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Dave McCollum

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #325 on: October 13, 2017, 11:32:02 AM »
Jon--your last comment reminded me of a chat I had with a member in the Machrihanish clubhouse.  He asked me where I played.  I told him and said that I had put 1500 miles on my rental in the previous week.  He looked at me like I was completely mad.  I am still pleased with courses I chose and, yes, Brora was one.  The only Open rota course was TOC.  I live in the western US and we think it's normal to jump in a car and drive 500 miles.

David_Tepper

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #326 on: October 13, 2017, 12:00:50 PM »
Should anyone be in the Dornoch area in the coming weeks, note that there will be a public meeting regarding the Coul Links project at the Dornoch Social Club on Sunday, October 22 and another one at the Embo Community Centre on Monday. October 23.

My understanding is Bill Coore will be speaking at both meetings.

From the Aberdeen Press & Journal of October 12:

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1339576/new-highland-golf-course-would-be-in-worlds-top-50-and-attract-thousands/

From The Herald of October 12:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/15592298.Charities_step_up_campaign_against_golf_course_development/
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 12:36:52 PM by David_Tepper »

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #327 on: October 23, 2017, 04:14:36 AM »
Was at the info evening last night at Dornoch where the developer's made a very good presentation. Having seen the information and talked to several of the experts present I am more convinced than ever this project will be positive for the area.


There is another info evening tonight in Embo for those interested.


Jon

David_Tepper

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #328 on: October 25, 2017, 01:42:59 PM »
Latest press release from the development group:

Strong Local Support for Coul Links
Public Meetings held in Dornoch and Embo
Developers Present Net Environmental Enhancement of SSSI
88% of Surveys Expressed Support, 8% Neutral and 4% Opposed


Coul Links developers held their 5th and 6th public meetings this week in Dornoch and Embo
and received exceptionally strong public support and feedback. Specifically, business entrepreneur
Todd Warnock, land owner Edward Abel Smith and Embo Trust, (Urras Euraboil) sponsored public
meetings to profile their recently filed Planning Application. Presentations were delivered by Mr.
Warnock outlining the economic benefits of the development as well as several important strategic
environmental initiatives which will improve the SSSI site. Dr. Peter Cosgrove summarized his
ecological assessment including a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) report provided in the Planning
Application. The conclusion of the BNG report is the project would deliver “clear and substantive
biodiversity net gain across a number of habitats”.


The developers presented strong and compelling evidence the SSSI at Coul Links will be environmentally enhanced not degraded by the golf development. Mr. Warnock said “We believe the attendees were quite impressed with the scientific
assessment that the migrating and breeding bird populations would be strengthened by our
strategies. I think this data as well our commitment to a comprehensive Site Management Plan for
Coul Links in conjunction with SNH, gave the public confidence we take the subject of environmental
stewardship seriously”. World-renown golf architect Bill Coore spoke emotionally of his belief he and
partner Ben Crenshaw had never worked on a site as special as Coul Links. Coore said “the
opportunity for great golf at Coul Links is extreme and we are excited and frankly humbled by the

prospect of building a course in the home of golf.”

The response of the local communities was exceptionally positive. The developers asked
students from the Highlands & Islands Golf Management Program to welcome attendees of the
meetings and asked them to complete a short survey. On Sunday night October 22nd, an estimated
120 people attended the meet held at the Dornoch Social Club. Of the 87 attendees who completed
the survey, 74 were in favor of the golf development (85%), 6 were neutral and 7 were against (8%).
On Monday evening, October 23rd an estimated 100 people attended the meet held at the Embo

Community Centre. Of the 86 attendees who completed the survey, 79 were in favor of the golf
development (92%), 7 were neutral and 0 were against (0%). Todd Warnock, the co-developer said
“we were exceptionally honored our positive message resulted in such overwhelming support. Mike
Keiser and I have always said we only want to build a golf course at Coul Links with community
support and these results clearly demonstrate the community’s excitement for the project”.
The developers highlighted several environmental initiatives regarding invasive species
management, remediation of a felled tree plantation, expansion of the habitat adjacent to the SSSI
toward Embo as well as public access and education/information plans all of which will improve the
environmental integrity of the site. The developers noted the golf course will include 22.7 ha of
tees, fairways and greens of which 14.0 ha are within the SSSI, 8.7 are outside the SSSI. Further, the
developers have committed to remediate a 5.7 ha felled tree plantation inside the SSSI which is
environmentally compromised. They have also committed to expand the habitat adjacent to the
SSSI via the purchase, remediation and management of 14.3 ha near Embo which is currently the
source of significant invasive species migration onto the SSSI. The net result of these efforts is to
offset the 14.0 ha of golf course within the SSSI with 20.0 ha of environmentally improved habitat all
under the proposed Site Management Plan.

