Re: ‘Beautiful future’ proposed for site of golf course” (Gazette, April 24)

Meadowbrook is an 18-hole golf course completed after the Second World War. It was originally a private course for CP employees, but in 1970 was made a public course for all to enjoy. The front nine is in Lachine, the back nine in Côte St-Luc. The land is currently owned by Groupe Pacific and their intention is to turn it into a $150 million real estate bonanza.

Fortunately, the demand is not there because of market forces, the economy and geography. Côte St-Luc took has long realized Meadowbrook is a precious green space and has zoned it as a golf course. Bravo! Lachine is guided by the all-mighty dollar and has not closed the door to real estate. Shame! The Meadowbrook Golf Club leases the land on a seasonal basis and runs the course from spring to fall.

Most Montrealers agree Meadowbrook is a jewel that must be preserved. Building houses and condos is about the last thing that should be done, nor is there a need. For a landowner to even contemplate this option is an affront to our fragile ecology, and a disservice to future generations.

A recent article in the Gazette described plans to turn the golf course into a nature park. This would of course be paid for by governments whose debts are in the billions, and whose infrastructure is literally crumbling. The island of Montreal has many nature parks. Mount Royal, Cap St. Jacques, Angrignon, Lafontaine and the Botanical Gardens are some of the larger ones, with many smaller parks in every borough and suburb. As well, off-island there are many more beautiful parks only a short drive away. Do we really need another one at Meadowbrook, and is it worth spending millions of taxpayer dollars to build?

What’s wrong with keeping Meadowbrook as a golf course? The number of golf courses on the island has been decreasing steadily over the past 30 years, with only a handful left. Of recent, Dorval has been cut in half and the Challenger has disappeared. Per capita, Montreal probably has the lowest number of public golf courses of any large Canadian city. This is nothing to brag about for a city that prides itself on sport and recreation, nor for a population whose obesity rate is 25 per cent (BMI over 29) and diabetes rate 8 per cent, and both climbing. Golf courses are good for body and soul, and the environment.

As a golf course, Meadowbrook has seen better days. The course needs improvement and the clubhouse is barely hanging on. The Meadowbrook Golf Club is reluctant to invest the big bucks because it never knows its fate the following year. This cycle of neglect must be stopped.

Meadowbrook needs a new perennial vision of recreation, sport and health promotion. The golf course should remain, but much more can be done over the four seasons. Cross-country skiing, skating, fitness, theatre, bike paths and nature trails can all be worked into the fabric of Meadowbrook. Place for social activities and gatherings can be found, and weddings could be celebrated on a refreshing green space. A train station could be built, and the STM could stop there, too. The sky’s the limit for Meadowbrook, as long as government decides real estate will never be built. Let’s get Montreal and Quebec to make this commitment so that a great future can begin.

Norman Sabin

N.D.G.

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In my opinion:

An excellent letter by Norm Sabin.  He presents a cogent and practical solution that benefits more than just golfers. The important element is to have the certainty that Meadowbrook will indeed be preserved as green space, as we have done on the Cote Saint-Luc side by zoning it golf course, long ago.