City of Calgary-owned golf courses retain greener rides

Golf carts at Confederation Park Golf Course in Calgary on Tuesday, September 13, 2022. ARYN TOOMBS/FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

District 14 Com. This summer, Peter Demong played a few rounds of golf on city-owned courses.

He told his fellow councilors at last week’s city council meeting that the experiences at Lakeview, Lake McCall, Confederation Park and Shaganappi were great.

Then he attempted a tricky chip trick with the city administrator.

“When did we plan, or what is the process we plan to convert our golf carts from gasoline to electric? Or is it on the game plan at some point?” asked Demong.

Currently, the City of Calgary leases up to 240 gas-powered golf carts per year for its courses. They do not own golf carts.

There are seven city-owned golf courses at five different locations in Calgary.

“The city has explored the use of electric golf carts,” the city wrote in an email response.

“Unfortunately, there are some barriers to implementing electric golf carts, the most important of which is capital investment.”

Recently, the City of Winnipeg, which has three municipal routes, decided to switch to electric carts. They are looking for up to 120 electric carts to meet their needs.

According to an article in the Winnipeg Free Press, this city expected to reduce greenhouse gases by 45 to 50 tonnes a year as a result of the change. Plus, they estimated they would save up to $30,000 on energy costs.

They had to spend around $50,000 to upgrade the storage facilities. This will include wall chargers. They are also considering greening their maintenance equipment by adding hybrid mowers.

Capital cost kept Calgary idea raw

As City said, the capital cost kept a potential switch on the first tee.

The City’s golf courses have been scrutinized for 12 years. There have been five reviews of golf course operations since 2014 and the courses have rarely been profitable. The pandemic has changed the fortunes of municipal courts. With a new plan, they are well on their way to breaking even overall.

That means greener upgrades could be on the way.

“The city’s commitment to climate action and implementation of the green fleet strategy includes further exploration of alternative fuels for our city fleet,” the city said.

While declaring a climate emergency was one of Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s first major moves when he was elected last October. Calgary now has a climate strategy, but there has not yet been any substantial implementation of it. It can be a smaller, more targeted way to achieve climate goals

“Electric scooters, carts and golf bikes are on our radar as potential opportunities for the 2026 golf season to provide a better user experience for citizens, while balancing costs and minimizing environmental impact” , the city said.

Michael C. Ford