By this time next year, a Canadian Indian tribe hopes to break ground on a tourist-friendly residential village, complete with an outside-the-box golf course, along the southeastern shore of Vancouver Island.
The Stz’uminus (Chemainus) First Nation aims to build the village, called Oyster Bay, on 450 acres just off the Trans-Canada Highway in the town of Ladysmith. The tribe is a major landowner on the island – it owns a handful of properties that total more than 2,500 acres – and Oyster Bay is an important component in its plan to build a $100 million economy over the next 20 years.
Oyster Bay will consist of roughly 400 single-family houses and other housing types, a “main street” with boutique stores and restaurants, and other retail and commercial space.
Marc Pezzin, an architect based in Kelowna, British Columbia, will design the community’s 18-hole, 7,200-yard golf course. The course will be walkable – “Too many courses fail because you can’t walk them,” says Pezzin – and it’ll incorporate one of those fresh new ideas in golf design that everyone always talks about: The track will be laid out in three six-hole loops, cloverleaf style, with each loop returning to the clubhouse.
“We think the design is ideal because of the local population, which is 50 percent retirees,” explains Ray Gauthier, the CEO of the tribe’s Coast Salish Development Corporation. “They want to golf often, but they don’t always want to play 18 holes. So at our course they can play six and call it a day.”
Pezzin, who’s part of the course’s ownership group, has one golf course to his credit, an 18-hole track at Canoe Creek Golf Course in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. His co-designer at Canoe Creek, former golf pro Dave Barr, will probably also be enlisted to co-design the course at Oyster Bay.
The CSDC is developing Oyster Bay with an as-yet unidentified private group that’s contributed roughly 150 acres to the venture. The partners have delivered a development proposal to local planning officials, and Gauthier believes it’ll take six months or more to get through the planning process.
This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to WorldEdition@aol.com.