County gives approval for new golf course in Puslinch Township

The city might be losing a golf course when the Victoria Park West club closes, but golfers will have an easy drive to a new one in Puslinch Township.

County council approved an official plan amendment at its meeting on May 29 that will allow the DeCorso family to build a new golf course. The family operates two courses in the Guelph area. The Victoria Park West course is being closed and the land is going to be used for residential, recreational, and condomi­niums.

They hope to bring most of the users of their course to the new one. It is proposed for the northeast part of Puslinch Township, on the northeast side of the intersection of Victoria Road South and Maltby Road. The land is Part of Lots 14 and 15, Concession 9.

The property is an irregu­larly shaped parcel of about 116.3 acres. The boundary line for Guelph is “immediately west of the subject property on the west side of Victoria Road.

The application was to change the secondary agricul­tural designation to recrea­tion­al. The DeCorso family plans to build a 27 hole executive golf course, and to bring its existing customer base to the new golf course.

The current course is 18 holes and it sells:

– 25,000 to 30,000 rounds of golf each year;

– has 120 members;

– 225 women registered for its weekly women’s leagues;

– has 140 participants in its junior camps; and

– holds 100 or more tournaments each year that support local charities, busi­nesses, schools, and competi­tive golf.

The planning report sent to county council noted, “Accord­ing to the applicant, there are occasions when the existing 18-hole Victoria Park West course cannot accommodate the increasing demand for junior programs, outside tour­na­ments, or member plan on the same day. Therefore, ex­panding the new operation by nine holes will provide the proponent greater operating flexibility during the busy times of the golf season.”

The report noted that while there are a two homes that are part of the hilly property and they will be used as accessory used for the facility.

No new overnight accommodation is planned as part of the development, except the continued use of one of the residential dwellings for staff or security.

There was one snag, but county planners suggested that could be overcome. The county official plan prohibits new development adjacent to existing urban centres, and considers “adjacent’ to mean within one kilometre.

County planners noted that the area in the city to the west of the proposed golf course does not have city services, and will not likely have them for some time. That area of the city was annexed from Puslinch township several years ago, and is not expected to receive city services for many years.

Further, the golf course does not require such services.

“An open space recreational use would also provide an appropriate transition use between future urban uses in Guelph on the west of Victoria Road and the rural residential [and] agricultural uses within the township on the east.

As well, the city council was not opposed to the proposal subject to provisions for groundwater protection.

Golf courses and related commercial uses are permitted provided:

– there are adequate services for roads access, water, and sewer facilities;

– ground and surface water and nearby water users are protected;

– the greenlands system will be protected;

– ponds reservoirs, streams, wetlands and fish resources are protected through sound storm water management practices and pesticide management practices, plus irrigation controls, erosion controls, setbacks and vegetative buffers are in place when required;

– farm operations are protect through appropriate setbacks, design, and buffering;

– wherever practical, multi lot or multi unit residential development is not permitted unless specifically permitted in an existing policy or if needed for staff and security; and small scale overnight accommo­dation may be considered is association with golf courses uses if located away from existing residential.

There were two concerns from neighbours, and the proponent agreed to reroute two holes to alleviate those concerns. The report recommended that the official plan be approved, and county council did that, and later passed the bylaw for formal approval.