(October 8, 2019) Kanata, Ontario – The next chapter in the battle for lands in Kanata has opened. On Tuesday the owners of the Kanata Golf & Country Club, ClubLink, along with partners Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes, submitted a formal application to the City of Ottawa to redevelop the golf property.
The group asserts that their plans will transform the 70 hectare property into a “new and vibrant neighbourhood that will be complementary to the existing community and feature new year-round public open spaces and parks,” according to a released statement.
It has met with opposition from those with concerns about the development, namely the Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition (KPGC). The group primarily includes residents of Kanata Lakes, Beaverbrook and neighbourhoods across Kanata North, all located in close proximity to the golf course
In a released reaction to today’s announcement by ClubLink and partners, they state that, “they are vehemently opposed to ClubLinks (sic) plan and will continue to aid the City’s ongoing efforts.”
This refers to the March notification from the City of Ottawa to ClubLink that they would seek a decision in court on the agreement made in 1981 by the City of Kanata (now amalgamated with Ottawa) with the neighbourhood developer to retain 40% green space, which included the golf course lands. The original Kanata Golf Club dates back to a nine hole design that opened in 1968. ClubLink acquired the golf course in 1996. It had expanding to 18 holes in 1990.
That was an era of a golf boom in North America, and ClubLink says that a changing market is pushing them to seek alternative uses for their asset.
In their release they stated,”Golf courses are struggling across the country, and particularly in saturated markets like Ottawa. Participation levels have declined and people are playing less golf while operating costs continue to rise. Ottawa continues to be a growing city and the partners believe there is an opportunity to better utilize this 70 hectares of land to meet the interests of the community while ensuring the plan is supportive of the City’s priorities of liveability and smart growth.”
As a result Robert Visentin, ClubLink’s Senior Vice-President of Investments says they have been working on their plans in preparation for today’s application.
“Over the last several months we have been working to carry out studies identified by the City of Ottawa in the pre-application consultation process as required to submit a complete development application,” Visentin. “With those studies complete, 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.”
One of the partners in the planned redevelopment says much green space will be retained, but that number appears to fall short of the 40% mark the opposing groups seek to hold them to.
“Maximizing public access to green space has been a critical design principle in our planning. As a result, more than 25 per cent of the land will be high quality green space that the community can benefit from year-round,” said Steve Grandmont, Chief Operating Officer, Richcraft Homes added.
The development group asserts that they, “look forward to working with the City and local residents through the development application review process over the coming months.”
Even with that being the case, the reception to that olive branch may not be well-received.
KGPC Chair Barbara Ramsay says “ClubLink and its partners Minto and Richcraft have put the ball in play today. The Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition expects the City to quickly move a defence of The 40% Agreement to the courts and call the ball where it lies… out of bounds.”
Ramsay adds, “the KGPC reminds ClubLink that it does have other options. Unfortunately, the one it has taken today is not in the rule book. The KGPC will work immediately and aggressively to represent our residents of Kanata North and support the City’s actions to defend The 40% Agreement.”
We’ll keep you updated as this story develops.