ClubLink wins appeal to overturn legacy protections for Kanata golf course

A successful appeal at Ontario’s top court could pave the way for ClubLink to proceed with a redevelopment of the Kanata Golf and Country Club, marking a major loss in — but perhaps not the end of — the city’s saga to protect green space at the site.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario released a decision Friday stating that it had sided with the golf course owner in a dispute over whether a 1981 agreement involving the former municipality of Kanata (before its amalgamation into the city of Ottawa) applied to its proposal to redevelop the land.

That agreement held that 40 per cent of green space in the Kanata Lakes neighbourhood must be protected from future development, with the golf course land included in the pie. It also said that the owner must first offer to hand the land over to the city if it doesn’t want to run a golf course on the site anymore.

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In February of this year, a Superior Court judge had sided with residents of the Kanata area and the City of Ottawa’s legal team in upholding those protections — a move ClubLink subsequently appealed.

Justice Lois B. Roberts wrote in the decision released Friday that she felt the original judge erred in his interpretation of the 1981 agreement and found ClubLink’s appeal valid.

Mayor Jim Watson said on Twitter Friday morning that he was “greatly disappointed” in the appeal court’s decision, but added that the fight wasn’t over.

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He said the city solicitor will look to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

He also said he would ask Ontario’s Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark to step in to secure protections for the site as his office recently did for the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, which is also owned by ClubLink.

Seeking to offset declines in its golfing business, ClubLink’s plan in Kanata would see more than 1,500 suburban homes built on the site, in partnership with Richcraft Homes and Minto Communities.

Former city councillor and Kanata—Carleton MP Jenna Sudds expressed her disappointment over the decision on Friday, as did her newly appointed successor in Kanata North, Coun. Cathy Curry.

Both said the fight will continue.

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