19 July 2023

New development proposal for Gold Creek Country Club another ambit claim, says community group

| Ian Bushnell
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The master plan for the seven precincts in the Gold Creek Country Club build-to-rent development. Images: Gungahlin Golf Investments.

A new plan to develop a part of the Gold Creek Country Club will again face significant community opposition despite the Konstantinou Group claiming its proposal addresses previous concerns, including retaining the 18-hole course.

The Konstantinou Group, which bought the club from the ACT Government in 2005 for $3 million, has proposed a 700-dwelling build-to-rent development over 10 years on what it calls 7.5 hectares of underused land on Curran Drive, Nicholls.

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The development would comprise seven precincts of townhouses and apartments two to four storeys in height with two to four bedrooms well as shops, communal amenities and a new access road from the existing roundabout on Curran Drive.

The Konstantinous’ Gungahlin Golf Investments (GGI) plans to plough the income from the development back into the golf course to ensure its viability.

But the Community of Nicholls Residents Group (CNRG) says the proposal is another disappointing ‘ambit claim’ attempt to develop on golf course land, and rejects GGI’s claim that build-to-rent multi-unit residential housing is allowed under the Territory Plan and the Crown Lease.

In a submission to the consultation process, CNRG says the proposal was not appropriate for the area and would need multiple planning changes to proceed.

It says the lease would need to be varied to change the purpose clause, add permitted uses and substantially increase the gross floor area limit, and the land would need to be rezoned, something that under the current planning rules would not be supported, given long-term rental housing would not be integral/ancillary use to the golf course.

CNRG also says commercial accommodation use is limited to a hotel, motel or guest house, for short-term accommodation only, and the GFA to 8000 square metres.

“Contrary to the portrayal of previous community responses in GGI’s current Consultation Brief, CNRG’s and the community’s final response to the 2018/19 People’s Panel Consultation was: (a) retain the golf course in its current form, and (b) no development outside the bounds of that allowed by the current ‘market value’ Crown Lease,” the submission says.

CNRG says multi-unit apartments were not in keeping with the broader layout of the surrounding suburb and residents on Curran Drive would lose their views of the golf course.

GGI says Curran Drive would provide a buffer between current residences and the new buildings, and residents would still be able to see the Brindabellas.

Illustration showing where a new development at Gungahlin Country Club will. be positioned in the suburb

A site map showing the position for the new development.

CNRG also believes the density of the proposal is unsustainable.

“The proposed dwelling density, potentially involving an additional 1500+ residents, also raises issues relating to the need for additional human, health, education and transport services in the suburb and surrounding area – particularly given the imminent residential development of the adjacent ex-CSIRO land,” the submission says.

CNRG calculates that the development would generate an extra 5180 traffic movements per day creating congestion issues and necessitating road upgrades.

It says the proposal contravenes several elements of the ACT Government’s Build-to-Rent Listening Report, including the dwelling numbers, size and location.

The optimal size is 200-450 dwellings, half of which should be studio or one-bedroom, and build-to-rent projects should be near town centres and public transport, CNRG says.

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The proposed development would mean a fundamental change to the suburb, not just for those with direct views of the proposed three and four-storey apartment buildings, CNRG says.

The proposal outlines plans to retain existing trees and allow additional greenery, including retaining 2.6 hectares within the development as parkland.

CNRG also says the land is a wildlife corridor and home to 200 kangaroos.

In a statement, GGI said it would consider CNRG’s comments as part of reviewing all feedback received during the consultation period.

It said golf clubs across Canberra continued to struggle financially due to high maintenance costs, low participation rates and seasonal issues.

Other clubs had reduced their course sizes to provide alternative income streams, and GGI was seeking a similar outcome while maintaining the existing 18-hole championship course.

“Since purchasing the Gold Creek Country Club, Gungahlin Golf Investment has met commitments to improve the golf course’s ancillary uses, including investment in a new gym, child care, and indoor play facilities, as well as club renovations, such as improvement of food and beverage facilities, driving range and pro shop,” the statement said.

Community consultation is open until close of business on Monday, 24 July. To share your feedback:

  • Attend the Gungahlin Golf Investments display stand at the Gold Creek Country Club on Thursday 20 July between 11 am and 2 pm, or Saturday 22 July between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm.
  • Send an email to feedback@communicationlink.com.au.

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