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Published on Monday, August 21, 2017

Oakville council votes unanimously to grant heritage protection for Glen Abbey Golf Course

Separate process hears ClubLink development application September 26

Oakville council votes unanimously to grant heritage protection for Glen Abbey Golf Course
Glen Abbey golf club
Spectators cross the bridge between the 13th and 14th holes during the Canadian Open golf tournament at Glen Abbey golf club, in Oakville, Ont., on Saturday, July 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
By Joshua Freeman, CP24.com

One of Canada’s most famous golf courses has been granted heritage protection after Oakville’s town council voted unanimously on Monday evening.

The heritage designation – which became official at around 10 p.m. – bars any real estate development on Glen Abbey, which has played host to the Canadian Open more times than any other golf course.

The heritage proposal comes amid a plan by owner ClubLink to redevelop the site for a mix of residential and commercial uses.

“It’s absolutely a huge part of the city’s history,” said Shelli Fisico, a member of the Save Glen Abbey group, which is lobbying to save the golf course. “It’s been here for about 40 years and we would like it to stay here for the culture and history and traditions of Oakville and for all of Canada.”

Fraser Damoff, another member of the group, said the community has shown strong support for maintaining the site as a golf course.

“Oakville residents are almost unanimously in support of Glen Abbey Golf Course being protected,” Damoff said. “I’ve heard very few opinions of people who don’t support that. We talk to them and explain that ‘well if Glen Abbey isn’t heritage, then what is’ and after that they kind of come to their senses and support us.”

The 40-year-old golf course was designed by golf great Jack Nicklaus and has played host to the Canadian Open 29 times. The site also hosts The Canadian Golf Museum and Hall of Fame and the offices of Golf Canada.

While the unanimous vote is a step in the direction of a heritage designation, it by no means guarantees the fate of the site. A separate process to approve ClubLink’s redevelopment plan remains on track, with their application set to go before town council on Sept. 29.

“Residents don’t like long drawn-out processes with many steps and that’s unfortunately the way government works,” Mayor Rob Burton told CP24 ahead of the meeting.

“That’s Ontario and we chose to live here. People like to reduce things down to something simple, which is ‘say no.’ Well, we’re not allowed to do that. What we’re required to do is we’re required to hear all sides and consider all information.”

For its part, the company points out that while activists want to save the course, there is no operating plan for running it as a heritage site.

“If the notice is approved in its current form, without an operating plan, it's our belief that the proposed designation will do the opposite of what the Town of Oakville seems to want to achieve,” ClubLink said in a statement.

The company said they believe that heritage designation “may actually accelerate the end of championship golf on the site.”
With a report by CTV News Toronto’s Sean Leathong
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: ClubLink , Heritage Preservation , Glen Abbey Golf Course , Canadian Open

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