Gold Creek Country Club director Harry Konstantinou has announced plans to shrink the Canberra golf course nearly in half to potentially make way for a new housing development, the Canberra Times has reported.
In a fiery community meeting last month, Mr Konstantinou defended stark criticism from residents concerned about the conversion of the green space, noting that group was still likely to keep 18 holes, albeit in a smaller footprint.
“We’re not coming here with a proposal and saying all this 88 hectares is going to go. The golf course is going to stay, it’s just going to stay in a smaller format.”
He said the only decision that had been made was to shrink the golf course from 88 hectares to about 50 hectares, noting that many top clubs like Melbourne’s Kingston Heath are on similarly-sized blocks of land.
“The feedback is from the golfers that they want 18 holes. It could be 13-14 holes on one side of the course and the remainder on the other side of the course. What we know is that it does need to shrink,” he said.
The group is currently losing $500,000 a year on the golf course, which uses 1.5 million litres of water a day in summer, and 300 million litres a year. Shrinking the course could save $200,000 a year on water.
“It’s a cost thing, we’re subsidising this golf course to the tune of $10,000 a week. This is a business. It needs money to move forward, and that’s the decision we’ve made [that] one of the ways is for the course to be shorter which will still be competitive, and cost significantly less in water, in chemicals, in labour to look after it,” Konstantinou said.
The Konstantinou group has started community consultation, including a “people’s panel” for which people can apply and on which the group aims to get a cross-section of the community, including different age groups.
One member of the community told Mr Konstantinou if he tried to rezone, he should “be ready for an incredible fight”.