Spring has arrived and many people in the North Okanagan are waiting for the golf courses to open or already hitting the links. There are very strong feelings in Armstrong about the proposed sale and closure of the Royal York Golf Course. Over the winter, a campaign has been going on to support the current zoning of the 54 acres to remain as Commercial/Recreation land. The future developers have made an offer on the property and as with any such purchase, we believe the actual sale is subject to an OCP and rezoning application to create a very large housing development.
This would be great loss to the North Okanagan and with 41 per cent of the Armstrong population over the age of 55, it will severely limit the opportunities for healthy recreation during the non-winter months. There is limited use by younger people but we feel that this could be increased with encouragement and planning. Once gone, that kind of land can never be recovered.
On March 11, Armstrong Council renewed their Future Growth Area Designation Strategy with the Regional District and the golf course lands are not included in the five year plan. We can only hope the City will acknowledge this if and when the OCP and rezoning application is made
There are many issues of concern off the course and these include water supply as we are regularly put on water restrictions already, sewage treatment as apparently our system was noted to be running at 100 per cent capacity in 2014, and traffic into and out of the development which must use the narrow and busy Okanagan street.
Stormwater which we all know causes flooding throughout the city each year would increase as the water currently absorbed into the ground would now fall on roofs and roads and directed into Meighan creek. The Mayor is only hopeful that recent dredging will help and the recent Flood Mitigation Report made no mention that simple dredging would help in any way.
We have registered the Armstrong Green Space Society (www.armgss.com) to be proactive in allowing the community to voice their support for us to keep the golf course open. A Society in Chase successfully runs their golf course and their management model would work in Armstrong.
President, Armstrong Green Space Society