Golf course owner takes 1st swing at Kanata redevelopment
Battle brewing over ClubLink's plans for Kanata Golf and Country Club
The owner of the Kanata Golf and Country Club has officially submitted plans to redevelop the 71-hectare course that weaves through Kanata, despite months of backlash from longtime neighbours.
ClubLink, together with local developers Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes, is proposing turning half of the golf course into housing.
Another 20 per cent would be roads, six per cent parks and 19 per cent storm water ponds or open spaces.
"We are pleased to share our conceptual plans for an exciting new neighbourhood that will enhance the use of this significant piece of land inside Ottawa's urban boundary," said Robert Visentin, ClubLink's senior vice-president of investments, in a news release.
Because fewer people are playing golf while the cost of operating courses keeps rising, the redevelopment proposal puts the land to better use, the company said — the same rationale it offered last winter when it first shocked nearby residents with its plans.
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The proposal calls for 1,500 new homes — 500 each of single-family homes, townhouses and apartments — as well as some kind of buffer between those and existing homes.
"Maximizing public access to green space has been a critical design principle in our planning," said Steve Grandmont, chief operating officer of Richcraft Homes.
At 27 per cent, that's more than typical housing developments, Visentin told CBC News.
Community readying for fight
Kanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds shared the news "with great frustration" on social media.
She has been holding public meetings with residents over the past year, and said she dreaded the day the companies would submit a development application to the city's planning department.
The day I have been dreading has arrived. I am extremely frustrated to learn that ClubLink has moved forward and submitted a planning application for the Kanata Golf & Country Club. More details: <a href="https://t.co/rSGQT3e5Fx">https://t.co/rSGQT3e5Fx</a>. I will continue to provide updates as I have them.—@JennaSudds
The City of Ottawa has already said it would fight the golf course owner in court if need be to uphold a legal agreement made in 1981 by the former City of Kanata.
In the city's view, that deal requires ClubLink to try to find another owner willing to operate the course, or give the course to the city. Only if the city declined to operate the land as a golf course could ClubLink redevelop it.
Clublink has had its own lawyers review that Kanata agreement.
"Our position is it's not a legal agreement and that's why we've pushed ahead," Visentin told CBC.
Neighbours in Beaverbrook and Kanata Lakes, however, have formed a non-profit coalition to raise money and get ready for the city's fight.
"ClubLink and its partners Minto and Richcraft have put the ball in play today," said chair Barbara Ramsay in a statement. "The Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition expects the city to quickly move a defence of the 40 per cent agreement to the courts and call the ball where it lies … out of bounds."
While ClubLink moves ahead with its plans in Kanata, a similar story is unfolding in Barrhaven.
Residents around the Stonebridge Golf Club are expected to receive mail-in ballots to vote on whether to pay a levy and buy the course from Mattamy Homes once city council allows the vote to proceed.