Cabot Cape Breton Sets Sights On Mabou Point

Reading Time: 2 minutes

With two world top 100 golf courses and an excellent short course on their résumé, Cabot Cape Breton, the flagship location for the Toronto-based golf development company, is setting sights on a fourth golf course at the resort.

The news was first reported by Rick Young on Twitter in the evening of October 24, 2022. Originally tied to architect Tom Doak because of an Instagram leak, Mabou Point’s site is located on a sandbar inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mabou Harbour. The property is 20KM south of the town of Inverness, Nova Scotia. The working title for the project is “Cabot Harbour,” with the project logo depicting an anchor (more on that below).

In the statement tweeted by Rick Young, Cabot commented, saying:

Cabot Cape Breton is proud of what we have accomplished in Inverness, and we want to work with the community of Mabou to create another global tourism destination. We know from our experience with Cabot Links and Cabot Cliffs that a development like this can be transformational—creating hundreds of jobs, growth opportunities for local business, infrastructure enhancements, and support for the community causes and organizations.

Western Cape Breton is growing and has become a magnet for visitors and private sector investment. We want to build on this momentum. Cabot is currently having conversations with Mabou residents to share our vision for an 18-hole golf course in the region and gather feedback. We are committed to listening and proceeding in a thoughtful, ecological, and sustainable manner, as we have over the past 15 years.

The routing works in two nine hole loops, with the front nine and back nine both taking advantage of “the sand dunes.” Other than the eighteen, the finishing few are on the Mabou Harbour.

The official routing plan being circulated…
And the leaked version (including the logo) from Renaissance Golf Design headquarters. Drawings by Don Placek, Renaissance Golf Design.

Cabot Harbour marks Tom Doak’s first new build in Canada, although he co-restored St. George’s in Toronto with Ian Andrew prior to the 2022 RBC Canadian Open.


  • Andrew Harvie

    Based in Toronto, but having lived in Alberta, British Columbia, Montana, Arizona, and Texas, I have been lucky enough to see over 400 golf courses and counting!

32 thoughts on “Cabot Cape Breton Sets Sights On Mabou Point

  1. No local person here with two brain cells wants this to go through. No one wants our land ruined and privatized who is not themselves greedy, apathetic and short sighted as Cabot is. I don’t even bother going near Inverness in the summer now, it would be devastating to lose Mabou the same.

  2. They seemed to leave out the fact that this is a well loved and used Provincial Park, not a private playground for the rich and Cabot’s pockets. You greedy and arrogant b^$#$$%%.

  3. This article fails to mention that Cabot wants to build their proposed new golf course on provincially protected public lands – specifically the West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. This ecologically sensitive area has been protected from development for over 20 years and is an important part of Nova Scotia’s Parks & Protected Area Network. It’s very controversial in Nova Scotia with a lot of citizens outraged and opposed. The feeling here is that Cabot is welcome to build another golf course in Cape Breton if they wish, but not on protected public lands. They need to buy their own private land for their own private development – just like everybody else. Otherwise it ain’t gonna happen.

  4. This is made to look like a “done deal”. It is not. The people of Mabou who love being surrounded by natures beauty will not be bribed to sell off there greatest assets.

  5. The location proposed for this madness is in an ecologically sensitive Provincial Park. How dare these developers think they can take public land and turn it into a golf course. The project is not a done deal. The arrogance of this article and Cabot is appalling. Bribing community groups into supporting this and attempting to divide our community is disgusting.

  6. To even consider turning an ecologically sensitive Provincial Park into a golf course that needs application of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers to upkeep its turfgrass is pure insanity.

  7. What Cabot fails to mention in their quote is the hundreds of jobs created in Inverness are mostly minimum wage, and now that real estate is through the roof in the community no one that works at a golf course wage can afford to buy homes there.

  8. This is most disturbing announcement. We treasure our coastline.The golf course takes so much more than it can give .Short sighted people that cannot see that I hope they think again.we have such a jewel why should we give it away .

  9. Disgusting. This is Mabou harbour. NOT “Cabot harbour”. The only people for this sneaky idea are those under the misconception that it means jobs. This desperation for a crappy low quality job is outdated. Leave that land to be shared equally by locals, visitors and wildlife. Cabot moving in is not a prize, it’s a terrible burden. It’s an irreversible mistake.

  10. · The Provincial Parks Act. R.S., c. 367, s. 1. calls for a balancing of outdoor recreation and heritage resource protection, including preserving the unique, rare, representative or otherwise. That dedication is perpetual, and must be for the benefit of present and future generations of Nova Scotians (at s. 2).

    · The proposed lease to a private, for-profit concern should fail on at least two counts: (1) it will interfere with that pledge of permanent preservation of significant elements of the natural environment, and (2) it will provide a form of outdoor recreation that will not be accessible to all Nova Scotians, specifically, those of lesser means.

