Fears Albert Park could be ripped up

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Golfers at one of Melbourne’s most loved courses fear a State Government department could tear up their fairways despite promising to keep them intact.

Albert Park Golf Course users believed they had won a fight against plans to carve it in half when the Government this year declared it would abandon a proposal to shrink the facility from 18 to nine holes.

Albert Park golfers Ashley Sievwright, Barry Riordan and Jay Ting are worried the government will cut their course in half. Picture: David Caird

But Parks Victoria meeting notes obtained through Freedom of Information show the ruling may only apply for the current lease terms of the golf course.

A Master Plan for redevelopment of the popular Albert Park precinct — meant to be released publicly mid-year — is also set to remain secret until after the state election.

It has raised fears the course could be cut in two once the lease ends in about 10 years.

Parks Victoria board resolution notes for the Albert Park master plan confirm: “there is no intent for Parks Victoria to initiate changes to the current lease arrangement’’.

But they state “the ability to influence the next golfing offer being in approximately 10 years time’’.

Parks Victoria chief operating officer Simon Talbot said community feedback “overwhelmingly supported” retention of the 18 hole course and confirmed it would be kept during the current lease.

But he said the current golf course operator, which is about halfway through a 21 year lease, would have to negotiate a new deal.

“When the lease expires, a new lease will be offered to the open market for up to 21 years to ensure a fair and equitable process in line with government policy and legislative requirements,’’ he said.

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