Water hazard drives golf course project off the fairway

Five local developers want to convert the north half of the Bright’s Grove Golf Club into residential housing. At left is the clubhouse. Glenn Ogilvie

George Mathewson

A long-stalled plan to convert the north half of the Bright’s Grove Golf Club into new housing has hit another snag.

The project did take one step forward last week when city council approved an Official Plan Amendment and gave its approval in principal to rezone the property.

But the five local backers behind The Groves Active Lifestyle Community will need to address several concerns before any fairways are turned into driveways, an Oct. 2 public meeting at City Hall heard.

They include:

* Convincing the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority that several of the building lots, which are identified on a street plan as being on fringe of the floodplain, won’t be impacted if Cow Creek experiences a major flood.

* Answering questions raised by neighbours, a half dozen of whom attended the meeting and expressed concerns about the impact of heavy equipment on the community’s small streets, the loss of century-old trees and the need for another public meeting.

* Completing an archeological study, with no digging allowed until provincial approval is received.

The project, if approved, would see 11 acres of the golf course north of Cow Creek turned into 74 residential building lots.

The plan calls for eight single-family homes in a subdivision on a public road, and 17 townhouse units on a private road.

Another 49 vacant lots would be developed in the future on a private road.

The project and its backers were held up for years by a lack of sewage capacity in Bright’s Grove. That hurdle was removed this summer after city staff were satisfied a $45-million upgrade to the Bright’s Grove sewage lagoons and related pumping stations was working properly.

The southern 20 acres of the property, formerly known as Crabbie’s Golf Course, would be redeveloped into a nine-hole, par-three course with a new clubhouse accessed by a new entrance off of Lakeshore Road, the proponents say.