Despite need for housing, city-owned courses have been key revenue generators since COVID
October 30, 2023 By Turf & Rec
A quandary exists in Vancouver over the future of its city-owned golf courses. Should they remain in their current capacity, with golf revenue continuing to generate significant profits, or should at least some of the land give way to housing in anticipation of future growth?
Golf had been on the decline in Vancouver from the 1990s until COVID-19, but the pandemic grew the game as one of the few outdoor recreational opportunities available at the time. Gross revenues have grown by 40 per cent since 2020. Vancouver has also grown, and another 260,000 residents are expected to populate the city by 2050. This raises the need for additional housing.
Although the city’s parks board has recommended Vancouver preserve its six municipal courses as they continue to make money, a former urban designer for the city suggests part of the Langara Golf Course could be developed for housing that could accommodate upwards of 6,500 people while still keeping the bulk of the property open for golf.
The city currently operates two other full-sized municipal courses in addition to Langara – McCleery and Fraserview – as well as three “pitch and putt” courses. Golf was the parks board’s greatest revenue generator in 2022, bringing in $14 million.
The Vancouver Parks Board chairman has recently told media that he believes the Langara golf course should be preserved in its current state, noting it’s an important ecosystem with biodiverse ponds, plants and forests.
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