You can't blame the developers for putting a positive spin on things (or can you?). ;)

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1346852/coulnotcoul/
 
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 01:53:34 PM by David_Tepper »

Ben Stephens

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #329 on: October 27, 2017, 12:34:08 PM »
Link to Planning Portal with all the drawings and associated documents


http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OX1OGYIHH0I00


The masterplan was drawn by STRI


Cheers
Ben

Niall C

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #330 on: October 27, 2017, 01:04:46 PM »
You can't blame the developers for putting a positive spin on things (or can you?). ;)




Now there's a challenge !!! 


DT


When you're issuing a press release about creating local jobs it might be an idea to use a local PR company or at least one that doesn't use American spellings and phrases  ;)


That aside, very pleased to see that they have majored on the argument about the environmental benefits of golf courses in terms of more varied habitats although I note the comment in the papers suggests that the developers expert got a hard time.
 
Incidentally, I note Todd Warnock suggesting that 33 courses have been built on SSSI land in this country (presumably he means Scotland ?). I'm very surprised at that number and can think of maybe a handful.


Perhaps what he means is that there are 33 courses situated on SSSI land which is an altogether different matter. It is one thing having a course on land that subsequently becomes designated as a SSSI and quite another to get permission and build a course on land that is already designated. Perhaps it's another claim to go along side the one about there being nowhere else in the country having 2 such quality links courses so close together  :o


Niall

Howard Riefs

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"Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: Taking long walks and hitting things with a stick."  ~P.J. O'Rourke

Ben Stephens

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #332 on: October 28, 2017, 04:01:15 AM »

Niall,


My home course Rutland Water is on a SSSI and was built 10-15 years ago


Cheers
Ben

You can't blame the developers for putting a positive spin on things (or can you?). ;)




Now there's a challenge !!! 


DT


When you're issuing a press release about creating local jobs it might be an idea to use a local PR company or at least one that doesn't use American spellings and phrases  ;)


That aside, very pleased to see that they have majored on the argument about the environmental benefits of golf courses in terms of more varied habitats although I note the comment in the papers suggests that the developers expert got a hard time.
 
Incidentally, I note Todd Warnock suggesting that 33 courses have been built on SSSI land in this country (presumably he means Scotland ?). I'm very surprised at that number and can think of maybe a handful.


Perhaps what he means is that there are 33 courses situated on SSSI land which is an altogether different matter. It is one thing having a course on land that subsequently becomes designated as a SSSI and quite another to get permission and build a course on land that is already designated. Perhaps it's another claim to go along side the one about there being nowhere else in the country having 2 such quality links courses so close together  :o


Niall

Niall C

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #333 on: October 28, 2017, 10:51:23 AM »
Ben

Interesting. Which part of Scotland is Rutland Water in ?  ;D

Off-hand I can think of the following;

Balmedie
St Andrews Bay
Mach Dunes

and then possiby

Askernish ?
Durness ?
Where then new holes at Renaissance SSSI ?

Quite a short list. I suppose you could add in courses on SSSI that had alterations perhaps ? I'm struggling to see how you'd get up to 30 plus but you never know. I'd be interested to see a list if anyone has one.

Niall
 

Tom_Doak

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #334 on: October 28, 2017, 12:16:00 PM »
Were the new holes at Renaissance SSSI ?



Partly.  The 9th hole and 10th tee were in the SSSI ground.  I believe the 10th fairway was out of it.  The 11th hole was definitely not in the SSSI. 


