Capital Golf Course Redevelopment

Jazz 30 November 2010 45

A public meeting in Narrabundah on 9 October has given voice to community opposition to a Vikings Club proposal to redevelop the Capital Golf Course on Jerrabomberra Avenue.

The Vikings Club, which is suffering reduced revenue from its poker machine licences, stands to reap a multi-million dollar profit if allowed to convert all or part of the Capital Golf Course for housing or commercial purposes. Vikings bought the 13.4 hectare restricted access recreation lease over site in 2004 for only $4 million and pays peppercorn annual rates and taxes to ACT Government for its use as a golf club.

Understandably, Narrabundah residents and ordinary Golf Club members are at odds with the Vikings Club board proposal. Their concerns include:

  1. Loss of a community recreation facility – Canberra has only two public golf courses. CGC membership comprises average Canberrians.
  2. Loss of community green space and wildlife habitat.
  3. The role of a ‘not for profit’ tax advantaged community organisation in commercial land development.
  4. ACT Government acquiescence to developers land rezoning proposals when they should be the ones releasing land for housing or commercial purposes.

Reducing to course to only nine holes to accommodate partial housing redevelopment is just the thin edge of the wedge for full redevelopment in the future.

What do you think, bleating nimby’s or legitimate concern?


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45 Responses to Capital Golf Course Redevelopment
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Beserk Keyboard Warrior Beserk Keyboard Warrior 2:30 pm 06 Dec 10

Vikings is evil. I oppose anything they do.

walkerj walkerj 2:20 pm 06 Dec 10

astrojax said :

walkerj said :

If you look on a map there is a glut of golf courses on the Capital Golf side of Canberra, […]

maps are thus deceptive… this is an accessible public course, which is the issue at stake here. the courses nearby to which you refer, i assume, would be federal and royal; both have expensive membership fees and, in the case of the latter, you almost need a peerage to get a look in even if you have the proverbial truckload of cash…

Nope, never play on Royal, have played Federal, but more referring to RMC, Fairburn and Qbyn.

astrojax astrojax 9:59 am 05 Dec 10

walkerj said :

If you look on a map there is a glut of golf courses on the Capital Golf side of Canberra, […]

maps are thus deceptive… this is an accessible public course, which is the issue at stake here. the courses nearby to which you refer, i assume, would be federal and royal; both have expensive membership fees and, in the case of the latter, you almost need a peerage to get a look in even if you have the proverbial truckload of cash…

walkerj walkerj 6:49 am 05 Dec 10

If by financially viable aussielyn means the 18 hole golf course doesn’t make a loss, that might be true if they do not maintain the course with any capital improvements (since Vikings owned it I believe they have spent over $1M on it, no longer ‘the goat track’ and what about the clubhouse which, like most small clubs at the moment, is leaking money.

Murrumbidgee are pretty well goners from what I hear and would already be if Vikings hadn’t been lending a hand, just as they have done for a number of sporting clubs over the years. Oh hang wasn’t it the Capital golfers that came cap in hand asking the Vikings to buy the course to save them in the early 2000s? Obviously the bank wouldn’t loan the Golfers the money to buy this ‘financially viable’ asset. The way the club industry has gone in the past five years, I doubt there would be a Capital Golf Club.

If you look on a map there is a glut of golf courses on the Capital Golf side of Canberra, if Murrumbidgee goes under there goes the only course in Tuggeranong an area with almost a third of Canberra’s population.

If the Vikings don’t do it, someone else will it’s just a matter of time, and I doubt they will be anywhere near as community minded.

chewy14 chewy14 6:46 pm 02 Dec 10

phildill said :

through all this you guys are forgetting Murrumbidgee country club in tuggers,the course is looking great after the rain,has a friendly bar for a drink after and the prices are quite cheap,members do have first pick of weekend tee times but they pay for the right!!! and normally you can get on the course from 2pm onwards on the weekends,Vikings are looking at buying this club if they sell the course at capital so there is a good chance it will become a public golf course as well

That is until Vikings decide that Murumbidgee isn’t ‘viable’ enough and then we’ll get Gleneagles Stage Three.
Vikings should stop using their benefits as a community organisation to enable them to play land developer.

phildill phildill 5:30 pm 02 Dec 10

through all this you guys are forgetting Murrumbidgee country club in tuggers,the course is looking great after the rain,has a friendly bar for a drink after and the prices are quite cheap,members do have first pick of weekend tee times but they pay for the right!!! and normally you can get on the course from 2pm onwards on the weekends,Vikings are looking at buying this club if they sell the course at capital so there is a good chance it will become a public golf course as well

Mr Lubberlubber Mr Lubberlubber 8:30 pm 01 Dec 10

Damn, I hate people who write long comments, buit I just can’t resist:

verbalkint said :

Unfortunately for you, I know exactly what I’m talking about. CUC is simply based on the value and use of the land – it would more accurately be called a lease-variation tax.

