Ottawa

Stonebridge residents skeptical about golf course's future

A plan to build homes on the Stonebridge Golf and Country Club was pulled, but people living nearby don't have much faith in its long-term future.

Mattamy Homes withdrew its plans for development following community uproar

Stonebridge resident Bob Keith says his neighbours are skeptical of the city-facilitated meeting about a golf course owned by developer Mattamy Homes. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

People who live near the Stonebridge Golf and Country Club in south Ottawa came out in droves Thursday night to express their skepticism about the future of the golf course.

The meeting on Thursday night attracted more than 250 people to a city-facilitated discussion in the wake of a contentious proposal for development.

Mattamy Homes withdrew its original application to rezone and subdivide the Barrhaven golf course in July.

The developer's plan to rearrange and shorten the course off Longfields Drive to build 158 homes on its property was met with opposition from some residents at a June 2018 meeting.

Bob Keith lives near the golf course on Sandgate Ridge and golfs there regularly.

His discussion group questioned the purpose of the meeting.

"We're wondering whether or not Mattamy is trying to gather information from us in order that we show our poker hand, so to speak, and give them ideas on how to move forward in the future," he said. 

"For most of us, we don't want to see any building on the golf course. We don't see a need for facilitation at all."

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

Sarah Yorke paid a premium to live on a property that backs onto the golf course. She said it was a choice to have peaceful surroundings.

"I don't want my money back, I want Stonebridge to remain what it is," she said in the meeting to a round of applause.

"Once you've opened the door to the possibility of developing on the golf course, everything is fair game."

Nadine Foster, whose home backs on the the 12th hole, said the discussion needs to be about how Ottawa's suburbs have grown.

"Multi-family units are being thrown up on every patch of grass in the neighbourhood and the infrastructure's not supporting it. The congestion's ridiculous," she said.

"The city needs a bigger conversation about how the neighbourhood is growing and what we can do about it, because we're losing all our public spaces. Pitting home owners against a developer is not the solution here."

'Reset' for consultation

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder, chair of the city's planning committee, described the meeting as a chance to hit the "reset" button after the response to the previous proposal.

Kevin O'Shea, division president for Mattamy Homes Ottawa, attended the meeting — though the company didn't make a presentation.

​ "We committed to the city that we'd engage in a mediation process and that's what tonight's about," he told CBC News.

"This year we're going to have golf on that golf course. What happens after that, we're just committed to engaging in this process for the time being."

Kevin O'Shea, division president for Mattamy Homes in Ottawa, says the company would be bound by a legal agreement to not develop more of the golf course. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Jay McLean, president of the Stonebridge Community Association, said the community association plans to participate in the facilitated discussion, but wants more information about the parameters — specifically that not developing the golf course would be an option.

Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Carol Anne Meehan said she stands by her election promise to protect the golf course, though it may be difficult.

A recent proposal for a golf course development in Kanata has brought up a 38-year-old agreement to protect greenspace that might see the city step in.

"We don't have the same agreement," Meehan said.

"The land quite frankly belongs to Mattamy. What they want to do with it is Mattamy's choice."

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