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Perth, Ont. residents concerned about development on Canada's oldest golf course

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Residents in the town of Perth are concerned with a new housing development set to be built on Canada's oldest golf course.

Developer Caivan purchased the land at the Perth Golf Course, which was founded in 1890, and has plans to build 940 homes on the site.

Residents such as Bill Slaven, a member of Perth Citizens for Sensible Development, are concerned that type of rapid growth could disrupt their small town charm.

"We don't want the town to change," Slaven told CTV News Ottawa. "We want to save the heritage part of the town. But we also want sensible building."

The proposed plan would see half of the Perth Golf Course turned into the housing development.

"We would all of a sudden have a third of the population of the town just on the lands of the golf course."

Wayne Johnson is part of a similar community group in town, and says his concerns lay in the design plans, and how they are not in line with Perth's current heritage aesthetic.

"It's the lack of sidewalks, the proximity of the houses together, the whole density of the development; it doesn't correspond with what's in the plan and the bylaws right now."

The community groups also share concerns over the stress the rapid growth would put on the town's services and infrastructure, although Perth's mayor is not worried about that.

"Our engineer tells us that what we have at the present time is adequate," Judy Brown tells CTV News Ottawa.

The town has yet to approve Caivan's plan.

Brown says there are worries regarding a singular bridge, which serves as the only access point in and out of the proposed development.

A need for further clarity on that point has led Caivan and the town of Perth to a meeting at the Ontario Land Tribunal on Dec. 14.

In a statement to CTV News, Susan Murphy, President of Land Development at Caivan Communities said, "We believe our proposal represents an efficient and environmentally responsible design and provides housing where it is badly needed.

"We remain open to collaboration with Town officials that is respectful of their long-planned objectives for this area, and the realities of economic viability. We hope that the Town reverse its decision to not engage with our team in the advancement of this community-building initiative."

A community information session is set to be held at the Perth Legion Thursday night.

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