Mount Compass Golf Course Estate planning heads to a result

Stephen Connor at the entrance of the golf course at Mount Compass.
Stephen Connor at the entrance of the golf course at Mount Compass.

Owner/director of Mount Compass Golf Course Estate Stephen Connor has sent a letter to residents stating the facts of what could happen if there is a change in zoning

The entire Mount Compass Golf Course (MCGC) and some 63 surrounding residential properties have been unfairly downsized from Residential to Recreation by Alexandrina Council and the State Planning Commission through the introduction of the Planning & Design Code.

The State Planning Commission is undertaking a public consultation process to change the zoning.

"The downzoning of the land to Recreation instead of transitioning to Neighbourhood zone has devalued the land and caused significant and unnecessary financial costs, distress, and operational disruption for the golf course business," Mr Connor wrote to residents.

"Unfortunately, this has forced the imminent sale of some land parcels to reduce debt and reconfiguration of the golf course. The loss of that land requires reconfiguring the second and third holes of the golf course, reducing the golf course to a Par 71.

"The downzoning has also significantly devalued the 63 residential allotments that have been developed around the periphery of the golf course, impacting the planning and building approval process for the owners of those properties.

"The Code Amendment documents propose the inclusion of a Concept Plan that defines the golf course land as 'Open Space' under a Golf Course Estate zone. Application of the Concept Plan proposed is intended to protect the golf course. However it instead, destroys the value of the land, which is used to underpin the financial viability of the golf course business."

Mr Connor said this significantly increased the risk of the golf course operations being shut down permanently - an outcome that he and the surrounding residents do not want.

"What is proposed in the Code Amendment documents (the Concept Plan) is like the compulsory acquisition of the golf course land without payment of compensation," Mr Connor wrote.

"The development rights that existed under the previous Residential Zone need to be restored so the golf course can continue to operate."

Mount Compass Golf Course (MCGC) over the past five years, has had significant investment.

MCGC has achieved the following: Australian Golf Digest Top 100 Golf Courses in 2020/21 and achieved most improved, now ranked at number 73 in the country Golf Australia top 100 course, Golf Course Guide has ranked it number 42, Many accolades for the Range Restaurant.

"MCGC is brilliantly maintained and manicured by a small team of dedicated grounds staff. There is a fleet of new golf carts available, together with golf clubs and pull buggies for hire. The Range Restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday through Sunday and dinner Friday and Saturday evenings," he wrote.

Mr Connor said the MCGC was one of the largest employers in the community, with more than 20 people working there, as well as generating significant spin-off business for the township.

"Please support the Mount Compass Golf Course land being rezoned Golf Course Estate - on the condition there is no Concept Plan, overlay, or other restrictions or development limitations applied to the land," Mr Connor wrote.

"To have your say please head to www.mcgc.com.au and click on the link to send a letter to the PlanSA Code Amendment team.

"We need your support to keep MCGC operating. Every voice counts."

Consultation closes on Friday, October 24.

MCGC golfer Geoff Day said under the management of Mr Connor the golf course had improved significantly.

"It is a top golf course and a credit to Stephen Connor's investment," Mr Day said.

The Mount Compass Community Association held a meeting on Thursday, October 14 and chair Steve Hayes said most who attended opposed any development on the golf course.

"We do not want any building on the golf course at all. It is why we bought in the area to live on a golf course," Mr Hayes said.

"There are other options where Stephen Connor can build and our association will support Recreation Zoning and not Golf Course Estate Zoning."

Damien Kiley purchased land at the Golf Course Estate a few years ago and said the Mount Compass Community Association did not represent all owners in the Mt Compass golf course community.

"We purchased the land overlooking the golf course, for the specific reason that we wanted to enjoy the vista and the ambience the golf course creates, play some golf and be in the general region," Mr Kiley said.

"Any impact on the financial viability of the golf course will be detrimental to our long term goals. If the golf course cannot be operated as a commercially viable business, does it not fail and effect everyone in the surrounds?

"It is a draw card, its improved condition and upkeep only adds to the notoriety of Mt Compass and its continued patronage from people in Adelaide and further abroad helps support the businesses elsewhere in the community.

"Surely this is better than a group who are only interested in their own self-interest. What are they scared of, Mt Compass becoming too popular? Let the golf course prosper and let the economic multiplier work through the community."

Mr Kiley said the change of zoning would create a high level of uncertainty in his planned build and his life plan.

"I have had a good relationship with Stephen Connor since I have purchased my land lot," he said.

Alexandrina Council on Monday, October 18 endorsed to object to the application of the Golf Course Estate Zone to the existing Neighbourhood and Recreation Zones in the area affected and recommend the retention of the existing spatial application of the Recreation Zone and the Neighbourhood Zone and recommend the spatial application of the Neighbourhood Zone) to the recently approved existing residential allotments.

As council is a stakeholder with a high level of interest in the proposed Amendment, the Chief Executive of the Attorney-General's Department has sought council's views regarding the proposed Amendment in accordance with the Community Engagement Charter.

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