'Financially we won't be able to golf': Golfers urge city to reconsider Rundle Park Golf Course closure
EDMONTON -- A decision by the City of Edmonton to keep the Rundle Park Golf Course closed has been met with opposition by some users.
The city said last week keeping the Rundle course closed, while the Riverside and Victoria courses reopened, was an economic decision.
But Dave Blackburn, a retiree and Rundle Park golfer, says the closure denies many an opportunity to get outdoors and exercise at a more affordable price point.
“I was devastated to tell you the truth,” Blackburn told CTV News Edmonton. “My wife and I have been waiting with bated breath all winter to be able to get back out onto the golf course.”
Blackburn says every Sunday during the golf season, he normally gets together with up to a dozen friends to play at Rundle. He says all either have physical or financial limitations when it comes to golf.
“If we were to golf at Riverside or Victoria Park we’d require a cart to get around the course. The cost would be $160 compared to $54. That’s almost a 300 per cent increase in the cost of golf.”
Blackburn says because Rundle is a Par 3 it’s more accessible to seniors and beginners.
“It caters to a different group and now that entire group is going to be excluded from the opportunity to golf.”
Ward 10 Coun. Michael Walters called Blackburn's concerns valid and was among the representatives who brought the contention up during Wednesday's emergency advisory committee meeting.
However, Adam Laughlin, interim city manager, repeated the city decision was financial.
"(Victoria and Riverside) are actually cost recoverable, anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000. Unfortunately Rundle is not," he told council.
"It, on an annual basis, doesn't recover and in these tough economic times, it's a decision we made."
Walters said he doesn't "necessarily agree but I understand the financial realities and accept administration's decision."
The Victoria and Riverside facilities opened May 11.
On May 7, in explaining why Rundle would not open alongside them, Laughlin said “Rundle from a cost perspective historically has been different than the other two" and that it's not the first time city administration has looked at Rundle's viability.