NO MORE WEDGE POLITICS - REGAN AND TEAM UNVEIL SOLUTION TO WARRINGAH GOLF COURSE ISSUE
The former Mayor of Warringah and candidate for Your Northern Beaches Independent Team, Michael Regan, has laid out his team's plan for the Warringah Golf Course and surrounding sporting fields. Mr Regan's plan has the support of the Golf Club, the Sporting Union and Soccer, who are the biggest users of the fields.
In summary, the proposal by "Your Northern Beaches Independent Team" is:
1. Sign a ten year lease with the Warringah Golf Club
2. Allocate sportsfields based on a needs and participation growth basis
3. Improve the capacity and resilience of existing sportsfields through irrigation, drainage, lighting and ground reconfigurations
4. Build new sportsfields in new housing development areas (Warriewood and Ingleside)
5. Partner with schools to provide additional sportsfields for the community
6. Install synthetic surfaces on some existing sportsfields to enable greater use
Mr Regan says, if elected to the position of Mayor, he will firstly sign a ten year lease with the Warringah Golf Club which will give them certainty to develop their clubhouse on the Northern half of the golf course.
"The dispute with the Warringah Golf Club was unnecessary and has caused the club members and the wider community a great deal of angst. My personal feeling has always been that the golf course site is not suitable for increased usage. It should be left as is," said Mr Regan.
"The demand for sportsfields on the Northern Beaches is increasing, which is a great indication of how active we are as a community" says Regan. "But it is Council's responsibility to make sure those demands are balanced - that one group is not unfairly benefitting over another. I honestly believe that the new amalgamated council means we can plan more strategically and more fairly for the needs of our community".
After the signing of the lease, the Your Northern Beaches team proposes to commission a comprehensive traffic and parking study which will take into account the operation of the B-line, the entrance to the proposed "Beaches Link" tunnel and the completion of construction works at Warringah Mall. It will also factor in the new Park and Ride facility at Brookvale and the health services building across the road.
Mr Regan says the significant pressures that already exist in the Brookvale / North Manly area cannot be ignored. "Everyone on the beaches knows to avoid that area if possible during weekend sport. It is broken now and needs attention. It will only get busier once you factor in all the other pressures that are about to arise in that area."
"We need to take stock, and we need to factor in all of these potential issues before squeezing in more fields in one of the busiest parts of the Northern Beaches on weekends" says Mr Regan.
Mr Regan says the future of Warringah Golf Course became the focus of discussion arising from the Council's Sportsground Strategy but other recommendations within that report are just as important.
"We need to prioritise the other recommendations in the report and implement them. Actions such as lighting upgrades to competition standard where possible, talking to schools about using their fields on the weekend and the lighting of fields that currently have no lighting" said Regan.
"The Strategy sets out a map for Council to push ahead and make better decisions. One of the benefits of the council amalgamation is that we plan more strategically when it comes to regional needs".
"The report highlighted several recommendations to bridge the gap over the next 10 to 15 years and synthetics played a big part of that. We will push the Sporting Union and major codes to deliver a priority list of fields they would like covered and get on with accelerating the delivery of them. I note Lionel Watts and Cromer 2 are about to come on line. It may be that we do more fields than is recommended and in a shorter timeframe. It will come down to a number of factors, but if I'm elected, the Sports Ground strategy will be a living "priority" document that gets updated and actioned as we complete tasks like adding synthetic fields."
The report says by implementing a range of different measures, we can deliver real outcomes for sport over a medium term period. We will still be actively looking for additional fields - members of the community have already made some great suggestions and we would be talking to the schools about coming on board with opportunities too. I honestly believe this would be a "win win" for the broader sports community.
Warringah Golf Club President Scott Campbell says...
We commend Michael Regan and his Independent team for their stance on this matter. When Michael Regan was the Mayor of Warringah Council
They conducted a comprehensive review of the District Park precinct and the key finding of the review was for Warringah Golf Course to be kept as an 18 hole venue and to encourage us to relocate our clubhouse onto the precinct as a Community Sporting Club. The former Council to their credit understood the contribution that the Warringah Golf Course makes to the community as a public facility
The Northern Beaches Independent team’s proposal for a 10 year minimum lease would at least afford us with the confidence to inject $5m+ from the sale of our clubhouse property into such a club and to further strengthen the financial position of the Golf Club and provide a modern facility for the community.
Whilst we have at all times supported the Sporting bodies need for more and improved facilities we have maintained that Warringah Golf Course should remain as 18 holes and that all other avenues should be explored fully before any move should be made to alter that concept.