Eckville golf course revamp goes before Lacombe County council

Golf course closed since 2009 would be converted to 12 holes and large RV park added

In golfing terms, Last Hill Golf Course’s foray into the planning approval process has landed in the fairway.

On Thursday, Lacombe County council approved first reading of bylaw changes to rezone 153 acres near Eckville to recreation from agriculture.

The change is being made as part of a project to reshape the former 18-hole course into a 12-hole version and driving range while using the freed-up space to put in 100 sites for RVs. There is room to expand to 160 sites.

A public open house was held last month that attracted about 30 members of the public and a pair of county councillors.

“Members of the public were, in general, very happy with the development,” senior planner Anita O’Driscoll told council.

Since the new development will boost traffic on Range Road 3-4 the developers will be required to pave a section leading north.

A water licence has already been issued to serve the development.

Coun. Dana Kreil suggested that a trail linking Last Hill to nearby Eckville could be popular with area residents.

County manager of planning services Dale Freitag said a trail could be raised as a possible addition if the project gets to the development agreement stage. The county routinely discusses what sorts of amenities — such as playgrounds — would be suitable for new developments.

Coun. Rod McDermand cautioned to not put so many demands on developers that it affects the feasibility of the project.

McDermand said he would not want to see a trail become a “tipping point.”

Kreil agreed that a trail should not be a requirement for approval of the project.

“I certainly wouldn’t hold up the project over a trail,” she said.

Last Hill owner Bill MacLean recently told the Red Deer Advocate that significant work lies ahead before the golf course could be ready, likely not before spring 2019.

The course has been abandoned since 2009. Fairways need to be mowed, bunkers rebuilt, greens regrown and irrigation systems repaired.

A public hearing before second reading on the rezoning bylaw is set for July 6 at Lacombe County council chambers.

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