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Thread: Royal Mayfair Golf Club lease is expiring

  1. #1
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    Default Royal Mayfair Golf Club lease is expiring

    Community group calls for open talks on Edmonton golf club lease

    A community group is calling on the city to re-evaluate how a prime piece of city-owned land in the river valley is leased to the Royal Mayfair Golf Club.

    The group, Friends of our Park, said in a news release Monday that the city's negotiations with the golf club adjacent to Hawrelak Park should involve "comprehensive public consultation."

    The group describes itself as "parks advocates, river valley enthusiasts, taxpayers, and everyday citizens, raising awareness of this opportunity to share our vision for our city-owned land."

    Friends of the Park said it believes the Mayfair is negotiating with the city to renew its lease through the year 2069.

    Mayfair general manager Wade Hudyma said Monday the club is renegotiating its lease, but declined to reveal details.

    A City of Edmonton spokesperson told CBC News the city doesn't disclose details of lease agreements or negotiations, including how much the club pays to lease the land.

    The Mayfair, which has 475 shareholders, has an 18-hole course on riverside greens, a clubhouse with "naturally lit rooms and stunning views of the course," banquet rooms, a boardroom, a gazebo and a lounge.

    "It is a tradition, and one that has been upheld since 1922 by an evolving community of members who share a passion for the game we love," the club's website says, adding that the Mayfair is the longest-standing golf club in Edmonton.

    Michael Janz, a member of Friends of our Park, said a lot has changed since 1922.

    "Now we're almost a million people in the city," said Janz. "And the idea that only a couple hundred people get private access to river valley land that's bigger than Hawrelak Park is absurd to us."

    "We're calling on councillors to make all of this public and to consult with all of us and give us time as a community to come up with a response," Janz said at a media availability. "We believe this is a bad deal, and we want better."

    Coun. Aaron Paquette posted on his Facebook page that he's heard concerns from the public about whether the private facility fits in with the city's policies on river valley use.

    "I believe that any decisions involving Edmonton's river valley need to be public and transparent, not decided behind closed doors," Paquette's post reads. "The public should have an opportunity to engage in and have access to information about these agreements."

    Personally I'd like to see the lease expire or downsized in favor of more public park space.
    Lord knows Edmonton has enough golf course already.
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

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    The large park right next door, largely empty except for summer weekends, suggests more public park space isn't necesary there.
    I am in no way entitled to your opinion...

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    If it's reduced, then the golf course closes.
    Won't happen, not really necessary to happen.
    Best case city gets increased property taxes, which likely should be the case, the news on the radio said that land only generates $30,000 per annum,which seems very low.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    If it's reduced, then the golf course closes.
    Won't happen, not really necessary to happen.
    Best case city gets increased property taxes, which likely should be the case, the news on the radio said that land only generates $30,000 per annum,which seems very low.
    i'm not sure the best comparison is $30,000 to nothing. a better comparison might be what it costs the city across the river to operate victoria. again, not a perfect comparison as both offer tangible and real benefits (not identical) to the city outside of the confines of the respective courses themselves. it also needs to be noted that all of the capital improvements at mayfair were paid for and maintained by the club, not the city.
    "If you did not want much, there was plenty." Harper Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DanC View Post
    If it's reduced, then the golf course closes.
    Won't happen, not really necessary to happen.
    Best case city gets increased property taxes, which likely should be the case, the news on the radio said that land only generates $30,000 per annum,which seems very low.
    i'm not sure the best comparison is $30,000 to nothing. a better comparison might be what it costs the city across the river to operate victoria. again, not a perfect comparison as both offer tangible and real benefits (not identical) to the city outside of the confines of the respective courses themselves. it also needs to be noted that all of the capital improvements at mayfair were paid for and maintained by the club, not the city.
    Sure, or what any golf course pays in property tax.
    Any other land use, for that much land except agriculture (that might even be higher) would be paying substatially more. What's the right number? I don't know that, but I would say it's not worth putting the Mayfair out of business.

    That was always a risk there, your share purchase into the club entitles you to nothing really since they don't own the land.

  6. #6

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    Just a cross ref link

    Congratulations, City of Edmonton and the Royal Mayfair Golf
    http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/showt...l-Mayfair-Golf

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    This is actually quite a fascinating statement from the first post. It seems to reflect a certain anti-something ideological stance.

