The Department of Natural Resources says it’s looking into whether Cape Breton’s newest golf course violates provincial laws, just one week before its grand opening.
Bruce Nunn, a spokesman for the department, said staff are looking into whether Cabot Links — opening in Inverness on Friday — is violating the province’s Beaches Act by encroaching on protected dunes.
“What they need to do is continue the investigation, gather the facts and see if there are any issues there that are potentially in violation of the Beaches Act,” he told CBC News.
“That hasn’t been determined yet, the investigation is still ongoing.”
Fascinating that anyone could complain with what Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser have done on the site — especially considering it was a coal mine that was left as a scar on the earth for decades. Now it is a golf course that embraces a natural aesthetic and suddenly there are complaints?
Interestingly, the man complaining — Neal Livingston — is one of the people who have complained about the course from the start. Basically Livingston seems opposed to any progress, and seems to prefer high unemployment to new businesses springing up in the town, which was basically dying before the golf course started up. Livingston says he’s not opposed to the golf course, but by his past actions, I’d say that’s untrue:
Livingston said the group is not opposed to the golf course, but wants the Minister of Natural Resources to order Cabot Links to get off the protected land and remediate it.
“I think everyone is interested to see economic development in Inverness. It’s a good thing, but just like you can’t drive through a stop sign without that being illegal, protected areas are protected and they have legislation around them,” he said.
“It’s not appropriate for people to be operating in any way that would damage a protected area, so we’re saying to the government, they should treat this matter seriously.
The fascinating thing about the whole debate by a group of people opposed to any advancement in the town of Inverness is that they seem to ignore what they’ve gotten. The so-called “developer,” Cowan-Dewar, is hardly a developer in any traditional sense. Yes, there’s a golf course and a hotel, but this isn’t a huge residential development. And the project uses natural grasses throughout and has done its best to impose as little on the land as it can — its that sort of course. To top it off, I’m not sure what dunes those opposed to the course are talking about or what beach area is in question. The site was largely a remediated mine — and the boardwalk already runs along a sandy dune for several kilometres. I’m not sure how the golf course could do any more damage — or cross the boardwalk.
Interestingly, one story said the complain from Livingston’s group was actually without merit, but the MNR found some other issue they are investigating when they showed up to look into the complaint.
“Throughout this process, we have always worked closely with all regulatory authorities and will continue to do so in everything we do going forward,” Cowan-Dewar said in an email. “This co-operative approach enabled this world-class facility to be developed in a timely, respectful and professional manner.”
Livingston said he was told by a Natural Resources investigator that it appears a portion of a fairway could be encroaching on the protected beach area.
“There are protected beaches all over the province, and if the government wasn’t stringent in making sure people abide by the laws, the beaches could be in real trouble,” Livingston said.
“This is an important public issue and we’re very pleased to see the government is taking this seriously. This is what functioning democracy is all about.”
Right — that’s exactly what a functioning democracy is all about. It’s about some individual opposed to a project making complaints time and again, having them shot down and finding new things to complain about. It is about an individual wasting government time and taxpayer dollars on complaints without merit.
Regardless, Cabot Links will open Friday. And despite Livingston’s best efforts, it’ll be a resounding success.