No More Golfing in Aberdeen

This article appeared in the Kamloops This Week on October 31st, 2011 and was written by Jeremy Deutsch.

The decision was made on Halloween and it was scary for Kamloops duffers — Aberdeen Hills Golf Links will vanish into the mist.

Aberdeen Highlands Development Corporation has confirmed it will not run the golf course next year. It will officially close on Dec. 31.
The city got word of the developers intention on Monday, Oct. 31.

Aberdeen Highlands general manager Chris Bebek said it didn’t make economic sense for the developer to continue to run the course. “It was a really hard decision for us,” she said. “It’s hard to put an end to something.”

Bebek said the past season was especially challenging, noting the late start to the season due to poor weather. The course also had to shut down early to complete work on part of the development, and Bebek said it wouldn’t make sense to restore the course for only two years.

When asked if there was anyone interested in purchasing the course, Bebek said she was not aware of interest. “We had try to see if anyone would take it over and run it for us; however, with a short time-frame in the lease, they didn’t want to put a lot of their resources into something that had a short time-frame,” she said.

Bebek said the developer is excited about the park and expects residents in Aberdeen will feel the same.

There were seven full-time staff and another 13 part-time seasonal employees at the course.

Director of parks and recreation services Byron McCorkell said the city’s position was made clear three years ago. “We are not in the golf-course business and we don’t intend to be,” McCorkell said. “If they [Aberdeen Highlands] choose not to be, that’s purely their decision to make.”

However, Mayor Peter Milobar appeared to take a softer approach when it came to discussing the future of the golf course. He said if a private operator wanted to take control of the course, he would be willing to consider the option.

However, Milobar cautioned that, while someone might have a great idea to keep the course afloat, once they get involved, they could change their mind. If tax dollars are involved, Milobar said, he would rather see a park created, rather than have the city prop up a golf course.

In 2008, the 150-acre West Highlands development faced a contentious rezoning battle, in part because many residents didn’t want to see an end to the nine-hole golf course that was once a mighty 18-hole layout with spectacular views.

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