If all goes according to a new plan, the Iroquois Golf Course will be open for business this summer.
On Monday, the golf course oversight board agreed to lease the facility to Stan Brigham for two years for the price of $1.
“He was the unsolicited proposal to run the golf course,” said South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds about the offer.
The board had previously asked for applications to keep the course open without burdening the township with the costs, but none met their criteria. Instead, Brigham will operate the golf centre with the option of buying land for development.
“He would get first right of refusal,” said Byvelds. “He incurs all expenses, it becomes his risk.”
Byvelds said the decision to pursue this option was made only after a public meeting last week that showed residents were open to the idea of development on the property if it meant keeping the course open.
More than 200 people packed Matilda Hall to discuss the future of the course last Wednesday.
“We had a fairly good crowd, people from both sides of the issue,” said Byvelds. “But by the end of the night . . . the attitude of the room was ‘Do your best to keep the golf course open in Iroquois’.”
Byvelds said council promised to bring all development proposals to the community, allowing residents to have their say before anything is built.
He said there are no concrete ideas for construction yet, and nothing will be considered until the lease agreement between Brigham and the municipality is hammered out this week.
(Brigham) is a golf course rebuilder,” said Byvelds. “He’s done a lot of work in the city of Ottawa and Gatineau. He has a good reputation. We had this offer on the table, we felt it was from a reputable person that we could go ahead with.”
Byvelds said there are additional concerns that have to be dealt with before any development could go ahead, issues that will require various studies of the land. He said much of the golf course property was filled in during the construction of the seaway, raising questions about environmental impact and stability. He said their goal is to work with a developer in finding the best places to build.
“We’ll work for the best interest of the municipality,” said Byvelds.