    So this could get interesting, as opening it up to public input might bring forth quite a few other interesting positions. (Environment, tourism, labour attraction, heritage preservation, legacies, impact of immigration on tradition/culture...

    What percentage is the land relative to the entire publicly owned river valley park system?
    (I believe the park system has some private land that’s being shared by the private owners with the public.)

    Moreover what is the reasoning these days in having any such golf courses in a park system? Or solar farms, treatment plants, entertainment facilities, ski hills, rink, zoo, ski hills...

    Should it all be naturalized / restored to a natural state, should all people be restricted from using/damaging some areas of the park system to preserve it - as it’s clear that with a million people now, the demands and so the pressures on the valley are ever increasing... Maybe all private river valley lands should be expropriated to prevent owners from changing their minds about public access.

    "Now we're almost a million people in the city," said Janz. "And the idea that only a couple hundred people get private access to river valley land that's bigger than Hawrelak Park is absurd to us."
    Last edited by KC; 07-01-2019 at 08:13 PM.

  8. #8

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    Not much but fluff here but interesting,

    Royal Mayfair Golf Club - History

    History
    In 1920, four gentlemen stood on the bluffs overlooking a bend in the mighty North Saskatchewan River. They bantered back and forth about the potential they saw in the land on the southern bank and together envisioned a spectacular course: 18 pristine holes running to the north and west along the river, shrouded in the natural vegetation of the banks.

    Today, their dream is our reality. The plan those four men put to work led to the founding of the Mayfair Golf & Country Club. Since its first AGM in February 1921, that dream has grown from 28 voting members to 475 common Shareholders.
    In 1922, Mayor D. M. Duggan hit the first tee shot, and countless more have followed in a long and rich history. Over the next century, devoted individuals would maintain the passion and vision to make the Mayfair a cherished haven for the community’s committed golfers.

    In 2005, Queen Elizabeth granted the Mayfair its royal status, recognizing the club’s long history and commitment to the game.

    Today, the Royal Mayfair is the longest-standing golf club in Edmonton and is committed to the upkeep of championship playing conditions, unmatched access to the tee, and a dynamic community of members who are true to the legacy and spirit of the game.

    https://www.mayfair.ca/The_Club/History.aspx

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Not much but fluff here but interesting,

    Royal Mayfair Golf Club - History

    History
    In 1920, four gentlemen stood on the bluffs overlooking a bend in the mighty North Saskatchewan River. They bantered back and forth about the potential they saw in the land on the southern bank and together envisioned a spectacular course: 18 pristine holes running to the north and west along the river, shrouded in the natural vegetation of the banks.

    Today, their dream is our reality. The plan those four men put to work led to the founding of the Mayfair Golf & Country Club. Since its first AGM in February 1921, that dream has grown from 28 voting members to 475 common Shareholders.
    In 1922, Mayor D. M. Duggan hit the first tee shot, and countless more have followed in a long and rich history. Over the next century, devoted individuals would maintain the passion and vision to make the Mayfair a cherished haven for the community’s committed golfers.

    In 2005, Queen Elizabeth granted the Mayfair its royal status, recognizing the club’s long history and commitment to the game.

    Today, the Royal Mayfair is the longest-standing golf club in Edmonton and is committed to the upkeep of championship playing conditions, unmatched access to the tee, and a dynamic community of members who are true to the legacy and spirit of the game.

    https://www.mayfair.ca/The_Club/History.aspx
    The initial plan for the area where the golf course stands was for residential.


  10. #10

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    Wow! Think of the tax revenue potential. Development there could fund a major expansion of the valley park system many times greater than the area lost.

    I’m not about to count those lots but say you could get 6 or 700 property taxpayers down there. What? Maybe $2 to $3 million a year in tax revenues per year - $20-30 million a decade. I imagine that could finance/offset the cost of quite large valley land purchases on the city’s perimeter where the population growth has occurred and will continue to occur.

    Remember when Laurence Decor reversed the City’s takeover of valley residential. Not only did that keep population down in the river valley and close to the downtown core but it must have created a lot of jobs and grown the tax base as all those old houses were upgraded or replaced by swanky new expensive homes paying good taxes.

    That land might even help the UofA become more attractive and possibly allow it to expand further. (Housing options, institutional options, etc).

