KENTVILLE - Joel Veres dreams of opening a new course at the old Glengarry Pines Golf Club property.
But he’ll have some hoops to jump through first.
The Coldbrook resident shared his proposal for the 745 Park Street property with officials from the Town of Kentville during a council advisory committee meeting Feb. 12.
He’s looking for amendments to the municipal land-use bylaw document that does not currently allow for a golf course on the property, which is located within a wellfield protection zone and near a bird sanctuary.
Veres contests that there have been significant advances to make golf course maintenance practices more environmentally friendly since the land-use bylaw clause in question from 2001. He noted that Kentville’s Source Water Protection Plan from 2016 states that golf courses are associated with a low degree of risk.
“Comparing chemicals from 2001 to today is like comparing cellphones from 2001 to today. You can’t compare them. They’ve evolved so much and they’ve become (more environmentally-friendly),” the Coldbrook resident said in a follow-up interview Feb. 13.
“I would put a very high importance on people’s safety, and that’s our No. 1 concern.”
With a clubhouse, maintenance shed, parking lot and the rough outline of the holes in place, Veres said restoring the abandoned course would be less invasive than permitting the construction of other residential or commercial developments on the property.
“When you see the aerial views, the holes are still all cut out of the trees. The only thing that’s grown up is some tall grass and small trees… so there’s not much to do to get it open,” he said.
Veres wants to make an offer to purchase the land conditional on approval from the Town of Kentville to turn the space into the future home of VeVe’s Golf Club.
“This is strictly going to be Par 3s. Beginner golfers, as well as seniors and children, can find it intimidating to play on a big course because there’s a lot of people around and it’s a long distance to the hole,” he said.
A decision has yet to be made, but Veres was told town staff are looking into whether or not the requested land-use amendment is warranted in this case.
Veres has mapped out a nine-hole setup that would feature two tee boxes at every hole, giving golfers an 18-hole option. The shortest hole would span 80 yards, and the longest would be 150 yards, making way for more opportunities for the sought-after hole-in-one moments.
“We’re going to focus on the important part, which is the name of the game – getting the ball in the hole, the shorter shots that really count,” said Veres, who runs Home On The Range Golf Centre along Highway 1 in Coldbrook.
“The advanced golfer is going to enjoy getting a chance to work on his iron play, and especially his short game.”
A long-time golfer, Veres envisions the proposed course offering “Quick 9” options for members hoping to work a little golf into their busy schedules.
“Golf is a time-consuming sport. A lot of people don’t like it because it uses up so much of the day. With a shorter course… the advanced golfer should be able to play it within 20 minutes to half an hour.”
The end goal is to open a new golfing destination that adds to what the area already has to offer, and creates new jobs within the Annapolis Valley. If he receives the approvals necessary to move forward, Veres would like to eventually install an indoor golf simulator in the basement of the clubhouse to provide guests with opportunities to work on their swing year-round.
“I’d like to start as soon as possible.”