Residents jittery about future of Paradise Palms

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News earlier this year that membership of Paradise Palms Golf Club could not be guaranteed past the end of this financial year and that staff at the resort had been encouraged last week to seek other work, has indicated buyers could have been found for Paradise Palms golf club and resort at Kewarra Beach.

CBRE managing director Danny Betros said while no deal had been done, he had “certainly been negotiating”.

“We are certainly working on a number of angles and deals but even if we did a deal next week it would still be months before any details could be revealed,” he said.

“It’s fairly obvious the course will probably close in June next year. Paradise Palms was a great gift from the Japanese but the reality is it’s 28 years old and never, ever, ever, ever made a profit. Soon enough, economic reality sets in.”

But owner Darren Halpin said everything was still business as usual.

He said last week he asked resort and golf course management to tell employees to consider leaving, if they had other, more secure work.

“I have said to people I promised them the course would be open until June next year, but if I change my mind I will pay back, pro rata, their memberships,” he said.

“November, December, January, February and March are our worst months of the year. I don’t want to be closing earlier than June next and having staff who need to pay mortgages. There is nothing worse than not having job security over Christmas.

“Some people have worked there for 30 years, so it’s not fair that I close it and look at developing it and make everyone redundant without warning. I know it’ll still be there in October this year, all I’m trying to do is do the right thing.”

Parkinson Ave residents David Lierich and Jo Lundberg, who bought their Kewarra Beach home next to Paradise Palms for the quiet, leafy lifestyle, hope the golf course’s new owners do not build more homes in the area.

“There are probably a lot of people who have invested here because of the position near the golf course,” Mr Lierich said.

“I would be interested to see how they could get council to change the zoning (from recreation to residential) to build something else. I think everyone’s reaction would be, ‘Hold on, no’.”

Several other residents also said they would be disappointed if the golf course was redeveloped.

Mr Betros said the driving range at the back of the resort was subject to a separate negotiation but it too had not been sold yet.

“There will be an announcement on that in the next few months,” he said.

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