Letter to the Editor

RE:  Kanata club memberships down, ClubLink rep says  Jon Willing,  Saturday, January 16, 2020  

ClubLink doesn’t want to understand.  This Kanata Golf Club (KGC) issue is not about golf and frankly, it’s not about cross-country skiing either. 

ClubLink implies through the affidavit of its employee Brent Deighan that it is hard done by because membership is below its nominal target (a variation on the theme that the golf business is in decline) yet it reports profits annually to its KGC members, the lawn mowers run and the fertilizers and pesticides flow from April to October.  This message was the initial ClubLink justification for its planned wholesale destruction of 175 acres of linked, open urban greenspace and construction of 1502 homes, seen as unnecessary by planning experts and not wanted by the existing community.

Mr. Deighan asserted in his affidavit to the court, bolstered by another from Minto employee Beth Henderson, that there is a dearth of cross-country skiing on the land as well. A new twist on the theme?  Perhaps they want the court and good folks of Ottawa to conclude that the community is not using the golf course land and this somehow bolsters their case for redevelopment.

To clarify.  Mr. Deighan’s bias is evident with his unsubstantiated count of five people per day using the course.  Perhaps he counted the cars in the club house parking lot.  Readers are unsure.  He ought be  aware of the many hundreds of private and public access points to the 175 acres of KGC land.  As I write this letter I count 11 people plus 6 animals, domesticated and otherwise, using the less than two acre slice of land visible from my window.  There are surely many dozens more walking, snowshoeing, skating and skiing all over the course that I cannot see at this moment as well as others who will do so throughout the balance of this day.  Add the kids and families on the weekends tobogganing and playing hockey on the pond rinks and you are certainly counting many hundreds.  A picture is worth a thousand words.  A lot of boots and skis for 5 people!

Notwithstanding the above information, the issue of use being propagated by ClubLink is moot.  If ClubLink does have an underperforming Kanata Golf Club, it has ready access to a solution.  The 40% Agreement.   Why does it not just sell the golf course to another operator or to the community whose offers to purchase the club it has already rebuffed?  Alternatively, transfer the land to the City as per the 40% Agreement.  The answer is obvious. ClubLink and its partners Minto and Richcraft are instead tromping all over a legitimate legal agreement in order to make potentially hundreds of millions of dollars more in profit while ignoring the wishes of the community and its elected representatives in the process.

And, to be clear, the City did not unfairly “haul” ClubLink into court per Mr. Willing’s article; rather ClubLink provoked the legal action by breaching the 40% Agreement which it entered into in 1996 with full counsel and understanding of the obligations of shared use for which it negotiated a discounted purchase price of $2.7 million dollars.

The Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition (KGPC) would suggest the City is doing exactly what its residents expect it to do; defend any appropriate agreement it enters into on behalf of its taxpayers and around which its residents  invest their financial futures, energy and community spirit in raising families and building an ever better city.  And that argument is why the KGPC won the first round in court against ClubLink in December 2019 and it is why we expect to return to court on February 27 & 28 alongside the City of Ottawa to ensure a full defence of the 40% Agreement.

Barbara Ramsay
Chair, Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition
106-1002 Beaverbrook Road, Ottawa, ON  K2K 1L1