The owners of the Gold Creek golf course are drawing up plans to redevelop a large section of the golf course behind the Gold Creek township.
The Konstantinou Group is considering halving the size of the golf course and developing a 49 hecatre portion, a plan that has parts of the local community and some club members up in arms.
The group has begun community consultation for its "strategic review" of the Gold Creek Country Club.
Last week, the Konstantinou group asked the Gungahlin community to help "re-imagine" more than half the 88-hectare golf course as it looks to either shrink the 18-hole golf course or reduce it to nine or 12 holes in the next three to five years.
The development area is bordered by a row of homes that back on to the golf course.
The group will lodge an application to vary the Territory Plan to change the use of the land from a golf course. It has not revealed details of its plans but does not rule out residential development.
A spokesman for a group of concerned Nicholls residents said it would be "putting at risk 49 pristine wildlife corridor hectares of recreational open space due to rezoning and subsequent redevelopment with units, apartments, and commercial premises."
“We have no problems with genuine community consultation and the promotion thereof if it is impartial and transparent," the spokesman said.
"However, what is now on the table is a forward plan totally out of left field and it’s causing great angst in the community.”
Long-time resident Gary Samuels, who doesn't live on the golf course, said the development would mean a significant loss of lifestyle and amenity, hit the wildlife corridors, and reduce property values. It also set a precedent for other golf courses and open spaces.
The Konstantinou Group bought the golf course site for $3 million from the ACT government in 2005. In 2014 it submitted a development application to subdivide its land on Curran Drive.
In a letter to residents, the owners said they would work with their course management company Troon and with "a world-class golf course designer as well as members" to identify options to "breathe new" life into the club.
"While the redesign and construction of the new course will not occur for at least three years, when constructed it will leave 49 hectares of the existing course - currently holes 10-18 available for alternate uses," the letter said.
Director of the Gold Creek Country Club Harry Konstantinou said in the 12 years of ownership the group had lost $8 million. He said more than 1.5 million litres of water was used a day to maintain the course.
"Gold Creek is 88 hectares, our proposal is to bring it down to 40-50 hectares," Mr Konstantinou said.
"By doing that we think we can save up to $300,000 a year in operational costs which will assist the golf course.
"We’re not looking to ruin the course at all, what we’re looking to do is to secure its future for the next 15 years."
Resident Andrew Jones, whose property backs on to the golf course, said he was concerned the group would destroy it.
"I’m concerned about land and home values, I’m concerned about the crowding in of numerous new homes and apartments in much closer proximity to what us as neighbours are used to, which was one of the main reasons for buying homes in the area. I’m concerned about not being able to have the open areas where you can walk around and wander with your family and enjoy the open space," Mr Jones said.
"I’m concerned about destroying a beautiful golf course, to be honest."
Mr Konstaninou told the Canberra Times the site dropped 40 metres from its highest point to the lowest point.
"What that potentially tells you is that if development was on the lower part of the point, you could go seven or eight storeys and you wouldn’t even see the roof of that building from the surrounding residents," he said.
"We don’t have any plans for any sort of construction or anything yet. We want to know what people want there - do they want parks, do they want bike paths.
"I think people don’t understand that this is a pre DA, pre-anything discussion that we’re having with the community.
The residents' group said, in a statement, that, they had fought development application after development application" since the Konstaninou Group bought the concessional lease.
"The Nicholls community is sick of it. It has been very destabilising and harmful to the community in many respects – by not only putting downward pressure on property values in Nicholls and its surrounding communities but also on the lifestyle and amenity."
Mr Konstaninou said the consultation included an online survey, a blank map for the community to draw their own plans and ideas on for consideration, events and pop-up stalls, a people’s panel, and feedback to the community team at email@example.com.
- A community meeting will be held on Sunday, April 15 at 2pm on the corner of Curran Drive and O'Hanlon Place.