  11. Maybe Cabot should offer money to all the residents of Mabou so we can all be sell outs to the environment. The rich and powerful sees a nice view and regardless of what has already been decided upon they act like a spoiled child in a candy store. They cry ( throw money) until they get their way. West Mabou, Just Say No! Again

  12. Ive been reading some of your articles about Cabot and looking at the photos on this site . It seems to me that Cabot needs a a chunk of useless land with a decent view , on which their architects can construct a Teletubby landscape more suited for their game than anything in Nature . West Mabou Beach is far too precious to be turned into a cartoon version of itself . Any abandoned quarries around Mabou ?

  13. It’s not a surprise that Mr. Harvie and Mr. Young strongly support Cabot’s long time effort to acquire the West Mabou Provincial Park for their personal use. Both individuals are heavily vested in the golf industry so their bias is expected…..fair game!

    The common thread in both their articles avoids any mention of the ensuing chaos that would follow this acquisition whereby community emotions/relationships will be split and registered Park land will be abolished forever.

    Please do not “dumb down” your avoidance to the reality of the extent of this damage in the vernacular referencing the land as a “site” or “sandbar inlet”……….it’s a Provincial Park of the highest rating. That does not mean unless someone comes up with an idea to repurpose it’s use.

    Please reference Ms. Cynthia Baughman re the Provincial Park Act ( above) which removes all doubt on just how wrong it is from every angle to even consider this devastating proposal.

  14. West Mabou Beach Provincial Parks is OFF LIMITS!!

    Former premier Rodney MacDonald is fiddling with the future of West Mabou Beach Provincial Park while we are in the midst of global catastrophe.

    What Cabot Group, with the help of MacDonald, its community liaison, is proposing is to take, lease, from public access over 30 per cent of the park and build a golf course right out on the most sensitive land behind the dunes. These fairways will cover the entire dunes and continue towards the ponds and salt marsh on the harbour side. These are the most fragile and sensitive areas and will have a dreadful impact on the dune system, the largest such system in Nova Scotia.

    Not only is this beach one of the finest in Nova Scotia, it has a highly sensitive dune system, inhabited by rare species, flora and fauna including the Piping Plover.

    Nova Scotia is in the process of implementing a Coastal Protection Act, which is designed to protect coastal features, sand dunes and salt marshes, and with only about 5% publicly available coastline, it is crucial to maintain what we have.

  15. At the moment of writing this letter a formal approach to the Nova Scotia Government had not been made. This is a classic case of divide and conquer. The pro’s and nay’s are pitted against each other and here we have an article published in this magazine, before the official ask, the nerve! The possibility of corporate profits at the expense of a publically owned priceless eco-system makes me physically feel ill. My legacy is to oppose this golf development at West Mabou Provincial Park, it’s insane! I challenge the powers that be will uphold the protection of this area and save us all this annoyance. Hands off MY park.

    1. Once again, a company backed by an American millionaire is trying to co-opt a large parcel of publicly owned land to build a golf course.

      Former premier Rodney MacDonald, on behalf of the Cabot Group, has asked the Houston government to lease a third of the West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. The Cabot Group is proposing to build a golf course that will consume a two kilometre beach, a fragile dune system, and wetlands. The 215 hectare piece of the park shelters threatened species of plants and animals.

      MacDonald and the Cabot Group are making the well-worn promise of a financial boost to the local economy. And there’s an added twist in this deal that is designed to convince local residents that the golf course is in their best interest: money intended to buy the support of local, influential, citizen groups. If its application is successful, the Cabot Group is promising $125,000 a year to be split among five influential community organizations: West Mabou Development Association, Mabou and District Development Association, Mabou Athletic Commission, Strathspey Performing Arts Centre, Mabou Gaelic & Historical Society. Bribery.

      The Cabot Group’s intention of making money is masked in a self-serving statement that suggests they are only concerned with enhancing the park: the golf course will “provide opportunities for outdoor recreational pursuits; to preserve elements of the natural environment; and to provide residents and visitors with opportunities to discover, experience, and enjoy our province’s distinctive natural resources.”

      Golf courses are the repository of toxic pesticides and are only used by a very narrow segment of society. The way to “preserve elements of the natural environment” for all to enjoy is to leave the natural environment as it is: in its natural state.

      Premier Tim Houston claims that the proposal would “have go through extensive public consultation” noting that public transparency was “what was missing in the Owls Head situation.”

      Lack of consultation with the public about the sale of public land was certainly a problem with what Houston calls “the Owls Head situation”.

      However, the Houston government should also remember that widespread concern for preserving a valuable and rare environment was also a “problem” for the Rankin government in “the Owls Head situation”. It took over two years for people who care about the environment to save Owls Head from a rich American developer who wanted to construct as many as three golf courses.

