There would be no need for further land development deals – at least not anytime soon.
That’s was the message to Delta council which held a workshop at municipal hall on Monday to hear from the proponents behind the application to build a 22-unit townhouse development on land fronting the Beach Grove Golf Club.
The golf club is proposing to subdivide a portion of the course lands in the 5700-block of 16th Avenue in Tsawwassen for purchase and development by the developer, and the sale of the land is contingent on the townhouse application being approved.
The remainder of the property would continue to be a part of the golf course.
Noting there’s been a noticeable uptick in interest in golf and new memberships since COVID-19, golf club past president Larry Wobick explained how the facility and its 900 members are not just part of the social fabric of the community, they are the community.
He explained how the golf club is currently carrying a $325,000 annual payment on a multi-million dollar mortgage taken out years earlier for needed upgrades and how erasing that debt would ensure the long-term financial picture remains positive with good fiscal management.
The workshop was also chance to ask questions from council and one of the first posed was whether alternatives were explored instead of a land deal, including making the course public.
Wobick answered the club has already been reducing expenditures and has explored alternatives, but the course is already one of the most affordable in the Lower Mainland, even on par with some public courses.
Asked if another proposal may be coming along in a few years to remove more land from the course, he replied they don’t see that happening with the elimination of their debt combined with an apparent renewal in interest in their sport.
The solution being proposed could be for at least 25-to-35 years, he added.
“At this particular point in time we’re currently managing our debt. Are we going broke tomorrow? Absolutely not. But, long-term, if we do not get rid of that mortgage we will, in fact, encounter some hardship down the road without retiring that mortgage. It’s not dissimilar to someone retiring. You wouldn’t want to retire on a retirement income with a huge mortgage, it wouldn’t be doable. We need to retire that debt in order to be competitive,” said Wobick.
Forty-four residential parking spaces are proposed within double-car garages. In addition, six visitor parking stalls are proposed along the 16th Avenue frontage.
To have little impact on play at the course, the proposed three-storey development would consist of units ranging between 2,234 square feet to 2,906 square feet.
The development site currently contains over 40 trees and pathways associated with the golf course and a “large majority” of the existing trees are proposed to be removed, but trees that would be removed are to be replaced at the course.
Applicant Dean Bauck the units would provide more housing variety for downsizers and retired empty nesters who don’t need a large home.
“This will also bring benefits to the community, both tangible and intangible to the community. We have taken an approach that is moderate and lower density in design and we have done our best to adhere to the current development parameters,” he said.
Architect Wesley Wollin also explained some of the details of the application, noting the development would be in a “very optimal” location and the units would still be less expensive than most single-family detached homes in the area.
The proposed development, which has undergone some revisions since a public information meeting four months ago, still needs to go back to council for consideration of first and second reading.
It would require amendments to the Metro Vancouver Regional Growth Strategy, Official Community Plan and rezoning.
It would also have to go through a public hearing process.
Community planning director Marcy Sangret said “it’s still early days” for the application which has received a variety of public feedback.
An application had originally been submitted a couple of years ago to develop 10 single-family homes on the site but that was later changed to townhouses.
Coun. Dylan Kruger said Delta doesn’t need $2 million golf course houses but does need equitable housing that meets the needs of everyone in the community.
Coun. Bruce McDonald noted the application looks like a good proposal but there will be residents who will be opposed to any “wall of houses” fronting the road. He also wondered if this would be the last ever development proposal from the club.
The golf club notes nearly 80 per cent of its membership live in the community and many work and own their own businesses in Delta.