The Ben Eoin Shuffle (Reprise)

Since last we dropped by Ben Eoin, there have been developments — and not just the ongoing expansion of The Birches Country Inn (to accommodate what I really hope will be called The Birches Country Pro-Shop).

That last bulletin detailed ructions over the sale of The Lakes Golf Club to Ben Eoin Development Group Inc (BEDGInc).

The Cape Breton Ski Club, which leases land to the Golf Club, claims a 2006 MOU gives it the right of first refusal on the club in case of a sale. Ben Eoin Golf Ltd, which owns the golf club, says the MOU was never signed. The Ski Club has gone to court, asking for an injunction to stop the sale. Their day there is scheduled for May 16-17.

That’s all I’ve got, although I’m keeping my ears open (and hearing lots of rumors, but I don’t actually print rumors, which is good journalism but dead boring).

While you’re waiting for me to determine the truth of some of these rumors, I thought it might be helpful to have an updated version of the Ben Eoin Shuffle, the article I wrote back in September 2018. Think of it as a Who’s Who or a What’s What of Ben Eoin recreational facilities.

Here’s the structure of those various facilities as of 2 April 2019 (as in, the day I looked everything up on the Joint Stocks Registry website), beginning with Ben Eoin’s new overlords (I know, I know, I too thought that by 2019 the new overlords would be robots but — as far as I can tell — they’re just humans):

 

The Ben Eoin Development Group Inc. (BEDGInc)

Incorporated and registered on 23 November 2017 as 3312636 NS Limited Company (the name change took effect on 17 December 2018), the Ben Eoin Development Group Inc is made up of Mike Kenny, Troy Wilson, Rodney Colbourne, Steve MacDougall, Siva Thanamayooran and Glen Brann.

The company has one related registration: Ben Eoin Development Group.

Their holdings in Ben Eoin now include:

 

Aerie Estates

In 2013, Enterprise Cape Breton (ECBC) built a $1.1 million road and cleared land for the Aerie Estates subdivision on a hill adjoining the ski hill. Of the 16 lots put on the market, only one sold. When ECBC was absorbed into ACOA in 2014, the 15 unsold lots — including one at the top earmarked for a hotel — went to Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC).

PSPC put the unsold lots up for sale as a group, asking $525,000. In April 2018, BEDGInc bought them for $445,000.

For the record, the properties were originally expected to sell for prices between $70,000 and $100,000. The $525,000 asking price was intended to allow the feds to recoup some of the $1.1 poured into the access road, but the final purchase price represented only 40% of the road construction costs.

The road itself now belongs to the CBRM.

 

The Birches

In 2003, ECBC put out a call for proposals for the land (9.75 acres) on which The Birches at Ben Eoin Country Inn now stands and the winning bidders got the land at a nominal price and received loans worth $530,000 and non-repayable contributions worth an additional $112,220 from the development agency.

In 2013, the couple who owned the Inn — which at that point, had never turned a profit — put it on the market for $1.7 million. By 2015, the CBC was reporting that the price had dropped to $1 million but still nobody was biting.

In the spring of 2018, BEDGInc bought it for $675,000. It is now listed in the NS Registry of Joint Stocks as The Birches at Ben Eoin Country Inn Limited.

BEDGInc is in the process of expanding The Birches to include a pro-shop.

 

Sub-marina

The land under the Ben Eoin Marina had been owned by Enterprise Cape Breton Inc and, when ECBC was folded into ACOA in 2014, became the property of Public Services and Procurement Canada. PSPC declared the property “surplus,” called for bids and in August 2018 sold the property to BEDGInc (which beat out the group that owns the marina) for $150,000.

The Lakes Golf Club may soon make this list, but its sale to BEDGInc is controversial, so before we discuss it, we’ll look at the other Ben Eoin entities:

 

Ski Hill

The Ben Eoin Ski Hill was established in 1968 by The Cape Breton Ski Club (a not-for-profit society) with assistance from the Cape Breton Development Corporation (Devco), which had been formed just a year earlier.

That same year, the Ski Club established the for-profit subsidiary Sun Mountain Development Ltd through which it “holds all if its capital assets and equipment.”

In 1999, The Cape Breton Ski Club purchased the land on which the marina and part of the golf course were later located with financial assistance (in the form of two, $300,000 forgivable loans) from ECBC and the Province of Nova Scotia.

In 2010, The Cape Breton Ski Club registered the for-profit Ski Ben Eoin, which lists “Alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country and showshoeing” as the nature of its business.

 

Ben Eoin Marina

In 1998, the not-for-profit 3024152, a Nova Scotia Limited by Guarantee company, was established, changing its name in 2006 to Ben Eoin Golf Ltd before changing it again in 2009 to Ben Eoin Marina Ltd. It remains a not-for-profit, limited by guarantee company.

In 2011, the Ben Eoin Marina was built on a piece of the land purchased by The Cape Breton Ski Club in 1999. The land (valued at $800,000) was the Ben Eoin Marina board’s only contribution to the $4.8 million project — ECBC contributed the remaining $4 million, in the process breaking its own rule against providing more than 75% of a project’s funding.

In 2013, Ben Eoin Marina Ltd registered the for-profit Ben Eoin Yacht Club, which lists “Marina/Recreation Facility” as the nature of its business.

 

Ben Eoin Recreation Incorporated

Ben Eoin Recreation Inc was incorporated and registered on 6 May 2014.