. . . . . . . .

That is *exactly* how CUC works.

Well explained verbalkint – I was referring to your comment that the CUC changes won’t raise prices of inner city apartments and houses. But, now that you have demonstrated a basic understanding of mathematics, lets have a look at the economics and a tiny bit more math.

As you have said (kind of), the current legislation allow property owners to take into account the value of improvements in the before value for a CUC valuation. Just like the current Commonwealth taxation laws allow taxpayers to deduct allowable expenses – no arguments so far, right. Take away the right to count improvements and all of a sudden the before value is considerably less and the CUC payable by a property owner when they look to do a lease variation is significantly more. Or, looking at it another way, the amount a developer might pay for your inner city property in a development zone plummets. Quite simply, it is no longer viable to redevelop properties with a house or building on them – only relatively vacant land such as Capital Golf Course. i.e. the CUC changes have impact at all on the redevelopment of Capital Golf Course.

Looking back at your inner-city property, before the CUC changes were announced (announcement next Thursday apparently), your most likely buyer was a developer who could almost always outbid someone who was buying your 40 year old house as a home, i.e. the developer paid you more and your property was worth more. When CUC changes and they take away the right to count improvements, your property is now worth less because a developer won’t buy it. This will happen over and over again on individual properties until the supply of redeveloped properties is choked back enough so that apartments and townhouses end up increasing in cost enough to offset the value of improvements – this is highly unlikely to happen and the inner areas of Canberra become an enclave for the mega-wealthy sitting on their undeveloped blocks. The rest of Canberra can buy in greenfields areas or on redeveloped golf course, under-utilised ovals and whatever else the Government throws out to the development market.

Choke supply by increasing base costs and you get price increases, i.e. apartment and townhouse prices go up and up and shut people out of the market even more than they are now.

If you understood the above, you may notice that it is not the developers who get hurt by this (they will just have a bit less work for a while) – it is the existing property owners in development areas. Developers will just move into the greenfields areas, golf courses, ovals, etc, and ply their trade there.

Looking outside our suburban houses to the town centres and it also means that those big old buildings are here to stay until they are virtually derelict as no developer would buy them and no bank would allow the current owner to just bowl them over (the bank does value them) and start again.

The math is easy, the economics is the important part. Identifying who actually pays in the end is even more important – it sure isn’t going the developer.

i am sure there will be a new post at the end of next week where we can have a bit of an exchange in more detail. Looking forward to it having made sure that I got my place valued before then . . .

aussielyn aussielyn 11:08 am 01 Dec 10

Points to consider
• Capital Golf Course has over 600 members and is financially viable as an 18 hole golf course. These members will have to go to QBYN if the Vikings/ CIC development proceeds.
Water is via bore and it also collects water runoff from Mt Mugga, preventing the flooding of lower Narrabundah.
• Vikings pay 5 cents a year land rent on 30.65 hectares at Capital. It has loaned Murrumbidgee Golf Club a substantial sum which makes one wonder if this is a strategic land investment. MGC takes water from the Murrumbidgee River. Is the Vikings Group behaving like a corporate raider of green space?
• Vikings have to service $19m loan on Chisholm Shops.
• People owning adjacent apartments will lose value of their properties if the golf course is developed. The existing road infrastructure is inadequate for the current housing and there is talk of a road to Hindmarsh through Narrabundah Business Park.
• Eastlake Estate will accommodate 9000 people. Is it in the public interest to increase the population of the inner south and at the same time take away existing recreational amenity?

Vettie286 Vettie286 10:06 am 01 Dec 10

DeadlySchnauzer said

“Oh and where did this concept of Vikings being a community organisation come from? Afaik they are a commercial, for profit business with every right to do what they want to assets they have acquired.

As for a golf course being made out as some kind of every man’s community facility… sheesh give me a break. That’s the kind of thinking that could only come from well entrenched Canberran’s living in their little Canberra middle class bubble**.

** Disclaimer: i don’t play golf.”

I also don’t play golf, however, I can say that I watch possibly hundreds of people walk past my unit every weekend as they do enjoy a game of golf. These people appear to come from all walks of life and age from young to old.

bd84 said
“I wonder how many of the “action group” who value “the public recreation facility” and “community green space” actually frequent the course on any sort of regular basis, or just object because it sounds bad. I would think that if the course was a viable long-term money making machine, that the Vikings would not be looking to redevelop the site.”

