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New housing to replace Fort Erie golf course

Rio Vista Golf Course

A historic golf course in Fort Erie may soon be replaced by a massive mixed-use housing development with nearly 800 housing units, from single homes to apartment buildings.

This is the Rio Vista course, once 18 holes and now nine and buffeted by the aging demographic of golfers. New owners want to close the course along historic Frenchman's Creek and put in 769 dwelling units over 36 blocks.

Mayor Wayne Redekop says much of the land would remain undeveloped because it is natural heritage or along the creek. The mayor says the project is attractive because it includes townhouses and apartment buildings besides single-family homes and limits urban sprawl.

"The government doesn't want municipalities expanding their urban boundaries because that requires an expansion - an extension of services like water trunk mains, sewer trunk mains, roads, public transit routes - and so what they are trying to do is get municipalities to stay within their urban boundaries," says Redekop. "We're fortunate in Fort Erie because we have a fairly large inventory of land."  

Redekop says if this project is allowed, that would mean some residents could move from homes requiring lots of daily maintenance to homes which do not. He says it also would open up houses for young people who are the future of the town.

"We're trying to accommodate a wide range of individuals who want to live here, including young people with families which we're very much interested in attracting to our community because that will be the future of our community," he says.

Redekop says the province is considering increasing mandatory density and that is not going over well with communities outside the high-density Greater Toronto Area.

"They're about to try to move to 80 people, that is, they are trying to make it even more intense," he says. "They are getting some blowback from most municipalities outside the GTA because it's not in sync with our history, our heritage and it's not what people want that live in our community."

Credit Google Maps

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.