Green wedge land bid fails



KEYSBOROUGH Golf Club’s bid to convert green wedge acreage into 60 housing lots has been rejected by a state government advisory committee.

The club launched a belated application to the Urban Growth Boundary Anomalies Advisory Committee to rezone 6 per cent – or 4.5 hectares – of its golf course for residential development. It had previously missed the deadline of November 28 last year to make submissions.

Greater Dandenong Council and the club said they were assured by the committee it would hear the club’s submission – if the application had the council’s backing. Last month, councillors unanimously endorsed the application but a spokeswoman for the Department of Planning and Community Development told the Weekly that the submission would not be heard.

“The five anomalies identified by Greater Dandenong City Council by the close of submission date did not include the Keysborough Golf Club,” she said. “It therefore cannot be considered for inclusion.”

A spokesman for Planning Minister Matthew Guy said: “There won’t be any alterations to the process – for probity.”

Cr Peter Brown, who moved the Keysborough proposals, was earlier confident that the submission would be heard.

He said the loss of green wedge land was needed to secure the 69-hectare club’s future.

“If it takes the loss of 11 acres to save the golf club which represents 160 acres of working green wedge, it’s a loss worth making. While I respect the green wedge, we have to do what we can to save it. To save it, we have to make it work.”

Cr Brown said the expected windfall would help the club out of “substantial liabilities” and to make a much-needed major upgrade to its clubhouse and “hydrology systems”.

“Based on the financial statements I’ve seen, I’d find it difficult to imagine a bank would lend to it because of its substantial levels of debt.”

The club’s general manager Dee Healey said any capital raised from the proposed subdivision would go directly into projects to improve the golf course.

“It is no secret that private golf clubs holistically are battling a variety of social and economical factors,” he said. “Any enhancement to the golf course and its facilities would strengthen the club’s long-term viability.”