Although he said previously that he would leave the decision to an elected Council, Administrator Dick Perrson passed the Sportsground Strategy at the Council meeting this week, leaving the future of a 18 hole Golf Course at Warringah in doubt.
Following a very thorough process, the following strategy is to be implemented.
Key actions in priority order are:
A. Allocate sportsfields based on a needs and participation growth basis.
B. Improve the capacity and resilience of existing sportsfields.
C. Build new and upgrade existing sportsfields in new housing development areas.
D. Partner with schools to provide additional sportsfields for the community.
E. Install synthetic surfaces on some existing sportsfields to enable greater use.
F. Convert suitable open space to sportsgrounds including some golf course land as needed.
The primary focus in the first 5 years to 2021 is to implement actions that increase capacity of existing fields and to provide additional supply.
This will be achieved by:
A. Re-allocating grounds to maximise use.
B. Installing, drainage, lighting and reconfiguring grounds.
C. Building new fields and or upgrading existing fields in Warriewood Valley and planning for Ingleside.
D. Working with schools to seek to provide use of school fields for community sports.
E. Installing synthetic surfaces at Lionel Watts including Fields 3, 4 and Cromer park Field 2, and investigating options for further synthetic fields including synthetic hockey fields.
A key focus of community feedback was the proposed conversion of half of Warringah Golf Course to sporting fields. Mr Perrson said that Council does not need to decide today whether to convert golf course land to sportsfields, however that land should not be ‘locked up’ in long term leases as forecasts suggest it will be needed to address demand in the future. It is also proposed that during this first five year period Council would plan for future potential conversion of suitable public land to sportsfields so that this could be implemented as required from 2022.
Future of Golf Courses
A masterplan is to be developed for the conversion of the northern half of Warringah Golf Course to a Centennial Park style sporting area incorporating fields, playgrounds and passive open space and the undertaking of a feasibility study regarding Balgowlah Golf Course.
Council’s assessment supports the conversion of Warringah Golf Course to a mixture of a ninehole course, playing fields and parklands connected by a network of walking tracks and cycle ways. This new sport and recreation precinct could be developed in such a way as to preserve many of the established trees while at the same time as giving the public much greater access, picnic areas, playgrounds and passive open space. Council’s assessment also supports conversion of Balgowlah Golf Course to a sporting area incorporating fields and passive open space integrated with the adjoining Balgowlah Oval.
This will be achieved by a new minimum 20-year lease for the southern half of Warringah Golf Course (9 holes), together with the Warringah Recreation Centre and North Manly Bowling Club (District Park). A new separate but linked lease for the the northern nine (9) holes that will be leased on an initial term of up to five years, with extension clauses at the discretion of Council in the years 2022, 2027 and 2032. This would maintain the current course configuration over the short to medium term to allow the Council and the community to evaluate progress on closing the demand/supply gap for sportsfields.
Candy Bingham, Deputy Mayor, Northern Beaches Council. Background in marketing, public relations & community engagement. Author of five business books. Former Lady Mayoress of Sydney. Aka Candy Tymson.