Developer tries to win Stonebridge over with new golf course plan

Residents upset with plans for the redevelopment of a golf course surrounding their south Ottawa homes could become the owners of the course instead.

Mattamy Homes withdrew earlier plans following community uproar

Jack Stirling, an independent consultant and former deputy city manager for Nepean, presents the Stonebridge Working Group's proposal to save the golf course. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Residents of the Stonebridge community upset with plans for the redevelopment of a golf course surrounding their homes could become the owners of the course instead.

People who live near the Stonebridge Golf and Country Club in south Ottawa were invited Tuesday night to see the plans created by a working group that included the local community association, course owner Mattamy Homes and an independent consultant.

Last year, Mattamy Homes put forward a plan to redevelop part of the course, adding an additional 158 homes to the area.

The developer then withdrew its application after residents expressed concerns about the effects this would have on the course and whether Mattamy had long-term interest in a golf course at all.

The new proposal would still have Mattamy plan to build those new homes, but the developer would commit to no further development on the property and redesign the golf course so it maintains its current standard.

It would also pledge to keep operating the course for at least another 10 years.

If the company decides to walk away from the course, it has to provide two years notice and the community association would be able to purchase the course for $6 million.

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)

To facilitate that potential purchase, residents would have to start paying into a dedicated levy starting in 2021.

If residents ended up taking on the golf course, the city would own it — but with a guarantee it could only be used as a golf course or as greenspace.

Jay McLean, president of the Stonebridge Community Association, said the loss of greenspace was their biggest concern and this proposal would protect it.

"There'll be no circumstance in the future under the terms of this proposed solution where all golf course lands will be developed by Mattamy," he said.

Jay McLean, president of the Stonebridge Community Association, was part of the working group that developed the deal to protect the majority of the golf course. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

"We've provided certainty with this proposal and that gives people the option of having a golf course or a greenspace behind their house," said Kevin O'Shea, division president for Mattamy Homes Ottawa.

He said the company is "comfortable with the proposal and the value of the transaction," which would freeze the price for the golf course lands at $6 million with no adjustment for inflation.

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)

Still some concerns

There was an outbreak of applause at the end of the presentation of the proposal, though some residents expressed concerns about binding Mattamy to the deal and how the community association would be able to potentially run the golf course.

Neil Vary, whose home backs onto the section of the golf course that would be developed, said he appreciated the working group's work, but it doesn't go far enough. 

"We're still ending up with 158 houses. It's the original proposal by Mattamy. It's really no difference," he said.

"I think it will be a challenge for the community to keep the golf course running or to keep the greenspace. I still think that there will be some developers trying to get at that land. We might have bought ourselves a few years."

Neil Vary's home backs on to the golf course where the proposed 158-home development would go under the tentative deal. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Gloucester-South Nepean Coun. Carol Anne Meehan said the proposal and its reception exceeded her expectations.

She said people are sympathetic to those who will still have a development near their homes, but that "this plan is for the greater good of the community."

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder said the working group did a good job of addressing the concerns of the community and she's looking forward to feedback on the proposal.

The working group will now be accepting feedback from the community until Aug. 20.

The community would have to hold a vote on the levy.



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