A plan to develop the Kanata Golf & Country Club lands has caught residents and the ward’s councillor off-guard and caused a stir.
The 50-year-old course in Kanata Lakes is owned by ClubLink, which announced Friday that it has partnered with Minto Communities and Richcraft to “pursue options for alternative use of the golf course lands.”
“Golf courses are struggling across the country, and particularly in saturated markets like Ottawa,” ClubLink’s senior vice-president of investments Robert Visentin said in a statement. “We believe there is an opportunity to better utilize this 70 hectares of land to meet the interests of the community.”
Surrounded by low-density housing and nestled next to Kanata’s original neighbourhood of Beaverbrook, the 18-hole golf course has for many years been considered part of the suburb’s natural green space and is used for cross-country skiing in winter, which is why there is concern brewing among residents about possibly developing it.
Rookie councillor Jenna Sudds only found out about the deal Thursday night, according to reports, and was left scrambling to both get up to speed and connect with residents.
“It’s been quite the day,” she posted in a tweet just before 9 p.m. Friday.
Just finishing door knocking, talking to #KanataNorth residents who are directly affected by the potential Kanata Golf & Country Club development. It’s been quite the day, but I’m committed to working with our community and the city to save our greenspace. pic.twitter.com/eMnqeRJUIc
— Jenna Sudds (@JennaSudds) December 15, 2018
In another report, the president of the Beaverbrook Community Association, Neil Thomson, questioned the timing of the announcement, just two weeks after veteran councillor Marianne Wilkinson — who would have been most familiar with the file — retired. As well, many of the residents with homes backing onto the golf course are snowbirds, according to Thomson.
ClubLink, Minto and Richcraft have vowed to listen to community concerns before proceeding with any development, which has not yet been approved by the city.
“Residents will want their values reflected in this plan,” Richcraft chief operating officer Steve Grandmont said in the statement. “We’re going to work hard to get it right.”
ClubLink has set up an information page for those who want to know more, including getting updates on community engagement: kanatapossibilites.ca.