    Or all that land could serve as land for a solar farm for downtown Edmonton, maybe even with wind. Minimal line losses too! Plus in terms of fairness principles (IMBYism), it would be very appropriate to put the generation close to the users.


    This is just the average:
    “The increase means people living in an average home with an assessed value of $397,000 will pay $77 more in property tax next year. In 2017, the property tax on that home was $2,385. It will go up to $2,462 next year. Dec 7, 2017
    Edmonton property taxes to rise by 3.2 per cent in 2018 | CBC News - ...”
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmon...2018-1.4438095
    Last edited by KC; 08-01-2019 at 08:27 AM.

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    ^

    given the odds are pretty reasonable that you and i would have each bought one of those larger view lots ( ), if the city doesn’t renew the lease i think the city should write us each a cheque for $2-3 million representing their estimated savings in not having to expropriate them from us.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    The large park right next door, largely empty except for summer weekends, suggests more public park space isn't necesary there.
    this is largely incorrect. Sure, weekday usage drops a bit, as a lot of people are at work, but this park is well used all year round, and most days of the week.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    ^

    given the odds are pretty reasonable that you and i would have each bought one of those larger view lots ( ), if the city doesn’t renew the lease i think the city should write us each a cheque for $2-3 million representing their estimated savings in not having to expropriate them from us.
    I’d even be willing to split the difference with them!!!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    The large park right next door, largely empty except for summer weekends, suggests more public park space isn't necesary there.
    this is largely incorrect. Sure, weekday usage drops a bit, as a lot of people are at work, but this park is well used all year round, and most days of the week.
    It is used. It’s a stretch to say it’s well used. Which makes it nice.

    It’s maybe natural for the group above to compare the area of the private golf course to that of the park but that ignores all the other public land all around it.
    Last edited by KC; 08-01-2019 at 08:49 AM.

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    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.
    www.decl.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.
    It has also likely provided one more notable feature to the Edmonton market. Not sure if it helps attract top talent, executives, etc to the city but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has significantly added to the package. Then it also appears to have served as host to various notable national/international events. I’m not sure how that compares to public courses and other courses though.
    Last edited by KC; 08-01-2019 at 09:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.
    And based on their track record, the City of Edmonton would be a terrible steward of the land, Louise McKinney Park being a prime example.

    I also like that the trail between the Mayfair and the river has remained publicly accessible and open. Whereas many of the paths/trails elsewhere in the central area of the river valley that were closed after the 2013 flood have yet to re-open including the entire stretch between Cloverdale and the east end of the Riverside Golf Course.

    https://www.edmonton.ca/activities_p...-closures.aspx

  18. #18

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    There's no lack of river valley for this kind of thing, it's not like we're without a lot of public land that is mostly under-managed.

    That said, $35,000/year is too low of a lease. The City can and should negotiate something better.
    www.decl.org

  19. #19

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    I wonder what a annual membership is today compared to when the original lease was signed?

    I don't agree that the membership remains fully private.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I wonder what a annual membership is today compared to when the original lease was signed?

    I don't agree that the membership remains fully private.
    and others wouldn't agree with the fact that you might have a home with an extra bedroom and an unfinished basement that remain private when that lot probably only sold for a few hundred dollars at most when it was first subdivided. what does that have to do with the price of the house today and your right to continue to use it regardless of that value?

    both titles were transferred a long time ago and have arguably served the overall public interest ever since. just because the mayfair has a leasehold title, not a free hold one, doesn't mean anyone - including the city - has the right to arbitrarily extinquish it or refuse to extend it.
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  21. #21

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    I've heard the mayfair isn't keeping up with their end of the lease agreement. They were suppose to allow winter access to cross country skiers...

    I'm pretty against restricted usage in any part of our river valley, but the mayfair is the least of my concerns in that area. The two that bother me the most provide the most blocking of river valley access, that is the Edmonton Country Club and the highlands golf club.
    Last edited by Medwards; 08-01-2019 at 11:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    I wonder what a annual membership is today compared to when the original lease was signed?