      The more than 10,000 Nova Scotians who signed a paper petition and the more than 50,000 people who signed an online petition opposing the sale of Owls Head are still out there.

      The Houston government should think about all those signatures and simply say “no” to Rodney MacDonald and the Cabot Group. The West Mabou Beach Provincial Park is our land and it’s not for sale.

      Peter Barss

  16. All of the responses above are a coordinated effort by an environmentalist group fighting against the golf course. From what I gather there’s a 65/35 split in favour of the course as long as CABOT can prove that they will continue to prove that they will be good environmental stewards as they are in Inverness, can prove an economic impact to the region and that they will be able to help with the lack of housing in the region.

    1. Damian, it is not only up to the people who live in Mabou *which I do) to decide whether or not to be in favour of a golf course being built in a provincial park, a provincial park is for the entire population of the province of Nova Scotia. West Mabou Beach Provincial park is not a town/village park, it is for the good of the Province. .

      1. Damian, the points above and elsewhere in this comment section are well made. This is NOT a decision solely for the residents of Mabou, it is a provincial matter because it is a provincial park. You do not give a source for your 65/35 split amongst the citizens of Mabou, so I don’t even know if is correct. But I can tell you opposition to the development in this province goes beyond simply “an environmental group”.

    2. Damian,

      You say that like it’s a bad thing…that this is a coordinated effort by an environmentalist group. I do wish that environmental groups were that effective. Then maybe we wouldn’t be in an existential climate crisis because environmentalists- people who dare to care about the habitat your life depends on – would have been listened to 49 years ago when they first started sounding the alarm.

      Margaret Mead said, “ Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

      She didn’t mention profit-making golf courses with a global track record for wrecking environments where they play.

      1. Damian–With all due respect, it is a false dichotomy to frame debate about this golf course as one of environmentalists vs. prosperity. This community has worked for decades to protect our island and give voice to those many people who view our undeveloped natural areas as having intrinsic worth as well as real economic value.

        These undisturbed areas represent a priceless communal natural asset. People live here and visit here because of this unique beauty.

        That undisturbed quality translates into concrete economic benefits like productive agriculture, fishing resources, shell fishing, aquaculture, and eco-tourism.

        We must not jeopardize that…

  17. This “proposed’ golf course will destroy a fragile ecosystem. Stop being so greedy. We don’t need another golf course in Inverness. If you want to golf go down the road twenty minutes and smash some balls around as much as you want. Leave our Provincial Park alone. You have no right to destroy it. You should be ashamed.

  18. Cabot Harbour is an interesting name choice in any time and place where Reconciliation should be top of mind in naming. That’s just the beginning of the tone deafness in this proposal and why anyone excited by this article should curb their enthusiasm.

    Talking to the citizens of Mabou may seem like a positive step but the golf course is proposed for unceded Mi’kmaw land. The indigenous peoples of Unama’ki and the rest of Mi’kma’ki must be consulted.

    Through Peace and Friendship
    treaties signed as early as 1749, settlers have colonized this land. Part
    of that land is held in trust by the Goverment of Nova Scotia for public use. In the case of this golf course, the plan is to encroach on the West Mabou Beach Provincial Park – indigenous and public land all the people of Nova Scotia must be consulted.

    It will be a long process unlikely to succeed. Just a year ago, the people of NS send a message loud and clear that golf tourists were not worth the destruction of protected provincial park lands. (See Owl’s Head.) The provincial government agreed and canceled approval of the project. That was the same provincial government who would have to approve this one.

    So, unless the proponents of Cabot Harbour know something the citizens of Nova Scotia don’t know, best to take your clubs and go home.

    Pat Kipping
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    with deep roots in Margaree Harbour just up the coast from Mabou.

    1. Pat Kipping–well said. One clarification: as far as I know, there has been no open meeting with the citizens of Mabou. Rodney MacDonald had an invitation-only meeting with leaders of the five community groups to whom he/Cabot are offering a share of the $125,000 annual donation (a pittance, by the way–a good corporate citizen would exercise local philanthropy far in excess of that amount, without expecting anything in return beyond the excellent contributions that these worthy organisations and their volunteers already make to the community and which already benefit Cabot’s employees and clientele). This was no “town hall.” I am waiting here in Mabou for my opportunity to attend an open meeting.

      1. Cynthia Baughman, thanks for the info. I agree that $125,000 split between these local non-profit organizations is an embarrassing pittance. Also, if any of those organizations are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as charitable organizations with the ability to issue tax receipts for charitable donations, they could have that charitable/nonprofit status revoked if they accept the donation with strings attached.

        Very important to document any such “deals” made in private or in public. Someone should remind the organizations of that fact as well.

