Canyons hits new sandtrap |

Canyons hits new sandtrap

Caroline Kingsley, The Park Record

The long awaited Canyons golf course has hit another obstacle. The Canyons is required to complete the golf course by Sept. 1, but the resort has now requested another extension.

"Our source of financing for completion of the golf course has requested confirmation from the county that, provided we are 70 percent complete in 2013 and finish the balance of construction in 2014, The Canyons/Resort Village Management Association will not be held to be out of compliance," Canyons Managing Director Mike Goar said in a letter to the county.

Canyons’ financial backer will not fund the project unless it receives assurances the county will extend the deadline for the golf course to be completed, Goar added.

"As with many mountain construction projects, completion timelines can be delayed for a variety of reasons, especially when dealing with a project as complex as this golf course," the letter stated.

According to Goar, Canyons has relocated the Lower Village utility lines and completed grading on 11 holes. Five more holes are ready for irrigation and topsoil.

"This golf course is considered one of the major community benefits of the Canyons spa that was approved back in 1998, and was supposed to be in place many, many years ago," explained Tiffanie Northrup-Robinson, Summit County planner.

The golf course was slated for completion by 2002. But the project has since faced multiple setbacks, including litigation with Wolf Mountain Resorts and the sale of The Canyons by American Skiing Company, which submitted the original agreement, to Talisker Corp. development firm.

"The litigation was between property owners," Northrup-Robinson said. "It went on for years between Wolf Mountain and American Skiing Company. Due to the pending litigation, it has been drug out for some time. It was one of those things that prevented them from moving forward."

Summit County Manager Bob Jasper said the county was eventually able to bring everyone together "with the threat of saying you are all going to lose your development rights if you don’t come to the table. We finally negotiated an overall deal that included the golf course, and it sets deadlines for when the golf course had to be completed."

Fifteen years later, the 18-hole golf course now has a completion deadline of Sept. 1 of this year, but Talisker has requested an extension and submitted an application to modify the low-impact permit.

"I think they’ve tried to act in good faith, but life doesn’t always work out the way you would hope it would," County Manager Bob Jasper said. "They said it’s difficult to get financing because of the county’s timetable restrictions. And I think they also want to see if they can make a better golf course. They have acquired additional land next to the spa, and they want to expand and redesign the golf course so it will be more of a championship golf course."

An affiliate with the Canyons has acquired land that Goar said will transform the golf course from a 6,200-yard resort course into a "dramatic 7,000 yard mountain golf course with spectacular views and very memorable holes."

The revised layout will also improve the safety and playability of the course, he said in the letter.

"They want to annex a portion of property into The Canyons spa and realign three of those golf holes, and they don’t think they can get that completed in time," Northrup-Robinson clarified.

But there’s one more snag.

"There’s going to be significant input because the current property they are wanting to incorporate is pretty sensitive visually, so it will be really interesting to see what happens in the process," she added.

Summit County Manager Bob Jasper, who will make the final decision about the extension, is holding a public meeting to discuss the issue at 10 a.m. on April 25 at the Sheldon Richins Building, located at 6505 North Landmark Drive.

"An objective I have at the meeting is to pin down when they are talking about getting it done. They just talk about the following year but not when," Jasper said.

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