    I don't agree that the membership remains fully private.
    and others wouldn't agree with the fact that you might have a home with an extra bedroom and an unfinished basement that remain private when that lot probably only sold for a few hundred dollars at most when it was first subdivided. what does that have to do with the price of the house today and your right to continue to use it regardless of that value?

    both titles were transferred a long time ago and have arguably served the overall public interest ever since. just because the mayfair has a leasehold title, not a free hold one, doesn't mean anyone - including the city - has the right to arbitrarily extinquish it or refuse to extend it.
    Pardon my ignorance but if Mayfair has leasehold title, not a free hold one, a leasehold usually has a defined term limit. Therefore it gives the holder a right to use and occupy the land and buildings for a defined period of time but does not actually own it. At the end of the term, the land is returned to the owner, that is the COE.


    I think Edmontonians should have the right going forward to find out who the 475 shareholders are.
    Last edited by Edmonton PRT; 08-01-2019 at 12:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    The large park right next door, largely empty except for summer weekends, suggests more public park space isn't necesary there.
    Perhaps not. But I'm genuinely curious how much the golf club is paying for it's lease. If the club bought the land a century or whatever ago, then this would be a different story. But given that this is public land, there needs to be some pretty good justification and reasoning as to why it's being leased to an exclusive club for a cheap rate. And for full disclosure, I'm a shareholder at the Edmonton Country Club, which does indeed own the land it sits on (it swapped or sold what was the Leg grounds and parts of Victoria golf club with the city a century ago and moved to it's present location).

    If the Mayfair is really only paying a nominal lease in the tens of thousands of dollars to the City of Edmonton for exclusive use of arguably some of the most valuable and desirable land in the City, then I think that's a scandal and should be rectified. Unless I am completely missing something. Yes, the history of the course is important and I don't think it should be closed or redeveloped. But a much more realistic lease rate should be charged.

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.


    Again, I'm an avid golfer. Saying that maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families as "stewardship" is laughable. They've stewarded it quite nicely for their exclusive use as a private golf course, but little else. Good for them I guess, but at what benefit to the rest of the citizens of the city? And I don't particularly considered golf courses "stewarded" land. They're the opposite of a natural environment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.

    This is an interesting statement and relates well to the Washington Post article I was reading about the Dunning-Kruger Effect here.

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.
    Excellent stewards of the land? How did you jump to this conclusion? They haven't followed through on their winter obligations of access to their grounds, and have done as much as possible to prevent users from using there grounds in the winter.

    Again - the royal mayfair golf course is suppose to be open to the public in the winter for the purposes of cross country skiing.

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    Also, it would appear the the Edmonton Country Club pays roughly 200k a year in property taxes to the city (ECC owns the land it resides on). In a Journal article, it was mentioned that the Mayfair pays roughly the same, of which 35k/year is the lease and the rest is property taxes. That's some sweetheart deal that the City of Edmonton is extending to the ~400 shareholders at the Mayfair. I'm extremely curious how it can be justified on it's face. Because to me, it looks demonstrably unfair to continue leasing the land to the golf club at such a low rate.

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    About 5 years ago a friend of mine was cross country skiing in Hawrelak Park and strayed onto the Mayfield Golf Course. They were approached by a rude security guard who claimed that they were damaging the greens and threatened to call police if they did not leave immediately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Again, I'm an avid golfer. Saying that maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families as "stewardship" is laughable. They've stewarded it quite nicely for their exclusive use as a private golf course, but little else. Good for them I guess, but at what benefit to the rest of the citizens of the city? And I don't particularly considered golf courses "stewarded" land. They're the opposite of a natural environment.
    One of the most well-manicured, well maintained, beautiful (although not natural) parts of our city. I cannot afford to be a member, but I certainly would like to be and this is (as mentioned above) a very nice attraction tool for those who come to our fair city.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edmonton PRT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    About 5 years ago a friend of mine was cross country skiing in Hawrelak Park and strayed onto the Mayfield Golf Course. They were approached by a rude security guard who claimed that they were damaging the greens and threatened to call police if they did not leave immediately.
    Yep. I've experienced similar. Heard EXACTLY the same that it would damage the greens. I regularly ski, snow shoe at Jackie Parker Millwoods Golf course and never a problem. They even invite use so someone is out there. But ROYAL Mayfair Golf Club is one of the snottiest places around. Its real interesting that its just lately they're telling the public to come on down and ski/snowshoe on their course. This has NEVER been encouraged there before. This is timing and I would take a cynical view of them now suddenly advocating public use of their grounds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    The large park right next door, largely empty except for summer weekends, suggests more public park space isn't necesary there.
    Perhaps not. But I'm genuinely curious how much the golf club is paying for it's lease. If the club bought the land a century or whatever ago, then this would be a different story. But given that this is public land, there needs to be some pretty good justification and reasoning as to why it's being leased to an exclusive club for a cheap rate. And for full disclosure, I'm a shareholder at the Edmonton Country Club, which does indeed own the land it sits on (it swapped or sold what was the Leg grounds and parts of Victoria golf club with the city a century ago and moved to it's present location).

