apartment residential complex and convert a hectare portion of commercial recreation into park.
Jim Wright, as he has been since the proposal was first introduced in the Council nearly two years ago, was the only opponent. Count. Shirley Fowler said she did not hear any new comments from the public at the hearing and voted in favor. Count. Gary Froats called it the toughest decision he was part in of his time on the council, and Coun. Linda Fisher changed her voice after hearing public support for the plan.
Demands from Wright and other public members for a referendum on the plan for just before the 2o22 local elections have been crushed as Coun. Paul Britton pointed out and had confirmed by Chief Administrative Officer Dawn Low that the topic did not fit the referendum.
READ MORE: Armstrong Councilor Still Opposes Golf Course Plan, Public Hearing