© Associated Press photo
Prince Edward Island is home to some 30 golf courses, including Crowbush Cove, rated one of the top courses in the country.
P.E.I. could soon own one less golf course after the provincial government recently sent an agreement in principle to a potential buyer for the Links at Crowbush Cove.
Tourism Minister Robert Henderson said the province received proposals for its four provincial courses, selected the best for Crowbush and is continuing negotiations.
“I would like to say that we’re close, but until either an agreement in principle is signed or until there’s an actual deal struck, it’s hard to speculate, I guess, how close we are,” he said.
That agreement in principle was sent to an unnamed potential buyer, but Henderson said he wouldn’t identify them or a purchase price until all sides reach an agreement.
“People will have to be patient. I just want to make sure that we’re getting a reasonable deal for taxpayers and the investment that government has put in these properties,” he said.
For years, the provincial government has been losing money on its provincial golf courses. Last year, the province issued a $1.4-million special warrant to cover losses.
In 2012, the government issued a request for proposals to manage, own or lease Brudenell River, Crowbush, Mill River and Dundarave.
Henderson said Crowbush is the farthest along in the sale process and the province is still having preliminary discussions about the other three courses.
Prior to a sale, the government bought about 60 acres of land near Crowbush after a lengthy dispute over the property’s boundary.
Henderson said the government had the right of first refusal on the land and had to take the issue to court to get it settled.
The province has been trying to acquire the land for many years and recently had the opportunity to buy it, he said.
“We simply went through the processes that unfolded.”
There were also two other properties recently purchased in the area by other parties, but Henderson said they had nothing to do with the golf course sale.
“Totally separate altogether,” he said.