    If the Mayfair is really only paying a nominal lease in the tens of thousands of dollars to the City of Edmonton for exclusive use of arguably some of the most valuable and desirable land in the City, then I think that's a scandal and should be rectified. Unless I am completely missing something. Yes, the history of the course is important and I don't think it should be closed or redeveloped. But a much more realistic lease rate should be charged.

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.


    Again, I'm an avid golfer. Saying that maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families as "stewardship" is laughable. They've stewarded it quite nicely for their exclusive use as a private golf course, but little else. Good for them I guess, but at what benefit to the rest of the citizens of the city? And I don't particularly considered golf courses "stewarded" land. They're the opposite of a natural environment.
    “maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families ”

    Connected? Can’t anyone just buy a share and pay the dues?

  32. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Also, it would appear the the Edmonton Country Club pays roughly 200k a year in property taxes to the city (ECC owns the land it resides on). In a Journal article, it was mentioned that the Mayfair pays roughly the same, of which 35k/year is the lease and the rest is property taxes. That's some sweetheart deal that the City of Edmonton is extending to the ~400 shareholders at the Mayfair. I'm extremely curious how it can be justified on it's face. Because to me, it looks demonstrably unfair to continue leasing the land to the golf club at such a low rate.
    We're talking location, location, location with this land as well. Situated in River Valley, close to U of A (WALKING DISTANCE) close to DT, etc. When the ECC moved in where they are that was a far off locale. Nothing got close to it until subdivisions moved into the area much later.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  33. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Again, I'm an avid golfer. Saying that maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families as "stewardship" is laughable. They've stewarded it quite nicely for their exclusive use as a private golf course, but little else. Good for them I guess, but at what benefit to the rest of the citizens of the city? And I don't particularly considered golf courses "stewarded" land. They're the opposite of a natural environment.
    One of the most well-manicured, well maintained, beautiful (although not natural) parts of our city. I cannot afford to be a member, but I certainly would like to be and this is (as mentioned above) a very nice attraction tool for those who come to our fair city.
    People that come to our city are even less likely to ever be able to make use of this facility than people that live here. You do know as well that manicured intensively treated golf courses are far and away not good stewardship, in many cases, most, they represent ecological blight if you are considering all aspects. Geography, erosion, intensive maintenance needs, pesticides, fertilizers and run off. All of this curiously adjacent to our River that is our drinking water supply.
    Last edited by Replacement; 08-01-2019 at 06:23 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Also, it would appear the the Edmonton Country Club pays roughly 200k a year in property taxes to the city (ECC owns the land it resides on). In a Journal article, it was mentioned that the Mayfair pays roughly the same, of which 35k/year is the lease and the rest is property taxes. That's some sweetheart deal that the City of Edmonton is extending to the ~400 shareholders at the Mayfair. I'm extremely curious how it can be justified on it's face. Because to me, it looks demonstrably unfair to continue leasing the land to the golf club at such a low rate.
    We're talking location, location, location with this land as well. Situated in River Valley, close to U of A (WALKING DISTANCE) close to DT, etc. When the ECC moved in where they are that was a far off locale. Nothing got close to it until subdivisions moved into the area much later.
    you could say the same about the mayfair when they moved in... unless positions are only valid if you put them forward?
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  35. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    however, it is listed in their mandate: https://edmontonjournal.com/news/loc...ir-golf-course


    We were exploring because none of us realized the city-owned grounds of this exclusive, private club minutes from downtown were open to the public for skiing in the winter. The sign on the gate says “Members Only.” Even city staff didn’t know it was available until I shared the news on Twitter, and it’s not listed for skiing on maps.Being open for skiing is the public benefit mandated in Mayfair’s $200,000-a-year lease agreement.
    But is it really a public benefit if no one knows?

