On the 24 July, 2018, the North Lakes Golf Club publicly announced the proposed sale of the 68-hectare site to the Village Retirement Group due to continued financial losses. Since then, the local community has been out in force protesting the development and rallying behind the North Lakes Golf Club.
The General Manager of the golf club, Adam Simpson, says a well-documented decline in golfers is to blame. After trying to sell the course to another golf operator over the last two years, management and the owners concluded it was no longer viable to keep the club open any longer.
The closure statement was published on their website and states the club will “cease operations at the end of 2019”. While the intent of the development by The Village Retirement Group is for 85% of the total site area to be maintained for environmental protection, public open space and sports fields for community use, locals believe this is a short-term consolation prize only, and over the years more and more of the area will be developed.
Up until 2006, the area of North Lakes was a part of the neighbouring Mango Hill suburb. The master-planned development of North Lakes by Stockland is, and always has been, orientated around two key lifestyle factors — Lake Eden and the North Lakes Resort Golf Club. While the lake and surrounding parklands are still safe, taking away the golf club and replacing it with medium-density retirement living units isn’t exactly what home-owners had in mind when they bought their family home in North Lakes.
Currently, only 11-hectares of the site are proposed for use by The Village Retirement Group, who are seeking approval for 200 independent living units and a three-story aged-care facility with 100 beds. Over the last few months, The Village Retirement Group hosted community consultation sessions prior to the submission of their application to the council. While these sessions provided an opportunity for residents to have their say, most still aren’t convinced. While some of these residents are avid golfers, others are primarily concerned about the value of their land and compromising on the lifestyle there were promised. The “Save North Lakes Golf Course” Facebook group now has over 3,600 members and the associated Facebook page has 1,100 likes.
The community engagement group also has vocal support from Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth, who has spoken to the current owners of the course and brought the issue to the parliament floor.
“Many people that I represent bought in the surrounding communities to be close to the North Lakes Golf Club and Lake Eden. I want to thank the community members who’ve joined up the campaign and the community has said very loud and clear that they want the golf club to remain. I am with you, and I want to see the golf club remain a golf club,” he said.
The Save North Lakes Golf Course group is currently putting pressure on local councillors for the Moreton Bay Region to reject the development application by The Village Retirement Group as well as holding peaceful protests at the club, some with over 200 in attendance.