It’s a non-profit umbrella company with a never-particularly-well-defined relationship with the other Ben Eoin entities — the ski hill, marina and golf course.

The problem with Ben Eoin Recreation Inc, as I’ve discussed before, is that two of the companies under the umbrella (the ski hill and the marina) are non-profits while the third (the golf course) is for-profit.

I’m not sure what the relationship between Ben Eoin Recreation Inc and the golf course will be if BEDGInc is permitted to purchase The Lakes Golf Club, but it’s worth noted that as of 2 April 2019 (when I checked the Joint Stocks Registry), Glen Brann was still listed as a director of Ben Eoin Recreation Inc.

Okay, that brings us to the golf club:

 

Golf Club

As noted above, in 1999, The Cape Breton Ski Club purchased the land on which the marina and part of the golf course are located.

In 2006, the for-profit 3146392 (an NS limited company) was established and in 2007 changed its name to Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd (also an NS limited company). In 2007, it registered the for-profit The Lakes Golf Club.

Also in 2006, a second golf-related company was registered: 3146391 Nova Scotia Limited which changed its name later that year to Ben Eoin Golf Holdings Ltd. It is a for-profit company but has no related registrations, so I am not sure how it fits into the overall scheme of things.

The golf club leases the land on which it is situated from the Ski Club and, until now, has shared facilities with it.

In December 2018, shareholders in Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd received an offer to buy from BEDGInc. A vote was held and the bid was rejected.

In February 2019, a second vote was held and the sale was approved with almost 97% of shareholders in favor.

On 8 March 2019, The Cape Breton Ski Club filed an affidavit with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney asking for an injunction against the sale. The Ski Club maintains it has a right of first refusal on the sale, under the terms of a 2006 MOU between it and Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd.

Ben Eoin Golf Club disputes this, saying the MOU was never signed.

The injunction hearing has been scheduled for May 16-17 in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Sydney.

 

Timeline

I wanted to nail down a Ben Eoin-as-recreation-center timeline for my own reference purposes, so I decided I might as well share it with you too:

1968

The Cape Breton Ski Club (a not-for-profit society) establishes the Ben Eoin Ski Hill with assistance from the Cape Breton Development Corporation (Devco), which had been formed just a year earlier.

The Cape Breton Ski Club also establishes the for-profit subsidiary Sun Mountain Development Ltd through which it “holds all if its capital assets and equipment.”

1998

The not-for-profit 3024152, a Nova Scotia Limited by Guarantee company, is established.

1999

The Cape Breton Ski Club purchases the land on which the marina and part of the golf course will later be located with financial assistance (in the form of two, $300,000 forgivable loans) from Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation (ECBC) and the Province of Nova Scotia.

2003

ECBC sells 9.75 acres next to the ski hill for a nominal amount. The new owners build the Birches at Ben Eoin Country Inn. They receive loans worth $530,000 and non-repayable contributions worth an additional $112,220 from the development agency.

2006

The for-profit 3146392 NS limited and 3146391 NS Limited are incorporated and registered, the later will change its name later that same year to Ben Eoin Golf Holdings Ltd.

3024152 changes its name to Ben Eoin Golf Ltd, remaining a not-for-profit, limited by guarantee company.

2007

3146392 NS limited becomes Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd (also an NS limited company) and registers the for-profit The Lakes Golf Club.

2009

Ben Eoin Golf Ltd becomes Ben Eoin Marina Ltd, remaining a not-for-profit, limited by guarantee company.

2010

The Cape Breton Ski Club registers the for-profit Ski Ben Eoin, which lists “Alpine skiing, snowboarding, cross-country and showshoeing” as the nature of its business.

2011

The Ben Eoin Marina is built on a piece of the land purchased by The Cape Breton Ski Club in 1999. The land (valued at $800,000) is the Ben Eoin Marina board’s only contribution to the $4.8 million project — ECBC contributes the remaining $4 million, and in the process breaks its own rule against providing more than 75% of a project’s funding.

2013

Ben Eoin Marina Ltd registers the for-profit Ben Eoin Yacht Club, which lists “Marina/Recreation Facility” as the nature of its business.

ECBC builds a $1.1 million road leading to the Aerie Estates, a 16-lot subdivision that is to include a hotel, located on a hill next to the Ben Eoin Ski Hill.

The Birches at Ben Eoin is put up for sale. The asking price is $1.7 million.

2015

The owners of The Birches at Ben Eoin drop the asking price to $1 million.

2017

3312636 NS Limited Company is incorporated and registered.

2018

Spring:

3312636 NS Limited Company buys The Birches at Ben Eoin for $675,000, the land beneath the Ben Eoin Marina for $150,000 and the remaining 15 lots in the Aerie Estates for $445,000.

August:

Ben Eoin Development Group, 3319936, is incorporated and registered.

December:

3312636 NS Limited Company changes its name to the Ben Eoin Development Group Inc (BEDGInc)

Glen Brann and Mike Kenny of BEDGInc leave the board of the Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd, of which both have been co-VPs.

BEDGInc makes an offer to buy out the shareholders of Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd. The offer is rejected.

2019

February: 97% of Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd shareholders vote to accept BEDGInc’s offer.

March: The Cape Breton Ski Club applies for an injunction to stop the sale, claiming a 2006 MOU signed with Ben Eoin Golf Club Ltd gives the Ski Club right of first refusal on the sale.

May: Dates are set for a court hearing on the injunction request.

 

 

 

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