There did not seem to be a fundamental objection to work in the SSSI, as long as we avoided the critical areas flagged by Scottish Natural Heritage, which in our case were large communities of moss that prevented any fairways from being built in the dunes area.  Except for the 10th tee, everything we built on had been covered by buckthorn, an invasive which SNH insisted we remove ... so they couldn't really object to planting that area with fescue and using it for the golf.


Those mossy patches we were asked to avoid are quite common on links sites in the UK and Europe ... I have noticed them in the roughs of several famous courses since then, and you can bet some used to be in the fairways, too.  Avoiding them on a full 18-hole project would be very difficult, if everyone is being held to the same standard.  They're the primary reason the routing at Machrihanish Dunes is disjointed, I presume.


Interestingly, we discovered during the permitting process that a bit of the original 18 holes were built on SSSI land -- the boundary of the SSSI was not quite the same as the property line, but no one had noticed.

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #335 on: October 28, 2017, 12:18:51 PM »
Niall,


I don't know if it was a miss quote because at the Dornoch presentation Todd Warnock clearly said 30 plus Scottish courses in SSSI's not new builds. This I would imagine to be the case.


Jon




Marty Bonnar

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #336 on: October 28, 2017, 05:36:49 PM »
A tiny aside re removal of Sea Buckthorn.
Playing North Berwick a few weeks ago, I/we was/we’re amazed/delighted/surprised to see the massive amounts removed along the dune ridge at the tenth and eleventh holes. It’s really going to look phenomenal when it’s covered with only marram grass.
Well done, NB!


F.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town.

Dave McCollum

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #337 on: October 29, 2017, 02:33:09 PM »
As I recall (but am far too lazy to go back and look) that this thread started with some rather pious environmental arguments based upon some assessments by regulatory authorities.  I’m quite pleased the discussion has advanced to more what the locals want.  I personally don’t believe that golf courses mess up local wildlife as long as habitat is provided.  Our course seems to have much more diverse populations than the surrounding native areas.  I also believe it’s pretty rare that folks want to screw up their own back yards.  Farmers and ranchers want to make money, but they also want pass their land down to their children in good shape and that also means environmental sustainability.

Ben Stephens

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #338 on: October 30, 2017, 04:11:21 AM »

Hi Niall,


33 courses in a SSSI is quite a lot for a country if you mean Scotland


Rutland is outside Scotland and an independent county  ;D  and Rutland Water itself is only 40 years old having been a man made lake and a 'young' SSSI there were no issues achieving planning


Cheers
Ben


Ben

Interesting. Which part of Scotland is Rutland Water in ?  ;D

Off-hand I can think of the following;

Balmedie
St Andrews Bay
Mach Dunes

and then possiby

Askernish ?
Durness ?
Where then new holes at Renaissance SSSI ?

Quite a short list. I suppose you could add in courses on SSSI that had alterations perhaps ? I'm struggling to see how you'd get up to 30 plus but you never know. I'd be interested to see a list if anyone has one.

Niall
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 01:56:15 PM by Ben Stephens »

Ian Galbraith

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #339 on: October 30, 2017, 05:10:30 AM »
A tiny aside re removal of Sea Buckthorn.
Playing North Berwick a few weeks ago, I/we was/we’re amazed/delighted/surprised to see the massive amounts removed along the dune ridge at the tenth and eleventh holes. It’s really going to look phenomenal when it’s covered with only marram grass.
Well done, NB!


F.


I believe SNH were instrumental in demanding this happen as part of a wider conservation effort the clubs are undertaking to protect the dunes. There was also a lot of sea buckthorn removed behind the 13th green (Pit). As 'F." said, I think it will be a big improvement once the marram takes.

Niall C

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #340 on: November 04, 2017, 07:31:52 AM »
Tom


Thanks for the comment on Renaissance and dealings with SNH.


Dave


"Pious environmental arguments". Really !!


Scotland has a fantastic natural environment however it is a very small country compared to the US and we don't have limitless expanses of SSSI sites to treat them without due regard. And while the locals appear to have got behind the scheme, have you considered that might be because the developers have acknowledged the "pious environmental arguments" as you call them and dealt with the concerns raised ?


Niall




Jon Wiggett

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #341 on: November 05, 2017, 04:14:58 AM »

Niall,


I would suggest the developers have addressed the environmental issues more than satisfactorily. The main objections seem to come from those who are objecting just because they are against any change. I think the development will be a win-win for the local community in terms of increased economical trade and jobs with better local facilities to boot. For the ecology with increased and managed SSSIs plus better research into what is actually there.


