South Australia’s Mount Compass Golf Course is waging a rezoning war that could see parts of the course lost to a residential development if a local council ruling is not reversed.

However, golfers have the opportunity to help save the 73rd-ranked course in the country, which is suffering due to misinformation and a reluctance to amend the zoning by the South Australian Minister for Planning, Vickie Chapman.

“We seek your urgent support to put an end to the completely unnecessary actions of the Alexandrina Council and certain members of the local community, which have endangered the viability of MCGC,” managing director Stephen Connor wrote on the club’s website.

Mount Compass Golf Course sits on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about an hour’s drive south of Adelaide. The property was zoned residential when Capitoline Property Pty Ltd acquired it in 2016. It had been zoned residential for about 20 years before the club obtained approval in 2016 to subdivide 23 allotments on the periphery of the course. In 2019, a further 40 allotment subdivision was approved at the end of George Francis Drive – on land surplus to the golf course north of the 15th tee. Seven allotments to the west of the clubhouse were developed in 2017.

“To date, after five years, we have not acted on the remainder of the approval to develop a further 16 allotments wrapping around the corner of George Francis Drive and Arthur Road,” Connor writes. “We opted not to develop these allotments because we did not want to have to reconfigure the golf course – nor lose the views over the course that are available on the approach roads. That remains our preferred position.

“In March 2021, with the introduction of a new planning system, our land was downzoned to ‘Rural and Recreation’. This should not have happened. Instead, the land should have transitioned to ‘Neighbourhood’, which is the new version of ‘Residential’. This would have been like for like, as was initially proposed by the State Planning Commission.”

The club was not given any warning about the rezoning.

“The change from Neighbourhood to Rural and Recreation occurred because of a submission made by Alexandrina Council,” Connor adds. “We were given absolutely no notice of Alexandrina Council’s submission. It is normal for a rezoning process to involve notice to the landowner as an absolute minimum.

“In effect, our property was down-zoned without notice to or consultation with us and through the back door.”

If the decision is not reversed, the club will have no choice but to alter parts of its golf course.

“Mount Compass will not survive in its current form waiting for the zoning to be corrected. As a result, Mount Compass is being forced to sell off portions of the golf course to reduce debt,” Connor says. “Unfortunately, this will require the shortening and construction of a new green for the second hole and construction of a new tee for the third hole. The large stand of pine trees on Arthur Road near the third tees will have to be cut down.

“When houses are constructed on the land, there will no longer be views across the course from any of the approach roads and the residents across the street will lose their views over the course.”

How can you help? By visiting the Mount Compass website and following the instructions to the letter here.

PHOTO: David Brand