The pros and cons of the proposed sale of Brantford, Ontario’s Arrowdale Municipal Golf Course and Earl Haig Family Fun Park to developers for residential and commercial use almost balance out.
- Pro #1: does not breakeven; low membership; low visitor count
- Con #1: would self-sustain with upgrades, expanded usage; sell or contract operations to golf course / amusement park management company
- Pro #2: city controlling spending
- Con #2: you can’t put a price tag on quality of life; more city amenities may translate into tax base growth; not consistent with millions spent (and lost because of the use of former commercial land) on Laurier-YMCA, and spending on proposed NEW North of Shellard Recreation Complex (West Brantford)
- Pro #3: city should focus on one golf course (Northridge) with improved amenities for catering events
- Con #3: proceeds of Arrowdale sale may not go to Northridge; city not in catering business; course perfect for seniors and beginners
- Pro #4: proceeds of Earl Haig sale to build splash pad in Eagle Place
- Con #4: given all Earl Haig features, not an equal trade-off; you can’t learn to swim at a splash pad
- Pro #5: Arrowdale is a faux green space given use of pesticides and herbicides; it is not a city park
- Con #5: trees contribute to city’s canopy; given possible industrial contaminates under site, may not convert well to residential use; golf courses need to adopt environmental friendly maintenance practices; once green space is gone its gone; gift from Ignatius Cockshutt
So, what pro or con has the most weight?
Mr. Warren Bechard points out in the link below that the land was a gift from Mr. Ignatius Cockshutt. That should be honoured by keeping Arrowdale a green space. Whether it continues as a golf course or becomes a city park with varied usage is another matter. We’ve said a city is not in the golf business, therefore contracting operations to a golf management company with the goal of improved fiscal performance is a good idea. Environmental friendly golf course maintenance practices should be part of the agreement. Failing that, convert Arrowdale to a city park (with the majority allowed to naturalize) for all citizens to enjoy.
Con #2 has weight as well. It is hypocritical of Brantford City Hall to spend, spend and spend on the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, the Laurier-YMCA and, the way things appear, the proposed NEW North of Shellard Recreation Complex, and then want citizens to believe it is a beacon of fiscal prudence by moving to sell Arrowdale and Earl Haig.
So, on the issue of Earl Haig, there’s a big difference between a city providing a swimming pool and an amusement park. The later is a job for that industry. Therefore, an amusement park management company would be a better fit to operate Earl Haig, or sell it to a successful industry player.
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