Stonebridge homeowners pan developer's plan for golf course

Hundreds of people who live near the Stonebridge Golf Course and Country Club in Barrhaven packed into a room to speak against a developer's proposal to build nearly 160 homes on the property.

Mattamy proposing 158 homes on part of the Stonebridge Golf Course and Country Club in Barrhaven

Jay McLean, president of the Stonebridge Community Association, says residents will put pressure on local politicians to stop the proposed development of the Stonebridge Golf Club. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Residents packed into the Stonebridge Golf Course and Country Club conference room in Barrhaven Wednesday night to send Mattamy Homes a message: leave the greens alone.

Mattamy organized the meeting, which included golf course architect Ted Baker, to explain how it would rearrange the course off Longfields Drive, shortening holes to accommodate the construction of 158 homes.

However, Stonebridge residents are concerned about what that would mean for the future of the community, which was built around the golf course.

"This looks like it may be the first step in a longer-term plan to build over the entire course. They weren't able to answer any questions about that this evening," said Jay McLean, president of the Stonebridge Community Association.

"People have made investments in this community and this is threatening those investments at the heart of this community."

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Residents grill Kevin Murphy, the director of land development at Mattamy Homes, on whether there's a plan to fully develop the Stonebridge Golf Course in the future.

Shortening the holes would move Stonebridge to a lower class of golf course, from championship to executive.

McLean said he worries that would hamper its profitability and make it more vulnerable to development.

Money back?

Some people expressed concerns about the premiums they paid to have properties that bordered the golf course when they first moved to the area — asking whether Mattamy would be paying them back.

"We're so early in this process that we aren't going into specifics on current individuals who have contracts with us," said Kevin Murphy, director of land development at Mattamy Homes.

Kevin Murphy, director of land development at Mattamy Homes, says the developer is looking to find ways to address community concerns. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Murphy was repeatedly asked to confirm whether or not this was part of a longer-term plan to develop the entire golf course.

"Right now, this development is on the table as we've laid it out — 160 homes with [an] 18-hole golf course," he said. 

"If there's any future changes to that, we absolutely will bring it back and solicit feedback, again, from any impacted stakeholders."

Murphy said the meeting was not required by law this early in the zoning application process and that Mattamy was expecting "emotional" feedback.

Councillors haven't taken sides

The section of the golf course proposed for development is in Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt's ward.

He attended the meeting, but was among the group that had to stand on the outside patio because the conference room was full.

The councillor with a background in the golf industry said he hasn't made a decision on the proposal, though added he's sensitive to people who decided to live in the community because of the golf course.

The proposed Stonebridge Golf Course development would be in Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt's ward. It also borders Barrhaven and Gloucester-South Nepean, represented by Jan Harder and Michael Qaqish, respectively. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Michael Qaqish was also on the golf club patio during the meeting. His ward includes residents in Stonebridge.

"People obviously aren't happy, the parking lot's full. I think it sets a precedent if we start approving application like this for residents who pay a premium to live in a golf course community," he said. 

"I have my concerns, I haven't made my final decision yet."

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder, chair of the planning committee, also has residents affected by the proposal.

She attended the meeting and told CBC News in a statement she has not taken a position on the proposal.

Mattamy's plan is to take the highlighted area in the southeast corner of the golf course and build homes on it. (Mattamy Homes)