The beleaguered Paradise Palms golf club will close permanently next month, three months earlier than expected.
Owner Darren Halpin spoke to staff in a special meeting yesterday afternoon to break the news and met with club members last night.
He said the decision to bring forward the closure date would buy him time to get all the necessary approvals and wildlife audits needed before residential building projects could start on the site.
“The bad news is we’re going to be closed from March 31. It’s a Sunday, it’s the end of the quarter,” he said.
“We’re lodging all the applications next quarter so we need time to get analysts on site, to count animals, to do all the planning and soil testing.
“(Paradise Palms) is losing $150,000 a month. It is a sad end of an era, but … we can’t keep it going, it’s not viable.”
Mr Halpin said he had expected the community uproar and dismay, adding he would be disappointed too if he were a member of the golf club.
“It’s a sad day but it’s not sustainable.
“We need to get in, shut it and get ready for the next phase,” he explained.
“That’s why we told all the workers, all the members a year ago that we’d shut next year.
“Most developers would shut the course without any notice but I’ve given them a year’s notice. No one ever does that in development.
“We’re trying to restructure the business, we’ll keep the playground, keep the clubhouse open and the pool, it will just be the golf course that closes.”
He also hit back at suggestions Cairns Regional Council could buy the golf course and operate it.
“As a ratepayer, I don’t want council buying it and losing $3m to $4m a year,” he explained.
“That’s our challenge, very few people in the area use it.
“The future is exciting but some people don’t want to hear that. The people who support me are ringing me saying, ‘keep going’.
“This way more people in the area will be able to use. It’s a beautiful space.”
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