  19. There is something terrible happening in the unconsciousness of people who think they are entitled to do whatever they want to do with their “hard earned money”. Even if it transforms the publicly owned and shared natural environment for their own limited selfish imagination. Golf is fun but this proposal is outrageously out of line. Serious moral poverty going on here.

  20. There should be civil lawsuits at the ready for each and every name that signs off on this aberration/land grab. Cabot the business venture should not bear the financial brunt of public litigation. The individuals behind this collective act of eco terrorism should all be sued in civil court right up to the manufacturers at Bayer of the massive amounts of toxic chemicals that will be used to maintain this false image of nature in such a sensitive area. Shame on them all at this 11th hour of climate emergency. Enough is enough.

    1. D H

      With all due respect, calling Cabot “eco terrorism” is extremely inflammatory and not at all true to how they’ve been stewards to the environment in Inverness. Of all the golf development, in my experience and research, it is “Dream Golf Resorts” which Cabot is a part of, that is the best for the environment and their surroundings.

      1. I wish to question the statement that Cabot and Dream Golf Resorts are “best for the environment and their surroundings.” Much of this claim is based on their designation as an Audubon Certified Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf.

        What is not obvious from this is that Audubon International, the organization that gives this designation, is an industry group largely funded by golf courses. Its Board of Directors is dominated by people with long-time careers in the golf industry. The sole Ph.D. scientist on its board is a specialist in pest management for turf. It has no affiliation or endorsement from the Audubon Society, and actually was sued by the Audubon Society.
        As for the Audubon Certified Cooperative Sanctuary designation, the Audubon International website states that certification relies on the applicant’s own self-assessment and self-reporting, which is far from the rigorous vetting that the name “Audubon” would imply. Here’s what a satisfied golf course manager has to say: “I like that the program is realistic in its approach and sets achievable goals. Golf courses are not required to make significant and expensive changes to their infrastructure in order to become certified. Any course can do it simply by altering their approach to property management.” In other words, all it takes is some tweaks to the business-as-usual of applying industrial fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides to be able to wave the co-opted name “Audubon.”

        To further illustrate the emptiness of this so-called “certification as a sanctuary,” golf courses with this designation are free to, and do kill birds if they are deemed a nuisance. Please Google this article, The other Audubon: The one that allows golf courses to kill birds, written by Rachel Bale, who was on staff at National Geographic for 7 years, and Tom Knudson, a Pulitzer Prize winner for National Reporting. It notes that over 30,000 birds have been killed by golf courses in the U.S. that have the “Audubon Certified Cooperative Sanctuary for Golf” label. This story is from 2015 but is still relevant: the Audubon International website states one option for dealing with nuisance birds or deer is through hunting. Using dogs to “chase or stalk the birds,” or obtaining “permits to disrupt nests or eggs” are also options.

        Make no mistake, a golf course is an industrial enterprise, no matter how prettied up it is by artful ponds and greenwashed certificates. Building a course within the West Mabou Provincial Park would involve cutting forested areas and major excavations as the dunes and acres of land are carved and shaped into a golf course. Once built, chemicals will be applied to maintain the greens.

  21. Understand the passion of locals and people vested in area but there is a fair bit of righteous ignorance as well. Would love to see what TD could do with this site. Southern Ontario as well beckons.

  22. From the CBC, on April 20, 2023:
    The owners of the Cabot golf courses on Cape Breton Island will not get access to part of West Mabou Beach Provincial Park for another development.

    In an interview on Thursday, Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton said officials from his department informed the company last week that even if it submitted a formal request, the government would not consider it.

    “It was determined over the last few weeks that there’s actually no pathway or mechanism in the Provincial Parks Act to allow a golf course to be developed within a park,” said Rushton.

    Community opposition to this project was intense and tireless. If Cabot wants to build another golf course in Cape Breton, they will have to go buy some private land. They cannot take our public lands.

    I am extremely grateful to Nadine Hunt, who led the local effort in Mabou, and to all members of the public in Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and beyond who wrote letters to government officials and to newspapers, and talked with their neighbours and community leaders and community organisations. Congratulations.

    I appreciate this site allowing opponents of the golf course to post here. The story of this fight against Cabot is a good one. David vs. Goliath. Will any golf journalists tell it?

  23. PS–opponents of this project had planned a protest on the beach for Earth Day, today, April 22, 2023, but now the gathering is a celebration. I am sure there are many passionate golfers out there who can see that it would have been exhilarating to golf in this gorgeous park, on these majestic dunes, above these harbour shores, but whose love for the natural world would lead them to celebrate this decision too. There are plenty of other beautiful places to golf in Cape Breton (including Cabot’s Inverness golf course, built on a reclaimed coal mining site at the invitation and with the sweetheart deal offered by the local government). Come and golf there, and then visit West Mabou Beach Provincial Park and enjoy its wild and natural state which, we dearly hope, will be protected forever.

Leave a Reply