  36. #36

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    and if the Mayfair staff threaten skiers with trespassing?
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  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Spudly View Post
    The large park right next door, largely empty except for summer weekends, suggests more public park space isn't necesary there.
    Perhaps not. But I'm genuinely curious how much the golf club is paying for it's lease. If the club bought the land a century or whatever ago, then this would be a different story. But given that this is public land, there needs to be some pretty good justification and reasoning as to why it's being leased to an exclusive club for a cheap rate. And for full disclosure, I'm a shareholder at the Edmonton Country Club, which does indeed own the land it sits on (it swapped or sold what was the Leg grounds and parts of Victoria golf club with the city a century ago and moved to it's present location).

    If the Mayfair is really only paying a nominal lease in the tens of thousands of dollars to the City of Edmonton for exclusive use of arguably some of the most valuable and desirable land in the City, then I think that's a scandal and should be rectified. Unless I am completely missing something. Yes, the history of the course is important and I don't think it should be closed or redeveloped. But a much more realistic lease rate should be charged.

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    A better deal would be fair, but the Royal Mayfair have been excellent stewards of the land.


    Again, I'm an avid golfer. Saying that maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families as "stewardship" is laughable. They've stewarded it quite nicely for their exclusive use as a private golf course, but little else. Good for them I guess, but at what benefit to the rest of the citizens of the city? And I don't particularly considered golf courses "stewarded" land. They're the opposite of a natural environment.
    “maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families ”

    Connected? Can’t anyone just buy a share and pay the dues?
    I checked the membership page and see that two current members must endorse a new member. (So I guess I was wrong.)


    https://www.mayfair.ca/Membership.aspx


    Otherwise, like any public or private facility in Edmonton, users pay and numbers are restricted. Often members and special interest groups like hockey leagues get very privileged access. (Trying to find nearby public skating in arenas can be a chore.) This place just costs more and pretty much excludes all others.




    As an aside, such member endorsements are a widespread practice in our society. (Hard for people to even get a job without knowing someone in a company.) I’m not sure if I agree it as it does reinforce networks and well connectedness over all else, such as merit.
    Last edited by KC; 09-01-2019 at 08:16 AM.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by KC
    “maintaining a plot of land as a private golf course for the exclusive use of several hundred well connected families ”

    Connected? Can’t anyone just buy a share and pay the dues?
    The "connected-ness" is a bit of a chicken and egg thing. You need to be quite wealthy to afford the share purchase, initiation fee, and ongoing green fees. People that wealthy are already connected. Joining private clubs is a way to further expand your network and/or to demonstrate how well connected you are. And round and round you go. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I have no problem with private, members only clubs. However, when the club's very existence is dependent on continuing to operate on municipally owned land leased at a very low rate, you do have to start wondering if perhaps that connected-ness has something to do with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement
    When the ECC moved in where they are that was a far off locale. Nothing got close to it until subdivisions moved into the area much later.
    And again, ECC owned the land it was initially located on, and owns the land it presently is located on. If Mayfair owned the land, then this would be a moot discussion, because the land purchase would have predated any city policy about public ownership of the flats and top of bank for the river (correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think that was even a thing until the 60's). That's also why the ECC is somewhat "grandfathered" in terms of public ownership of the top of the bank; it was built before any such policy existed and quite possibly even outside of municipal limits at the time. There isn't some universal, federal, or universal policy about public ownership of river valley lands.

    But the Mayfair doesn't own the land on which it resides. We, the taxpayers of Edmonton do. And as such, I think there should be a fully public and transparent process for any changes or renewals to their lease. And hard questions should be asked about why it's in the public's benefit or interest for a private club to have near-exclusive use of one of the most central and largest potential park areas in the city in return for a piddly 35k a year.

    Quote Originally Posted by KC
    Otherwise, like any public or private facility in Edmonton, users pay and numbers are restricted. Often members and special interest groups like hockey leagues get very privileged access. (Trying to find nearby public skating in arenas can be a chore.) This place just costs more and pretty much excludes all others.

    As an aside, such member endorsements are a widespread practice in our society. (Hard for people to even get a job without knowing someone in a company.) I’m not sure if I agree it as it does reinforce networks and well connectedness over all else, such as merit.
    I have no concerns with private, exclusive, expensive clubs. As mentioned, I'm a member of a different golf course. However, I have a problem with private, exclusive clubs that seem to have privileged access to public resources and that use their well earned connections to maintain that access and to further confer prestige on it's members. I never much liked how Northlands was structured and run either, once I found out that shares were semi-hereditary (or at least were in the past), they didn't even permit a female shareholder until the late 80's give or take, and so on. The whole thing smelled like an entitled club of well connected families using public monies and infrastructure as their own fiefdom.

