• Advertisement

  • Slokker Homes responds to city closing Lakeside Greens Golf Course development file

    Slokker-Homes-responds-to-city-closing-Lakeside-Greens-Golf-Course-developmentIMG_4166

    Dear Editor,

    On June 24, the Chestermere Anchor published a piece about the City “closing its file” on the Lakeside Greens Golf Course redevelopment. As our voice was missing from this report, I’d like to take the opportunity to set the record straight and correct the misinformation circulating around what is privately owned property.

    While Slokker Homes has had preliminary conversations with city planners, these discussions were informal and about high-level concepts. An application has not yet been submitted. We are still developing our proposal and won’t rush this important work for the sake of putting forward an application before the fall election.

    The city’s “closing” of a file that was never formally opened, as far as we can tell, simply means there is nothing further for administration to do until we submit.

    Our intention is to work hard over the next 12 months and submit a solid application with firm commitments, partnerships, and plans that benefit the wider Chestermere community, rather than a few homeowners living in one neighbourhood. 

    We will follow all official processes at that time and meet city requirements, as we have always done and will continue to do. What we won’t do is make this a political issue, nor will we donate to anyone’s campaign. The success or failure of our proposal will come down to the merits of our project, which we believe will create enormous economic, social and cultural benefits to all citizens. 

    During the past few months, we’ve been meeting and collaborating with many in the community on a vision that can win approval by both council and the majority of taxpayers.

    The opposition so far, is coming from those who have a personal conflict of interest, and who view the golf course as their own gated community rather than the privately held property that it is. Some homeowners incorrectly believe any development will hinder their view. This is untrue. We have committed to creating a significant buffer of natural landscape between existing homes and new homes, which, by the way, will also be single family houses like the ones that already exist in Lakeside.

    Any higher density in this context, would be townhouses and maybe one or two low-rise condos, all of which would be built much closer to our envisioned downtown, where we know many seniors and young adults are eager to find housing.

    Gradually building up density in this way, as you move closer to a mixed-use commercial area, is one of the very basic principles of good urban planning.

    Slokker is a family business with a track record of building great communities around the world. We pride ourselves in smart and sustainable developments. 

    I grew up in a small village in the Netherlands from a family of entrepreneurs. My father was a farmer. My aunt ran a successful nightclub and restaurant. Schagen stands as a wonderful example of what a successful, stand-alone town can look like, that supports its small businesses and provides services and housing for citizens at every stage of life.

    Chestermere’s evolution from a cottage village means it is missing a downtown. Redeveloping the golf course allows us to fix this void and locate it in the geographical centre of the city, where it should logically be situated.

    Our proposal would diversify the economy, help Chestermere be an autonomous city and create a significant number of permanent jobs – between 60 and 200 based on a conservative estimate of 30,000 sq ft to 100,000 sq ft of retail and commercial services.  In addition, there would be multiple maintenance jobs from the new housing, and the many construction jobs during the build out.

    Moreover, we expect the tax base would expand by approximately 100 times its current size, based on the addition of 1,200 residential units and an increase in the non-residential commercial taxes. Redeveloping already serviced land brings the benefits of additional taxes to a municipality, without the infrastructure costs typically associated with new development.

    The Lakeside Greens Golf Course Preservation Society is peddling a dangerous myth. They are fighting the rezoning of the land on the argument that this, by default, will save the golf course. 

    How wrong they are. 

    There is no correlation between preventing the rezoning of the land and keeping open a money-losing operation. Lakeside Golf Club is beyond saving, and not for lack of trying. It has only stayed open this long because of the generosity of the owners, who have subsidized the loss while making Herculean efforts to turn around the financials these past 10 years. The failure has nothing to do with bad management. To suggest otherwise is an insult to those dedicated and hardworking people.

    Refusal to rezone the land would be a double blow to Chestermere. Few opportunities to redevelop failed golf courses exist without rezoning. The real danger for a community is when a golf course is abandoned as vacant land, especially when that property is in the heart of the city.

    Our opponents would have you believe our plan sacrifices recreational space for new housing. This is disingenuous. While we are proposing a mixed-use development, we have committed to increasing Chestermere’s public parks, open green space and bike-path network by 60 acres – roughly 40 per cent of the golf course land; recreational space currently only available for the exclusive use of paying golf-club members.  This declining number now stands at just 144 members.

    In addition to all of this, we envision creating a bike-oriented development using the powerline to build an entire bike lane protected from traffic, which would connect the existing paths currently bisected by the golf course. Creating a direct route from the far north or south of Chestermere, means everything is no more than a 10-minute bike-ride away, including the lake and the proposed downtown.

    Simply put: Our proposal will benefit all 20,000 citizens of Chestermere by giving them a downtown, expanding the tax base, creating jobs, adding public parks and recreational opportunities, and creating housing for people of all stage of life.

    We urge citizens to ignore the hear-say and inform themselves by contacting us directly. (www.lakesidefuture.com) Starting in August, I will be holding coffee meetings with anyone interested in hearing more about our plans. 

    We are willing to invest our time, money and expertise on a future that serves the highest and best interests of the City and all of its citizens.