I can also tell you that a significant number of the ‘action group’ are made up of members of the club and regular golfers at the course as well as locals residents of Narrabundah. I also wonder if Vikings purchased the course with the intent from the start to eventually develope it. At the time they were purchasing it they were also considering another golf course in Tuggeranong, obviously they wouldn’t have made enough money if they’d developed that one.

I wonder if those who support the development have any idea on the impact it may have for both residents and golfers, not to mention wild life. I know from a residential perspective the development has the potential to reduce the value of adjacent properties significantly, for golfers it will be removing a highly utilised and challenging course which is of quite a unique nature to Canberra and for the wild life it will be removing habitat, in particular for a number of bird species in the area.

verbalkint verbalkint 9:13 am 01 Dec 10

Mr Lubberlubber said :

Verbalkint, you should really look at the detail of the problems with the proposal to adjust how change of use charge is calculated. You obviously are not across the issue at all apart from what you read in the Crimes. The proposed changes to CUC would have hardly any effect on this development, and pricing, if it were to get up. It has a great effect on other inner developments where you need to knock something over to redevelop it. There is not much to knock over when you a redeveloping a golf course.

Unfortunately for you, I know exactly what I’m talking about. CUC is simply based on the value and use of the land – it would more accurately be called a lease-variation tax.

If you own a property – individual or community group – you effectively lease it from the ACT Government with various conditions on that lease. The lease for the golf club says that you can only use that land as a golf club and the lease on my house says that I can only build a single dwelling on it.

If either I or Vikings wish to do something else with their land – like build a bunch of units on it – we need to apply to vary our lease. In both cases, it doesn’t matter one little bit what is currently on the land, because the ACT Govt is only concerned with the ground upon which we are building (which is what they control and tax).

So, in my case, the value of my land might double if I vary my lease from one dwelling to 3 (So I would have to pay 75% of the $400,000 increase in the value of my land) and as I set out with the Golf Course, they would have to pay 75% of the increase in the value of the land which results from the variation of the lease.

In fact, because developers can currently claim the demolition of existing structures as an offset against their CUC liability, it is actually more beneficial to change a lease on a property that has things on it, than those which do not.

That is *exactly* how CUC works.

walkerj walkerj 8:39 am 01 Dec 10

I can’t beleive the rants about the Vikings. I have lived in Canberra for nearly 40 years and am a parent who has benefited from the support of the Vikings. My kids have played many sports, not rugby, and all of these have been financially supported by the Vikings.

I hope that the Vikings continue to make smart business decisions and remain financially viable to be able to support my grandkids sporting groups in the future … I bet the members of the Tuggeranong Aussie Rules Club, Royals Rugby Club Weston and Wests Rugby Club Jamison wish they had!!

shadow boxer shadow boxer 8:38 am 01 Dec 10

Well there’s viable then there’s good old fashioned 1980’s assett stripping for maximum short term gain, this is closer to the latter.

astrojax astrojax 8:32 am 01 Dec 10

DeadlySchnauzer said :

As for a golf course being made out as some kind of every man’s community facility… sheesh give me a break. That’s the kind of thinking that could only come from well entrenched Canberran’s living in their little Canberra middle class bubble**.

** Disclaimer: i don’t play golf.

clearly, you don’t… nor have much idea about who does. the ‘well entrenched’ fat cat middle class you infer are the ones who are members of other course. golf is actually a pretty democratic sport in australia enjoyed, as noted above, by folk from pretty well all walks of life, but accessible for many of these folk at public course like capital. i for one wish i could afford to play at royal canberra (i rate it among the country’s best dozen course) but it is waa-aaa-aay out of my league.

come out of your bubble and support your community’s interests for their own sake and stop making assertions on which you know little..

breda breda 1:13 am 01 Dec 10

If it was a viable long term money making machine, it perhaps should not have been given special status as a community use lease, with all the attendant advantages.

If it still is same, why are they asking for more income?

The desire of the petty bourgeoisie (in this case management committees of sports clubs) to big note themselves as property developers is pathetic and should be resisted.

We should never, never set a precedent whereby because a community group has found itself in financial strife, they should be allowed to alienate public land to bail them out and make them look like financial geniuses.

bd84 bd84 8:45 pm 30 Nov 10

You better get some proper reasons for objecting to the future possible development application. The things you have listed are no more than people with their panties in a knot jumping up and yelling NIMBY! just because they can, rather than legitimate reasons for objecting to any future possible development.

