P.E.I. government tight-lipped about golf course negotiations

Teresa Wright
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Links at Crowbush Cove

The provincial government is remaining tight-lipped about its ongoing negotiations to sell the Crowbush golf course – negotiations NDP Leader Mike Redmond is concerned may include serious environmental impacts.

In December, Tourism Minister Robert Henderson told the CBC discussions on the sale of the provincially-owned course were not progressing as quickly as he first anticipated, but are ongoing.

“You're dealing with a vast piece of property," he said. "You're dealing with environmental issues around the properties…” Henderson said in a Dec. 10 interview.

But when The Guardian asked to speak with Henderson Thursday to elaborate on what those environmental issues are, all requests for comment were denied.

“The department is not prepared to speak to any subject related to the negotiations, or the negotiations themselves at this time,” said Andrew Sprague, senior communications officer for the tourism department.

“It is still premature to do so and would be irresponsible on our part. These are very sensitive negotiations, as you might expect, and the department is proceeding very cautiously with the best interest of Island taxpayers in mind.”

But Redmond says he believe the public has a right to know of any effects on the environmental regarding future plans for this land, which is surrounded by sensitive environmental habitat.

He pointed to the sale of two pieces of privately owned property adjacent to the golf course, approved by cabinet in late October.

“That tells everybody that there’s a potential expansion of the Crowbush golf course,” Redmond said.

“If that’s the case, and it certainly sounds like it is, the minister has to come forward and explain – are you planning to expand through the dunes and the ecosystem there that has freshwater streams, saltwater streams? The dunes also houses piping plover nests as well.

“If so, there’s a serious environmental impact. So we are very concerned.”

When asked for details about any environmental concerns or impacts regarding the sale of the Crowbush course, an official with the Department of Environment also declined comment Thursday.

“While the negotiations are going on, we are not in a position to discuss specific issues related to the potential sale of Crowbush,” said Wayne MacKinnon, a communications officer with the department.

In November, Premier Robert Ghiz said in the legislature the Crowbush course needs $4 million to $8 million in upgrades to make it competitive with other elite courses.

He would not comment on whether upgrading the course would be a requirement of the sale.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Organizations: CBC, Department of Environment

Geographic location: Iceland

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  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    January 04, 2014 - 08:42

    @huh You say Multi million dollar negotiations are generally not done publicly . Well I would think when they involve property owned by the taxpayers of P.E.I they should . That's why this province is in such a deep hole now .There have been too many behind closed door deals that were not in the best interest of Islanders . This is not a private company we are talking about an it's time the Government came to grips with that . They are here to represent the best interests of the islanders they are supposed to be representing .

  • Brady Creed
    January 04, 2014 - 07:51

    Damm right this is our business .Crowbush was put there with Binns at the wheel .Tax payers have the right to no.They wont indulge details because ,they are selling so low .

  • Justin
    January 03, 2014 - 23:35

    Mike Redmond shows his complete lack of experience in business by his comments. No business could be sold if the negotiations are being done in public. Redmond continues to show his complete lack of understanding and ability in every area or issue he has something to say about(and he seems to have something to say about everything and it is always negative). Redmond needs to find himself a hobby or else start listening before he speaks.

    • Should be grateful
      January 04, 2014 - 12:33

      Mike is giving the Ghiz idiocracy a chance to fix this one before it becomes a public mess. Every significant " deal" done by the Ghizsters has ended up costing Islanders more than it has benefited us. If you guys are leading some developers to a legal squabble over the environmental protection act then deal with at now. It would be better politics for the NDP to let a full Ghiz slop up happen here (again) but this time there is public lands, sensitive natural areas, and public resources invested over twenty years so thanks very much for your pathetic criticisms but we are going to stay on you like hawks on this one. There WILL be implications if you screw this one up. Count on it. Robbie Henderson started this one with his comments. But the NDP will finsih it. Just because you have a complicit, dumb Tory opposition in the Leg does not mean you can get away with everything. Not this time.

  • Keep your feet out of the rope Henderson
    January 03, 2014 - 14:07

    All the lobster fisher persons know that you keep your feet out of the rope. Henderson gets more entangled and ensnared every time he has commented on this issue so now the 5th floor "Situation Room" has gagged the fool. The land which Henderson said they bought was not even sold when he announced and never was sold to them directly as they had no first right as "Robbie" claimed. Clown show at the peoples expense. How much has been spent here on due diligence fleecing?

  • Regular Joe
    Regular Joe
    January 03, 2014 - 09:03

    They have to wait until it's too late to do anything or say anything before making any announcement . Can't be making announcements , concerning publicly owned crown business , in case some one sees that it's a bad deal for taxpayers .

  • Good Boys
    January 03, 2014 - 07:40

    Well not just one distinguished government communications officer stepping up. But two. We are fortunate. And so pleasantly singing from the same hymn book. Good. Very skilful. Because such professional and accomplished men could have so much more to say on such a topic. Now while we are blessed to hear from such progressive, intellectual gentlemen the curtness of their commentary begs more questions. If the barrier to transparency here is but one of " ongoing negotiations" then why could one or both of the duly appointed by the Premier ministers not have told us same?Or is there more here that we among the unwashed masses cannot see? Is there a reason why ministers shirk their duties here. Minister Hmenderson spoke to the Crowbush topic but three weeks ago. What lurks behind the scenes here? Only big decision makers and inside the beltway spinmeisters could tell us. Oh it is so suspenseful to wait for ther truth. This is like a good novel or a film. Thanks for the drama guys.

  • don
    January 03, 2014 - 07:20

    what happened to the promise of an "OPEN" government? and what about more police officers on PEI? or a doctor for every islander? islanders that vote liberal are so good at being servants if ghiz told them he will give them tickets to the moon they will take him at his word. this secret deal on the golf crap will find a islander with money "ours" and power will get the land for nothing.

    • huh
      January 03, 2014 - 18:39

      Multi million dollar negotiations are generally not done publicly, Don.

    • Regular Joe
      Regular Joe
      January 04, 2014 - 14:28

      @Huh You say Multi million dollar negotiations are generally not done publicly .Well when they involve crown businesses that taxpayers have been supporting since they opened it should . This is part of the reason this governments budget is so high an out of control . To many bad deals for taxpayers done in back rooms instead of out in the open .