Mt Compass Golf Course – one of Australia’s Top-100 ranked layouts – could be forced to sell off some of its land for residential development if a local council rezoning ruling is not overturned.
The Mt Compass Golf Course (MCGC) property, about 60km south of Adelaide’s CBD, was zoned residential when Capitoline Property Pty Ltd acquired it in 2016. The property had been zoned residential for two decades when the new owners obtained approval to subdivide 23 allotments around the edge of the course.
In 2019, a further 40 allotment subdivision on land surplus to the course at the end of George Francis Drive – the road leading into the course – was approved by Alexandrina Council. This came two years after seven allotments were developed west of the clubhouse.
“To date, after 5 years, we have not acted on the remainder of the approval to develop a further 16 allotments wrapping around the corner of George Francis Drive and Arthur Road,” Capitoline Property Managing Director, Stephen Connor, said in a statement.
“We opted not to develop these allotments because we did not want to have to reconfigure the golf course – nor lose the views over the course that are available on the approach roads. That remains our preferred position.”
In March this year, with the introduction of a new planning system, the Mt Compass property was downzoned to Rural and Recreation.
“This should not have happened. Instead, the land should have transitioned to Neighbourhood, which is the new version of Residential. This would have been like for like, as was initially proposed by the State Planning Commission,” Connor said.
“We were given absolutely no notice of Alexandrina Council’s submission. It is normal for a rezoning process to involve notice to the landowner as an absolute minimum.
In effect, our property was down-zoned without notice to or consultation with us and through the back door.”
Connor added that the impact of the down-zoning to Rural and Recreation is significant.
“Our asset value has been hugely impaired. As a result, we have no alternative but to sell some land to pay down debt,” Connor’s statement said.
"This means selling the 16 allotments we had approved in 2016 fronting George Francis Drive and Arthur Road.
“Unfortunately, this will require the shortening and construction of a new green for the 2nd hole and construction of a new tee for the 3rd hole. The large stand of pine trees on Arthur Road near the 3rd tees will have to be cut down.
“When houses are constructed on the land, there will no longer be views across the course from any of the approach roads and the residents across the street will lose their views over the course.”
A further consequence of the down-zoning, Connor’s statement said, is a range of course projects have been deferred including the replacement of the entire course irrigation system.
“This could literally see the course die before our eyes,” Connor says. “The loss of land value we have suffered means we are unable to raise finance to pay for these things – unless the zoning is changed to Golf Course Estate now.”
MCGC appealed to the Environment, Resources and Development Committee of Parliament, which recommended the property be zoned Golf Course Estate.
“Planning Minister Vickie Chapman MP has delayed (for up to 18 months) correcting our zoning by requesting that the State Planning Commission undertake a protracted Code Amendment process instead of just accepting the ERD Committee recommendation,” the statement said.
“Mt Compass will not survive in its current form waiting for the zoning to be corrected. As a result, Mt Compass is being forced to sell off portions of the golf course to reduce debt.”
Connor is asking for the help of all golfers, who want to see the No.42 ranked Public Access Course in Australia remain unchanged.
“Most of the residential property owners in the Mount Compass Estate, and many thousands more golfers and restaurant patrons, would like to Mt Compass continue to grow and prosper for years to come,” he said.
“We are asking all those interested in maintaining the golf course to ask Planning Minister Vickie Chapman MP to revisit her recent decision and immediately implement a rezoning of our land to Golf Course Estate as was recommended by the ERD Committee.”
If you want to show your support, click here to read more about the issue and download, print and sign the attached letter and return it to:
PO Box 258, Mount Compass SA 5210.
Responses will be treated in confidence and passed on to Minister Chapman.