University buys new property for development

The University of Manitoba campus is set to expand as it takes over possession of the Southwood Golf Course property next month.

The property, located at 101 Markham Rd., is adjacent to the Fort Garry campus. The Southwood Golf Course moved to 80 Rue des Ruines du Monastere in St. Norbert at the end of July and had a grand opening at its new location on August 19.

Alan Simms, assistant vice-president (administration), said that the current Fort Garry campus consists of river lots that run east to west, but the new property allows the university to grow on a north and south axis as well.

“The university has a wonderful opportunity to maximize development potential that will come with the new $170 million football stadium beside the golf course lands and to fully create a live, work, learn and play campus over the long term,” said Simms.

The sale was approved in 2007, and the transaction was the subject of a purchase agreement between the two institutions dated January 2008.
“The acquisition was funded from a trust fund established in the 1970s to acquire land,” Simms explained.

Simms said that the offices of the vice-president (administration) and the president, as well as external legal counsel helped to arrange the transaction, with the Board of Governors approving the acquisition.

Simms said that the university will begin a planning process “presently” to decide how to develop the property. He said he believes that the private sector will play a role in the development of the property.

“The university has an opportunity to develop the Southwood lands in a transformational and exciting way, with tremendous benefit to our community, our neighbourhood and to the City of Winnipeg,” said Simms.

Tom Kinsman, the Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association head golf professional for Southwood Golf and Country Club, explained that they decided to switch locations because they were looking at expensive upgrades for the course and buildings.

“The golf course was becoming too short to be attractive to today’s golfer,” he said.

Kinsman said that Southwood decided to sell to the university so that the course could remain playable to the club members during the construction of the new course. He added that if they had sold to a developer they would have likely incurred large subdivision costs and would have had to vacate the land immediately.

“I like to think this was a win-win for both Southwood and the University of Manitoba,” Kinsman said.

The university created a Campus Planning Office (CPO) in July that will be responsible for managing the planning process.

“The university has no current time table to develop the property,” said Michelle Richard, the director of the CPO.

She said the university needs to obtain required approvals from the city and go through a comprehensive planning process before any development can occur.

Richard said a large aspect of the planning process will be to consult with the university community, nearby neighborhoods and the broader community on how to achieve balanced development.

“There is a commitment to an open, transparent and accountable engagement process,” she said.

The new CPO will also work on developing residential and mixed land use involving the Fort Garry campus, Bannatyne campus, and SmartPark.