The matter of housing and golf courses, which I questioned the number of ones we have last week, encouraged at least three really interesting answers,mostly disagreeing with me! Here they are:
1. From Chris Kissling:
Golf courses are open space. They contribute to welfare and wellbeing, the more so when public access is possible at low cost and membership is not exclusive to citizens who fit a particular social profile.
Land for housing has for Christchurch and other NZ urban areas, pushed hard for rezoning from rural to urban and in the process removed precious top soil from agricultural use.
It has resulted in urban sprawl at low densities compounding the difficulties of providing utilities.
It has threatened the 24/7 airport operations which are vital for international flights that need to use either AKL or CHC for their alternates.
Perhaps that is another excuse for developing another large airport at Tarras in Central Otago?
I would rather see some golf course land repurposed into public open space for multi purpose recreational use than covered with more soulless subdivision schemes for housing.
Golf clubs that foster young persons into this very healthy pastime and encourage old timers to keep walking would have the most secure insurance against being sold off for housing.
Urban expansion has to be up rather than out and at greater densities in a way that encourages walking and public transport as a workable mobility option.
For Christchurch the north facing slopes around Lyttelton Harbour, if used for settlement that is served by high quality public transport, would be a very attractive option for meeting the demand for housing. The land well above likely sea level rise would suit and the viewscapes are superb. Bore another tunnel for public transport and build a cross harbour causeway and that axis for city expansion will boom in a microclimate far nicer than New Brighton.
To conclude, converting golf courses is a much inferior solution to acquire land for housing compared with using the flanks of Mt Herbert for expanding Christchurch. Just compare with what happened in North Vancouver when the bridge was built. It is all doable under a single local government entity. That part of the future city can also have golf courses!
2. From Peter Davey:
We all have short memories to join Rawhiti and Avondale and use their land for housing and building a new golf course on red zone was put forward and was rejected soundly.
Also one reason to remove trees on Shirley was safety and health a member was playing a short beside a tree which split open minutes later it would have been fatal
3. From Rod Cameron:
They are full on weekends, and it is a sport that has many virtues. I think our open spaces are vital and especially when they can be used variously. Aside: I think the people enjoying themselves/week/ha for golf courses would be well above suburban parks, even those with thugby fields.
I see our big deficit in medium density housing, which should logically be at existing suburban ‘villages’.
I know it is not popular to quote Australia in NZ, but the re-development of old villages in Sydney and Melbourne over the last 50 years has much to commend it and much we can learn from.
We could easily house 500,000 people within existing Christchurch boundaries with discrete usage of medium density housing, improving many aspects of the city in the process.
‘Leave our green spaces alone!’