    If the Mayfair was sitting on land it owned, then there wouldn't be much discussion to be had about it's continued existence. But it doesn't. And as such, the Mayfair's continued near-exclusive use of extremely valuable public resources for a nominal lease rate is something that should be discussed publicly if they want to extend or revise the terms of their lease. Simple as that.
    Last edited by Marcel Petrin; 09-01-2019 at 09:56 AM.

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    475 x $10,000 in annual dues = $4.75M plus additional initiation fees, usage fees, food, drinks, club rentals etc. Probably a $10M+ a year operation. $200K in taxes and lease is peanuts.

    The rich get such perks with the COE. I wonder if Katz is a member?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcantor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Replacement View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Also, it would appear the the Edmonton Country Club pays roughly 200k a year in property taxes to the city (ECC owns the land it resides on). In a Journal article, it was mentioned that the Mayfair pays roughly the same, of which 35k/year is the lease and the rest is property taxes. That's some sweetheart deal that the City of Edmonton is extending to the ~400 shareholders at the Mayfair. I'm extremely curious how it can be justified on it's face. Because to me, it looks demonstrably unfair to continue leasing the land to the golf club at such a low rate.
    We're talking location, location, location with this land as well. Situated in River Valley, close to U of A (WALKING DISTANCE) close to DT, etc. When the ECC moved in where they are that was a far off locale. Nothing got close to it until subdivisions moved into the area much later.
    you could say the same about the mayfair when they moved in... unless positions are only valid if you put them forward?
    I don't know how the locations are comparable to anybody. Mayfair was always closer to the Early development of this City, to the University, Leg, the DT, Strathcona. ECC was site unseen for most people unless you happened to be a canoeist doing a trip from say Devon.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

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    Looks like this has been approved.

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    Story here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmon...golf-1.5111159

    Looks like the lease was bumped from the 35k a year up to about 48k. The article says 870k over 18 years, paid in a lump sum. I would assume that does not include property taxes that they've also been paying. I'll be curious to see how the 7.5% public access to the tees actually functions. Personally I think it's still a sweetheart deal and don't quite understand why the City didn't drive a harder bargain.

  43. #43

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    The Mayfair has an area of roughly 150 acres. That bump in lease rate brings it to ~$32/acre. Quite the deal. I wonder if the city would be willing to make similar deals with others.

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    Why weren't we allowed to bid? I would have given them $60 per acre.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    The Mayfair has an area of roughly 150 acres. That bump in lease rate brings it to ~$32/acre. Quite the deal. I wonder if the city would be willing to make similar deals with others.
    $320/acre. Not $32. I think it's closer to 130 acres, so more like $374/acre/yr. ($48,333/yr / 130 acres)
    Pretty sweet deal, regardless.
    Grazing lease rates on crown land are about the same price as this from ball park calculations. And leaseholders in AB of crown land appear to be also responsible for municipal taxes, weed control, managing public and industrial users, maintenance of fencing, etc etc.

    I bet the city could get much more lease income by turning it in to a mobile home park and leasing the lots out. Not that anyone would likely recommend that.
    I think there should be at least another zero behind the lease rate.
    Last edited by nobleea; 01-05-2019 at 02:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcel Petrin View Post
    Also, it would appear the the Edmonton Country Club pays roughly 200k a year in property taxes to the city (ECC owns the land it resides on). In a Journal article, it was mentioned that the Mayfair pays roughly the same, of which 35k/year is the lease and the rest is property taxes. That's some sweetheart deal that the City of Edmonton is extending to the ~400 shareholders at the Mayfair. I'm extremely curious how it can be justified on it's face. Because to me, it looks demonstrably unfair to continue leasing the land to the golf club at such a low rate.
    I don't think this club just benefits the 400 members (cbc article says 750 playing, 200 social). Have you never been to an event there? Its used regularly by the business community for conferences and breakfast presentations (one of the best spots in the city to host an event at). Lots of weddings hosted there too. I've been there quite a few times (but not a member, couldn't afford that).

