The patrons of Fairview Golf Course are not pleased with rumblings from council that it might be sold next year.
This is a good example of the trade-offs involved in city planning. There are direct benefits to quality of life and health from golfing, and this course seems to be especially popular with the older crowd. It is also nice to have green space in the centre of the city, though perhaps not fenced off as a golf course is.
For all its benefits, a golf course is probably not the most intensive use that site can support, and it is going to cost the city upwards of $300,000 to upgrade.
Ideally, the golf course would be replaced with something that provides at minimum the same quality of life and health benefits, but also pays property taxes. I was just thinking today that this parcel of land, squeezed between Fairview Mall and a large cluster of high-rise apartments, would be an excellent site for a mixed-use development.
Imagine an outdoor “mall” in the traditional sense lined with mixed-use buildings only a few stories high – retail and restaurants at ground level with offices and residences above. Properly integrated with the preexisting residences and neighbourhoods, it might actually reduce traffic by encouraging people to walk to their destinations. In addition, it would bring more people within walking distance of Fairview Mall, which is on the small side for a successful mall (and thus has an uncertain future).
It would be a welcome change from the strip malls, car dealerships, and big boxes in that corner of the city. If we are lucky, it might even catalyse the redevelopment and intensification of the neighbourhood. Mizner Park, above, has been called an “attachable fragment of urbanism” because it was an island of urbanism in a sea of parking lots and cul-de-sacs. The other side of that coin is that it is ready for new development to attach to it; rather than being oriented primarily towards an arterial road, new development nearby can build (so to speak) on the success of Mizner Park and itself propgate further examples of good urbanism.