Council wants say on golf courses

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KINGSTON Council has made a submission to the state government asking to have a say in the future of golf courses inside the municipality.

In August, a golf course redevelopment standing advisory committee was appointed to “review and provide the minister for planning advice on draft planning guidelines for golf course redevelopment and advise on proposals for redevelopment of golf course land within the urban growth boundary of metropolitan Melbourne”. Council put out a statement last week saying that the establishment of that committee risked reducing their role in deciding the future of golf course land.

The committee is expected to receive submissions addressing the future of land at Dingley Village’s Peninsula Kingswood golf course site. Last year it was proposed that the land, which was sold in 2014, would be subdivided to build a little under 800 dwellings. That plan was knocked back by council, but the final say ultimately comes down to the planning minister (“Submissions open on golf course future”, The News, 18/9/19).

The mayor Georgina Oxley said the establishment of the golf course redevelopment standing advisory committee “effectively reduces council’s role to that of a submitter, rather than a key decision maker on behalf of the local community.”

“Kingswood has clearly shown that the local community want to have a strong voice in the future of local golf courses, with a record 7000 plus community submissions received on a proposed residential development for the site that was refused by council,” she said.

“Kingston Council does not believe that golf courses should be seen as an answer to accommodate population growth as it would put increasing pressing on community infrastructure, active and passive open space, affordable housing and the environment.”

The letter sent by council to the state government states that “given council’s extensive local knowledge and experience in considering and assessing applications of this nature, it is council’s view that all golf course rezoning applications should be submitted to council for consideration in its capacity as the planning authority.”

“Council’s adopted golf course policy reaffirms existing planning scheme policies which support and protect golf courses and seeks to protect the recreational, landscape and environmental benefits the courses provide to the community,” the letter read.

“A primary objective of this policy is to ensure that where a club is economically unviable and should the landowner wish to cease golf operations on the site, that the land retains its primary function as open space.

“The open space, amenity and landscape value provided by existing golf courses is significant, irreplaceable and should be pre-eminent in considering any proposals for golf course redevelopment.”

There are 11 golf courses in the Kingston municipality, most of which are privately owned.

Submissions can be made and more information is available at engage.vic.gov.au/golf-course-redevelopment-standing-advisory-committee

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 2 October 2019

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