TORONTO – A proposal has been submitted to raze the world famous Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont. and turn it into a sprawling housing subdivision.
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton made mention of the plan at a city council meeting on Monday while issuing his annual town status report.
“What will be the future of the world famous Glenn Abbey golf course?,” said Burton.
“There can be no quick and easy answer to this question.”
Glen Abbey has played a significant role in the history of RBC Canadian Open
Glen Abbey historic Canadian Open moments
The Oakville Beaver reports the town’s Planning Services Department received a request for a pre-consultation on the development application on Oct. 23.
The proposal calls for the construction of nearly 3,000 residential units combined with a mixed-use office and retail space.
Building housing on the site of the course is already highly contentious and will require rezoning by Oakville. In recent months two other courses in the area, Saw Whet and Deerfield, have been at the center of public battles over rezoning.
An area on the course known as the “valley” has been designated as a “Regional Heritage System” and will not be redeveloped.
ClubLink Corp., Glen Abbey’s parent company, which owns and operates more than 40 properties in Ontario, Quebec and Florida, will need to go through a lengthy review and approval process before the plan is rubber stamped.
The company is controlled by Rai Sahi, a commercial real estate billionaire, who has owned part of ClubLink for 14 years, acquiring the majority stake in 2007. ClubLink acquired Glen Abbey for $40-million from the Royal Canadian Golf Association (now Golf Canada) in 1998.
ClubLink is also developing another of its courses in Aurora, Ont. The announcement of developing Glen Abbey follows the news that York Downs, a private course in Markham, Ont., accepted a $412-million offer to sell its 27-hole property for residential housing.
Several other courses in the Toronto area, including the private Brampton Golf Club, have also seen interest from developers given the sky high prices for homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
The owners of Copper Creek in Vaughan are also seeking an application to have part of its high-end public course turned into housing.
However any rezoning process will likely take years—and possibly longer—especially if it is tied up in legal wrangling.
Scott Simmons, the CEO of Golf Canada, which runs the RBC Canadian Open, said he was aware that Glen Abbey could be developed, as rumours about the course had circulated in recent years.
Simmons says he’s not concerned about the immediate ramifications, despite the fact that Golf Canada has its headquarters at Glen Abbey, as does the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.
“There is no guarantee that it will be developed,” Simmons says. “They are just investigating future options.”
Simmons also said he expects the Canadian Open to be at Glen Abbey several times in coming years, but added there are alternatives if the course was developed.
“We’ve looked at other courses and other possibilities,” he said.
“We’re really at the leading edge of that process.”
The course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, was designed to be the home of the Canadian Open, the country’s only PGA Tour event.
It has witnessed numerous historic performances, including Tiger Woods’ win in 2000 where he famously hit a shot out of a bunker and over water on the 18th hole to beat Grant Waite.
The course held the Canadian Open last July, and has been home to 27 Canadian Opens, and is scheduled to hold it again next year.
It also brings in an estimated $18 million to the Oakville economy every year it hosts the event, according to Golf Canada.
Glenn Abbey is scheduled to host the Open again in 2016.