Updated: Mar 16
Letter to the Editor by Rob Fraser The Inverness Oran Mar. 8, 2023
I have been asked by many over the past few months to articulate my views on the proposed development of the West Mabou Beach Provincial Park (WMBPP) and have waited with an expectation that constructive conversation amongst neighbours, friends, and interested parties would have brought this proposal to its logical conclusion by now.
Over the course of the last two years, I have invested approximately $6,000,000 buying several hundred acres and over 20,000 feet of oceanfront properties largely on the western shores of Cape Breton Island. Since the outset of the purchases, the properties were always meant to fall into one of three categories. Those categories were: for my family; for conservation; and lastly for what I call a community-driven investment. In June of 2022, I purchased a parcel of land on Shore Road just south of Port Hood that was set in the middle of six other properties I had purchased. Those seven properties have a combined ocean frontage of approximately 11,000 feet and roughly 350 acres. Once that contiguous critical mass of properties on Shore Road was achieved, I began to explore options of what might be possible with the property that would benefit the community. For those of you that are asking why I care about the community, it is because I am from there. I grew up in Port
Hawkesbury and lived there until I was 17 years old, at which time I departed for Halifax to study at Dalhousie University. Having spent much my childhood on the beach in Port Hood, attending Judique on the Floor, and Chestico Days the entire area has always felt like home. It is equally poignant to me that my young children (Lauren 13 and Jack 10 ) and my wife share this sentiment and yearn for the trips home to visit with my parents.
As I contemplated uses for the land, the possibility of an oceanfront golf course resonated with me. Having already built one of the top golf courses in Canada, (Öviinbyrd, ranked #14 in Canada) I felt no need to build or own another. I did however feel compelled to investigate whether a "World Class" golf course, which could stand shoulder to shoulder with her Northern Neighbours, would be possible on the site. To me another top-ranked golf course on the western shores of Cape Breton would further its appeal as a golf destination.
While in the process of investigative work, there was some curiosity and concern from the community of what might happen on the property. One of my neighbours graciously agreed to organize and host a neighbourly meeting, which turned into a series of discussions at the
Chestico Museum. Without going into the details of all the meetings, I will say I finished every meeting with a very simple message. Simply put it is that I do not feel the need to do anything. If the community doesn't overwhelmingly support a world class golf course and
the complimentary development then I won't pursue it.
The decision was left to them and the level of support to date has been extraordinary. When I left those meetings I committed to bring some of the best golf architects in the world to walk the property and provide their views and subsequently to report back.
Today, I can tell you the consensus was that the site allows for a world class championship golf course.
I have seen multiple routings and computer generated imagery of the potential course and a leading U.K.-based architectural firm has been selected. While much site diligence remains to be done this spring I thought it important that the broader community have more fulsome information as you form your conclusions on WMBPP.
Sincerely and respectfully,