23 April 2024

Federal Golf Club course revamp approved but with many conditions

| Ian Bushnell
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render of proposed development

An artist’s impression of the proposed MBark retirement village at Federal Golf Club. Image: GDH.

The Federal Golf Club is a step closer to proceeding with its plans for a retirement village after it gained approval to reconfigure the Red Hill course, although it comes with a host of conditions.

It also depends on the fate of a development application for the village itself and a DA for a lease variation to remove the concessional status from about 5.8 hectares of the club’s 85.9 ha lease area where the village is to be sited, and subdivision.

The $103 million proposal from the club’s development partner Mbark comprises 125 dwellings, including 77 single-storey houses and 48 apartments across six three-storey buildings, and a health and wellbeing centre for residents.

This DA approval deals with the preparatory works for the project, including demolition and earthworks to existing course tees and bunkers, tree and landscaping removal, modification and landscaping for new courses, construction of a pond, temporary access road and other works.

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Most of the conditions have been set by various entities such as Transport Canberra and City Services, the Conservator of Flora and Fauna, the Environment Protection Agency and Icon Water.

They include measures to mitigate the impact of development, such as retaining and maintaining connectivity corridors around the southern, eastern and western edges of the course and additional plantings to reduce canopy gaps around the proposed road alignment.

Others concern endangered species, such as salvaging and relocating removed tree hollows with follow-up monitoring, avoiding tree clearing during Gang-gang and Superb Parrot breeding periods, additional landscaping to enhance Superb Parrot foraging habitat and replanting removed endemic trees at a ratio of 10:1.

Under Territory Plan Variation 384, all remaining trees suitable for nomination must be added to the tree register.

The developer will also have to mitigate the displacement of a large mob of kangaroos that live on the course.

There are also conditions around traffic, truck movements, spills and spoilage.

Most of the representations were opposed to the overall development. The Notice of Decision said that of the 331 written representations received, only 106 supported the proposal.

The three main issues were the removal of trees and loss of habitat, traffic and the subdivision, and the change to the concessional lease.

Friends of Federal Fairways (FOFF), which is fighting the development, said the decision did nothing to progress the proposed housing development.

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It said the approval did not take effect and no building work, including any earthworks or demolition, could commence on the site until the two other DAs are approved,

“So, effectively, the Notice of Decision means nothing until those DAs are approved and all their conditions met,” FOFF said.

“Moreover, there is a raft of conditions attached to the Notice of Decision which require the developer MBark to undertake a range of new reports, plans and actions to satisfy ACT Planning that this DA meets the conditions imposed.

“ACT Planning and the associated ACT Government entities are to be commended for their diligence in assessing these applications, especially given the additional challenges imposed on staff by the transition to the new Planning Act.”

FOFF noted that neither Transport Canberra and City Services nor Icon Water supported this proposal in its advice to the Planning Authority.

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Roberto Bettega11:43 am 24 Apr 24

I’m a retired public servant who lives near the proposed development. I’m not a golfer, but enjoy walking my dog in the nearby reserves. My overall assessment is: it looks like a reasonable proposal. The nature reserve won’t be touched, although some trees on the golf side will be cut down. Traffic might be an issue on that part of Kitchener, and something might need to be done on that front.

Just saying...4:07 pm 23 Apr 24

Application flawed: Wrong demographic (try addressing needs of homeless), wrong housing (try social housing instead), wrong location (try urban infill and not green space), wrong Board (appoint on experience and skills basis – and not your handicap), RIGHT DECISION 🙂

Selling off part of the farm to cover the financial incompetence of the Board. The fundamentals are not being addressed and it will only be a matter of time before they will have to sell off some more.

Just saying...10:37 am 24 Apr 24

Yes a slippery slope… 18 holes.. 9 holes… pitch and putt… new housing estate and irreplaceable loss of valuable (and valued) green space and habitat. It’s happened before. Unintended consequences of irrational Board decisions and the compromised position they’re got themselves in. Don’t let them say there is no Plan B – I can think of at least three alternatives to get them out of the financial strife they’re in and create a better experience for all.

What a surprise, NIMBY public servants (or more likely retired) oppose development – better to live your life unchanged and let old people sleep in the streets. Disgusting.

100s of trees felled, animals driven away, a golf course ruined and for what? So a developer can make a fortune.

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