Federal Golf Club's long-running bid to redevelop part of its course with housing has been given a major boost, with a new masterplan for the Red Hill precinct earmarking land for the development.
However, the chosen site isn't where the golf club had originally intended to build its so-called Over-55s estate, meaning it will have to re-draw its plans.
The ACT government released part of its draft Red Hill precinct plan late on Monday.
The ACT Legislative Assembly called for a Red Hill masterplan in October 2017, after the Federal Golf Club unveiled plans for a 125-home retirement village on the site of its existing practice fairway and car park, off Gowrie Drive.
A new clubhouse, pool and gym were also included in the club's plans for the project, which had an estimated cost of $100 million.
It represented the eighth proposal put forward to redevelop the land since 1995.
But the club is again heading back to the drawing board, with the government's draft masterplan designating land at the southern end of the course for the retirement village.
Government agencies had raised concern about vehicle access to the original, central location, particularly during bushfires.
Federal Golf Club director Bob Correll was pleased the government's masterplan designated land for the proposed retirement village, although he was "a little disappointed" the original location had been overlooked.
Mr Correll said the club, along with its project partner Mbark, would now start exploring options to redevelop on the new location.
The club invited neighbours to discuss the masterplan at a meeting on Monday night, after The Canberra Times' deadline.
Mr Correll said the club wanted to set the parameters for any future development as soon as possible.
"We have no desire to pursue a retirement village which would directly abut or disrupt [existing houses]," Mr Correll said.
"[But] It's still very early days, there is a lot of work that needs to be done to determine what can be done [on the location]."
Under the masterplan, an access road would be built to connect the course to Kitchener Street, which runs through Hughes and Garran.
Mr Correll said the road would benefit future retirement village residents, giving them quick and easy access to nearby shops and medical facilities.
The club has been open in declaring the retirement village development is vital to its long-term survival.
The project would also involve building a new irrigation system and expanding the course's pond capacity, helping to shore up the club's water supply.
Mr Correll said a lack of water was the club's "key vulnerability".
"Golf clubs live and die by their ability to present a good course," he said.
"If we face another millennium drought, it would be catastrophic.
"It has been difficult this year, when you have the high cost of water combined with the reduced attractiveness of the course."
Even if the precinct plan is approved, the club would still have to clear a number of hurdles before it can start work on any development.
Planning rules for the precinct would have to be changed to allow residential development on the course.
The club would then need to lodge a development application.
Both steps would involve rounds of public consultation.