    Peter Paauw, President Slokker Homes

    7 Comments

    1. Mark+Forbes

      July 27, 2021 at 10:48 am

      Utter gobbledegook

    2. Involved resident

      July 27, 2021 at 12:47 pm

      I do not live on the golf course. I do not have a political or personal interest in the course and I DO NOT agree with rezoning it for retail and housing.
      This letter is self serving for Slokker and proves that the company is not listening

    3. Rose Sam

      July 27, 2021 at 4:19 pm

      Mr Paauw. Perhaps you should get some of your facts straight before misrepresenting the reality. There are 154 principal members and 34 spousal members at Lakeside as of this date. Also the men’s,ladies and junior leagues are at capacity and include non-members. The statement that you made regarding the “recreational space currently only available for the exclusive use of paying golf club members is incorrect.

      I know you are a developer even though you have purchased an interest in a golf course as an owner but Lakeside is semi-private NOT PRIVATE therefore anyone from the public is welcome to play on the property. Perhaps you should research the facts more closely.

      Who stands to benefit from misrepresentation? A volunteer group dedicated to preserving our recreational amenities or a greedy developer? There have been three offers (to date) to purchase the golf course, all of which have been ignored or rejected. The financial viability argument is clearly not the issue. Who’s fooling who?

    4. Greg Fulmes

      July 30, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      Mr. Pauw and Slokker,
      I realize you, and your corporation likely believe the marketing rhetoric you spew. However you are the one “peddling a dangerous myth”.
      First, Chestermere has a “downtown” that your company helped develop. What community of 25,000 needs two downtowns separated by less than half a kilometer.
      The City’s “closing of the file” should be understood by someone of your obvious intelligence as a signal that your development is not welcome here. It doesn’t take much to see that. Your own survey showed that the majority of Chestermere resident’s number one priority was the golf course.
      Your continued stance that it is not viable, that it needs a benefactor, and that you are somehow a saviour of Chestermere needs to cease. You are making yourself look silly when your own arguments are proven false…there have been several offers to buy the course, but you have not entertained them…please explain how you can continue this argument.
      I understand it is likely difficult for you to accept, but Chestermere residents, and I personally have knocked on MANY doors (not on the golf course) and have had 98% of the residents say they are adamant they don’t want the golf course redeveloped. The 2% who weren’t were ambivalent and not pro-development.
      In your article you state, perhaps slanderously, that we “view the golf course as our own personal gated community”. Have you asked any of the residents if they believe that? Could you give us names of those who have stated that please? You are putting words in our mouth Peter, don’t!
      You say the proposed development would not hinder our views. Please explain this as well. I look out at the 14th hole. It spreads from my back yard perhaps over 100 yards to 17th Ave. A green space with houses a short ways away will certainly hinder my view. Again, please explain.
      I think I can speak for the vast majority of Chestermere residents when I say none of us could care less where you grew up, what your dad did or what your aunt did. (ps. what small town has a “nightclub”?)(pps Schagen, in 1999 had a population of 46,553)
      You say your are going to expand the tax base. That’s a bit like stealing from Peter to pay Paul….there are developments going in on the outskirts of town where they belong that are increasing our tax base. The town is going to grow at a fixed rate and redeveloping a golf course is not going to make more people move here….it is more likely to have the opposite effect with less recreational amenities.
      You state there will be jobs created…again stealing from Peter to pay Paul…if I have to explain this one to you, perhaps a first year economics course might be prudent.
      How many golf course jobs will be lost? Mr. McBean proudly stated last fall that the golf course has been the largest employer in Chestermere for decades. The REAL loss of jobs from losing the golf course would nullify your PROPOSED number.
      How much money from Calgary and surrounding areas will cease to flow into Chestermere from golfers coming here to play 18 holes, have drinks, eat a meal or two, buy gas….?
      We are family members of the course. In all our rounds this year we have only golfed with Chestermere residents 5 times…and yes, we ask. The rest are all bringing dollars into Chestermere that absolutely will not keep coming if you destroy the course.
      The golf course is not a money losing operation. Profits from the course have funded acquisitions in other golf courses rather than staying in the community…an article in the Anchor several years ago said as much.
      You state that “the real danger for a community is when a golf course is abandoned as vacant land…”. So you are prepared to abandon it rather than sell it to interested parties? That’s not even a veiled threat…it’s a real one. And it flies in the face of your bull crap stance that you care about Chestermere and are going to “save it”. God complex perhaps?
      I urge citizens to see you, and Slokker for who you are. To make a judgment based on what you yourself are saying, not what I say.
      “We are willing to invest our time, money and expertise…” Don’t make me laugh. You care about nothing other than profits!

    5. Dennis Ashworth

      July 30, 2021 at 2:34 pm

      The wide range of citizens in all parts of the City of CHESTERMERE would like the fragile golf course lands untouched for future generations. Listen to everyone no matter where they live are in agreement that the lands should not be refined. We do not want it to look like the over crowded Netherlands.

    6. Rose Sam

      July 31, 2021 at 4:35 pm

      Please check out comments on Facebook Chestermere Taxpayers and Facebook Lakeside Greens Golf Course Preservation Society for residents responses to this article in the Anchor. The two sites show residents opposition to this proposal from Slokker.

    7. Chris

      August 6, 2021 at 3:01 am

      I cannot agree more with all the comments to this article. I feel very blessed to live in a community that is so well spoken and cares about preserving its natural beauty. When Slokker speaks about its “opposition” they are speaking about us, all Chestermere residents. I like to believe in the best of everyone. As much as I may disagree with the proposed development, they do have the right to apply and this does not make them a good or bad company, just one that sees a profitable opportunity. This article however, showed me their true nature, given the fact they would threaten to waste millions to purchase land just to abandon it, to spite Chestermere for not getting its way! Thanks for clarifying who we are dealing with, it certainly made it clear to me!