RESIDENTS and golfers have vowed a battle royale to prevent the redevelopment of the Glen Iris Golf Course into a housing estate.
Earlier this week Jandakot residents received a flyer alerting them to the imminent sale of the course to WA-based development firm Eastcourt Property Group, which plans “premium housing” on the 25-hectare site. Settlement of the sale, said to be worth about $30m, is due April 8.
Development project managers Acumen Development Solutions said in the flyer the course and restaurant will be closed as of March 31.
“With the number of golfers using the course declining over the past decade, Eastcourt is looking forward to creating a new future for the site and integrating the land with the existing Glen Iris community,” Acumen project director Jarrod Rendell said.
“The vision for the Glen Iris land is to create a high-quality residential estate that retains mature trees and delivers premium housing options, leafy streetscapes and parklands for the whole community.”
Residents who paid a premium to buy homes overlooking the picturesque links in the belief its zoning would prevent them from being built out, are outraged.
On the same day the flyers arrived, Leanne Chaproniere and two of her neighbours decided to get together to discuss their options; when they met four hours later, 72 people crammed into the room.
Ms Chaprioniere said it was unanimously decided to resurrect the Jandakot Residents and Ratepayers Association, of which she’d previously been president.
“We are going to fight like crazy,” Ms Chaprioniere said.
“Of course we have something to lose; we paid a premium to live overlooking a beautiful, leafy golf course, and we are going to lose that premium.”
Ms Chaprioniere said the association wanted Cockburn council to look into buying the course, believing it had the management expertise to make it economically sustainable. Another alternative they favour is for the WA government to step in and buy the land so it can be retained as open space.
She’s also deeply unhappy about Eastcourt’s plans to fence off the site and turn off the water. She says the development could take years, meaning residents might end up next to a dust bowl, while she’s concerned about what will happen to the swans and ducks that use the artificial lakes if they’re allowed to dry up.
“We have quenda come in every night and even my cats play with them, and the other day there were so many black cockies you couldn’t see the fence,” Ms Chaprioniere said.
The Glen Iris Lakes Golf Club was supposed to be celebrating its 60th anniversary in two months’ time, but now finds itself homeless.
President Roger Leeds, whose home overlooks the 17th fairway, believes the course has been in bad shape for the last couple of years because the family of its creators Billie and Iris Wilson (now deceased) wanted to go their separate ways and couldn’t sell it to another operator.
Mr Leeds says back in its heyday it was so popular it was hard to get a game, while the restaurant was packed every Saturday.
But in the last couple of years his club has even had to cancel its drawcard events because the greens are “half-dead” and the fees too high.
He supports the residents’ call for the council to look into buying it, saying it made more sense than focusing on the course it’s been planning at Coogee for the last decade.
“If it’s run properly – look at Wembley, which Stirling council paid for, where they put in a mini golf and made it profitable, and now it pays back to Stirling,” Mr Leeds said.
Only a handful of players were on the course on Thursday afternoon.
Brad Davies said he’s been coming there since his dad first took him as a teenager, and he now brings his own son and often brings some work mates along.
“It’s very, very sad; we’re losing a lot of courses here,” Mr Davies said.
Only two hectares of the site is currently zoned for housing, and Cockburn council says the developer has committed to consulting.
“Acumen has since confirmed with the city that its client is not proposing to remove any trees from the golf course site until it has undertaken detailed planning for the site, in consultation with the local residents and they have obtained the necessary approvals,” the council said in a statement.
by STEVE GRANT