A company that owns the Glen Abbey Golf Club in the heart of Oakville, Ont., has notified the town that it will file an application to remove and demolish the famed golf course on the lands it owns.
ClubLink has been working for years to win approval to build 3,000 homes as well as park land, office and residential buildings on the site that stretches some 80 hectares.
The letter to the town clerk written by a lawyer for ClubLink — which owns and operates the course off Dorval Drive — comes after Oakville city council voted unanimously to designate the site a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act.
In its letter, ClubLink notified the town clerk that it will not appeal the proposed heritage designation, which the Oakville town council said that it would seek at its Aug. 21 meeting.
But ClubLink said it will proceed with an application under Section 34 of the Ontario Heritage Act to remove and demolish the golf course and all buildings on the lands it owns other than those that are part of its redevelopment plans.
In a news release, ClubLink CEO and chairman Rai Sahi said the company disagrees with the proposed heritage designation because it is "extremely broad and overreaching" and it believes the town cannot force the the company to operate the course in perpetuity.
"The town simply cannot use the Heritage Act to mandate land use," Sahi said. "That's simply not how the Ontario Heritage Act works."
Redevelopment proposal to broaden public access: company
Buildings that are proposed to remain include the RayDor Estate House, leased to Golf Canada for offices and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Stables, which are used as maintenance facilities and are proposed to form part of a village market that will be built.
ClubLink said the removal and demolition of the golf course will enable the lands to be renaturalized and will be dedicated to public use.
"This would provide an opportunity for all members of the community to enjoy these lands and allow the town to establish an important publicly accessible connection within the valley both north and south of the lands."
According to the news release, the only residents able to enjoy the Glen Abbey site currently are ClubLink members and others who pay to play golf there, along with people who participate in the Canadian Open for the one week in the years it is hosted there.
ClubLink said its redevelopment proposal will ensure the public has permanent access to the site.
"This is an incredible opportunity and an enormous public benefit for the people of Oakville and surrounding regions," Sahi said.
Glen Abbey considered a crown jewel of golf in Canada
Glen Abbey, which was designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1977, is considered one of the crown jewels of the sport in Canada.
It has hosted the Canadian Open 29 times — more than any other course in Canada — and is slated to host the open again in 2018.
ClubLink's land-use proposal will be debated at the town council's next planning and development meeting on Tuesday.