Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is Pacific Spirit Park Really Safe?


Apparently, according to someone who was there, British Columbia's Premier Gordon Campbell will not swap parkland for fairways on the Vancouver's far-western edge.

It's all detailed in this very solid yet succinct piece by Ian Bailey in yesterday's Globe and Mail:

VANCOUVER — Premier Gordon Campbell says his government will take an extra three months to finalize a deal to cede the University Golf Club in his riding to the urban Musqueam band, according to a participant at the Premier's first meeting with community representatives on the issue.

The deal had been expected to conclude this month, but the Premier told participants at the Friday gathering in his constituency office that the government hopes to resolve it by the end of December.

"It looks like it's just a matter of working on the fine points, but it seems to me it's pretty much a done deal, that the ownership of the golf course is going to be transferred," said Bob Kasting, president of the University Endowment Lands Community Advisory Council, who attended the hour-long meeting at the Premier's invitation.

Mr. Kasting said two other community participants and former Vancouver-Quadra MP Stephen Owen, now an external relations vice-president at the University of British Columbia, were present.

The issue has spurred petitions, angry meetings and even a poll to counter the transfer of the 48-hectare course in Mr. Campbell's Vancouver-Point Grey riding.

Mr. Kasting also said Mr. Campbell flatly rejected the idea of preserving the golf course and giving the Musqueam land elsewhere such as in Pacific Spirit Park.

Now assuming that Mr. Kasting's comments accurately reflect the Premier's statements, and we have no reason to believe that they do not, it is still important to remember that, as Rafe Mair likes to say, six months is an eternity in politics.

Which means that three months is at least a lifetime.

Or, put another way, if you have the time, the money and the juice, you can play a whole lotta golf and do whole lotta political wheeling' and dealing in ninety days.

Which is just the way Mr. Marty Zlotnik, who is one of the very fine folks Westside folks with a love of golf and considerable juice, views Mr. Campbell's sudden 'delay':

Mr. Zlotnik said earlier this week that the delay in resolving the issue could be good news for opponents of the plan.

"Any kind of delay gives the Save the Course group a tremendous opportunity to build public support," he said, adding that a groundswell of opposition could make Mr. Campbell reconsider the alternative site.

"Maybe public pressure will make [this option] available," he said.

Public pressure?

To destroy a park to save a golf course?

Well, maybe in the grey poupon and creme-filled world that is Point Grey.

But in the rest of the real world, well, we're not so sure.


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