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Creek reconstruction work causes 'inevitable' golf club closure

Innisfil facility has been operated by Nick Torkos's family since 2004, but town-led work scheduled to start in June would cause cost-prohibitive damage to several holes
The operator of Innisfil Creek Golf Course has announced the permanent closure of the facility.

Nick Torkos has watched the last round be played at his family’s longtime business.

The owner of Innisfil Creek Golf Course recently announced the permanent closure of the facility, located on Reive Boulevard in Cookstown, via an email to club members and in a post on the facility’s website. This decision, he says, is due to the Town of Innisfil’s ongoing South Innisfil Creek Drain reconstruction project.

“It’s about five or six years that we’ve been on pins and needles,” Torkos told InnisfilToday. “We didn’t know when it was going to happen, but we knew it was going to. This was inevitable. But it’s now just kicking in. I’m taken aback by how attached people are to the property, the people who work there and what it meant to them.”

The project aims to enhance the South Innisfil Creek’s condition, improve flow during rainfall and runoff events and mitigate flooding in the surrounding areas. It’ll better water quality in the area, too, an important factor as it empties into the Nottawasaga River.

This was in development for years, though a major sticking point always centred around the cost to individual landowners — with some asked to fork over tens of thousands of dollars to help cover the work.

But on top of that, Torkos said he would have been expected to pay to tear down and replace four bridges on the course that run over the creek as it is widened by 30 feet and deepened by an additional three — he estimates that cost at between $1 million and $1.5 million. Construction on his property is also pegged to start in June, in the middle of the golf season, and would have shut down the course indefinitely.

As well, the anticipated damage to holes 6, 9, 13 and 14, along with dirt excavations, would be cost-prohibitive for the course, he said.

“The project ... was overkill for the area; nobody wanted to pay for it,” Torkos said. “Some people have had to sell their property because they couldn’t afford it. But some properties are not going to be flooded, which is a good thing. On my property, I’ve got a bigger issue because the drain goes right through the middle. Our feature is our creek. They’re also going to dig out the soil and dump it on my banks. I’m going to have Mount Everest dumped on me. I’m stuck with all the soil. It’s an unknown what it’s going to look like.

“I’m going to lose three or four acres due to this drain. I wouldn’t even know when they’d finish and when to reopen. There’s just too many things to overcome.”

Torkos did stress he doesn’t blame the town for proceeding with the work or other landowners who do support the project.

Town operations director Nicole Bowman called the project “necessary” and said the municipality has been in talks with Torkos over the matter for “several years.”

The main municipal drain spans almost 10 kilometres, with a watershed of more than 80 square kilometres, and it collects runoff from about 800 properties in Innisfil and Bradford West Gwillimbury.

“Permanently closing the golf course at this time is an independent decision made by Mr. Torkos,” Bowman said. “Town staff were notified of the closure by the same email sent to the club members. Staff will continue to work with Mr. Torkos as the project proceeds and he will receive some financial compensation at the end of the project. We appreciate this is a difficult time for Mr. Torkos and we wish him well in future endeavours.”

Torkos says that compensation works out to about $40,000.

The site has been a “treasured part” of his family since 2004, when his parents, Tom and Sophia, purchased the property from the original owners. The golf course itself first opened in 1997, and it has become a “second home” for many people, including 165 current members and nearly 100 more league players.

Torkos had planned to employ more than 40 full-time, part-time and seasonal staff this season.

“A golf course is a place where people gather and meet,” he said. “It’s not where you went to dinner; it’s who you went with. That was our philosophy. This little golf course was a labour of love. By the end, we had the recipe right. We ended on a great note. We had our best year ever (in 2023).”

It’s possible the property is repurposed for other parks and recreation-style amenities down the road — though what exactly that looks like is unclear at the moment and hinges on a number of factors, Torkos said.

All memberships, deposits and prepaid transactions will be refunded, in full, by the end of February. However, anyone seeking more information can visit the club website at, call 705-458-4653 or email [email protected].

Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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