I wonder how many of the “action group” who value “the public recreation facility” and “community green space” actually frequent the course on any sort of regular basis, or just object because it sounds bad. I would think that if the course was a viable long-term money making machine, that the Vikings would not be looking to redevelop the site.

breda breda 8:42 pm 30 Nov 10

It’s just wrong in principle. Community groups get cheap land, pay reduced rates etc on the basis that the primary focus is community benefit. I am not a golfer, but as PPs have said, there are only two public golf courses in Canberra.

If said community group gets into financial strife, the answer is not to turn their management into property developers and alienate the space from the public. Otherwise, before long most land allocated for community purposes will become housing.

Perhaps management of the golf course should be put to public tender?

Battlecat Battlecat 7:55 pm 30 Nov 10

The Vikings situation is really getting out of control. Licensed Clubs were created to assist parts of the community to raise some money for their cause and have a place to socialise. There was a wide variety of them representing many sports, ethnic communities and other interest groups like returned servicemen etc. Previous ACT Govts have allowed the greedy ones to expand massively, and in Vikings case, create a complete monopoly in their area. This ate all the smaller ones. Look around and see if any new ones have popped up in the past 20 years. And before you say Mawson, Calwell and Gunghalin clubs, they are simply franchises of larger clubs. This pretense that Vikings represent the community is a sham. They represent Rugby. Sure they support other sports but that’s just a show, they are in the business of Rugby. They refuse to support any opposing football codes. That is fine except that they now control the whole Tuggeranong market, meaning any other community groups cannot start their own clubs. The result in the sporting world is that the other football codes in Tuggeranong are the poorest in the whole region, despite the huge participation rates. Sure they should have started their own clubs back in the good old days, but now that Vikings have a licence to print money and a monopoly they can’t. Ever. The one that tried, League, has struggled since the beginning and are now propped up by other Leagues clubs. The result of this mega-club trend outside the sporting world is that Vikings have turned into compulsive profit seekers. Profits that they spend on whatever they like. They are now into the property market, having bought Chisolm Shopping Centre,and now the Golf Course, which they want to knock down to make even more money. If they want to act like a business then tax them like a business, and let other businesses get their sweet deal on pokies.

Rant over.

Mr Lubberlubber Mr Lubberlubber 7:54 pm 30 Nov 10

I was expecting the next comment to be positive, but it may not be. I should preview my post before I post it.

Mr Lubberlubber Mr Lubberlubber 7:52 pm 30 Nov 10

verbalkint said :

It should probably be noted that if the land was rezoned (i.e. the terms of the lease are altered) then the they have to pay 75% of the change in the value of the land is paid to the Government.

So, lets say it is worth $4m now and that value goes up to $30m after it is zoned for housing, they would have to pay $19.5m to the Government. All the values are done by the AVO.

The Liberals are the ones who oppose the “Change of Use Charge”, calling it a “tax on units” when really it is just an excuse for them to line the developers pockets. The current government are the ones who are clawing back a significant part of the easy profits developers recieve, simply by changing a lease, rather than from actual improvements to the property.

Verbalkint, you should really look at the detail of the problems with the proposal to adjust how change of use charge is calculated. You obviously are not across the issue at all apart from what you read in the Crimes. The proposed changes to CUC would have hardly any effect on this development, and pricing, if it were to get up. It has a great effect on other inner developments where you need to knock something over to redevelop it. There is not much to knock over when you a redeveloping a golf course.

CGC is one of the few golf courses that can be accessed conveniently by the public (perhaps this is its problem?). If it was redeveloped, a golf course would never be created in the future to replace it. I agree that the stuff across Hindmarsh would be the better place to start with getting some more density in. This will fill in the areas around the TGA, Geoscience, the caravan park, etc. Develop these areas and the golf course makes a nice central green zone for the local area, and it may start becoming viable. They should just give them some notional handouts or exemptions to keep it running in the meantime.

One final point, I don’t mind appropriate development, but I don’t think that the loss of a view/outlook of some private residents should dictate how proper planning decisions are made. You have no right to views on your neighbors property, even if your neibour is a golf course. The development that you bought in should have been designed to stand on it’s own two feet. If it didn’t, buyer beware.

On a positive note,

earthrepair earthrepair 7:05 pm 30 Nov 10

If development occurs it should be in high rise in the CBD and around transport hubs. Rolling out all these new suburbs trashes the reason people live in the bush capital. Leave the golf course as a public amenity and as a green space.

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