PORT PERRY -- A development company has purchased Canterbury Golf Course with the intention of building 120 new homes amongst the current sprawling greenspace.
GolfNorth announced on Sept. 4 that it had sold the nine-hole course located just north of Port Perry, nestled amongst the Canterbury Common adult community, to Geranium Corporation which plans to redevelop the lands into a single-family residential development.
“It is a wonderful community in which to live and we believe there is a market for new homes in Port Perry,” said Cheryl Shindruk, Geranium Corporation’s executive vice-president. “We’re looking forward to proposing homes that are in keeping with what is in the Canterbury Common neighbourhood today.”
Ms. Shindruk said the development company is in the process of filing a development application for the golf course lands and should formally hand a submission over to Scugog in the next few weeks.
“We’re working diligently to file the application,” she said, noting the lands will have to be rezoned to be developed for residential growth.
The course was identified to remain as open space in Scugog’s recently updated draft secondary plan.
“It was a land asset that the owners felt was not performing the way it ought to be and we considered that asset for another use that is appropriate,” said Ms. Shindruk.
In a release, GolfNorth officials said the course was not meeting the company’s expectations.
“Canterbury has been under-performing as a golf club in recent years, leading to the difficult decision to sell,” GolfNorth chief executive officer Shawn Evans. “Given Geranium’s history of innovation and construction excellence, we are confident that the Canterbury community of which we’ve been a part for so many years is in good hands.”
GolfNorth has entered into an agreement with Geranium that will see it operate the course for the remainder of the 2015 season. Canterbury will then close permanently on Oct. 18.
News of the sale came as a huge surprise to the residents who live in seniors’ community, said Harvey Graham, the past president of the Canterbury Common Residents’ Association.
“We’re very upset. We did not expect this from the owners of the golf course,” said Mr. Harvey, noting that residents had formed a committee to help the underachieving golf course buoy its bottom line. “It was working and to have (the course) sold was a surprise and very disappointing.”
Some homeowners, he added, have paid a premium of $25,000 to $50,000 to have their house back onto a golf course, added Mr. Graham.
“I feel sorry for them,” he said. “The golf course is very much a part of Canterbury Common.”
Mr. Graham stressed it’s not new neighbours the Canterbury Common is opposed to, it’s the disappearing greenspace.
“We’re upset with the loss of the golf course, the new homes we can live with,” he said.
The proposal has also left Dr. William Shaw, a resident of Canterbury Common for five years, shaking his head.
“Imagine having a pond and overlooking it for 20 years and tomorrow they let it drain,” said Dr. Shaw. “There are plenty of places to build homes around Port Perry without using a golf course.”
Marilyn Stafford, current president of the Canterbury Common Residents’ Association, said homeowners are still trying to wrap their heads around the development process and what it could mean for their upscale neighbourhood.
“We had no knowledge of the sale and we were all shocked by the announcement,” she said. “The loss of the golf course and the fact we could lose the open space, lose the view and the natural environment -- we’re sad that could possibly change.
“We’d like it to stay zoned as open space and that’s why we’re trying to understand all of our options,” said Ms. Stafford.
Last year, rumours began circulating through the Canterbury Common subdivision that plans were afoot to transform a portion of the golf course into a residential development, possibly with an apartment building, after a concept plan began floating through the neighbourhood.
That left Township officials scrambling to stamp out residents’ concerns and stressing that the golf course lands were not even slated in Scugog’s development plans.
“It’s an urban legend,” said former Scugog mayor Chuck Mercier at the time.
The Nonquon River water pollution control plant is currently undergoing an expansion and when complete is expected to be able to handle an estimated 850 new homes. Scugog is working on a secondary development plan in an effort to govern where the growth in Port Perry will be.
That plan, stressed Scugog Mayor Tom Rowett on Monday, does not list the golf course lands for development.
“The draft secondary plan has that golf course to remain as open space,” said the mayor. “There is no intention for that to be developed.”
He added that there is “ample zoning” elsewhere in the urban Port Perry area for growth.
Scugog officials are still waiting to meet with Geranium Corporation officials, said Mayor Rowett.
The mayor explained that sewage allocation will handed out on a first-come, first-served basis to completed and approved plans. There is, allowed Mayor Rowett, “a potential possibility” the development could move forward if the lands are rezoned and the plan is approved.
He stressed that “staff has to be unbiased” when it makes any recommendation on the development proposal and acknowledged that “if council doesn’t make a decision or approve it, the landowner has the right to appeal” to the Ontario Municipal Board.
Mayor Rowett also said that, personally, he would not support a plan to redevelop the golf course and added he was “shocked” when informed of the sale.
“It saddens me to see a developer buy it and then justify why this is a betterment to the community,” said Mayor Rowett. “It’s just illogical to me.”
HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU
- Canterbury Golf Course is the only golf course in the urban Port Perry area
- The Nonquon River water pollution control plant is being expanded and is expected to have the potential for 850 new homes
- More homes will increase Scugog’s tax base
- The expanded plant will also provide sanitary services to Port Perry’s industrial area, which Scugog hopes will attract new business and jobs
- Additional condos, townhouses and apartment units could bring more affordable housing prices to Scugog