These are questions the residents of Stonebridge have asked and have not been answered or inadequately answered. This is a serious issue for many in this community.
We appreciate the position of golf course property homeowners and their investment for those locations. But it seems inappropriate to burden the majority of non golf course property owners with an additional tax. The purpose for this website it to try to find a fair outcome to this financial situation that the entire community will have to burden.
What is this really going to cost us?
The big question residents want answered is, what is this really going to cost Stonebridge residents?
Stonebridge residents already pay a property tax premium to live in a golf course community. It is at least three basis points higher than surrounding communities. Now the city and Stonebridge Working Group (SWG) want residents to pay an additional levy (tax).
The reality is that golf course property homeowner accepted the risk that the golf course, a business, will not exist in perpetuity. They, however, willingly accepted to pay property premiums for their lots. The responsibility is on these owners, not on the majority of the Stonebridge homeowners.
Questions are being ask and some answered by Stonebridge Community Association (SCA) & Stonebridge Working Group (SWG). However, it seem members are not communicating the same message.
Q1. Are all Stonebridge residents paying equally?
A1. No. With the data provided by the SWG, the residents who own golf course properties will pay approximately 19% of the total cost. Residents who own properties up to $650,000 in value will pay 81% of the total cost.
Q2. How much is the golf course property worth?
A2. Comparable development land in Barrhaven is selling for $300,000 – $650,000 per acre. Mattamy is prepared to sell 198 acres (the golf course) that is valued at over $120 million for $6 million, or about $30,000. If developed, the 198 acres could be net Mattamy in excess of $400 million. What is the catch?
Q3. Is the cost really $6 million?
A3. According to SWG, the cost will be $6 million, but there will be other costs associated to the purchase. The final costs could rise anywhere from $1 million – $5 million. The SWG is not sure of what those items are and what they would cost.
Q4. How much will it cost to run the golf course and who will be responsible for any shortfalls in revenue?
A4. The SWG will not disclose any of those costs. They will not even disclose the current costs and shortfalls at the golf course because they signed a non-disclosure agreement with Mattamy to keep those figures a secret. The SWG is asking residents to “trust them” without presenting any financial data. They are not protecting the interests of the residents.
Q5. How did the SWG determine how much each homeowner will pay in extra tax per year?
A5. The SWG presented only rough estimates and they are continually revising the true cost to homeowners. Working with a chartered professional accountant, you download the financial analysis here.
Q6. Who would operate the golf course? And who would be responsible if the golf course is losing money?
A6. The SWG has not prepared a business plan or a proposal. It could be the residents of Stonebridge. But the SWG will not answer this question.
Q7. Who would control the tax once collected?
A7. Once collected, the tax would be owned by the City of Ottawa. If it does not get used for the purchase of the golf course property, the City of Ottawa would put your tax money into general revenue. YOU WOULD NOT GET ANY OF THAT MONEY BACK.
Q8. Did the SCA and the SWG survey residents to gauge interest in this proposal?
A8. The SCA and the SWG conducted a survey of residents to take “the temperature” of residents if they want to have a vote on the tax. They never established what that threshold should be, who could vote, nor did they limit the number of times anyone could vote. Some residents voted more than 10 times. The survey should have been done by an independent third-party and rules set up. The survey is illegitimate.
Q9. Will Mattamy disclose the verified, audited financial statements for the golf course to the residents of Stonebridge?
A9. No. They showed some financial documents to the SWG but neither Mattamy nor SWG will share those with the us, the residents.
Q10. Who is representing the legal interests of the residents of Stonebridge?
A10. No one is representing the legal interests of the residents. Mattamy has a legal team. The City of Ottawa has a legal team.
Q11. Who are the members of the SWG?
A11. Members of the SWG include a City of Ottawa hired facilitator and 7 or 8 current and former members of the SCA. The SWG was handpicked by the SCA with most of the SWG members owning homes that back onto the golf course. Dozens of people volunteered, but were turned away because they could not be trusted to tow the party line.
Q12. Were there other options discussed by the Stonebridge Working Group (SWG)?
A12. The Stonebridge Working Group (SWG) has said that they dismissed other options because buying the golf course was the best option. The SWG will not tell us what the other options were so that we can discuss them as a community.
Q13. I purchased golf course property and paid a premium for it. What should I do?
A13. Since you paid a significant premium for your home, you have every right to protect your interest. Golf course property owners should pursue legal action against Mattamy, not have Stonebridge residents pay additional taxes.
Q14. Will my house value decrease if the golf course is developed?
A14. There is no way to determine the price of real estate 10 years from today. Many factors go into setting housing prices—interest rates, property sizes, community amenities, etc. Having a golf course in a community does not guarantee high home values. Many communities in the USA have experienced declining home values because of golf courses that were losing money.
Q15. Since residents are paying taxes to buy the golf course, will residents be owners of the golf course as well? If residents are owners, what does that entail?
A15. It has been suggested by some in the community that Stonebridge residents would become shareholders. As such, legal responsibilities would apply, including covering budget shortfalls.
Q16. Stonebridge residents have been paying a premium on their property taxes because of the Stonebridge golf course. Shouldn’t the City of Ottawa step in?
A16. The City of Ottawa is under no obligation to step in and purchase the golf course. In fact, the City of Ottawa has gotten out of the business of operating golf courses because golf courses lose money.
Q17. What is the golf course was to be converted to green space? For example: a park running through Stonebridge.
A17. Golf courses use an extreme amount of pesticides and herbicides. They are a chemical soup and remediation costs are extremely high to bring the land back to green space. What would that cost be in the future? Who would pay for it? We just don’t know because the Stonebridge Working Group (SWG) is only interested in keeping the golf course operating.
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SCA: Stonebridge Community Association
SWG: Stonebridge Working Group