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Rai Sahi, chairman and CEO of the company that owns Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., isn't surprised that his proposal to close the golf course and redevelop it has sparked local protests, but he says he's determined to proceed, no matter how long it takes.

On Monday night, Oakville's city council voted unanimously in favour of seeking provincial heritage status for Glen Abbey, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and has hosted the Canadian Open 29 times. 

Sahi is head of TWC Enterprises Ltd., which owns the ClubLink chain of golf courses. Last November, ClubLink tabled a proposal to transform the 92.7-hectare Glen Abbey site into more than 3,200 homes, offices and stores, as well as 50 hectares of parkland.

In an exclusive interview conducted in early August for a feature in the September issue of Report on Business magazine, Sahi said his first objective is to get zoning for the land. But it may be quite a while before any construction starts. "I can tell you it will not be for at least six, seven or eight years," he said.

Sahi said the resistance in Oakville is similar to opposition ClubLink encountered in Aurora, Ont., after the company unveiled a proposal in 2014 to redevelop its smaller Highland Gate golf course in a joint venture with a local homebuilder. "It went through the same thing—had to go through the Ontario Municipal Board and all of that. It is now approved," Sahi said. 

The next hurdle for the Glen Abbey proposal is a planning and development council meeting in Oakville scheduled for Sept. 26.

Read the full Report on Business magazine profile of Rai Sahi