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Cabot Links gets $8.25-million loan from NS government

Cabot Links managing director Ben Cowan-Dewar points to the cliffs where designer Bill Coore has proposed a remarkable par three.

Cabot Links managing director Ben Cowan-Dewar points to the cliffs where designer Bill Coore has proposed a remarkable par three.

Interesting to see the news that Cabot Links received a $8.25-million loan from the provincial government to complete work on new hotel rooms and the second course, Cabot Cliffs:

The government announced Sunday it will loan $8.25 million to Cabot Links for the project.

Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele said the undertaking will help create community jobs during construction and after completion, and there will be spinoffs as a result of visitors to the course.

The new course, to be known as Cabot Cliffs, will generate seven full-time jobs and 60 part-time ones after opening in 2015.

But don’t think the new course will get a free pass because of the loan. Cabot Cliffs, north of Cabot Links, has some spectacular land including dunes along the ocean that have to pass approvals. The government says that process is ongoing:

The loan, which the province said is interest-bearing and fully repayable in 15 years, will only be offered after all regulatory requirements, including ones related to environmental assessments, are met.

“Although we’re providing financial support, that doesn’t mean Cabot Links gets a free pass in terms of regulatory approvals,” Steele said Sunday night.

“Whenever you’re doing something like a golf course, there are rules and regulations around such things as watercourses and natural resources.”

Cabot Links did “a really respectful job with the local environment in establishing the existing course, and we’re confident they will do the same with the expansion,” he said.

One thing that surprised me is the price put on the resort — wonder what this figure includes?

The money will help the Cape Breton golf resort, recently named Canada’s top-rated course, complete the $14-million project, already underway.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • A runway, Port Hawkesbury is a little too far away for some:)

    Now curious to know how much the first course cost….

    As much as I love Cape Breton and the first course, I am really not a big fan of government $ going to golf courses, arenas, opera houses etc. I thought Keiser was a gazillionaire?? A loan seems a little more palatable but, does raise the ole spockian eyebrow. Why wouldn’t any of the big banks lend the money??? I assume they didn’t like the plan or government loan is just too easy get. Perhaps NHL Markam should approach the NS government!

  • Whenever it comes to any government using our money to invest in private sector ventures I would normally agree with Colin however in this case their decision to invest in CL/CC is a good one. Also, it appears the good people of Cape Breton are completely onside with Premier Dexter’s government’s support. With the significant economic ‘ripple’ affect Cabot Links has had on the town of Inverness and the region it makes sense to support further development. The government’s decision to do so is based on measurable/definable growth in the region, significant private sector investment is already in place and the loan has a spectacular asset against it. Most importantly, the people of Inverness and the area support it the government’s decision.
    We were in Inverness last week and the positive impact Cabot Links’ is having on the local economy is evident. CL is putting the general area on the map of golf enthusiasts and Cabot Trail vacationers. This increase in traffic is the catalyst for the opening of small businesses (boat tours, sea kayaking etc) and as more people arrive, one would expect other businesses to develop (whale watching, charter fishing etc). As it stands now there is need for additional hotels and restaurants to service those coming to play the 18 holes at CL (the CL hotel was full). Local real estate prices are booming and people (‘from away’) are looking to summer in the area. The Nova Scotia government is smart to provide support for the region and encourage further growth. The C$8.25MM is a nominal amount to have at risk given the positives produced to date by Ben Cowan-Dewar et al.
    Prior to the arrival of CL the town/region of Inverness N.S. was on its economic deathbed. People would travel the Cabot Trail and breeze through Inverness on their way north. Now they stop. We spoke to a gentleman on the plane back who stopped in Inverness to ‘look at this new golf course’ he’d heard about. We returned last Thursday from Inverness and Cabot Links continues to impress. We walked 12-17 at the new Cabot Cliffs course currently under construction and it is going to be a gem. They intend to seed 6 holes this fall and have the course open in 2015.
    I continue to be reminded of the line from the movie Field of Dreams: “if you build it they will come”. Clearly the NS government believes this and this golfer believes they’ll be proven correct.

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