Brampton city council has voted in favour of purchasing and converting an existing golf clubhouse into a new seniors' facility and recreation centre in a deal critics say lacked transparency.
The plan to purchase and renovate the Riverstone golf club in the city's east end was approved Wednesday night and is projected to cost $11.6 million — $9 million for the land and $2.6 million to renovate the location and bring it up to city standards.
Coun. Pat Fortini voted against the deal and feels residents weren't properly informed of the purchase.
"The area should have been notified before we did the sale of this agreement ... not just go ahead and do everything without the residents knowing anything," he told CBC Toronto.
Mandeep Grewal, one of those residents, has been living in a house behind Riverstone for five years and says "the sale caught everyone off guard.
"No one really knew what was happening," he told CBC Toronto. "I think there's been extremely limited transparency."
Grewal says no one from the city approached him about the purchase, and he would have preferred a town hall to discuss the pros and cons.
"We haven't had any communication at our property over here, and we literally look right over at the golf and country club," he said.
Coun. Elain Moore, who voted in favour of the project, says the deal was approved "in camera" — or behind closed doors — to protect contract details until it was signed.
She also says the purchase makes logistical and financial sense.
"We don't have land allocated in this part of the city for a recreation facility," she told CBC Toronto, adding the plan to buy the property first stemmed from the city identifying a need for a recreation centre and senior facility in the east end.
Moore says she was told by city staff that new construction would cost roughly $16 million, not including the cost of land, and that it would be several years before the process is complete.
"This community wouldn't see any senior programming or a facility for at least, they say, five years. I'd say conservatively 10 to 15 years," she said.
Moore says the deal means facilities could be open by as early as January 2019.