Golf course owner stands firm despite community criticism of plan


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He said the golf course was not sustainable and that he could close it tomorrow or “go the traditional developer way” and lodge plans before seeking feedback, but he was committed to making the course work.

“At the moment, Gold Creek is a destination where you go and do something once a year,” Mr Konstantinou said.

“As much as people love Gold Creek, no one is successful there and that doesn’t make it sustainable for business.”

He said the Konstantinou Group had lost $8 million on the golf course in the last 12 years, including $550,000 last financial year.

With a $400,000 loss forecast this fiscal year, he said the equation was simple: increase revenues or cut costs.

Mr Konstantinou said with golf participation declining worldwide, shorter courses could reinvigorate the game like Twenty20 cricket had done for that sport.

He said a redeveloped course would still have 18 holes, but would drastically cut expenses like irrigation and fertiliser.

“Our position has not changed; we’ve been open since the beginning and said, ‘Look, the course doesn’t work,” he said.

“One of the plans is that we want to build things like amphitheatres, children’s playgrounds and bike paths.

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“Aged care is also in our mix, and markets – something like the Kingston markets – things that would bring people into the area.”

His comments came after Sunday’s meeting, at which¬†politicians from the ACT’s three major parties spoke, along with representatives of the Community of Nicholls Residents Group and Gungahlin Community Council president Peter Elford.

Opposition leader Alistair Coe told the meeting he was categorically opposed to any rezoning of the Gold Creek golf course land.

“If these people don’t want to be in the golf course business, then they shouldn’t have bought a golf course,” Mr Coe said, drawing loud applause.

Asked during a question and answer session whether she would oppose rezoning should the Konstantinou Group lodge plans, Labor minister and Member for Yerrabi Meegan Fitzharris said: “I would vote against it, based on what is before us right now.”

Other Labor and Liberal MLAs expressed agreement with their colleagues.

ACT Greens planning spokeswoman Caroline Le Couteur would not make a commitment either way, saying she would have to look at plans first if any were lodged.

Community of Nicholls Residents Group vice-president Ed Killesteyn and president Gary Samuels, who strongly oppose the idea of shrinking the Gold Creek golf course.

Community of Nicholls Residents Group vice-president Ed Killesteyn and president Gary Samuels, who strongly oppose the idea of shrinking the Gold Creek golf course.

Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Community of Nicholls Residents Group president Gary Samuels, who led the meeting, said the final statement prepared by the “people’s panel” should send a clear message.

The statement says the panel believes the golf course should remain in its current form and that any future development on the site should be undertaken only within the Territory Plan.

It also says there are concerns that property prices will be negatively impacted by any redevelopment.

Mr Konstantinou said he would continue to review options before deciding on his next course of action.

Blake Foden is a reporter at The Canberra Times. He has worked as a journalist in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and joined the Times in March 2018.


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