Future of Lara Golf Course in limbo

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Lara Golf Club has been left frustrated by the council’s refusal to commit to a new lease on its site as it nervously awaits the outcome of review into public golf facilities.

The council has let the club’s lease on the Elcho Park course expire pending a broad assessment of its ratepayer-funded golf assets.

Club representative Lionel McWilliam last week told councillors the limbo period was hampering efforts to carry out improvements to the course.

“The council is reluctant to spend any money (in the interim),” he said.

He said Mayor Bruce Harwood had told him it would be premature to commit to a lease before the strategy — due by the end of the year — was completed.

However the council has since indicated it will shortly hold talks with the club to discuss potential options.

Speculation of a secret council plan to offload the course have swirled since a 2013 report mentioned it as a potential asset sale.

Later, then-mayor Darryn Lyons stated he was in favour of selling the site, as it was being subsidised by the council to the tune of about $400,000 annually.

Cr Harwood did little to quieten the talk when he was asked in May if the council was considering selling the complex, which hosts the golf course and equestrian centre.

“Council has not resolved to signal its intention to sell or to enter into any sale of the land in question,” he said.

“If there was any intention to sell land there is a legal process council has to follow.”

Council’s community life acting director Robyn Stevens reiterated the status quo yesterday.

“No decisions have been made to sell or shut down any golf courses,” she said.

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