Game over: Highlands Links Privatized

Earlier today, Parks Canada told our members at the Highlands Links golf course that it had found a successful bidder for its operations. As some of you may recall, the Conservative government had been intent on privatizing this unique part of our national parks.

The Highlands Links golf course was carved out of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park in 1939. Designed by Stanley Thompson, an internationally-recognized Canadian golf architect, the course has been ranked among the best golf courses in Canada and around the world.  Like all of Thompson’s golf courses, the Highlands Links was built in such a way to make it look like it was a congenital part of the landscape.

And for over 75 years, it was operated by the Government of Canada for the benefit of all Canadians.

For decades, it provided an affordable option for Canadian families – especially for newcomers to the notoriously expensive sport.

There have been thousands of golfers who graced its greens, all of whom were met by courteous and professional Parks Canada employees. Our members at Highlands Links have been committed to providing a unique experience for visitors, all while maintaining the ecological integrity of the site. The golf course has been part of a certification program that “helps golf courses protects our environment and preserves the natural heritage of the game of golf.”

But now that the Harper government has chosen to sell our golf course to the highest bidder, we expect things to change. A private company will be driven solely by profit motive; sound ecological standards, decent wages for hard-working Canadians and affordable options for Canadian families are sure to take the backseat.

In 2012, the local community in Ingonish, Nova Scotia was galvanized by a campaign to stop the government from privatizing the golf course. During a town hall, community members were concerned that privatization would lead to fewer career opportunities for young people who wish to work in their home town.

In 2014, Score Golf Magazine ranked the Highland Links 7th best from the top 100 best golf courses in Canada. The same magazine also rated it the No. 1 public golf course in the country.