Nuns' Island residents seeing red after golf course on public land goes private
Published Tuesday, May 7, 2019 5:22PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 7, 2019 7:06PM EDT
The borough of Verdun could be going to court over a golf course on Nuns' Island.
The nine-hole course at Golf Exécutif Montréal was supposed to remain public, but instead, the tees are now for members only.
Built on municipally owned land, angry residents lined up at a meeting Monday night to say that public land should be open to the public.
"We have a golf course in our backyard and we can't play there," said resident Michel Jacques.
The course – vaunting stunning views of downtown, a modern clubhouse and amenities – has changed hands a number of times over the years.
The last deal, when Claude Trudel was mayor of Verdun, stipulated the club be open to borough residents.
Trudel now says the course is being treated as private property.
"He's a renter. He cannot privatize this property and tell us 'I'm the big boss,'" said Trudel.
The golf course re-opened last year with a new clubhouse – and new fees. The basic membership is $5,000, and corporate packages can go up to $25,000.
"It became an exclusive private playground, for one man and his friends," said Nuns' Island resident George Athans.
The new owner did not respond to CTV Montreal's calls. When calling the golf course directly, CTV was told the restaurant and driving range are open to the public, but not the full course – playing there requires a membership.
Residents also want to know why the course, last evaluated at over $6 million, has a tax bill of just $22,000, while Strom Spa next door has a lower value, but is taxed six times as much.
Current Verdun Mayor Jean-Francois Parenteau said if residents are helping foot the bill, the course should definitely be public. The borough is considering taking the new owner to court to ensure the course remains accessible to all.
"The residents are upset, the mayor is upset. For me, enough is enough. I'm getting fed up about this situation," he said.