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.
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.