GOLF CLUB LANDS

Willoughby Council proposes to place on public exhibition the draft Plan of Management for part Fullers Park, part O H Reid Reserve and part Burns Park, Chatswood West in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993.

 Background

The subject land comprises part of Chatswood Golf Course and natural areas along the Lane Cove River and Swaines Creek foreshores. The land has been used as fairways as part of a golf course for over 60 years. During that time the subject land has been leased to Chatswood Golf Club for golf, with the remainder of the golf course land owned by Chatswood Golf Club. The most recent 20-year lease of the subject land expired in November 2012. The golf club wishes to renew the lease to continue use of the land for golf.

Renewal of the lease over the subject land needs to be expressly authorised in an adopted Plan of Management. The subject land is not included in an adopted Plan of Management, having not been incorporated in the Chatswood West Ward Parks Plan of Management (1996) nor having had a specific Plan of Management prepared for it.  Recreation Planning Consultant, Parkland Environmental Planners was engaged to prepare the draft Plan of Management, which will be added to the suite of Park Plans in the Chatswood West Ward Parks Plan of Management (1996). The consultant will also undertake the public hearing for the categorisation of the community land (Sect 40A of the LG Act).

 Discussion

As stated previously, the subject land has been leased to Chatswood Golf Club for over 60 years. The land is made up of 3 land parcels:

1. River foreshore (100 foot reservation) Crown Reserve R59294 – part of O H Reid Reserve       Lot 7334 in DP 1157827

2. River foreshore Crown Reserve R 44128 –Burns Park Lot 7088 in DP 1123914

3. CommunityLand – Lot 1 in DP 1171023

Leasing the subject land to the Golf Club requires two leases – a Crown Land lease (with Council as Reserve Trust Manager) and a Community land lease (with Council as owner). Once a new Plan of Management is adopted for the land and the use of the land for golf is confirmed, two new leases will be prepared for the Golf Club.

The relevant issues for the subject land are:

  •  Recreation uses
  • Public access
  • Environmental rehabilitation, and
  • Water quality and quantity

These issues form the basis for the draft Plan’s objectives, performance targets, means        of achievement and assessment.

RIGHTS OF PUBLIC ACCESS

A separate topic that has been relevant for many years is public access across private land owned by the Golf Club. Whilst access along the Lane Cove River foreshore is available to the community, the link connection from OH Reid Reserve to Ferndale Park using bushland owned by the Club has been the subject of on-going negotiations between Council and the Club.

It is proposed that the negotiation to achieve a Memorandum of Understanding with the Club for public access across the Club-owned land will be finalised prior to enacting a new lease for the Council owned section of the subject land.

The Community land owned by Council must be categorised as per the requirement of the Local Government Act Section 36. The draft Plan proposes that land currently used as golf course be categorised as ‘sportsground’, and land containing bushland be categorised as ‘natural area- bushland’. These proposed categories must be subjected to a public hearing (Section 40A). The categorisation of the community land as sportsground doesn’t preclude the land being used for any other active recreation involving organised sports or the playing of outdoor games.

Community Notification

The Local Government Act sets out the community notification/ public exhibition process (Section 38). The period of public exhibition must not be less than 42 days from the date the draft plan is exhibited.

During the public exhibition period, a public hearing will be held in respect to the proposed categorisation of the community land owned by Council – but not the Crow nLand. The Crown Land is already reserved for the purpose of ‘Public Recreation’ under the Crown Lands Act, and is not subject to categorisation under the Local Government Act.

Conclusion

Plans of Management have an important role in ensuring the community is involved with the use and management of community land. In this instance community land and land reserved for public recreation has been used for sport (golf) in response to the community desire for the sport.  Once the draft Plan has been on public exhibition and undergone a public hearing, the matter will be reported to Council for final determination.

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