Humber Valley Enters Bankruptcy Protection

The 15th Hole at Humber Valley Resort near Deer Lake, Newfoundland

The 15th Hole at Humber Valley Resort near Deer Lake, Newfoundland

Humber Valley, one of Canada’s best new courses, one that has received several accolades, including last year’s Best New Course in Score, has been placed into receivership in only its second full year of operation. The course, located near Deer Lake, Newfoundland, is one of Doug Carrick’s best to date, a breathtaking stunner that runs along a mountainous range of hills and plunges and moves through some remarkable land.

From today’s Western Star:

The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador has granted Humber Valley Resort Corporation (HVRC) protection against its creditors under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).

Essentially, the court order puts a stay on any ongoing proceedings against the resort by entities to which it owes money and also prevents any new proceedings by creditors from commencing while the stay remains in effect.

The court order does not prevent the resort from continuing to operate.

The corporation now has a 30-day period during which it has to produce and present a plan to its creditors regarding the reorganization of the resort.

According to a press release issued Friday, the legal action follows a review of HVRCs financial position and particularly its various contractual commitments. The conclusion of the review was that the corporation, under its current structure and with its current commitments, is not financially viable.

As a result, the company filed for protection after carefully considering all options, including sending the company into receivership. After consulting with outside advisors, the company felt that all stakeholders, including chalet owners, investors/shareholders, employees, the surrounding communities and creditors would ultimately be best-served by the proceedings and protections offered under the legislation.

Though the golf course was only doing a few thousand rounds a year, it isn’t what brought down Humber Valley. The real problem was over-aggressive expansion by former owner Brian Dobbin, and an inability to finance the needed infrastructure to continue new houses. One source told me it is stacked a bit like a house of cards — with promises being made on new construction that simply couldn’t be paid for. Sorting it out with creditors seemed like the only solution to new management, which took over for Dobbin when he resigned last year.
So what is next for the resort and its award-winning golf course? Mike Rossi, the superintendent (and formerly of Eagles Nest GC in Maple, Ont.) will continue to maintain it, but the course is shut to players. In the meantime, there is hope a buyer will be found for the facility. Last year, a high-ranking government official, worried that the resort might be in disarray, said the province couldn’t afford to let Humber Valley go bust. After all, this is a resort that held a first-ministers summit not long ago and is Newfoundland’s top golf course by a fair distance.

Could a new owner be found? Hopefully. This is a great golf course and the houses that have been built around it are also terrific. Not long ago I was talking to fellow golf reporter about how amazing it would be to take eight guys, rent a house and play golf there for a week.

We’ll see if that is still possible in coming weeks.

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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.

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Wow. Don’t know much about the place, but why would they shut the course down. If the receiver is going to sell the place, they’ll have to maintain to some standard. Surely there are resort guests and chalet owners willing to pay to play the course. If the plan is to shut down the course and stop maintaining it, it’s going to end up having the value of a piece of Newfoundland wilderness, which I suspect will be substantially less than a golf course resort.

  • Much cheaper to maintain golf course without play. Especially if they were only getting less than 100 rounds a day. The revenue is not worth it.

  • After hearing that the course didn’t even provide benches or garbage cans…you have to figure this was doomed from the start. This reminds me a little bit of Bigwin Island. For all it’s accolades and awards, the clubhouse was built with the cheapest everything. If you look real close at the craftemenship, it’s really bad. Owners trying to save a buck can kill any and all grand ideas of what a real golf club should be

  • Unfortunately this news comes as no surprise. A Club House that lacked any type of atmosphere, very sterile in my opinion. As for the Pro Shop, well one set of Ping clubs does not constitute a Pro Shop in my book.

    This course was ever intended for the Europeans with their favourable exchange rate – way way overpriced for the average Newfoundlander in my humble opinion.

    Well the credit crunch is everywhere, even our European cousins are feeling the pinch. Why not put a fair price on the fees that everyone can afford?

    I do realize that some may come back with the quip that such a course can command a high price. I agree, however maybe this place should not have been Newfoundland.

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