Todd York, representing his family, owners of the Royal York Golf Course in Armstrong, tries to dispel myths and rumours about the impending sale of the course and what will happen afterward to a capacity crowd at Centennial Theatre Tuesday. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Armstrong golf course discussion heats up

Newly created Armstrong Green Space Society takes flack from course owners, crowd

Officially, it was a meeting to get people to join their newly created society.

It was also a chance to air concerns and comments about an Armstrong development that, for the time being, exists only in peoples’ minds.

An overflow crowd of nearly 200 jammed into Centennial Theatre Tuesday to listen to and ask questions of the Armstrong Green Space Society, formed by a number of residents who reside on or near the Royal York Golf Course, during a nearly 90-minute session.

The course announced to its membership in early December it had accepted a serious offer to sell the course to an Okanagan company.

Rumours began circulating that the company, N&T Properties, would be building a 200-home development on the site of what would be the former golf course, though the sale by the York family to N&T Properties is not official, nor has the City of Armstrong received any development application for the property.

RELATED: Royal York Golf Course to close fairways after 2019 season

RELATED: Letter: Golf course closure a shock

Nobody from Armstrong council was at Tuesday’s meeting.

“This association came up because it’s such a large development,” said Lindsay Tkachuk, joined on stage representing the society by Don Cominetti, Ron Smeeth, Denise Seguin and evening moderator Denis Harvey.

“There was another development on swamp lands by Colonial Farms, rejected by the city because the people of Armstrong went in and argued against it. The issue here is this is not what you might want to build on two acres. This is a major development and major change to the community.

“Armstrong in its official community plan (OCP), states we want to have amenities here, services here. We do not want to be a bedroom community to Vernon. This development takes away one of the amenities and creates exactly opposite what the city has in the OCP.

The society, whose name is officially registered with the province, though the society itself is not as yet (board of directors will be elected at its next meeting), had a petition for those attending to sign stating, “We the undersigned oppose any required amendments to the OCP and rezoning to remove the green space used by the Royal York Golf Course to allow for the development of a large residential area and we ask the Armstrong city council to delay any decision on the property pending investigation of options involving retention of the property as it exists.”

Smeeth and Seguin talked about increased traffic problems and losing the golf course if the property sells. Cominetti said the issue is traumatic for him and traumatic for his neighbour — “the most hardest-working, most sincere and more generous person he’s ever met” — golf course founder Bruce York.

“This is a very, very sensitive issue,” said Cominetti. “But I feel I have a responsibility, and a responsibility for all residents to ensure local government makes decisions that are beneficial in the short- and long-term for the whole community.”

After society founders spoke, York family member Todd York was given a chance to address the crowd.

He told the audience basically what was in the letter sent to members: that the family opened the course in 1990 and had been trying to sell it for the past seven years because the golf industry continues to decline, and there was no interest in the course whatsoever; that the club suffered after fire destroyed the clubhouse in 2009, resulting in the course operating out of a trailer for two years.

And then he took aim at the society.

“A small group didn’t take the news (of the sale) well at all,” said York. “That small group developed the ‘save the greenspace’ idea. ‘Save’ and ‘green space’ in the same sentence. There couldn’t be a more motherhood statement.

“I keep hearing terms like ‘green space used by the golf course,’ and ‘valuable community green space.’ These terms suggest that somehow this is a publicly owned course and a public asset, but it isn’t. It’s my mom and dad’s back yard…

“It seems the core group may have a self-serving motive. There have been lots of subdivisions built in Armstrong in recent years. They were green. And the Green Space Society did not exist to protect any of those and why is that? Because it’s about the golf course. That’s what it’s about.”

York, a councillor for the Township of Spallumcheen for four-consecutive terms, acknowledged the many people who have sent well-wishes to the family for their support. He encouraged the crowd to join the official process when a development application is presented to council.

“You’re being drawn into being scared of something that hasn’t happened,” said York of Tuesday’s meeting. “None of the points in the Green Space page is true. it’s all supposition, all conjecture, all designed to scare the crap out of you. None of it is true. I want you to be part of the process, look at the plan when it’s presented.”

A plan may be put forward to council within the first quarter of 2019.

York had support from a number of audience members, including Patti Ferguson, who said she would ask questions of council “when there’s a bona fide application before it.”

“I’m deeply saddened by the way people are indeed turning on each other because of people saying this might happen, or that might happen,” said Ferguson. “I don’t think all of us attacking them (council) and telling what we want them to do about something that hasn’t come before them won’t be helpful in any way.

“Write council a letter telling them your personal reasons you don’t want the golf course lands to be developed. Do it. But don’t sign a petition. It’s just baloney. Speak for yourself.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Lindsay Tkachuk of the newly created Armstrong Green Space Society explains his organization’s purpose and goals to a capacity crowd at Centennial Theatre Tuesday. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Todd York, representing his family, owners of the Royal York Golf Course in Armstrong, tries to dispel myths and rumours about the impending sale of the course and what will happen afterward to a capacity crowd at Centennial Theatre Tuesday. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Just Posted

Vernon rink rolling into Brier

Jim Cotter foursome looking for elusive first Canadian men’s curling championship

Campaign promotes Syilx/Okanagan language and culture

To support initiative, Nsylixcen t-shirts and water bottles are being distributed across Okanagan

WATCH: Pink cupcakes on frontline against bullying in Vernon

Organizations, schools take part to help end bullying on Pink Shirt Day

Interior Health leading the way with innovative therapy for stroke patients

Percentage of ischemic stroke patients who received treatment has risen dramatically

Beer and burgers to raise cash for Vernon man fighting cancer

Fundraiser hosted in honour of Garnet the Great to send him to special treatment centre

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en supporters vow to keep protesting at B.C. legislature

Supporters say they will continue ongoing action to hold government accountable

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Volunteers share amazing memories of Vancouver Olympic games

A decade ago this month, Vancouver hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics. Approximately… Continue reading

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. city rebrands with new logo, cheeky slogan

‘Langford, where it all happens’ is the City’s new slogan

Most Read