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Proposed golf course handicapped

Joe Soares wants to know why City Council is refusing to move on his vision for a 200-acre golf course and a gated luxury community out on Westside Road.

“We’ve received regulatory approval from all agencies except one — you,” the developer said when he appeared before Council at its Oct. 9 meeting.

“Can you imagine the economic impact generated by 10,000 to 15,000 golfers here for two or three days a year?”

But Soares said the project would be “much more comprehensive than just a golf course.”

The project he is promoting comprises a golf course, a gated community and an RV park. He also wants to capture a share of the snowmobile tourism market.

“We also plan to cater to the snowmobilers by offering them a base camp,” he said, adding that they are particularly focusing on “high-speed thrill seekers.”

“The old adage ‘Build it and they will come,’ is fine but I prefer a new one: ‘Build it and they will stop.’”

Mayor Mark McKee told Soares that Council was disappointed that there was “no open process” surrounding the golf course. He applied directly to the province early this year for permission to develop the course on Crown land.

The City is considering its own options on Westside Road. It plans to ask the province for its own Crown land grants to develop affordable housing.

McKee also noted that the City is near the end of its Official Community Plan process and any attempt to “fast track” inclusion of Soares’ project in the OCp would cost about $27,000 — that’s money the City has no intention of spending.

Council confirmed that later in the meeting when it unanimously voted to not ask Brent Harley and Associates, the consulting firm developing the new OCP, to “provide an early opinion on land use on Westside Road.”

DAVID F. ROONEY

Times Review

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