    Golf courses in general are in a tough spot at the moment - memberships are declining as the post boomer generations seem to favor other sports (like biking). I think the city had to be a bit careful here, before you know it, they would have had to maintain the land (correction from "own the land" - already do), which the members have to pay for right now (I expect not cheap). I can't imagine the outrage if it was sold and developed as housing, but yeah, that would be the "profitable" thing to do.
    Last edited by downtownone; 01-05-2019 at 02:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by downtownone
    Its used regularly by the business community for conferences and breakfast presentations (one of the best spots in the city to host an event at). Lots of weddings hosted there too. I've been there quite a few times (but not a member, couldn't afford that).


    The revenue from those activities go to the same bottom line for the club. Outside event revenue essentially subsidizes the membership's golfing. Every private and public golf course hosts outside events, tournaments and weddings for that very reason.

  48. #48

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    ^no-one is profiting though. People are paying for the upkeep of the land and the facilities to host a business/social event, or to play golf (playing members, and now the public has the ability to pay to play as well), or to socialize (non playing members). If the city had charged too much, the fees would have gone so high, that it wouldn't be economic anymore for any of those activities to happen. The grounds people, chefs, bar staff and similar would have been out of work, and the city would have some land in a river valley that nobody would let it develop (river valley alliance would have a fit if it was sold to developers). While I don't know the demographics of this club, if its like other golf clubs, I expect eventually the city will end up having to pay to maintain / will regain access to this land anyway one day (most of the members will die out over the next decade or two). If people truly think the city has been ripped off, then go join the club - if your goal is to spend time in the river valley though, you can do that for no cost next door.
    Last edited by downtownone; 01-05-2019 at 04:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kkozoriz View Post
    The Mayfair has an area of roughly 150 acres. That bump in lease rate brings it to ~$32/acre. Quite the deal. I wonder if the city would be willing to make similar deals with others.
    $320/acre. Not $32. I think it's closer to 130 acres, so more like $374/acre/yr. ($48,333/yr / 130 acres)
    Pretty sweet deal, regardless.
    Grazing lease rates on crown land are about the same price as this from ball park calculations. And leaseholders in AB of crown land appear to be also responsible for municipal taxes, weed control, managing public and industrial users, maintenance of fencing, etc etc.

    I bet the city could get much more lease income by turning it in to a mobile home park and leasing the lots out. Not that anyone would likely recommend that.
    I think there should be at least another zero behind the lease rate.
    Could have leased it out for RV storage, some heavy equipment storage, etc.
    Maybe add a shooting range on one of the open strips.

    Except it probably should all be re-naturalized. That and the rest of the valley parkland. Victoria course, Rundle, etc.
    Last edited by KC; 01-05-2019 at 09:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    Except it probably should all be re-naturalized. That and the rest of the valley parkland. Victoria course, Rundle, etc.
    About 20K in lost revenue a month to turn it back to nature? Seems like a good deal for the citizens of Edmonton.

    Maybe we should have pulled a parks canada. Here's your 30 year lease. At an obscene rate. And at the end of the lease, we get the whole golf course and buildings at no charge. You can sign it now, or turn everything back to parkland if you don't want to sign. Your choice. (This is what they did to sunshine ski village).

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    Reminds me of Radium Hot Springs Resort in Kootenay National Park. Feds determined it was in the way of a natural goat path. Purchased it for an undisclosed amount (likely a substantial amount) and demolished it. A loss for tourists but a means to justify their jobs with the parks service I suppose. Lesson to be learned, don’t set up a business on govt land lease. You may lose your business on someone’s whim.
    Last edited by Drumbones; 03-05-2019 at 09:33 AM.

  52. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbones View Post
    Reminds me of Radium Hot Springs Resort in Kootenay National Park. Feds determined it was in the way of a natural goat path. Purchased it for an undisclosed amount (likely a substantial amount) and demolished it. A loss for tourists but a means to justify their jobs with the parks service I suppose. Lesson to be learned, don’t set up a business on govt land lease. You may lose your business on someone’s whim.
    Yeah you might get someone’s goat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nobleea
    (This is what they did to sunshine ski village)


    There's a ton of backstory to that though. The family that owns/operates Sunshine has long had a contentious relationship with Parks, their own staff, and basically anyone else they cross paths with is my understanding. Totally unrelated, but this is one of many examples over the years:
    https://skitheworld.com/2011/02/suns...rt-management/

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