Comment 39793

By Gofer Not Golfer (anonymous) | Posted April 14, 2010 at 13:08:55

1) I don't golf. Just doesn't appeal. But that may explain why the only time I've ever been worried about being hit by a golfball was when someone started wacking them my way from the park that's on the other side of an eight-foot fence at the foot of my backyard. I was plenty concerned, but I still have little expectation that a fence will protect me from malicious random lunacy. I decided to spend less time in my backyard.

2) I ride a bike. I often ride it downtown along the radial trail that passes through Chedoke golf course, and doing so has made me realize what an asset this open space is for the city. Though I see more hikers, bikers and mountain stair-climbers at the clubhouse than I do golfers, whenever I pass by, I am very pleased this open property has been maintained as a golf course. I can share.

At the clubhouse I sometimes continue down the trail east into the city centre, and sometimes I follow the road down to Aberdeen and into Westdale. I've never seen the parking lot behind the clubhouse more than half full. I've never been passed by more than two cars (in both directions) on the road to Aberdeen. I don't actually see the need for a separate biking trail through the property than the two that are there already. At most, there might, eventually, be a need to widen the roadway down to Aberdeen: a real bike/pedestrian/skate-board/wheel chair lane. I could use a similar widening along Aberdeen and the bridge over the 403 to the west end rail trail, and also down Longwood Road. Something more substantial than a painted line and a narrow piece of asphalt to be sure, but, speaking just for myself, I don't currently see the need for a separate trail. I would like to see a trail down the Chedoke Valley linking to the waterfront, however, as an alternative to Longwood Road. It should be a nicer trip. Anyway, I digress. And yes, it's happenned before.

3) I like to go to Montreal, where people make a lot of use of a large, central open space known as Mount Royal. Along a well-used road that bisects the mountain is a large parking lot where people stop their cars and get out to hike the trails, enjoy a pond/skating rink, ride bikes, skateboard etc. Some hike and bike to get there. It's a popular spot. There's also an old administrative building that houses a small outdoor cafe on one side. The twenty-plus seats are usually full anytime I've been there, though the menu and the winelist are pretty small. It seems to be a popular place for families and couples to relax and enjoy some good, inexpensive food while enjoying the sunshine. Others, I suppose, pack picnic lunches or move off the mountain to eat, but my point is that the place is a small business success that serves people who are there and even attracts a few to the location. I think of this place whenever I'm near the Chedoke Golf Course clubhouse.

I've only gone into the clubhouse coffee shop once. Staff was pleasant, only one counter person. Though the selection was bigger, I think, than that at the Montreal cafe, it was much sadder and not significantly cheaper in my estimation. If I want a hotdog I can do better in a Canadian Tire parking lot, I think. Only one other table seated people: golfers sipping post-round beers if I had to make a guess. Others came in, took a look and left, because the room was dark and spare. Decore consisted mostly of a big-screen TV. Beyond a row of out-dated windows, and down a short but dark stairwell was an unfurnished, paving-stone patio. No patio table service, though this spring I did see a couple of guys sitting on lawn chairs, sipping something as I headed down to Westdale. There's a really great view of the city from this big, mostly unused patio, and some possibility that people would use it if it were made more inviting. There's a lot of foot and bike traffic on the radial trail and the mountain steps just a few feet away.

My question is, when talk about the need for local economic development turns to building infrastructure, how does it so often end up discussing the merits of eight-foot chain link fences? Why is there not a single word about how to attract a local restauranteur to develop the Chedoke club-house to realize its potential to make a few bucks and employ a few more people than it does now? I know that ten or twenty part-time employees don't pay the same taxes as the hundreds who are soon to be unemployed at the Siemens plant, but improving these facilities is something we CAN do that has some probability of success, given the number of people who like being at this location already. And who knows, maybe, if there were a decent web site promoting the joys of this location, it might be a small but important cog in a bigger local tourist industry, one that might employ even more people who would then pay more local taxes to pay for those widened bike lanes I'd like to ride on.

4) Well, probably not. I've probably missed something obvious. Some pecular Hamilton reason why this cannot be done.

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