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Huxham's Folly? PM's Course Cuts Too Many Trees

[photopress:martinaxe.jpg,full,alignleft]Former Prime Minister Paul Martin is building a six-hole course on his estate in Quebec, designed by for Graham Cooke parter Darrell Huxham. It received a fair bit of attention this summer when it was announced the former PM would turn his sheep farm into a golf course.

Turns out it hasn’t been smooth sailing. Yesterday news came out that the contractor running the job (and that sounds like Huxham if the story is correct) has been fined $2,200 for removing trees illegally along a waterway.

Officials were concerned that felling the undetermined number of trees, which were part of a mature forest, could cause soil erosion and heat up the temperature of a creek on the property, he said.

“He cut down too many trees near the water. You have to keep a forest cover of at least 50 per cent, yet there are places where trees were cut pretty much to the edge of the water. It’s not good for the environment,” Mr. Béland said.

Now the fine is not a big deal — Martin is worth hundreds of millions. But the embarrassment of the situation — a former PM who was strong on environmental issues getting called out for illegally cutting trees — is a apparent.

Martin’s people seemed to pin it on Huxham, who admitted it was his fault and had to issue an apology:

Meanwhile, the golf-design firm behind Mr. Martin’s project admits it jumped the gun, acting before obtaining provincial authorization. The tree-clearing was done to establish a sight line across a creek.

“We proceeded to clear some trees prematurely,” said Darrell Huxham, president of Huxham Golf Design, located in suburban Montreal. “We apologize for that.”

Mr. Huxham said his firm has proceeded with reseeding.

This can’t be good for Mr. Huxham’s reputation — especially since he’s still trying to establish himself after leaving Cooke’s firm in 2005.

The full story is here.

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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.

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