Mount Compass Community Association is formed

INVESTED: Managing director Stephen Connor has invested $5 million on the course in past five years.
INVESTED: Managing director Stephen Connor has invested $5 million on the course in past five years.

The Mount Compass Community Association (MCCA) has been formed which will cover Willunga Hill to Mount Jagged and from just west of Mount Compass to Tooperang.

The objectives of the association are to promote the interests of the local Mount Compass and surrounds community and to act on behalf of that community, in an apolitical way, on any issues that affect the wellbeing of the community to the various tiers of government.

At an establishing meeting of the MCCA, it was agreed that the initial issues that the association will consider are the planned rezoning of the Mount Compass golf course to allow for a housing subdivision and the pricing of water for 170 residents in the golf course estate.

Compass Springs is a private water business that exclusively services the customers located in the Mount Compass Golf Course Estate and includes a number of allotments bounded by Sand Mine Road, Arthur Road and Alexandra Court.

The problem is the price of water supplied by Compass Springs is about 15 per cent above what is charged by SA Water in the remaining part of Mount Compass and the whole state. And that price could go higher.

The water is drawn from underground springs in Mount Compass and Compass Springs is licensed by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA).

Compass Springs have lodged an application with ESCOSA to increase the average annual charge for the water supplied to each property by 264 per cent above what they currently charge. This represents 279 per cent above that charged by SA Water.

ESCOSA, have investigated the claims made by Compass Springs and are considering an increase of 21 per cent above the current charge, which represents 36 per cent above that currently charged by SA Water.

The potential redevelopment of the Mount Compass Golf Course is for more than 600 housing allotments.

The controversy follows zoning changes to the golf course, which is now in the consultation phase.

Under South Australia's new planning code, the golf course was rezoned from Residential to Rural, Recreation and Neighbourhood, following a recommendation made by the Alexandrina Council in February 2021.

Consultation is now open on the Mount Compass Golf Course Estate Code Amendment and members of the community are being urged to submit feedback.

Key aspects of the proposed Code Amendment include: Rezoning the golf course and residential area from Neighbourhood Zone and Recreation Zone to Golf Course Estate Zone. It introduces a 'concept plan' to show the location of an 18-hole golf course.

The Golf Course Estate Zone generally applies to golf course estates that include a mix of residential and golf course-related development. The Mount Compass Golf Course currently has the Recreation Zone applied.

PRICE TOO HIGH: Mount Compass residents are concerned on water prices and building development proposals on the golf course estate.

PRICE TOO HIGH: Mount Compass residents are concerned on water prices and building development proposals on the golf course estate.

During the consultation period, information sessions have been planned. If you wish to attend, book via; https://mtcompassgolfcourseestate.eventbrite.com.au/

Session times are; session 1, Tuesday, September 28, 3pm - 5pm and session 2, 6pm - 8pm. Attendance can be at any time within the booked session time. The venue is the Mount Compass War Memorial Hall, 5 Peters Terrace, Mount Compass.

Further information about the proposed Code Amendment can be found on the PlanSA website. Consultation is open until October 22.

Golf course owner Stephen Connor of Capitoline Property Pty Ltd said he had invested heavily in the golf course after purchasing the land in 2015.

"It was zoned residential when I purchased it and I would not have bought it if it wasn't," Mr Connor said.

"We have seen over the past five years the course and the Range Restaurant climb in patronage and reputation. When I arrived the golf course had 12,000 rounds of golf per annum, now it is 22,000 rounds per annum.

"Under our management the course has achieved a 73 ranking in the Australian Golf Digest Top 100 Golf Course list in Australia."

In the past five years, Mr Connor has invested $5 million in upgrading and maintaining the golf course and needs to invest in the irrigation system, which has "packed up".

"That will cost another $200,000. We just invested in a new fleet of 20 golf carts and have plans to upgrade the clubhouse and new maintenance equipment. Why would we do that if we wanted to close it down? If the community wishes to see the golf course continue, as we do, they should throw their full weight behind the state government's proposal to rezone it to Golf Course Estate," he said.

"As long as the course keeps viable I want to keep running the golf course. This business would have been shut down years ago, but I saw the opportunity to work on consolidating the golf course supported by residential development. I have a passion for golf.

"I am in support of the change to Golf Course Estate zone but without the concept plan, because that destroys our asset value. The concept plan leaves no value in the golf course by defining it as open spaceand leaves the only area to develop in front of homes that are already fronting the golf course."

Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said the proposed Code Amendment aimed to provide greater clarity on development potential in the area.

"The community has raised concerns about the type and scale of development that should be permitted in this area, which is why we want to hear from the public to ensure we get the balance right," Ms Chapman said.

"These changes aim to protect the long-term viability of the 18-hole golf course, while ensuring any future development reflects the character and amenity of the area."

The MCCA said there was great disappointment that Minister Chapman would even consider a rezoning exercise to 'Golf Course Estate' given the 1800 signature petition and letters already sent to her.

"The association will focus on is the unsatisfactory charging regime in relation to the non-competitive private potable water supply to some 170 properties in Mount Compass. The membership considers that the actions by ESCOSA and Minister for Water David Speirs has been unacceptable," chair Steve Hayes said.

Mr Connor has agreed to meet with the MCCA to discuss all issues.

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