Golfers teed off over potential Blumberg sale

Some golfers and activists are voicing concerns about the potential sale of John Blumberg golf course in Headingley.

Stepping into the tee box, Greg Russell says John Blumberg is his type of golf course.

“It’s wide open so for me a hacker it’s pretty good,” said Russell. But he and other regulars are worried about its future.

“We need the green space,” said Russell.

“I want the city councillors to do the right thing and vote to keep this green space open,” said golfer Freda Tsouras.

The city owns the course in the RM of Headingley which was declared surplus in 2013. For a time it fell into disrepair.

Last year city council signed off on a request for proposals process to sell the property or enter into a joint venture agreement.

Now a petition is going around to stop a sale and keep the golf course.

Brian Campbell supports the petition.

“I took the course on five years ago, it was strictly to save the course,” said Campbell.

Campbell has been operating the course since 2017, and said he put at least $300,000 into it, and believes he’s turned things around.

He worries a sale could lead to development taking over the greens and the sand traps, leaving golfers in the rough.

“The golfers that play there presently, that have played there for the past 20 years, like the direction the golf course is going.”

If a sale happens, 90 per cent of proceeds would go into a pot to fund in part recreation infrastructure, green space and trees in Winnipeg.

In a statement the city says the request for proposals issued for the sale or joint venture has closed.

“Following evaluations of all submitted proposals, the City will be making a recommendation in the coming months to the Standing Policy Committee on Property and Development… We aren’t able to provide any details about the submitted proposals at this time," the city said.

The RM of Headingley tells CTV News it is disappointed after submitting a proposal which it says was rejected.

Charleswood city councillor Kevin Klein says he would like to see the city partner with the RM on this to get even more use out of the current site.

“If it can make money as a golf course and it’s being used as a golf course that’s great, but you know can we use it at different times of the year, for other activities?” said Klein.

Users now say they want golf to continue at Blumberg, for the community.

“I believe young fathers and their sons come here to play golf and their daughters,” said Russell.

The city’s 2020 budget contained a plan to repurpose 30 per cent of city-owned golf lands for things like green space, active transportation, community gardens and housing including affordable units.