Jon


Jon Wiggett

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #343 on: November 07, 2017, 03:38:18 PM »
David,

the conservationist were always going to object. However, having talked to some of them none of them were really able to put any facts behind the 'it will be bad for the site'. I would be surprised if the plans are not approved first time.

Jon

Rich Goodale

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #344 on: November 07, 2017, 03:52:04 PM »
The world is going mad.  Fortunately, when Coull Links becomes a juniper forest, we'll have local G&T's to drown our sorrows.
Life is good.

Any afterlife is unlikely and/or dodgy.

Jean-Paul Parodi

Jon Wiggett

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #345 on: November 07, 2017, 05:51:07 PM »
Short piece on BBC Scotland tonight about the proposal.

Dave McCollum

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #346 on: November 08, 2017, 06:15:25 PM »
Nial, I confess to have a biased view of environmental regulatory agencies, having once been fined over $400K for what essentially was a paperwork typo.  My negotiated settlement was much less, but still 5 figures.  My advice is to view the positions of these agencies with the same skepticism as one would the developers.  My view is that they don't make positive contributions to the environment.  They make and enforce rules, essentially a bureaucratic or political function.  Of course my experience is the USA, however its not hard to imagine the same is true across the pond.     

Niall C

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #347 on: November 09, 2017, 10:43:54 AM »
Dave
 
I’m not involved in the environmental industry and have only come across SNH in development situations such as this although none involving a golf course. While it can be frustrating, time consuming, and ultimately expensive to deal with depending on what they require you to do, there is no doubt that there is a need for an environmental authority in the planning process. I also believe they have the general public support beyond the usual tree-hugger activists.
 
Yes, you can come across arrogance and the occasional intransigent zealot within these organisations but generally they are OK to engage with. It certainly pays to work with them rather than ignoring or fighting against them. Getting them onside can pay dividends in getting public support. That said, the banging the table and the “do you know who I am ?” approach seems to work well with the current Scottish government if you are prepared to take your application all the way in appeal to the Scottish ministers (ref. Trump at Balmedie and Judy Murray at Dunblane).
 
I tend to think though in the long run it would be better for the image of the game and the environment if golf developers embraced the need to protect and enhance the environment which is what they seem to have done at Embo.
 
Niall

Dave McCollum

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #348 on: November 09, 2017, 02:47:01 PM »
Seems reasonable to me.  My beef with the EPA is that I have to have the same permit for my fish ponds that Dow Chemical would have for a plant.  Same fine structure as well:  up to $19K a day.  The only EPA guys I've dealt with were all enforcement types.  Same with everyone I know.   

Brian_Ewen

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Re: Keiser's Coul Links Project (Embo/Dornoch)
« Reply #349 on: November 12, 2017, 10:36:15 AM »
http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/15653122.Support_for_out_local_hero/



Support for out local hero

Letters


TO counter a one-sided view presented by some environmental agencies this week, here is the local view (“Conservation groups oppose new luxury golf project in Highlands”, The Herald, November 7). Todd Warnock has already demonstrated his commitment to Dornoch by saving our courthouse when it was abandoned by Scottish Court Services. He lives here and works with the community. There is no comparison with Donald Trump other than they are American.


If your readers care to study the substantial documentation submitted with planning application for Coul Links they will see that the environment will be better off if the development goes ahead. This is because a managed and funded scheme would be in place to protect the Site of Special Interest which there has not been to date. Where have the agencies been while birds have been shot for sport and invasive species have taken over the site?


The main endangered species in the Highlands is our young people, who for generations have had to move south in search of jobs. This project has the potential to reverse rural depopulation and transform the economic landscape to provide meaningful and well paid jobs for our children and grandchildren. The local community trust is so committed to this vision that it will financially invest in Coul Links and have a seat on the board if this project is given the go-ahead.


If the environmental agencies’ misinformed attacks on Coul Links result in the loss of the largest single investment in Sutherland ever, I hope they will come and explain to our young people why they wrecked their future.


Joan Bishop,

Whinhill, Dornoch.

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