Supreme Court won't hear city appeal of ClubLink decision

·3 min read
Thursday's dismissal by the Supreme Court of Canada paves the way for ClubLink to develop the land where the Kanata Golf and Country Club currently sits. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Thursday's dismissal by the Supreme Court of Canada paves the way for ClubLink to develop the land where the Kanata Golf and Country Club currently sits. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press - image credit)

The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the City of Ottawa's appeal of a decision to allow development on the land where the Kanata Golf and Country Club sits.

In November 2021, property owner ClubLink won its own appeal in the Ontario Superior Court that overturned a decision by a lower court that sided with the city, following a years-long battle to prevent ClubLink from turning the golf course into a housing development.

The city wanted to appeal the Ontario Superior Court's decision, but on Thursday the Supreme Court ruled it would not hear it and awarded costs to ClubLink.

"It was certainly frustrating, disappointing but we already know that we have many, many avenues yet to explore," said Kanata North Coun. Cathy Curry.

The area in question operates as a golf course for six months, but becomes a public park for the other half of the year. It also plays an important role for storm water management, according to the councillor.

"If there were housing on that land the water would have nowhere to go and we would have a lot of problems," Curry explained.

At the heart of the case are the facts of a 1981 agreement — which has been updated several times, including when ClubLink bought the property 23 years ago — between the former City of Kanata and the operator at the time.

Group stresses environmental sustainability

That agreement called for 40 per cent of the area in Kanata Lakes to be protected as open space in perpetuity. It also laid out guidelines about land use and ownership if the original owner of the golf course decided to get out of the business.

City of Ottawa
City of Ottawa

Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition has been fighting for years to ensure that 40 per cent agreement is enforced.

"It really is a hurdle, but the race is still on," chair Barbara Ramsay said of the Supreme Court's decision.

She also stressed the importance of the land for environmental sustainability.

"Given what's happening with our environment, given the storms ... that we've seen in the last three or four months, this is becoming a really large problem."

Councillor says court may regret decision

The matter will now return to Ontario Superior Court and Ramsay said her group will spend the rest of the summer preparing for those appearances scheduled for Sept. 13 and 14.

The city confirmed those dates in a statement to CBC.

As per its usual practice, the Supreme Court did not provide any details for its decision.

Curry said one of the next steps the city is considering is an environmental assessment, adding there's a long list of conditions that would have to be met before houses could go up.

The councillor also said while the court didn't agree to hear the city's case, she suspects it may be dealing with long-term land agreements again in the future.

"I wish that the Supreme Court would have thought longer about this," Curry said. "I think it will come back to them and they'll regret not dealing with it now."

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